Monthly Archives - November 2017

Real estate continuing education

Safety Tips for New York Real Estate Agents

Nobody wants to get hurt on the job, and no real estate agent likes to think that a routine showing of a home is going to be dangerous. Unfortunately, safety issues must be a concern for real estate agents, especially since many agents show up to work at a job site alone.

The good news is that there are some steps you can take to minimize risk on the job and keep yourself safe. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe on the job.

Gather Contact Information Early

Meeting new clients at the office is always preferable. This allows you to meet them in person before you go on location, but it also gives you the ability to collect data. Collect the clients’ names and phone numbers at this time. You can also collect state ID cards to make copies.

When you meet at the site of a home or property, gather license plate numbers upon arrival. At an open house, ask clients to sign in with their names and phone numbers.

Park with Care

When you park your car, make sure that you always park under a light when you will be showing up or departing after dark. It is also best to avoid parking in a driveway, as it is quite easy to find yourself blocked in and unable to leave should a bad situation arise.

Be Mindful of Your Positioning in the Home

Real estate agents are advised to allow clients to walk ahead of them into the home and into rooms. Additionally, be wary of stepping into enclosed spaces like closets and pantries. You should always have easy access to an exit in the event that something goes wrong.

Be Wary of Vacant Homes

Homes that have been vacant for a period of time may attract squatters or even residents who never left, not to mention potential damage or wildlife lurking inside. You must take great care when entering vacant homes. If possible, bring somebody else with you to check out the scene.

Begin inspecting the exterior of the home, looking for signs of forced entry or frequent use. If you do see signs of entry or even a squatter, get into a safe spot and call the police. Never enter a home that appears to be occupied.

Additionally, do not advertise these homes as vacant when you list them. Doing so could actually attract people who are looking for a place to squat.

Real estate continuing education

Meeting prospective clients in a professional environment promotes safety for all parties.

How Can Real Estate Continuing Education Help?

Empowerment through knowledge is one way to stay safe on the job. Safety courses help you stay in tune with your expectations on the job in addition to how you can stay out of harm’s way. Even the most experienced real estate agents can grow complacent over time and may need a reminder about safety on the job.

PDH offers continuing education linked to real estate agent safety. Contact us for more information about taking courses that help you stay up-to-date on safety in the real estate industry.

Seattle real estate continuing education

Seattle Real Estate Heating Up: One More Great Reason for Continuing Education

Seattle has been touted as the country’s most promising real estate market for 2018, causing many Washington State real estate agents to take notice. Within the last year, Seattle has experienced a 20 percent increase in median home sales. Additionally, the average price of square footage increased significantly. There is no doubt that Seattle is emerging as a real estate hot spot.

The economic outlook for Seattle is looking good with a high demand for investment in the real estate market. In fact, the median price of a Seattle home right now is $725,000. What is it about Seattle’s real estate market that causes it to top the charts? More importantly, what can you do about it as a real estate agent?

Seattle Welcomes Tech Giants and Entrepreneurs

Seattle is considered to have high productivity with highly expected income growth in the coming years. Additionally, about 12 percent of employees work in STEM-related fields. A relatively high percentage of residents work in computer programming.

Seattle’s ability to offer tech-driven careers and its emphasis on STEM programs attract new buyers looking to make waves with the rest of the city. Finding ways to appeal to these buyers might involve taking courses in green housing and housing technology.

Seattle Is Educated

Seattle’s population includes 17 percent of citizens with graduate or professional degrees and 37 percent of citizens with either associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. As one of the country’s most educated cities, Seattle tends to offer more jobs geared toward those with bachelor’s degrees. Those in search of tech-related employment may embrace Seattle with open arms.

Seattle Has a Growing Population

In the next five years, Seattle is expected to gain nearly 30,000 new residents. It seems that many outsiders look to live in the city, whereas Seattle residents may be looking more toward the outskirts of the hustle and bustle. The demand for homes in the city also grows while the supply has decreased, leading to increased prices.

Additionally, rent is rising quickly, which leads to a desire to buy a home. While home prices are also increasing, those looking to invest in a home for the family will be attracted to buying rather than renting.

Seattle Is Green

The vast majority of Seattle residents have easy access to city parks, meaning that they can walk to one. Buyers want to live near parks, so this gives moving to Seattle a significant selling point. This also gives you an incentive to pursue an education in your industry, especially because green housing is a great topic to understand with emerging technologies.

Washington state real estate continuing education

Seattle is a city with great respect for the environment and eco-friendly ideas. How can you incorporate this into your real estate practice?

 How Real Estate Agents Can Keep Up in 2018

Washington State real estate continuing education helps real estate agents keep up with market changes. Courses like “Current Issues in WA Residential Real Estate” and “Green Housing Essentials” will help you stay on the ball as you continue working in real estate in the coming years.

We provide a variety of courses that will help you work as a Seattle real estate agent now and in the future. You can take classes online to renew your license or to focus on improving your work in the industry. Contact us for more information about the coursework that will benefit you the most.

Real estate continuing ED

Portland, OR Named Ninth Greenest City in America

When you think about America’s greenest cities, Portland is likely near the top of your list. The Oregon city landed ninth on the list of top 10 green cities in the country, according to Wallethub. Portland is recognized for its efforts geared toward increased sustainability.

Understanding the culture of a city ties into deciding which real estate continuing ed to pursue. As you think about advancing in your career field, take some time to consider how coursework will help you buy and sell homes in Portland. One good way to focus your efforts on the future is to begin studying techniques that will allow you to learn more about sustainability and green living.

 What Oregon Agents Should Know about Portland’s Green Rep

Oregon real estate agents should understand Portland’s reputation as a green city. For instance, despite being a large city, Portland uses more renewable energy than the average for cities around the country. Portland was also the leader of the movement to ban plastic bags from grocery stores. Additionally, a significant proportion of Portland’s population carpools, bikes, or rides public transportation to work or school.

This is not new to Portland either. Since 1971, Portland has been focusing on sustainable living on a big city-basis. Additionally, the city boasts more than 275 parks with thousands of acres of green space. When you understand that these are values the homeowners of Portland take personally, you will be able to represent their interests in the search for a home.

How PDH & Real Estate Continuing Ed Can Help

PDH Continuing education courses are meant to help you become successful as a real estate agent in Oregon. When you stay up-to-date with growing trends and changes in real estate law, you are eliminating many of the challenges associated with working in the industry.

Green Housing Essentials is one course that Portland real estate agents, in particular, will find useful. This course will focus on issues like home inspection needs for green homes, green principles, and certifications that will help you focus on green houses. You will also learn about interior finishes and other elements involved in assisting buyers to choose homes and sellers to market their homes.

Real estate continuing ED

Portland is a gorgeous city, and its green features attract buyers from all over the country.

Real Estate Ethics and Residential Building Red Flags are also great courses conducive to Portland buyers’ interests. These courses will help you pinpoint issues that your clients might have with certain homes early on.

When you renew your real estate license, consider which real estate continuing ed courses will be most useful to you in your state. Oregon real estate agents have their own challenges and benefits, and we understand how needs differ from location to location.

Oregon requires continuing education to fulfill requirements for license renewal. We offer classes catering to Portland’s green emphasis. Contact us for more information about meeting the requirements with coursework.


Expert Interview Series: Dan Lesniak on the Value of Hyper Local Real Estate Sales

Dan Lesniak didn’t set out in his career to become a real estate agent.

The founder of Orange Line Living– one of Northern Virginia’s most successful real estate teams– went to the Naval Academy and served as a submarine officer before working at the Pentagon. He got his MBA from Georgetown figuring he’d get a job as a strategy consultant at a large company. He was in the process of buying his fourth home when he realized he knew just as much– if not more– than his agent.

“I thought I’d get a license and just use it for friends and family or myself when buying a home or doing investments,” he says.

He did some marketing in the building he lived in, and after a few months got so busy he had to quit his job.

How did he find success so quickly as a new agent?

“I narrowed my focus,” he says. “That was pretty critical.”

A lot of agents try to be everything to everybody, Dan says. He found early on that it was tricky trying to build a business based on just friends and family. For one, when you’re just starting off friends and family don’t really think of you as an agent and two, especially when working outside of a major city, like Washington, D.C., people can often be spread out an hour or more in all directions.

“It makes it hard to build on success and leverage on success,” Dan says.

So Dan decided to just focus on the 200 condos in the building he was living in. Every time he got a new client and closed a deal, everyone was aware of it. Pretty soon, word spread to the next building.

Having a super narrow focus in the building was key.

Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning the Important to Success

In his book, The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent, Dan details the stories about some of the transactions he made during his first year as an agent. He stresses the importance of going through the process of segmentation, targeting, and positioning.

“Decide how you’re going to break the market up, pick which segment you’re going to target and figure out how you’re going to position yourself to that segment,” he says.

Picking the right market can be tricky. You need to look at the turnover rate and whether there are established agents already serving that mark it. It needs to be big enough to give you business– but not overly competitive– and small enough that you can break into it and make an impact.

“The other thing to remember, too, is you need to pick an area that has some kind of common characteristics that the same marketing methods would apply to that area,” Dan says.

This characteristic doesn’t necessarily have to be geographic either– it could be a group of 200 people that all work for a certain hospital, for instance.

Another factor in his success as an agent is a willingness to think outside the box on how to create value for his clients and solve their problems. One of the most notable ways he’s done this is to buy homes from his clients to save deals and make them feel more comfortable.

He said the first time he did this wasn’t planned. He was helping a client purchase a million-dollar penthouse, which was contingent on the sale of their home. Someone put an offer in on his client’s home, but three weeks before closing, that buyer was denied financing.

“I stepped in and bought the last house and those clients definitely loved me for it,” he says.

Since then, he’s done more deals this way and has marketed it to clients.

Realtors Need to Be Persistent, Have a Thick Skin

There are several qualities that a realtor needs in order to find success, Dan says.

The industry requires a thick skin– a willingness to be told “no” several times and not take it personally. It also demands persistence, creativity and a willingness to take risks.

“You’ve got to care about people, care about doing a good job, care about helping people,” he says.

Looking back, Dan says there have been a couple mistakes he’s made over the years.

The first happened early on when he was switching brokerages. He partnered with an individual who wasn’t operating at the same level as he was. The partnership was convenient at the time because they were both leaving the same brokerage, but looking back he’d wished he’d vetted his options more thoroughly.

“If you’re going to get in a partnership, do a lot of due diligence up front and make sure you’ve got some solid plans for what happens if it doesn’t go right.”

On the client side, he knows there have been missed business opportunities with clients he’s lost touch with.

Today, he makes sure to stay in touch with clients in a variety of ways including a monthly newsletter and a more detailed quarterly letter that’s a more personal update about his life. He also hosts events for clients every quarter– whether it’s happy hours, going to a Nationals game, or throwing a family-friendly fall festival.

Win More Deals by Being Flexible

There are mistakes Dan observes both seasoned and novice realtors alike making.

“I think a lot of times a lot of the older school agents get stuck on contingencies for their buyers,” he says.

Dan and his team are able to win in more competitive situations and get better deals by getting their clients to be more flexible about contingencies. Ultimately, realtors aren’t the ones making the decisions, Dan says, clients are.

“We’re just educating them up front on the potential pros of not having as many contingencies and what the actual risks are and letting them decide,” he says. “A lot of agents don’t even have that conversation.”

Another conversation agents should be having at the start of their relationship with a client is to sit down and discuss the sales process and get them to sign a buyer agreement up front. When they don’t do this, realtors run the risk of running around showing houses to someone who isn’t committed to them.

In general, Dan believes agents could do a better job with time management. They should be blocking one to two hours a day when they’re not responding to incoming emails or calls in order to spend time on marketing and prospecting.

When creating and implementing a new marketing plan, agents often quit a couple months after couple months because they’re not getting leads. But Dan advises they stick with a plan for at least six months.

“A lot of people put the time and money into starting and they give up right before they were potentially about to have a lot of success,” he says.

Learn more about what it takes to be a top selling real estate agent. Contact us for more information.

Real estate in North Dakota

4 FAQs for New Real Estate Agents in North Dakota

As you begin working as a North Dakota real estate agent, you are sure to find yourself with some questions. The process of obtaining your license and even working for the first year can bring up some confusion. Fortunately, the answers are available to help guide you through the process of establishing yourself.

This guide will answer some of the most common questions asked by new real estate agents.

 1. How Do I Renew My Real Estate License in North Dakota?

In order to renew your real estate license, you first need to complete at least nine hours of continuing education provided by an approved provider. If you are still in your first year of licensure, you must complete 15 post-licensure hours of education.

These courses may be taken online or via correspondence. Extra hours you take will not carry over into the new year. You will be able to submit required materials online to renew your license.

2. Does North Dakota Have a Reciprocal Agreement with Any Other States?

Yes, North Dakota has reciprocal agreements with several other states. If you already have a real estate sales license in Iowa, Georgia, or Minnesota, it is easier for you to receive a real estate sales license in North Dakota.

This agreement allows you to waive a licensing examination if you already have a license. You can instead pay the salesperson and credit report fee with your license application. You must also submit your criminal history record check.

3. How Do I Become a North Dakota Real Estate Salesperson?

In order to become a real estate agent, you must first complete the educational requirements. You must take at least 45 hours of pre-licensing education in courses that the North Dakota Real Estate Commission has approved.

You must also take a real estate exam. In North Dakota, the testing centers are in Bismarck and Fargo, but you can schedule the examination online. This examination contains a national and state portion, both of which you must pass in order to work as a real estate agent.

Real estate sales professionals are required to undergo a background check while submitting a license application. You must also consent to a credit report and an application fee.

Finally, you will be required to carry errors and omission insurance. The real estate commission will ask for proof of this insurance.

Real estate agents in North Dakota

Studying North Dakota’s real estate rules will help you better understand the industry’s needs.

4. What Topics Should I Study for North Dakota’s Real Estate Exam?

Several topics are essential for real estate success. Taking the time to study for the examination is helpful, and most of the material presented as part of the exam will be presented as part of pre-licensing education.

For the national portion of the exam, you should study agency relationships, contracts, finance, marketing regulations, property management, and real estate calculations.

The state portion of the exam requires knowledge of state laws, the real estate commission, licensing requirements, advertising, commissions, ethics, disclosures, and other local regulations.

The key to working in North Dakota as a successful real estate agent is education. Contact us for more information about staying up to date with your continuing education requirements.

Real estate South Dakota

How to Get Your Real Estate License in South Dakota

In order to work as a real estate agent in South Dakota, you must obtain a Broker Associate license through the South Dakota Real Estate Commission. When you obtain your real estate license, you have the ability to set your own schedule and receive compensation based on your success. There are quite a few perks to working in the real estate industry.

Becoming a real estate license does not have to be difficult when you understand the steps. This guide will walk you through the process from beginning to end so that you have a comprehensive grasp of what you are doing.

Meet Basic Broker Associate Requirements

In order to work as a broker associate in South Dakota, you must be at least 18 years old. This education is necessary because the coursework you take will be closer to a college level. You must also be a U.S. citizen or South Dakota resident.

Additionally, you must also submit to a state and federal criminal background check. You will be fingerprinted at an office as part of the process. While a criminal conviction may not necessarily prohibit you from becoming a real estate agent, it may influence the decision of the commission.

Certain crimes are not acceptable according to the commission, especially those that demonstrate that you are a threat to the public. You must also demonstrate that you are financially responsible. The commission is allowed to use its own discretion in determining who may become a real estate agent.

Obtain State-Approved Real Estate Education

Your next step is to obtain 116 hours of pre-licensing education. Pre-licensing education is meant to prepare you to work as a real estate agent. This coursework covers the principles and practice of real estate, laying a strong foundation you can build on in the future.

You have the option to take this course online. This allows you to study on your own timeline. Online classes make it easy to refer to study material and reach out when it is most convenient for you. They also allow you to take care of other commitments, including family and work.

Classroom options do have some benefit for pre-licensing education though. If you value classroom engagement and being able to ask questions in real-time, brick-and-mortar classrooms might be your best bet. You can also build study teams with other future real estate agents.

In order to register for the licensing exam, you must pass the course with a score of 75%. A test held at the end of the class will be the determining factor in whether you are allowed to take the test.

Pass the Real Estate Licensing Exam

Before you can apply for your license, you must pass the South Dakota Real Estate Exam. The exam is held in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, and you must register ahead of time to reserve your spot. You can do this online or via phone.

The exam is administered via computer through Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP). You will be allowed to practice on the computer ahead of time to ensure that you are familiar with how it works. The test is also timed, so make sure that you use this time wisely.

Make sure to arrive at the testing center early with two forms of identification. Both forms of ID should include your name and signature. One ID must have a photo of you. Additionally, your photo will be taken to accompany your score report.

You must pass both portions of the exam: national and state. The national exam includes 100 scored questions and five unscored experimental questions. This portion of the exam is allowed up to 2.5 hours to complete. The scale is scored based on difficulty of the questions, and you must pass with at least 75.

The state portion of the exam consists of 52 questions and five experimental unscored questions. For this portion, you have 1.5 hours to work. Like the national portion of the exam, the state segment is also scaled for a passing score of 75.

Work with a Supervising Real Estate Broker

In order for your real estate application to be approved, you must work with a broker who agrees to be responsible for you. This individual is in charge of showing you how to work as a real estate agent in South Dakota. This is where you will truly get your industry practice.

Once you agree on terms with a broker, he or she must submit a signed request alongside your application. You must work with this broker as part of a long-term commitment to your career, so it is important that you make a smart choice by interviewing several candidates and selecting the best fit.

Send in a Real Estate Application

Within 60 days of receiving notice that you have passed your real estate exam, you must send in your real estate license application. You must fill it out completely and honestly in order for your license to be approved by the real estate commission.

Make sure that you include your application fee with the application. You must also submit your original score report from your real estate exam. You also need to submit proof that you completed your educational requirements.

If your license is approved, you will receive word back within 30 days of submitting the real estate application.

Real estate license in South Dakota

Real estate education can be completed from the comfort of your home office.

Complete Continuing Education Courses

Each licensing period of two years, real estate professionals in South Dakota must complete 24 hours of continuing education. Of these hours, 12 must be in required core subject areas. This education is meant to ensure that you are always up to date with new developments in your career path. Courses are available online and in-person to fulfill your obligation each renewal period.

This is different in the first licensing cycle during which you have your license. You will need to complete 60 hours in this period. This post-licensing coursework ensures that you are well on your way to becoming a successful real estate agent in your first few years on the job.
These courses help to build on real estate principles. We offer a variety of courses to help you stay up to date with your requirements. Contact us for more information about real estate studies.