The Real Deal
AGENT TRAINING, FROM ONE-ON-ONE TO CLASSES OF 40
Neil Binder says that nobody else in
Manhattan residential real estate
He is joking, of course. Over the last
20 years, Binder has developed the most extensive training program for
residential agents in Manhattan.
The training he offers new agents is intense. Agents are required to complete a two-month program during which they can’t conduct any business unless they’ve already worked in the industry. Students have to memorize every clause in a standard contract, listen to 16 audiotapes, master a 600-page sales manual, read Binder’s two books, and complete two 25-page take home exams as well as two closed book tests.
If they make it through the program – about one-third drop out – they can look forward to another follow-up training program six weeks later.
“It’s intended to be daunting,” said Binder, who said he wants to insure agents know what they are the doing from the day they start doing business.
“We want to send out brokers
that are cooked from inception,” he said.
While the Bellmarc program tends toward the academic, there is a wide range in the types of training programs offered by residential real estate companies in New York. For many companies, training is best done in the classroom, at least initially. For others, the best way to learn is out in the field, right from the start. More often than not, it’s also a matter of company resources.
Much of the basic subject matter is
the same – new agents learn about
One of the big divides is between big
companies and small companies.
“It basically goes from none to full speed,” said Kay Brover, director of broker development for Douglas Elliman. “That’s a problem. Smaller companies don’t have the manpower to do programs. Though if you work for a really good owner, you have the benefit of that, and many companies have terrific owners and managers.”
Brover said the monthly program offered by Elliman, which lasts between two and three weeks, is “soup to nuts.” There were more than 40 new agents in September’s incoming class. The program takes off where the 45-hour course required for a New York State license leaves off. “It covers marketing, and knowing your product,” said Brover. The bent is practical, with students learning about co-ops, “not so they can pass a test, but so they can qualify a buyer.” Agents learn about financing, the law, industry organizations like the Real Estate Board of New York and other topics. Mortgage brokers, attorneys and other speakers are invited in. Brover said agents generally aren’t supposed to work during the course of the program, “but if a second cousin calls and says he wants to spend three million dollars on a new place, I’m not going to tell someone to stay in class.” Like at other firms, agents usually are paired up with a mentor as well.
Fox Residential Group, a much smaller
firm than Elliman with around
Because the process of training is
so time consuming, Fox limits her new hires. She said she hadn’t
made any new hires for three years until she brought in a class of six
new agents last year, making use of extra space
Some companies who are considerably
larger than Fox Residential, like Stribling & Associates, also like
the one-on-one approach, New agents at
Some programs, or training directors,
at other companies take different approaches. Corcoran offers a comprehensive,
two to three week program similar to Elliman’s, and was training
40 new agents last month. In addition
As far as the instruction that agents
receive in getting their state licenses, usually before starting with
a company, some say they are not overly impressed. “The state
training is a little thin,” said Binder. “The state does
Esther Muller, founder and president of the Academy for Continuing Education, said the program “is what it is,” though she noted that “it’s easier to get a driver’s license.”
The 45-hour course required by the
state for a license is now shorter