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Law requires real estate brokers to have qualifications

Posted: September 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Prior to Tuesday, any kind of college degree — biology for instance — would earn a person the right to become a real estate broker. A new law will change that and protect consumers in the process.

Closing a loophole, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into a law a change in the requirements for getting a real estate broker’s license, which will take effect on January 1, 2013. And local Realtors applaud the reform.

Upon passing a broker’s exam, existing law allows an applicant to become a broker after working as a Realtor full time for two years under the supervision of a broker. An exception is allowed if the person has a college degree – any kind of degree.

Sponsored by the California Association of Realtors, the law requires that an applicant’s college degree must “include a specialization in real estate.”

Real estate is the only profession where a limited knowledge is required to handle legal documents associated with a financial and legal transaction for one of the largest purchases a consumer will ever make, said Kathy Salisbury with Triple D Realty.

“A broker who does not specialize in real estate nor have any training or experience is unable to properly lead their salespeople to protect consumers and their interests,” she said.

Realtor Dwight Hawkins agrees and said an aspiring broker should be supervised for the first 15 to 20 transactions before they are allowed to get a license.

“The cost is too low for the responsibility you have to sell a client’s most important possession-their home,” said Hawkins of Realty Executives.

Connor MacIvor with RE/MAX likens the scenario to his days with the Los Angeles Police Department, assigned to motorcycle duty. People were appointed as supervisor who had no clue as to the difficulties and duties of a motorcycle officer, he said.

“The same applies to the brokers that have no idea how real estate, in the trenches, works,” he said. “I think this will do a lot to improve the quality of the real estate brokers. At least now they will have a basic grasp of real estate before jumping in.”

Saying the law is a good one, Sam Heller, with Keller Williams, is critical of those who are “long on advice but short on experience.”

“To be good, one needs as much real estate experience as possible,” Heller said. “I am sure that a degree in Engineering is nice, but it is not real estate.”



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