If you’re planning to become a licensed real estate agent, one of the first things you should do is to choose a professional or technical discipline. Professional or technical discipline identifies a group of specific skills, knowledge, techniques, and training that are utilized to the performance of technical or professional tasks, activities, or responsibilities within a specific industry. In the United States, professional or technical disciplines include several fields, such as real estate, insurance, investment, financial management, health care, engineering, architecture, computer science, and law. These fields work together to form the professional or technical disciplines identified in the United States Society of Real Estate Agents. The association recommends that all new agents choose one of the twelve disciplines to specialize in.
The most popular professional or technical discipline in real estate is property management. This discipline is usually adopted from accredited programs and courses approved by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Property management involves the identification and evaluation of prospective clients and their financial needs; identification and referral of appropriate property managers; and referral of appropriate property owners to appropriate realtors for negotiations and closed transactions. Property management can be further subdivided into three main subspecialties.
The first is market study. A market study is a recommended discipline for realtors because it helps realtors understand current trends and buying patterns of buyers and sellers and how these affect the real estate market. Market study can be further subdivided into two main subspecialties. The first is marketing or advertising. Marketers usually advertise their services using media like radio, television, newspapers, internet, etc. They listen to what consumers (buyers and sellers) are saying about real estate and take notes on their preferences and recommendations.
The second subspecialty is regulatory law and practice. Real estate professionals who have graduated from the NAR courses are allowed to apply for licenses and comply with the rules and regulations imposed by the National Association of Realtors and other professional organizations. These individuals then help brokers develop and promote their careers by giving seminars and publications on real estate and related topics. They also listen to and give feedback to brokers on their performance. Regulators monitor these professionals to ensure that standards of professionalism and good practice are still maintained.
The third subspecialty is disclosure and certification. Real estate professionals may choose to become a Certified Realtor (CR), a Licensed Real Estate Agent (LAR), or a Registered Real Estate Agent (RRFA). According to the American Association of Realtors, these three professional certifications shall disclose and define the specific duties and areas of specialization of the individual. The CR course shall prepare students to work in areas as required by federal and state laws. The Licensed Real Estate Agent shall be able to perform as required by law by registering with the National Association of Realtors.
Other relevant facts that shall be disclosed and included in the curriculum by most organizations include knowledge about the transactional language, understanding the principles governing lending and the administration of real estate transactions, understanding the local, regional, national, and international real estate market, understanding the financing aspects involved in buying and selling residential and commercial properties, knowing how to obtain approval for a mortgage from banks and lenders, understanding the time line and paperwork needed for a transaction, and understanding the impact of changes in tax laws, among others. In addition, realtors should also learn and understand the rules and regulations governing the compulsory escrow and appraisal processes. The curriculum should also include courses in the ethics and professional practices of real estate professions.
Most states require that realtors and their broker suppliers provide disclosure documents to customers in a format that is easily readable. However, there is no uniform nationwide standard for disclosure because each state establishes its own regulations. For instance, in Florida, realtors are required to provide disclosure documents in simple language, such as a brief overview of the transaction. On the other hand, in some states, realtors are not required to provide disclosure at all, except to the attorney for the transaction.
A number of professional or technical disciplines govern real estate professionals. Some of these disciplines are listed below. While many people have mastered many of these disciplines, there is still room for growth. Therefore, realtors should continually learn about new developments in the field to keep up with the rapidly changing markets. Real estate professionals who want to excel in their chosen discipline should master and follow all the necessary rules and standards of the discipline, so that they can effectively carry out the duties of their profession.