Does the real estate profession need a mentoring program?

I suspect VARbuzz readers will answer with a resounding, “Yes!” so let’s get on to the second question: What would a mentoring program look like?

Fortunately for us, members of a Leadership Academy jointly sponsored by the Prince William, Fredericksburg Area, and Dulles Area associations of Realtors are working on a proposal, a draft of which was posted by Leadership Academy member Jim Rake (this version of the draft is unofficial). Here are some of the highlights:

Mentorship program minimum duration of 6 months, or as long it takes to accomplish minimum of 6 closed transactions, to include 3 listings and 3 sales

  • To include listing presentation
  • CMA
  • Marketing plan per listing
  • Buyer counseling session

Competent understanding of Code of Ethics and Agency as well as having completed the post licensing continuing education requirements for each

  • Build Business Plan to include Plan of Action
  • Must demonstrate understanding of all contract documents
  • Must demonstrate understanding of their market and product
  • Must be acquainted with rental transaction
  • Marketing & Technology orientation – the necessity to succeed
  • Vendor Orientation – 30 min to 1 Hour per vendor

Click through for all the juicy details.

I left a comment on Jim’s post with two questions:

  • Would a mentorship program be voluntary or mandatory?
  • Would VREB be responsible for implementing a mentorship program, or would the Realtor organizations oversee it?

The answers are pretty important, because a mandatory program would require either a change in VREB regulations or Realtor membership requirements, both of which would be substantial efforts.

If voluntary, VREB would probably be rather uninterested in this initiative, and on the Realtor organization side, new agents would need some kind of incentive (a designation, perhaps?) to opt in to this extra layer of training. Maybe a mentorship element could be incorporated into GRI? I’m shooting from the hip here, but there would need to be some kind of carrot for the new agent.

Furthermore, much of what I read in the proposal appears to be what I would consider standard broker oversight responsibilities.

Maybe the onus should be on the brokers? Besides the agent, they have the most gain from having competent agents working for them, and the most to lose from incompetent agents on the rolls.

Certainly there’s a lot more to this, but thanks to the Dulles, Fredericksburg and Prince William associations’ Leadership Academy for taking a stab at this.

Now, discuss.

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12 Responses to Does the real estate profession need a mentoring program?

  1. Jim Rake says:

    Ben – thanks for the comment.
    1. Do you see this proposed mentoring program as voluntary or mandatory?
    2. You commingle VREB and the Realtor organizations in this proposal. Who would be responsible for implementing this? The Realtor organizations, VREB, or someone else?

    Years ago the military implemented Total Quality Management (TQM). We discovered that if you don’t have buy in from the top, it doesn’t get done.

    In the ongoing attempt to improve our profession, Mentoring, following a much improved and beefed up pre-licensing requirement, should be mandatory.

    For a Mentoring program to work uniformly, it needs to be driven top down, and standardized. If not, who’ll make sure it is getting done, and without uniformity, whose version will be used? And, if we ever get to measuring performance, what will performance be measured against if we aren’t using a standardized program?

    Brokers need to be held accountable for implementing it. Implementation is always done best at the lowest level with coordination and guidelines from VREB & VAR.
    The guidelines need to much like those for prelicensing – standards that must be accomplished before a licensee can practice on their own.

    Hope all is well in the Kingdom.


  2. Tina Merritt says:

    A mentoring program should be mandatory UNLESS the new agent is coming in with a college degree in real estate (may or may not include a real estate internship?) and/or XXX years of experience as a licensed RE assistant and/or buyer’s agent.

    This would be a great way to truly separate the Realtor membership from those that are just licensees. It will also cut back on the part-timers and those who “have a pulse and a license”.

  3. Julie Emery says:

    First of all, kudos to everyone who worked on this. It appears very well thought out. I think it would be an excellent program. My concern is with the “Brokers need to be held accountable for implementing it”. Accountability seems to be a rare commodity in our industry. Brokers should be accoutable for training and supervision of their agents now, but it happens all too rarely. Is there a methodology envisioned for ensuring that the brokers are held accountable? If so, how would that work?

  4. Ben,
    I not only believe there should be a mentoring system, but to get a real estate license one should have the equivelant of an associates degree in real estate. This would be a 2 year degree and not simply 3 weeks in a classroom.

  5. Brian Block says:

    I like the idea of a mentoring program mandated from the Board and implemented on the broker level. However, I’m not sure that this proposal goes far enough. 6 months or 6 transactions… Perhaps a year or 10 transactions.

  6. Jim Rake says:

    Carl – re Pre-licensing and Associates Degree….that was the subject of my previous article on improving the practice of real estate. Let’s hope we get there!

  7. Drew Fristoe says:

    I completely agree there should be a mandatory mentoring program. I have been licensed a little over a year. During that whole time I have had a mentor. Without my mentor I would not be the Realtor I am today. The proposal isnt perfect but is a great start!

  8. PabloIV says:

    Any profession should have a period of mentoring especially ones that generally only require a license. Be it mandatory or not, the real challenge is to make it easy for incoming realtors to find a mentor who’s willing to put in the time, and making the tools available so that the relationship will work and create real new professionals.

  9. Jim Rake says:

    For clarification purposes, the Mentoring program outlined referenced, was put together by one of the Leadership Academy subgroups with some editing by me. It is not the authorized or “blessed” finalized version. So, any shortcomings are entirely mine. But, am glad its shed some light on a sorely needed addition to our profession’s development.

  10. Nancy Pav says:

    Anything that promotes well trained agents sounds good to me! The consumer would be the biggest winner of us all.

  11. Matt Cullen says:

    I agree without a doubt. Having more experienced and knowledgeable agents is great for all home sellers and buyers.

  12. I think this sounds like a fabulous idea and the VAR and VREB and all others involved should be commended. As a Director of Agent development for two large companies in Ohio (Columbus and Cincinnati) I often contemplate how we can create a viable mentorship program.

    Some of the biggest concerns are:

    1. why would an experienced, successful agent agree to be a mentor when they are already busy? I find there ar emany agents who are always willing to give their “two cents” to newer agents…usually between games of Solitare on the computer.
    2. If this is created at the state level, how will brokers/companies differentiate themselves other than paying higher splits? Will each broker have some flexibility on what curriculum/materials to teach?
    3. How accountable will people truly be. If one company/broker sends back a license for failure to complete the mentorship program, how quickly will some other company offer to carry their license, regardless of mentorship or training, figuring that any deal is better than no deal?

    I am anxious to observe from a few states over on the vetting process of this idea and will be encouarged to think how it could possibly be done in our marketplaces. Thanks for allowing us “outsiders” to gain insight from your site.


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