When you need a real estate professional, it’s always wise to work with a member of the National Association of REALTORS® who is committed to upholding the highest standards of practice and ethics in the real estate industry. Beyond that, you may find the various titles real estate professionals’ use a bit confusing.
For example, a Real Estate Salesperson or Real Estate Agent is anyone who has earned a real estate license. An Associate Broker has taken additional education, but chooses to work under the management of a Principal Broker, who has taken even more education and passed another licensing exam.
Some of this confusion stems from the fact that the real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which all have different requirements for licensing. In an effort to raise the bar on professionalism in the Indiana real estate industry, the state has upgraded the requirements for licensing to the Broker level – joining about a dozen other states, which have already eliminated the Salesperson level.
As of July 1, 2014 real estate professionals currently licensed as Salespeople must have upgraded their license to Broker status. Those entering the profession on or after this date will do so with a Broker license and must meet the following criteria:
• Be 18 years of age
• Have a high school diploma or GED
• Take and pass a 90-hour pre-licensing Broker course from a state-approved provider.
• Take and pass a state administered exam; with passage have your Broker’s license assigned to a Managing Broker for a minimum of two years and take and pass 30 hours of post-licensing education from a state-approved provider during the first two years of licensure in lieu of continuing education (CU).
In addition, the term Principal Broker will be eliminated and replaced with Managing Broker. Those wanting to go out on their own must have their Broker license assigned to a Managing Broker for a minimum of two years and take and pass a 24-hour Broker Management course.
Also at that time, all real estate licensees will be on the same 3-year license renewal cycle with the same Continuing Education (CE) hourly requirement – 36 hours over three years with a minimum of 12 specific (current and relevant) hours per year.
Charlie Shook, a member of the Indiana Real Estate Commission summed up the new requirements with the following comment, “Sometimes changes in the law are not for the people who handle themselves well, but for the people who don’t handle themselves well.”
A Valparaiso-based Broker, Tim Reed has served on the state’s Real Estate Commission since 1992 and is the owner/instructor at Reed School of Real Estate, which is one of the fifteen approved providers for the 24-Hour Broker Transition Course.
“There are approximately 55,000 licensees in the state of Indiana, and we get a bad name at times,” he said. “I think the increase in the amount of education required is going to raise the professionalism.”
During the latest Broker Transition Course taught by Reed at the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR) office in Merrillville, the packed house unanimously agreed.
“A lot of buyers and sellers don’t realize the amount of training we have to go through, and a lot has changed through the years for the better – there’s so much more behind it all,” said Gerri Klein a transitioning Broker with McColly Real Estate in Crown Point. “One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that buyers always want a good deal and sellers want the best price. There’s just a much bigger need for a professional to help them accomplish those goals.”
“In general, I think the public is more educated, and they are demanding even more from us,” explained Jessalynn Evenhouse, a transitioning Broker with Schupp Real Estate in Lowell.
As the public becomes more aware of the new licensure requirements for real estate Brokers in the state of Indiana, it should help with the perception of professionalism, according to Matt Maloney, a transitioning Broker with Rossi & Taylor Realty Group in St. John.
“It gives us a distinction of who we are as one group, a unity with all agents,” added Angela Dilworth-Wilson, a transitioning Broker with Century 21 Heritage/Accent Homes in Merrillville.
Very soon, in the state of Indiana all you will need to remember is that real estate Brokers help clients buy, sell and rent properties. Managing Brokers are further licensed to manage their own real estate business.
Also keep in mind that according to Reed about 22,000 licensees in the state of have the REALTOR® designation, which means they are members at three levels within the industry’s professional association – national, state and local.