A career in real estate is demanding and rewarding. It requires commitment, discipline, motivation, enthusiasm and flexibility. A basic understanding of the real estate industry and market is a must. After all, the market is dynamic and competitive, legislation changes frequently and new technologies continuously emerge.
Careers in the field of real estate have changed significantly over the years and are more exciting than ever. Advancements in the areas of technology and communications, the greater need for specialized knowledge and the expansion of marketplaces, are redefining the role of the real estate professional, and creating new demands and opportunities.
Real estate associates need to be:
- Enthusiastic self-starters.
- Continually developing leads and cultivating clients.
- Prepared to make many sacrifices in their daily lives.
- Familiar with technology (computers, the Internet, cell phones, etc.).
There is no quitting time, and the phone will ring at any time of the day or night. Personal schedules must be arranged to suit clients’ needs. Still, successful real estate
professionals are able to keep perspective and create balance!
Most real estate professionals earn their income by commission. They may make a sale one week, then not another for two months. It’s important to budget to ensure enough income between sales. Earnings will vary by area, type of property sold, local market conditions and specific brokerage policies. Personal expenses, however, apply to all real estate associates and include licensing fees, insurance, real estate board/association dues, advertising and other business costs.
Real estate practitioners must successfully complete a number of courses to acquire and maintain their license and must keep up to date with changes and trends in the industry. A real estate career offers tremendous potential beyond the selling of property. Your real estate education can open new doors and help you pursue other opportunities in property management, appraisal, financing or office management.
REALTOR® or real estate agent?
Though they are both licensed to sell real estate, they are not the same. The main difference between the two is that a REALTOR® is a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and as such, must follow a strict code of ethics and rules and
regulations enforced by local boards. The code is the accepted standard of conduct for all real estate practitioners who are REALTORS®. It’s your guarantee of professional conduct and quality service.
Education and Licensing requirements for jobs in the real estate industry are established by the province in which you intend to practice. Generally, you’ll be required to complete an educational requirement before you can get involved in the field. A period of supervised practical training - sometimes called “articling” - may also be required before you can be registered as a real estate professional.
Continuing education is also required in many provinces and available in others so that real estate professionals are regularly kept up to date and trained in the many aspects of their career and the real estate industry. In the real estate Code of Ethics, this is a commitment to competence. To maintain your license in Alberta, you must complete approved continuing education courses every year. The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) approves the courses and a complete list is available on the RECA' website. RECA is the self-regulatory, governing authority, that sets standards for all licensed real estate and mortgage brokerage, real estate appraisal, and property management professionals in Alberta. RECA provides mandatory pre-licensing education, licenses all industry professionals, and sets and enforces the standards they must follow.
Entry into the real estate profession takes preparation. As with other professions, provincial licensing is required. Licensing requirements vary across Canada, but all provinces and territories require prospective REALTORS® and Brokers to pass a written exam. For more information on licensing, visit the web site of the real estate Association in the province where you intend to work in real estate. The first step towards obtaining your real estate agent's license and registration is to complete the Real Estate Career Information Session.