What kind of education does a real estate salesperson receive? How can I be sure they have the knowledge they need to help me sell my home?

When I answer questions in this column, I often talk about how the guidance of a real estate professional can help navigate tricky buying and selling challenges. I’m glad you’ve given me an opportunity to step back and explain how brokers and salespersons get the knowledge they need to serve the needs of their clients.

As the regulator of trading in real estate in Ontario, RECO oversees two education programs that work hand-in-hand. There’s registration education, the education that people must take to become a registered broker or salesperson. And, there are continuing education courses that all real estate professionals must take every two years in order to stay registered.

When a person wants to become a real estate professional, they have a lot to learn. Before they can apply for registration with RECO, they need to learn how to estimate real estate values, how to market a property, how to properly represent their client throughout the process, and much more. They also learn the details about how a real estate transaction occurs, from the initial listing agreement with the seller to the final sale, and the many contracts involved.

Once they have completed all the required courses, they can apply to become a salesperson. During their first two years as a salesperson, known as the articling period, they must complete additional courses that round out their education.

In a fast-changing real estate sector, the second component of RECO’s education program is essential. Continuing education ensures that brokers and salespersons are up-to-date with any recent changes to the rules and regulations governing their profession, as well as any emerging issues like proper use of social media. Many professionals also seek out courses from third party education providers that help them provide better service to their clients and customers. This training can also lead to better outcomes for their buyers and sellers.

That should give you an idea of the education that brokers and salespersons receive today, but I’d also like to touch on an important proposal we’ve made for the future of real estate education.

RECO has released a vision for registration education that will provide new brokers and salespersons with an even greater skill level. The program will focus on giving students the skills and knowledge they need to “hit the ground running” when they first enter the profession, by developing a new curriculum that would go beyond theories to incorporate scenarios based on real-life situations. Our approach would also include a new independent certification examination, which students would have to pass before they can become real estate professionals.

There’s a lot more to the plan than I can detail in this column, but the bottom line is that a more skilled, more knowledgeable base of brokers and salespersons will mean more positive experiences for buyers and sellers.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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