Real estate reps’ key tool is education

  • January 9, 2015
  • John Rich

By: Joseph Richer Registrar
Published on Fri Jan 09 2015

What kind of education does a real estate salesperson receive? How can I be sure they have the knowledge they need to best help me sell my home?

I often discuss the guidance a real estate professional can offer, in terms of navigating tricky buying and selling challenges, when answering reader questions in this column.

I'm glad you've given me an opportunity to step back and explain how brokers and salespersons get the knowledge they need to serve the needs of their clients.

As the regulator of trading in real estate within the province, the Real Estate Council of Ontario oversees two programs that work hand-in-hand. There's registration education, and that involves courses people must take to become registered brokers or salespersons.

And there are continuing education courses that all real estate professionals must take every two years in order to stay registered.

When someone wants to become a real estate agent, they have a lot to learn. Before they can apply for registration with RECO, they need to learn how to estimate real estate values, how to market a property, how to properly represent their client throughout the process, and much more. They also learn the details about how a real estate transaction occurs, from the initial listing agreement with the seller to the final sale, and the many contracts involved.

Once they have completed all the required courses, they can apply to become a salesperson. During their first two years as a salesperson — known as the articling period — they must complete additional courses that round out their education.

In the fast-moving, ever-changing real estate industry, the second component of RECO's education program is essential. Continuing education ensures that brokers and salespersons are up-to-date with any recent changes to the rules and regulations governing their profession, as well as any emerging issues — for instance, proper use of social media.

As well, many real estate reps also take outside courses that help them provide better service to their clients and customers.

That should give you an idea of the education that brokers and salespersons receive today. But I'd also like to touch on an important proposal we've made for the future of real estate education.

RECO has released a vision for registration education that will provide new brokers and salespersons with an even greater skill level. The program will focus on giving students the practical knowledge and expertise they need to "hit the ground running" when they first enter the profession.

To do this would involve developing a new curriculum that would go beyond theory and classroom education to incorporate scenarios based on real-life situations. Our approach would also include a new, independent certification exam which students would have to pass before they could become real estate professionals.

There's a lot more to the plan than I can detail here, but the bottom line is that a more-skilled, more-knowledgeable base of brokers and salespersons will mean more positive experiences for buyers and sellers.

We are currently seeking comments on our proposal. To learn more or to provide a comment, visit

Joseph Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He oversees and enforces all rules governing real estate professionals in Ontario. Email questions to Find more tips at, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at