What to Do Before Taking the Real Estate Salesperson or Broker Exam

According to some recent statistics from REALTOR Magazine and the US Census Bureau data, “young Americans are rushing to become homeowners in the pandemic.” 

“Millennial” adults under 35 are still not in the majority of home owning Americans, but the rate rose to 40.2% last quarter, up from 37.5% a year earlier. As the demand for homes continues to rise, so too does the need for real estate brokers and salespeople!

If you’ve been dreaming of using your talents in the real estate industry, we can help you get there with our Real Estate Practice Exam! It covers everything you need to know in order to pass your state’s real estate broker or salesperson certification exam.

Real Estate Practice Exam Description

All 400 practice exam questions were written by industry experts who have previously worked on material for actual real estate exams across the country. While the questions are not the exact same as what you’ll find on a real exam, they were written to be as close as possible.

The practice exam is designed to work around your busy schedule, because it’s accessible 24/7 on any internet-connected device. And with the dynamic review feature, you can watch your practice scores improve in real time as you retake the exam as many times as you’d like. 

Click here to buy the practice exam, or choose your state above to see what other prelicense resources are available.

 


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COVD-19 FAQs For Colorado Real Estate Professionals

On October 6, Colorado Governor Jared Polis extended many previously issued executive orders related to COVID-19 safety. Since the Colorado Division of Real Estate “continues to receive complaints concerning real estate brokers not following state and county-issued guidance regarding COVID-19 restrictions when performing real estate activities,” we’ve decided to compile some resources for you so you can continue to work safely.

Here’s a list of safety resources that you can look at in their entirety when you have the time:

If you only have a few minutes, take a look at this shortened version of the official Colorado Real Estate Industry COVID-19 FAQ page. And remember, we offer online continuing education courses that can be completed anytime on any internet-enabled device! Click here to view our our Colorado state-approved course packages!

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Real Estate Services

Question: What does the Governor’s mask ordinance mean for my place of business?

Answer: As of July 16, 2020, Executive Order D 2020 038 mandates that every Coloradan older than 10 wear a mask or a face covering in all indoor public spaces, unless that individual has a medical condition where wearing a mask would put them at risk. It is important to note that wearing a mask properly means that it covers both your nose and mouth. Wearing a mask under your nose or chin is ineffective.

If a business or professional does not comply with the order, they are at risk of losing their license. Customers who do not comply with the order are violating a Colorado law and are subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Question: Are real estate open houses allowed?

Answer: Yes, real estate open houses are allowed under this amended June 30, 2020 Order, however, all open houses must strictly follow the Indoor Event requirements in Section I.H.4 of this Order. The Colorado Department of Health & Environment has listed on its website the Indoor Event requirements.

Question:  Who is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting occupied properties between showings?

Answer: Both Seller's Brokers and Buyer's Brokers are considered “Field Services” workers under the Public Health Order 20-28 and share responsibility to make sure cleaning and disinfection occur between showings. 

Seller's Brokers need to make arrangements with any occupants to clean and disinfect between showings. Likewise, Buyer's Brokers need to clean and disinfect behind their buyers while showing the property.

Question: Can a buyer require a seller to deep clean a property prior to closing?

Answer: Yes, so long as this is part of the terms of the contract between the buyer and seller.

Question: Who should be providing gloves and masks for showings?

Answer: Due to the shortage of personal protective equipment, it is recommended that brokers encourage buyers to bring their own masks and gloves. Both Buyer's Brokers and Seller's Brokers are encouraged to attempt to provide masks and gloves. However, if buyers show up to meet a Buyer's Broker without masks and gloves, the Buyer's Broker must either: 1) provide masks and gloves; 2) check to see if the Seller's Broker has provided masks and gloves; or 3) tell the buyers they will need to reschedule the showing until the buyers have masks and gloves.

Question: Should the Buyer’s Broker ask the buyer if they have symptoms or have come into contact with known positive cases of COVID-19?

Answer:  Best practice is for Buyer’s Brokers to ask buyers they are working with if they have symptoms or have come into contact with known positive cases of COVID-19.  If the answer is yes, at a minimum, the Buyer’s Broker should tell Seller’s Brokers prior to scheduling a showing.  The Seller may deny showings.

Question: Is it ok to have more than one potential buyer in the property at a time for a showing?

Answer: No. In order to prevent unnecessary contact, showings must be limited to only one buyer group (meaning a group of individuals from a currently shared household) at a time.

Question: Is there a limit to the number of buyers I can show the property to if they have all been quarantined together?

Answer: Under Public Health Order 20-28, gatherings are limited to 10 or less people.  However, we STRONGLY encourage Buyer's Brokers to limit the number of buyers they show the property to prior to executing a contract to only those buyers that will be signing a contract.

Additionally, sellers may impose other restrictions such as requiring buyers to be pre-qualified, limiting the number of buyers in the property or prohibiting showings until a contract is executed by both buyer and seller.

Question: Does the occupant need to leave the property for showings?

Answer: No. Occupants are permitted to remain in the property during all showings. However, occupants should wear masks and gloves and maintain six feet of distance from everyone while other people are in the property.

Question: Should Seller's Brokers get waivers of liability from potential buyers before allowing the potential buyer to enter the property for a showing?

Answer: Brokers that have waivers of liability drafted by a Colorado licensed attorney are permitted to use them. Seller’s Brokers should consult with their Colorado licensed attorney regarding the risks or enforceability of such waivers. Additionally, Buyer's Brokers must advise all buyers to have such waivers reviewed by legal counsel before allowing buyers to sign such waivers. 

Question: Does a buyer have to see the property before they can make an offer?

Answer: No. All buyers, especially Vulnerable Individuals, should be encouraged to do as much research finding a property as they can virtually. This might include getting a contract signed by both buyer and seller prior to the buyer ever seeing the property. In these cases, the buyer may want to consider adding a contingency to the contract that the contract is contingent upon the buyer viewing and approving the property after the contract is signed.

Question:  Does the seller have to allow showings?

Answer: No. Seller's Brokers should explain to all sellers, especially Vulnerable Individuals, their options for selling their property without allowing or minimizing showings. This might include asking for pre-qualifications of buyers before allowing them to see the property or requiring buyers to make an acceptable offer that is signed by the seller before allowing anyone into the property.

Question: Can a buyer still sign a contract or deliver earnest money in person?

Answer: While clients can still sign contracts or deliver earnest money in person, brokerage firms are required to take measures to reduce or negate the need for paper and attempt to provide contactless payment options.

Question: Can a Broker still attend listing appointments in person?

Anwer: Yes. However, Brokers are required to wear a mask and gloves. Public Health Order 20-28 limits gatherings to 10 people or less. We strongly encourage Brokers to perform as many of their job duties remotely or virtually as possible.

 


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Michigan Real Estate Continuing Education Course Preview

Michigan Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons, your legal updates continuing education deadline is October 31st!

With our on-demand video courses, we make it easy to complete your CE around your busy schedule. Here’s a preview from one of the Michigan Law Updates courses that’s available in our 6-credit hour course package! 


2020 Michigan Legal Update II Course Preview

Course Description: This course addresses the most recent regulatory rules and regulations that pertain to the real estate industry in Michigan. It provides an understanding and working knowledge of a license holder’s responsibilities and obligations related to rule changes, requirements, duties, violations and agency. This course sets out specific requirements and best practices.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand changes to Michigan laws and rules, including the legalization of recreational marijuana
  • Gain an understanding of noteworthy case law as it relates to real estate

SANDBAGS AND TEMPORARY MEASURES

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy announced a new Minor Project category that will make it easier for lakeshore property owners to get a permit for the temporary use of sandbags as immediate stabilization measures to protect homes and other critical infrastructure.

The Minor Project category will provide for faster permit processing for homeowners and a reduced permit fee of $100. Under the new category, a public notice will not be necessary for stabilization projects meeting review requirements.

EGLE emphasizes that sandbags are not a permanent solution to erosion problems and the bags eventually must be removed. Property owners should work with a contractor to design a more permanent solution, such as boulders, riprap, or even moving homes and other infrastructure farther inland.

Property owners who seek to take measures to protect their property from record high water levels still need to file a permit application through EGLE’s MiWaters portal. EGLE is expediting permits where there is a risk to structures, human health, and safety. In many cases, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also needs to review the permit application, which is filed jointly through Mi Waters.

Since Oct. 1, EGLE has issued more than 100 shoreline protection permits across the state. Of these, 60 percent were issued within three days of receiving a completed application. Between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, EGLE issued 730 permits for Great Lakes projects, some of which were non-emergencies. Fifty percent of the 730 permits were issued within 30 days of receiving an application and 21 percent were issued within 10 days.

In October of 2019 EGLE announced it would expedite permit applications to protect homes or structures that are in danger due to record high water levels. Permits can be approved within days of a completed application being filed, when under normal circumstances the process takes 60-90 days. The shoreline permitting process ensures a balance between protecting property and freshwater dunes and shorelines.

 


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Leveraging Major Appliances to Attract More Buyers

This year we’ve seen shortages on everything from toilet paper to sourdough starter. But while many of those early-pandemic items are now easier to find, there’s another selection of items that is still struggling to meet demand: major household appliances.

The National Association of Realtors and NPR recently reported that dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers, and other household appliances are still struggling to stay in-stock across the nation. During the first half of 2020, manufacturers shipped fewer (a 7% dip) major appliances to retailers and builders compared to 2019, according to data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. And unfortunately for homeowners, NPR reported that experts are “warning of backlogs on some appliance brands and models through the end of the year and potentially into 2021.”

"I have never experienced a year where there were shortages like we've seen this year," said Sandy Tau, the owner of AHC Appliances on Long Island, who's been in the business for some 25 years. "We have freezers that are on backorder since the end of March that have still not come in."

As demand continues to outpace the supply for these necessary household items, this may be a good opportunity to take advantage of your listings with new (or newer) appliances included. Simply giving more attention to your homes with the new stainless steel kitchen appliances or the modern washer and dryer can help create that bidding war the owners (and you) are hoping for.

With home sales still on the rise, will appliances be something you mention more often to potential buyers? Let us know on social media!

 


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Why Now is the Perfect Time to Become a Real Estate Salesperson (And How to Get Started)

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales in August reached their highest level in over a decade. A handful of factors contributed to this, but we’ll focus on just one down below. The continued climb in home sales is a signal that if you’ve been thinking of pursuing a career in real estate, now is the time.

Total existing home sales rose 2.4% (6 million) from July to August, which is also a 10.5% increase compared to August 2019. Despite global hardships, these increases aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. "Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery."

In August, nearly 70% of homes on the market were sold in less than a month!

One interesting factor contributing to the steady rise in home sales is the shift away from “corporate office culture” and the acceptance of working from home. With many companies planning on keeping people working from home even after the pandemic is over, the value of real estate to both individuals and the economy as a whole has proven vital.

In August, sixty-nine percent of homes were on the market for less than a month. No matter what your current career situation is, you can become a real estate salesperson and take advantage of the current strong market! All of our real estate licensing courses are available 24/7 from any device with an internet connection - meaning you can learn from anywhere at your own pace.

Get started by choosing your state above, and always feel free to contact us with any questions at 1-800-727-7104.

 


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Michigan Online Licensing Portal Update

On August 25, the Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) introduced a new online licensing system for Real Estate Professionals. This system aims to simplify the licensing process by embracing the internet and moving away from paperwork. With the Michigan Professional Licensing User System (MiPLUS), users can:

  • Apply online, track the status of their application, and receive electronic notifications
  • Renew and modify their existing licensing information
  • Verify the status of a licensed professional
  • File a complaint against a licensed professional or report a change in staff privileges

Here’s how to renew your license using MiPLUS:

You must use a desktop or laptop computer to complete the registration and renewal process.

  1. Login to MiPLUS.
  2. Click on the “Licenses” tab.
  3. Find your License Number under the “Record Number” column. Click on the “Renew License” link located under the “Action” column.

Here’s how to apply for a license using MiPLUS:

You must use a desktop or laptop computer to complete the registration and renewal process.

  1. Login to MiPLUS
  2. Click on Apply for License
  3. Accept disclaimer
  4. Click continue to application
  5. Choose Real Estate from the List
  6. Select which application you want
  7. Click continue Application

Here are some FAQs right from LARA and BPL concerning the new system.

Why is the Department moving to the new licensing system?

The new MiPLUS system will replace three main databases that BPL currently uses to manage licensee records. These systems are 20 years old and limit our ability to offer additional functionality and improve the customer experience.

Will the department still be mailing out renewal postcard notifications with the MiPLUS system?

Yes. They continue to mail out renewal postcard notifications.  In addition, renewal emails will continue to be sent as well.

Are license numbers changing? 

Some real estate broker numbers will be changing. They will be notified once records are migrated to the new system. You can always check your license number by clicking on “Verify a License” at www.michigan.gov/bpl.

Will my expiration date be changing?

The expiration date shown on any current valid license will not change. When you renew your current license for the first time in the MiPLUS system, your new license will have an expiration date that corresponds to the date you first received your professional license.

How do I learn how to use MiPLUS?

Visit www.michigan.gov/miplus to learn more about how to use the new system. This page includes information on how to register an account; how to apply for a license; how to renew your license; and how to modify your license information.

 


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National Association of Realtors Disappointed with New Fair Housing Ruling

On July 23, 2020, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced that he would effectively end 2015’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule.

The purpose of the AFFH ruling was to ensure communities complied with the 1968 Fair Housing Act. In order to get any HUD funding, local governments needed to track poverty and segregation in their communities by completing a 92-point questionnaire. Now, without AFFH, municipalities can declare they’re in compliance with fair housing rules themselves, and HUD will accept it based on their word.

Instead of making housing providers pass a sort-of fair housing exam (the 92-point questionnaire), responsibility largely lands on tennents to file complaints. In an official press release, HUD said they can still “terminate funding if it discovers, after investigation made pursuant to complaint or by its own volition, that a jurisdiction has not adhered to fair housing regulations” (emphasis added).

AFFH has been under attack since 2018, when HUD stopped strictly enforcing it. Since then, a 2019 National Fair Housing Alliance report found 31,202 complaints of housing discrimination in 2018, the highest number since the NFHA began collecting such data in 1995.

Concerning the ruling, the National Association of Realtors issued the following statement.

The National Association of Realtors is disappointed that HUD has taken this step, which significantly weakens the federal government’s commitment to the goals of the Fair Housing Act,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “The viability of our 1.4 million members depends on the free, transparent and efficient transfer of property in this country, and NAR maintains that a strong, affirmative fair housing rule is vital to advancing our nation’s progress toward thriving and inclusive communities. With the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color reminding us of the costs of the failure to address barriers to housing opportunity, NAR remains committed to ensuring no American is unfairly denied this fundamental right in the future.”

 


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Missouri License Renewal COVID-19 Update and FAQs

When do I need to renew my Missouri real estate license?

Due to COVID-19, Missouri has issued the following license renewal deadline extensions:

  • The current 2020 Broker renewal and CE deadlines have been extended until August 31, 2020.
  • The current 2020 Salesperson renewal and CE deadlines have been extended until October 31, 2020. The renewal period for Salesperson licenses begins August 1, 2020 and will run through October 31, 2020.

Click here for more detailed COVID-19 policy update information.

What are my Missouri real estate continuing education requirements?

Salespersons and Brokers in Missouri are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education each two-year license cycle. At least three hours are required to be in a core topic (MO Laws, Broker Supervision and Escrow Account Management, Fair Housing, Property Management, Commercial Brokerage or Agency and Brokerage Relationships).

Are your courses approved by the Missouri Real Estate Commission?

Yes! Our school ID is 30300. Course approval numbers are included in the course title.

Do you report my continuing education to the Missouri Real Estate Commission?

Yes! We will report your continuing education course completion to the Missouri Real Estate Commission within 10 days. It can take 24-48 hours for the completed course to be reflected in your online profile.

How long do I have to complete my courses after I purchase them?

Individual courses are available for six months from the date of purchase. The purchase of a package will give you access to the course work for the full length of your licensing cycle (2 years).

Do I have to complete courses all at one time?

No! You do not have to complete each course in one sitting. Your courses are available to you from any internet enabled device, and our system will keep track of where you start and stop.

Our courses are usually broken into 20-25 minutes intervals, which will make it easy for you to complete your course when it’s convenient for you!

How do I renew my Missouri real estate license?

Missouri Real Estate Commission will mail out a paper renewal notice that will include your license number and PIN. This is usually sent mid to late April for brokers and mid to late July for Salespersons. Once you have that information you will be able to renew your license online.

How much does it cost to renew my Missouri real estate license?

$50 | Broker (Active or inactive)

$40 | Salesperson (Active or inactive)

$150 | Non-Resident Broker (Active or inactive)

$100 | Non-Resident Salesperson (Active or inactive)

Fees Schedule

I missed the due date for my Missouri real estate license renewal, can I still renew?

Yes, however, your license will not be considered active, and you will not be able to engage in any real estate activity until your license is reinstated to active status. Late renewals are subject to a $50 per month or partial month penalty, up to a $200 maximum. Late renewals cannot be submitted online.

Do I have to complete any continuing education if my Missouri real estate license is inactive?

No. Continuing education is not required while on inactive status, however, before the licensee can activate the license, completion of the 24-hour Missouri Real Estate Practice Course is required.

Does Missouri have reciprocity with other states?

Yes, Missouri does have provisions for individuals who hold a real estate license in another state/jurisdiction. Click here for more information.

 


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New York Bill Aims to Stop Real Estate Agent Discrimination

Earlier this year, New York issued 25 subpoenas to real estate agents and companies in response to a Newsday investigation into housing discrimination. The investigation revealed that Long Island real estate agents discriminated 19% of the time against Asians, 39% of the time against Hispanics, and 49% of the time against Blacks.

Now, in response to Newsday’s story, the New York State Senate just passed Bill S6874A. If it reaches the Governor’s desk and becomes law, it gives the Department of State the authority to “fine, suspend or revoke the license of a real estate agent or broker who commits a violation of Article 15 of the Executive Law in his or her capacity as an agent or broker.”

Article 15 of the Executive Law is known as the New York State Human Rights Law which prohibits housing discrimination. As of now, real estate agents or brokers in New York are not subject to Article 15, and cannot be punished by the state for discriminatory practices. This new bill aims to change that.

“Housing discrimination and predatory practices will not be tolerated in New York,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “By advancing this legislation, the Senate Majority is sending a clear message that you will be held accountable for engaging in unfair, discriminatory, and racist housing practices.”

To ensure you never unintentionally discriminate against any of your clients, check out last month’s blog and learn how to test yourself for possible hidden biases. Senator Jim Gaughran, one of the bill’s sponsors,said “public officials must speak out against racism and end segregation and discrimination in our society, once and for all.” We encourage all real estate professionals to adopt a similar mindset and work toward ending discrimination from within the industry.

 


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New Tool Makes Working with Socially Distant Clients Easier

Unfortunately, social distancing isn’t going away any time soon. As you continue to adjust your business practices to keep clients safe, there is a new tool releasing soon that can make it easier for you to sell homes remotely.

OneHome, revealed earlier this month by CoreLogic (a real estate market data and analytics provider) is a virtual collaboration portal that “facilitates seamless interaction between agents and their clients.” Instead of relying on multiple tools to remotely guide your client through the home buying process, OneHome aims to be a “one-stop-shop.” It includes a virtual marketplace where you can directly communicate with clients, AI-enabled home search results, and access to financing, insurance, and home improvement providers all in one portal.

Some unique features that are sure to make your job much easier are the “Planner” and “PropertyFit.” Planner is a guided checklist in the form of a timeline that explains every step of the home buying transaction process - minimizing any client confusion. PropertyFit is where OneHome flexes its AI-learning muscles. It uses the client’s previous home browsing data and shows them homes that are most likely to meet their needs.

OneHome is expected to be nationally available by the end of 2020. As the real estate market continues to shift along with the pandemic, how do you plan on using new technologies with your clients?

PropertyFit Preview Image

PropertyFit uses client search data to match them with homes that meet their needs. Image from corelogic.com

If you’re not already using social media or even drones to help grow your client base, check out our continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

 


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