When my oldest daughter was a toddler we were at the beach. In a parental desire to show her things and develop her understanding and vocabulary, I pointed out sea gulls. (She liked animals and birds–still does.) In short order, she began pointing and saying, “Daddy! Birds!” Somewhat absent-mindedly I would reply, “Those are seagulls, Bethanie.”
After several of those exchanges, she said pointedly, “Daddy, you can call them seagulls. I’m going to call them birds.” I have always admired her independence. On this occasion, I opted to accept her refusal to adopt my vocabulary.
But names can be important. So after announcing that “new core courses” are being released, we will not be referring to them as “new” and “old.” We need some fairly precise language here, so I will refer to them by their proper names. Effective October 1, 2016, there be a Core Course for Designated Brokers 2 and a Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers 2. These courses effectively replace the Core Course for Designated Brokers 1 and the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers 1. When I say “replace,” understand that the courses numbered 2 are different than the courses numbered 1–both in content and application.
So what should you take (or have taken) before you renew your license?
What hasn’t changed:
Designated Brokers must take the “Core Course for Designated Brokers.” Brokers and Associate Brokers must take the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers. That’s actually pretty straight-forward.
Where it potentially gets confusing:
Whenever there’s a change in core courses, the question always raised is “which core course do I need to have completed when I renew my license?” The answer is, “It depends!” While figuring out the answer initially sounds a bit daunting, this too is fairly straight forward for most licensees. It depends on the expiration of the license you are renewing. It might help if you have that information before reading further.
Brokers and Associate Brokers with a license expiration date prior to April 1, 2017 may fulfill the core course requirement with either the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers 1 OR the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers 2.
Designated Brokers with a license expiration date prior to April 1, 2017 may fulfill the core course requirement with either the Core Course for Designated Brokers 1 OR the Core Course for Designated Brokers 2.
Brokers and Associate Brokers with a license expiration date on or after April 1, 2017 must fulfill the core course requirement with the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers 2.
Designated Brokers with a license expiration date on or after April 1, 2017 must fulfill the core course requirement with the Core Course for Designated Brokers 2.
The same explanation would apply to activating a currently inactive license. If you activate before April 1, 2017, either course is acceptable. On or after April 1, 2017, you must have the appropriate Course 2.
For most, the expiration date will determine which course is required. However, if your license expired prior to April 1, 2017, but you do not renew it until after April 1, 2017, you would need Core Course 2.
If you are at all confused, don’t guess! You can, of course, also ask your DB or call the Maine Real Estate Commission if you need some help determining the answer.
As a reminder, continuing education is only required to renew a license. Sales Agents, for example, are not required to have continuing education hours–a Sales Agent License is not renewable. A Sales Agent’s “continuing education” is the Associate Broker Course. Associate Brokers who plan to take the required course and apply for a Broker License would also not need “continuing education.” Personally, I still think continuing education is a great idea in both of those scenarios even though it’s not required. I remember one sales agent who came to the Associate Broker Course with a lot of “under contracts” during a very depressed market. His classmates were in awe and wonder. He explained, “I’ve taken over 40 hours of continuing education. There might be a correlation!”
I will be teaching both the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers 2 and the Core Course for Designated Brokers 2 on Friday, October 7, 2016 at the Ramada Inn in Bangor. For more information and to register, you can call the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate at 856-1712 or visit the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate Website.
The following notice came today via the Real Estate Commission Listserve:
Beginning on March 1, 2016, Real Estate Commission licenses will be delivered via email.
Active licenses will be delivered to affiliated licensees’ designated broker at the agency email address on file with the Commission.
Agency licenses will also be emailed to the agency email address.
Inactive licenses will be delivered to licensees’ email address on file with the Commission.
The email sender is displayed as “firstname.lastname@example.org” and the subject as “YOUR OFFICIAL (license type) LICENSE IS ATTACHED”. Paper licenses will NOT be mailed for licensees with an email address on file.
Individual and agency contact information, including email address, may be updated here.
If it is not apparent, this does not mean everyone’s license will be emailed on March 1, 2016–this refers to new and renewal licenses. In the past, paper copies of licenses were delivered to the designated broker via U.S.P.S. This change means only that electronic copies will be now be emailed to the designated broker. (Designated Brokers would be wise to make certain their agency contact information is correctly listed with the Commission.)
The exception is inactive licenses. Since inactive licenses do not have an agency affiliation, those are sent directly to the licensee. The default method is email.
As a reminder, note that “The license of each broker, associate broker, and sales agent must be delivered or mailed to the designated broker and be kept in the custody and control of the designated broker.” (MRS 32 §13181)
Here’s a summary of the real estate continuing education classes I plan to teach this spring. Note that most of the classes are part of a day or more of classes being offered by the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate and check their website for a complete selection.
January 21, Thursday, 5:00—8:00 p.m.
Getting Licensees and Appraisers in the Same Boat*
Are you assisting sellers and buyers in pricing residential property only to have the appraisal come in low? If so, this is the course for you. This course goes over the restrictions placed on appraisers and the methods the appraiser uses in determining value. The closer the real estate licensee is to using the appraiser methodology, the more the likelihood the property will appraise after it is under contract. The class will discuss amounts to use for adjustments, which properties to use for comparables, presenting the CMA to your buyer and seller client, and much more.
April 5, Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. —12:00 p.m.
Widen Your Horizon When You List Real Estate*
Red flags are an important part of the real estate business. Real estate licensees are expected to disclose those things that they know, or should have known. Topics covered in this course include, property condition red flags as well as red flags when dealing with deeds, property restrictions, insurance, financing, building uses, purchase and sales agreements, etc.
April 5, Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Core Course for Designated Brokers*
As of April 1, 2015, Designated Brokers are required to take this course in order to renew their license. This would also be an excellent course for Associate Brokers and Brokers to take for three elective clock hours toward license renewal. Come to this course so that you will know what the Designated Broker is required to do so that you will be able to practice in a manner that assists the Designated Broker in doing the job properly.
May 12, Thursday, 9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
Market Analysis—More Than a Price**
This course is in development and pending approval by the Maine Real Estate Commission. What does it mean to complete a market analysis? In this course, we’ll look at the types of analysis that arrive at more than a price. You’ll discover some untapped resources and ideas for developing more than a boilerplate marketing plan. Further information should be available by early spring!
May 12, Thursday, 1:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Every transaction has issues that crop up at some point. How do effective licensees handle these issues? What are the Licensee’s duties and opportunities in helping solve problems that arise? Can some of these issues be avoided in the first place? These and many more questions will be answered during this lively course. Topics will include clauses in a purchase and sale agreement, stigmatized property, handling of offers and counter offers, due diligence, earnest money deposits, and much more. This is an intermediate level course featuring lots of class discussion and input.
Thursday, July 14, 5:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.
What Should I do in this Situation?*
Case studies and discussion points are used to determine how selected situations should be handled by real estate licensees. The case studies and discussion points are discussed including with how they apply to Maine License Law and Rules as well as various other laws that real estate licensees are required to follow. Come and enter into the discussion and voice you opinions in this highly interactive program.
* Course is approved by the Maine Real Estate Commission for three clock hours of continuing education.
** Course is pending approval by the Maine Real Estate Commission for three clock hours of continuing education.
All classes will be held at the Ramada Inn, 357 Odlin Road, Bangor
A sales agent license is non-renewable and is valid for two years. In other words, you must be prepared to apply for and receive your associate broker license upon expiration of your sales agent license. (There are some circumstances which allow for a one year exemption, but the are exceptions. You should plan on becoming licensed as as associate broker at the end of your two year license term.)
An associate broker license includes two important qualifications. First, you must have been licensed as a real estate sales agent for two of the past five years. Second, you must complete the Associate Broker Course. (MRS Title 32, Chapter 114, Section 13199) In other words, you must successfully complete the Associate Broker Course before your sales agent license expires. But you still can’t become an associate broker until you’ve completed two years as a sales agent.
So an “easy” answer is “You should take the Associate Broker Course while you are licensed as a sales agent.” It would also be an accurate answer, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A good follow up question is “Should I take the Associate Broker Course soon after I get licensed as a sales agent, or wait a while?”
The answer to that question depends on several important factors:
- How much practical experience are you gaining as a sales agent? The Associate Broker Course is designed to be more about experience and application than the Sales Agent Course. In fact, the Associate Broker Course is based largely on case studies and scenarios. Until you’ve been involved in an actual transaction, the course simply won’t have full value. In addition, completion of the Associate Broker Course includes a requirement you submit a completed Documented Field Experience Form. This form is completed in partnership with your designated broker or mentor and is designed to insure you’ve had some “hands on” experience.
- How available is the Associate Broker Course in your area? The course is 60 hours long and is not something you can complete at the last minute in a few days. In the Bangor area I tend to teach it twice a year–spring and fall for the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate. That means there are three opportunities to chose from during your two year term as a sales agent. Note, however, that we alternate between weekday and weekend courses. If your schedule limits when (day of the week) you can take the course, that limits your choices.
- How certain are you that you are going to remain licensed? There are many different reasons that someone might decide not to pursue a career in real estate. Since taking the Associate Broker Course is an investment, it might make sense to wait until your second year as a sales agent.
There simply is not one answer to the question–you have to consider the factors. I have had students get licensed as a sales agent and come back to take the Associate Broker Course within a few months. Their explanation is “I want as much education as I can get as quickly as I can get it.” How can you argue with that?! (Again, understanding you’ll gain the best education if you’ve had at least some hands on experience.) I’ve also had students procrastinate taking the course for various reasons. Unfortunately that sometimes means I get a frantic email or phone call when they realize they are facing expiration of their licenses next month. It really is easier to plan ahead.
Let’s take a hypothetical student named Suzie who gets licensed on March 15, 2015. Her license is set to expire on March 15, 2017. Using the “Spring/Fall” schedule I teach, that means Suzie can plan to take the Associate Broker Course in in fall 2015 at the earliest. She’ll have a spring and fall opportunity in 2016. She might have an opportunity to take the course in spring 2017 but will need to have completed it by March 15th.
Remember that the Bangor course I teach with the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate alternates as a weekday or weekend course. The spring course is typically a weekday course and the fall course is a weekend course. If Suzie is working full time and can only take the course on the weekends, she’ll need to take it either in the fall of 2015 or the fall of 2016. There are, of course, other courses available from other providers and instructors. I just happen to like having students return! I wish I’d kept track, because I know there are a number of students who have completed all of their licensing courses with me from sales agent through broker.
If you find this confusing or are uncertain what will work best for you, don’t hesitate to give me a call or email. We can talk through your options and figure out what works best!
If you listen to Walter, pay attention to his anecdotes, ask questions, and study with your fellow students; you are assured to benefit from the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate. I attended the class in September of 2014, and was quickly picked up by the ERA Dawson-Bradford Real Estate Agency in Bangor. The Arthur Gary Class and Walter’s teaching method have propelled me into the career I wanted.
The Maine Real Estate Commission recently introduced a new core course. Well, more accurately, TWO new core courses. This means a lot more options for licensees but it also means a lot more potential confusion.
Let’s start with the basics. Most know that 21 hours of continuing education are required to renew a real estate license and those 21 hours must include a core course. The confusion often comes about when there is more than one core course being offered. This newest release means that for a few months, there will actually be three core courses available. Which one do you take?
The answer lies in knowing when your license expires and what type of license you will be renewing. If your license expires on or after April 1, 2015:
- If you are renewing an Associate Broker or Broker License, you’ll need to take the “Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers – I.“
- If you are renewing a Designated Broker License, you’ll need to take the “Core Course for Designated Brokers – I.”
It’s really that simple–after April 1. Just understand, the course required is based on the license you hold. Designated Brokers must take the Designated Broker Course. If you are a Designated Broker, taking the course for Brokers and Associate Brokers will not satisfy renewal requirements. Likewise, Brokers and Associate Brokers must take the Broker and Associated Broker Course. Taking the course for Designated Brokers will not satisfy renewal requirements.
It may well be that the best approach is to take both courses! You’ll still get three hours of credit for the course that isn’t required. For example, a Designated Broker must take the “Core Course for Designated Brokers – I” and would earn three credit hours. That Designated Broker could then take the “Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers – I” and earn three credit hours for a total of six towards the requirement of 21.
What if your license expires before April 1, 2015? In an attempt to keep it simple, all that happens is you have one more option and this third option is the same for all licenses.
The two courses already mentioned work the same–you would take one of those two courses based on what license you are renewing. All licenses have a third option of taking the “Working With Buyers – What Have We Agreed To? Core Course”
In other words, if your current license expires before April 1, 2015, here’s how you could meet the core course requirement:
If you are an Associate Broker or Broker:
- Take either the “Working With Buyers – What Have We Agreed To? Core Course” or “Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers – I”
If you are a Designated Broker:
- Take either “Working With Buyers – What Have We Agreed To? Core Course” or “Core Course for Designated Brokers – I“
After April 1, 2015 The “Working with Buyers” course will NOT satisfy the core course renewal requirement.
This really sounds harder than it is, but you do need to be certain you “get it right.”
Many associate brokers somewhat automatically take 21 hours of continuing education and renew their licenses time after time perhaps because they think, “I never intend to be a designated broker.” Of course situations can change quickly and there are probably more than a few DB’s who did not arrive in the position intentionally. But this course is about a lot more than being a designated broker. In the words of one student,
I learned so much from the instructor and other students… very interacting… it showed me what I didn’t know!
You’ll learn what you don’t know and gain a whole different perspective about the business of real estate. The course requirements established by the Maine Real Estate Commission changed significantly in 2013 and I am proud to be a significant contributor to the development of the course offered by the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate.
(I liked) the instructors approach to teaching with examples and (how) he encouraged lots of discussion during class.
This is truly a course about the practice and the business of real estate–not just law, vocabulary and theory. Upon completion of the course and two years practicing as an associate broker, students become eligible to apply for a broker’s license and are then eligible to fill the role of designated broker. But even if you have no interest in being a designated broker, you’ll want to consider taking this course. You’ll develop a new understanding of the business as we look at some of the management issues and opportunities that exist in the increasing complex business of real estate. You’ll learn about things like business planning, ethics, and risk reduction–topics only touched on briefly in previous licensing courses.
Walter is an excellent instructor! Can’t wait to take another class with him!
Many students have indicated that taking the course will help them build their personal real estate business as they apply sound management and business principles. They discover the benefit from exploring some basic training techniques and consider the role of policy in building their business as an individual as well as a company. How about “risk management” strategies? Are they ways to minimize your exposure to complaints and law suits as while practicing brokerage?
If you’ve held a broker’s license for a while, you might also consider re-taking the course as a refresher and see how much things have changed since you were licensed. As a reward for doing so, you’ll receive 18 hours of continuing education credit! (You’ll still need to take the current core course to meet the full CE requirements.)
The course is offered alternatively as a weekend course and weekday course each fall and spring in the Bangor area. Details for the next course are available on the Arthur Gary School or Real Estate website.
Of the three licensing courses one must take, this was by far the most interesting, the most useful and incited the most thought.
View and download a printable fall schedule of all the courses I’m teaching: Fall 2014 Courses & Classes
For real estate licensees, this question arises at least several times. The application for a license is the same for sales agents, associate brokers, and brokers. Very close to the top you must decide:
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND DISCLOSURE
NOTE: Failure to disclose criminal convictions may result in denial, fines, suspension and/or revocation of a license.
1. Have you ever been convicted by any court of any crime?
And there are only two possible answers: “Yes” or “No.” There is no option “I’m not sure.” Given the warning that “Failure to disclose criminal convictions may result in denial, fines, suspension and/or revocation of a license,” you probably would like to get this right. (A similar question applies when renewing a license or applying for an agency license.)
The second time this arises is not a fixed event, but falls under Title 32 §13195 (that would be page 13 in the Maine Real Estate Law and Rule Handbook published by Abbot Village Press): “…criminal convictions… must be reported to the director no later than 10 days after…” In what will at first seem plain language, if you are convicted of (not arrested for) a crime, you have ten (10) days to so inform the Maine Real Estate Commission. As with most legal questions, the answer is not always as straight-forward as one might think.
There are some not so obvious cases that most people wouldn’t consider a crime. In a recent consent agreement a licensee agreed to a fine for failing to disclose a criminal conviction within ten days. His crime was “operating an unregistered motor vehicle.”
If you are surprised by this, raise your hand. I thought so. Since I was also I did a little research and found that there really isn’t a clear definition of which motor vehicle violations are considered criminal. The two answers I received that made some sense are:
- Consult an attorney.
- It should indicate whether or not it’s considered criminal on the actual ticket.
Bear in mind this also is not limited to traffic violations–there are fish and wildlife violations that may also be considered criminal offenses.
But there’s good news. We can make this complicated topic very easy. If you run afoul of any law and are found guilty (convicted), you don’t have to figure out whether or not it’s a criminal case, you can just report it. I suppose parking tickets might be an exception… but what I found in my research is that almost any violation can rise to the level of a criminal offense.
Understand I’m not providing legal advice, just being practical. Every so often I will cover Title 32 §13195 in a licensing class and see a deer in the headlights look accompanied by an “uh oh.” We have to remember that our licenses are privileges and that privilege is easily endangered when there is a “change in the conditions or qualifications set forth in the original application” that we fail to report. Remember, we’re not just talking about “bad” things–a change of address qualifies.
Some of the basic changes can be completed online at the Maine Real Estate Commission website. Some require the completion of a form and payment of a fee. Others (such as criminal convictions) can be accomplished by sending an email, letter or fax – if available, the notification should include the judgment and commitment document or decision/consent agreement for professional discipline. Be sure to keep a copy in your file–probably with your Continuing Education Credits!
Much like the wisdom we apply to property disclosures, “when in doubt, disclose.” Getting convicted for operating an unregistered motor vehicle doesn’t mean you’ll be disciplined by the Maine Real Estate Commission. Failing to tell them it happened could.