The amount and quality of supervision brokers offer their sales agents varies considerably from brokerage to brokerage. In many brokerage offices, a lack of supervision has led to negligent behavior from sales agents. A newly licensed sales agent with little to no supervision from their employing broker is more likely to make mistakes, costly to them, their brokers and their clients.

first tuesday proposes that newly licensed sales agents be required to serve as apprentices or trainees for a set amount of time, say two years, before being able to practice fully.

Compare this training period with the requirement for new appraisers to undergo training and satisfy experience requirements before being licensed.

For example, a new appraiser needs to obtain a combination of experience which includes:

  • carrying out several instances of the full appraisal process under the guidance of a supervising appraiser;
  • completing a work log;
  • reviewing others’ appraisals; and
  • assisting in preparing appraisals.

Much like new sales agents, appraiser trainees receive lower rates of pay than fully licensed appraisers, as a portion of the appraisal fees collected goes to the supervising appraiser.

The supervising appraiser needs to review and accept responsibility for all of the trainee’s appraisal work. They may have no more than three trainees under their supervision at one time.

This requirement protects members of the public — buyers and sellers— from inexperienced appraisers, who have the ability to derail sales, mislead lenders and set false home value expectations.

Sales agents fresh from their education likewise lack the necessary experience to advise buyers and sellers, as they have no knowledge of licensed activities beyond general real estate concepts. The “dumb agent” rule no longer cuts it for today’s more knowledgeable population of buyers and sellers. Agents are expected to provide real value beyond access to the multiple listing service (MLS), and that value is gained through experience.

In the case of real estate agents, the proposed training would require each new sales agent to assist a supervising broker in various types of transactions. After assisting more experienced agents, the trainee would serve as the lead agent for several transactions under the supervision of a responsible, supervising broker. Over time, the agent will learn to legitimately address the concerns of buyers, sellers and investors, including issues regarding:

  • taxes;
  • title;
  • property boundaries;
  • homeowners insurance;
  • mortgages;
  • foreclosures, short sales and real estate owned (REO) property;
  • appraisals;
  • disclosures;
  • staging;
  • fair housing; and
  • local housing market fundamentals.

Of course, many sales agents already undergo some form of training before they begin taking on clients under an employing broker. But this requirement would formalize the process and ensure a more educated, experienced crop of sales agents — and fewer mistakes.