Real estate agents undergo extensive education

by Janet Clarkson
The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) and The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) believe that every licenced real estate practitioner in Manitoba needs to be continually updated via education courses and seminars in order to carry out their duties in a professional manner, thereby protecting the interests of the public who utilize the services of a real estate firm. 
First of all, those wanting to become real estate salespeople must successfully complete a three-phase program and meet regulatory requirements in order to be registered by the Manitoba Securities Commission as a salesperson and be employed by a real estate brokerage firm. The salesperson’s licensing education program represents a concerted effort by both the Manitoba government and the real estate profession to ensure that real estate salespeople enter the field of real estate with an acceptable level of technical and practical competence.  
The salesperson’s licensing education course, Real Estate as a Professional Career, consists of three phases that must be successfully completed in sequence. Topics in these courses include: the rewards and realities of a real estate career, economics and the real estate market, real estate mathematics, residential construction, property ownership, agency law and practice, contract law, The Real Estate Brokers Act, the code of ethics, various provincial and federal statutes that affect real estate, property evaluation, mortgage financing, listing agreements, and offers to purchase. 
Those who successfully complete the salesperson’s program may apply for a licence with MSC. For more information on education, visit the MREA website at: and click on “I want to become a real estate agent.” 
Enrolment in the first phase of salesperson’s licensing program is up considerably from that in 2009, reflecting a higher interest in becoming a real estate practitioner in Manitoba. There are approximately 2,400 registrants in Manitoba, of which about 2,000 are registered as salespeople. 
Once a person is licensed by MSC and employed by a real estate firm, he or she may join a real estate board. There are three boards in Manitoba: Winnipeg, Brandon, and Portage la Prairie. By being a member of a real estate board and also the Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association, a real estate firm and all of its salespeople have access to the MLS® service, are bound by a code of ethics, and are entitled to call themselves REALTORS®. In the case of the WinnipegREALTORS®, all new salespeople must also attend an orientation course. Many real estate firms also hold in-house training programs. 
But there is still more education required. During the first two years of registration as a real estate salesperson, licensees are required to successfully complete the Articling Program. Real Property Law must be completed within the first year and Principles of Appraisal must be completed during the second year. Failure to successfully complete these two courses within the two-year timeframe may result in suspension of registration by the Manitoba Securities Commission until such time as the particular course has been completed. 
But that still isn’t the end of education. For the past 10 years, all real estate practitioners in Manitoba have been required to take six hours of mandatory continuing education every year as a condition of registration. The objectives of these mandatory courses are: to improve the registrant’s knowledge and understanding of the law and real estate practice in Manitoba, to improve professionalism in the industry, and to increase public protection. For 2011, the course will cover the Competition Act as well as various practice issues that affect real estate practitioners in Manitoba.
There are also several specialized courses available from MREA, including Principles of Commercial Real Estate, Principles of Property Management, Agricultural Real Estate in Manitoba, Residential Construction in Manitoba, and Condominium Sales in Manitoba. 
Those salespeople who want to open their own real estate brokerage firm must complete three additional courses: Office Management, Accounting and Financial Management, and Risk Management.
All of these education courses offered by MREA adhere to national course curriculums. By harmonizing provincial education standards across Canada, salespeople and brokers can more easily work anywhere in Canada, subject only to a possible course and examination covering provincial differences in real estate practice. Manitoba has such a course for those who are licensed in other provinces and who are moving to Manitoba. 
Education of real estate practitioners in Manitoba is an on-going process to ensure that salespeople and brokers are knowledgeable and better able to serve the buying and selling public in a professional and competent manner.
(Janet Clarkson is an education consultant with the Manitoba Real Estate Association.)