Dec 092017
 

Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Licensees should be familiar with the Consumer Protection Bureau as it pertains to real estate financing and closing, but may not be familiar with the many resources available and issues addressed.


As a consumer or business person, you may be more familiar with the work of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) than you think.  The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American.

The FTC is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy.  The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.  The FTC’s work is performed by the Bureaus of Consumer ProtectionCompetition, and Economics.  That work is aided by the Office of General Counsel and seven regional offices.

To access tips and advice for consumers, military consumers, or business, click here, here, and/or here respectively.

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Think Twice!

 Posted by at 10:51 am
Dec 052017
 

The spammers and phishers are getting smarter and smarter… but they are still not the brightest bulb on the string! Here’s an email that could sound fairly enticing at first blush:

There are only a couple of problems with it:

  • I am not currently practicing and do not have any listings.
  • The grammar is horrible, another red flag.
  • The links I’m instructed to click on are “weird” sites that do not appear to have anything to do with real estate (I determined that by “hovering” over them.)
  • Etc.

Tempting, isn’t it though?

If you’re working fast slow down. Think twice.

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Schools Rule!

 Posted by at 6:45 am
Dec 012017
 

ZipLogix offered this “infographic” for use–click to view a larger image… As someone with a deep interest and connection to schools, I did find it interesting. One question I find myself asking is “How do those parents who consider school quality important judge it?” Numbers (ranking is mentioned) do not tell the whole story! Licensees might consider what the terms “reasonable care,” and “due diligence” mean when a buyer client asks about the local school system. While unrelated to real estate, I recently had someone accompany me on a tour of our elementary school. Several things impressed her, including the fact that our students are quite polite, often holding doors open for us and greeting us pleasantly.

Touring schools may not be practical, but those practicing buyer agency may want to consider developing some resources and information beyond the standard ranking reports. At a minimum, we might “be the source of the source” by sharing meaningful contacts. Most schools have support groups run by parents: music boosters, sports boosters, or what used to be called PTA (Parent Teacher Association) or PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). Would it make sense to know some of those folks and introduce a prospective buyer?

Lots to think about here…

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Nov 252017
 

In a recent Learning Opportunities E-News, I mentioned that a few changes have been made to Title 32, effective November 1, 2017. This obviously affects the “Law Book” published by Abbot Village Press, 2015 edition. I offered a handy-dandy insert summarizing those changes and a number of people have requested a copy.

We are in the process of updating the book and should have a 2017 edition available by early January 2018 at the very latest. In the meantime, I’m making the insert available right from this site. (Why didn’t I think of that in the first place!?)

Title 32 Changes 11-01-2017

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Nov 122017
 

“You have to promise me something…” requested a real estate student a few years ago. I remember smiling when he finished, “You can’t retire until I’ve completed all three licensing courses.

Some quick math at the time suggested I would be making at least a four-year commitment. It was tempting. I do enjoy teaching and really had no firm retirement plans but still managed to avoid the promise. After all, life happens.

I’m not sure it counts as a testimonial, but I did consider it a compliment. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept the data, but I do know there are many real estate licensees who’ve taken the three licensing courses with me. There are times when it makes me feel old. But it always makes me feel good.

So, if he’s reading this and hasn’t finished his journey, I’d like to assure him I’m not retiring. A few years ago, I did announce that I was giving up teaching because it’s supposed to be about learning. While I am not retiring I am taking another step in the direction of making it more about learning than it is about teaching.

Starting in 2018, I will become an adjunct instructor with The Real Estate Learning Group. I do so with eager anticipation of teaching “differently” using some exciting technology and what are commonly referred to as “blended” courses. These courses reflect the Kahn Academy model sometimes described as “flipping the classroom.”

Wikipedia describes the flipped classroom: “Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom.”

Don’t get me started or we’ll also have to discuss the Learning for Mastery (LFM) model—not often easily applied in required learning situations such as pre-licensing courses. We could stay up late discussing that one! In the simplest form, LFM is about student-centered instruction that’s more about learning than teaching.

From a practical perspective, joining The Real Estate Learning Group also means some new course locations and schedules. Stay tuned! I’m currently scheduled to teach the blended “fast track” Sales Agent Course in the Augusta area in January and the blended version of the Associate Broker Course in Bangor starting in January. Click the links for additional information and to register.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Many things will not change, including my commitment to helping students learn and master in a positive, enjoyable way. You can still find “brain leaks and musings” on my blog. I will also continue to publish the occasional issue of my Learning Opportunities E-newsletter.


“Thanks for another successful class! All three licenses have been garnered under your careful educational care!”

Recent Broker Student


Upcoming Courses:

  • Associate Broker in Bangor, January 2018
  • Sales Agent in Augusta, February 2018
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Stop Teaching Me!

 Posted by at 8:04 am
Sep 022017
 

Getting students engaged in their own (and their classmates’) education opens up a world of opportunity for reaching today’s real estate student.

Thus sayeth Bruce Moyer, a North Carolina Real Estate Instructor, in a recent issue of Dearborn Real Estate Education’s newsletter. Before you respond “Keen grasp of the obvious,” the context for his statement is an attempt to answer the question “Are students’ attention spans shrinking?” I rather enjoyed the way he handled the question. A short interpretation of his answer is that he renders the question somewhat invalid by pointing out that today’s younger adult students have grown up learning differently. As an elementary/middle school substitute teacher, I can attest to the fact he’s correct.

One of the sadder comments I’ve heard recently in a real estate class came from a student who said, “I’m so tired of learning…” (She’d been maintaining an aggressive college schedule and some other “learning experiences,” including the real estate sales agent course.)

I wanted to respond, “I’ll bet you’re not tired of learning. I think you’re probably tired of being taught.” That’s more than a semantic difference.

While real estate education is not the only place we see it, the reality is we’ve been very slow to acknowledge the changes in learners and accept what has always been true–an engaged student is a learning student. I think that’s always been true. What’s different is that today’s real estate students are coming to our courses with different learning habits. One of many reasons I love teaching little kids is I get to see those differences in action. But make no mistake–it’s not about age. Kids are just little people who are not so different than us bigger ones. I have seen five-year-olds so engaged in something (reading a book, drawing a picture) they actually lose track of time.

When’s the last time you lost track of time in a real estate class?

Five years ago I announced that I was “giving up teaching.” It was admittedly a play on words, but the point was to explain a shift in my focus to “interactive learning.” I gave a lot of credit for the shift to the kids. I pointed out in the article that if a second grader asks me how to pronounce a word (a sign they are engaged in learning) I don’t just tell them. We work on it together, perhaps by breaking the word down, sounding it out, and considering the context. Those techniques maintain and perhaps increase the engagement and very likely increase the odds the lesson ends up in long-term memory.

So why are we clinging to an outdated real estate model that emphasizes the “sage on the stage” wherein the “best” instructors have the deepest knowledge of real estate law and practice, telling the students the answers? In fairness to sages everywhere, knowledge of the subject is important. I confess I enjoy seeing high ratings and positive comments on my evaluation sheets regarding “knowledge of instructor.” But it shouldn’t stop there.

I was drafted into substitute teaching a second-year Spanish class at our high school last year. As the kids were filing in and taking their seats, one in the first row challenged me. “Mr. Boomsma, do you even know Spanish?” I somewhat surprised myself when I replied, “No, but I know how to teach it. Let’s get started.” We actually had a good class with lots of “interactive” and “self-directed” learning. It was the other end of the spectrum–I was truly acting as the “guide on the side.” The only way I could answer questions was to work with the student on finding the answer.

Ultimately, being a sage or a guide is not an “either or” decision–it’s what works best for all the stakeholders. One of my public school teacher colleagues recently shared with me how she used a bandaid to explain to her class that she would be doing her very best to work with the different needs of each student and she expected those students to both understand and help her. As an advocate for schools and kids, I wish more people could see what many of today’s teachers are doing and some of the challenges they are facing.

She teaches fourth grade so if I live long enough I may see some of her students in a real estate class. I hope by then we’ve figured this out. Today and tomorrow’s learners are different and those differences need to be met with changes in instructor skill sets and teaching strategies.

In Dearborn’s Real Estate Education survey, “shrinking student attention spans” was rated “very challenging” by 31% of the respondents and an additional 56% classified it as “somewhat challenging.” But is that the real challenge? We all want success. In order to achieve it, we may have to give up teaching and focus on learning. That means we are going to need facilitation skills and an ability to introduce different classroom and learning management strategies. Our students’ mental abilities aren’t shrinking–they are learning differently and probably better. The challenge is whether or not we will expand to accommodate that.

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Safety Alert for Licensees!

 Posted by at 3:57 pm
Aug 222017
 

I’ve taken the liberty of reprinting this safety alert published by the Maine Association of REALTORS as it seemed worthy of receiving as much distribution as practical. You can’t be too careful!

Safety Alert!

Please be extra cautious of any inquiries you receive from a Ted Butler (tedbutler22@hotmail.com or 207.745.9939). MAR has received notification from numerous female REALTORS that this person is inquiring about properties in the Merrymeeting and MidCoast areas of Maine claiming to be a cash buyer and looking for waterfront properties, accessible only by boat. After an initial contact, sometimes accompanied by a woman, his communications become lewd and forceful. He has continued to contact the REALTORS via email and cell phone.

Yes – call the police. Please contact the Maine State Police, your county Sheriff’s department, or local law enforcement if you have had any interactions with this person/couple or any other suspicious interactions. Ted Butler may have already changed his name and contact information – and moved on to another area of Maine.

A best practice reminder for REALTOR safety: Always schedule first meetings with new clients/leads in the office, verify their identity by taking a photo of their driver’s license (state that it’s office policy), and introduce them to a colleague…”


Please share this with your colleagues!

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