It has been less than two weeks since our CE deadline for 2012 and I’m already looking forward to 2014? Yes I am but for different reasons than you think. Real estate agents are the worst procrastinators I’ve seen in all the industries I work with. Alabama law requires only 15-hours of continuing education for each licensee in order to renew a two-year license of which the licensee can complete any time between Oct. 1 of odd year and Sept. 30, of even year; two years later. Agents have a full 24 months to complete their CE requirements but they wait until the last 4-6 months to take their CE and some don’t even meet that deadline. Some have their license placed inactive until they can complete their CE and then pay a fine to re-activate their license. Of the 15-hours required, only 3-hours of Risk Management have been mandatory up until now. All other 12-hours are elective courses; this means the agent selects their courses of choice. Some agents will select courses that are very easy to complete quickly and they may not have any legal or beneficial content at all. For that reason, we now have three separate 3-hour Risk Management classes to fulfill the needs for both sales people and brokers; both of which are required to take a minimum of 6 hours CE in Risk Management. I will break these down and explain them individually.
Risk Management—Avoiding Violations
This three-hour course is required by every licensee that wishes to renew their real estate license; whether they are a sales person or a broker. In a basic sense this course replaces the Risk Management—That Delicate Balance that we’ve been using since 2008. Since Risk Management is all about you, the licensee, being able to make a good living selling or leasing real estate while staying out of trouble. The best way to manage your risks are to know and obey Alabama License Law and to understand where and why legal complaints against you originate and how to minimize those complaints. The goal in this course is not how to win lawsuits but how to avoid lawsuits. We all want and need to stay out of a courtroom, thus the reason this course is mandatory for all licensee’s to take. Not only will everyone take this Risk Management course but you will also be required to take another three-hour Risk Management course. The determinate factor as to which other course you need to take is whether you’re a sales person or a broker.
Risk Management for Salespersons
If you are a licensed salesperson in Alabama you must complete the “Risk Management—Avoiding Violations” (above) and additionally complete this “Risk Management for Salespersons.” These two classes will give you combined 6-hours of required CE and both are mandatory for sales people. Besides the topics discussed in the Risk Management—Avoiding Violations, this course will more thoroughly cover issues in Alabama License Law, Property Conditions and Disclosures to make sure the salesperson is knowledgeable in the areas of Agency and Sales Contracts to effectively practice risk management. This course examines those areas more from a risk management perspective. A working knowledge of the two courses, combined with an innate desire to do what is proper and right, will guide the salesperson through a career of trouble free sales and leasing.
Risk Management for Brokers
As you can tell by its title, this course is for all brokers and associate brokers but is mainly designed with the qualifying brokers in mind. In addition to this course, all brokers must also complete the Risk Management—Avoiding Violations course which collectively gives the licensee combined 6-hours of their required CE. You, the broker, are the key to managing risks in your office, branch, or company. If you are the qualifying broker, the burden is even greater in practicing risk management. This course, required of all licensed brokers in the state of Alabama, consists of two major sections—Managing Money and Managing People. Managing Money has two parts—Trust Funds and Auditing Procedures. Managing People deals with the training and supervision of the licensees under you. Even though some of the material does not directly refer to specific risk management issues, it is the opinion of the Alabama Real Estate Commission that a higher level of professionalism demonstrated by all licensees in a company is a significant solution to risk management issues. You are the key to raising and maintaining that higher level of expertise.
Since all licensees are now required to take two Risk Management classes and the status of salesperson or broker will determine the classes they need to fulfill their requirements, my standard two days of class time for 15-hours CE will change. I will be offering more individual classes than grouped classes at the beach. I will also offer many more classes during the off-year, and especially during the winter months and off-season times.
Answers to Your Questions
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.