By LYNN LOFTON
State realtors find it’s important to continue learning to remain viable in a changing industry and world. Much of that education is obtained through the Mississippi Association of Realtors.
Lisa W. Hollister, president of MAR, explains why real estate professionals invest in continuing education. “The relationship that a realtor shares with his/her client is based on trust because the realtor owes the client the fiduciary duties of obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, full accounting, and reasonable skill and care,” she said.
“To successfully fulfill these duties in an ever-changing business, a realtor is required to take 16 hours of continuing education every two years to renew a license with the Mississippi Real Estate Commission.”
These hours focus on agency, two hours on contract law, two hours on license law, and eight hours of elective courses which offer information relating to current trends in real estate.
Hollister is broker associate for Moran Realty in Ocean Springs, the oldest real estate company in Mississippi, and she has been licensed since 1993.
She says a major change for Realtors that has come about this year with a background check/finger printing law that went into effect in July, a measure the association promoted.
“Public safety and professionalism are top concerns for Mississippi realtors. We understand the trust our clients give us when we list their home and offer it for sale to the public,” she said. “Through the traditional practice of cooperation with other agents in a market area, which enhances the sale by creating a larger inventory of potential buyers, multiple agents have access to a property.”
She says it’s a self-imposed law that will totally change the way realtors do business. “It raises the standards, and people will know who’s coming into their homes.”
During the first quarter of her presidency, she traveled to all 21 boards in the association, discussing with members the 2016 legislative packet, which included the association’s priority bill, and met with overwhelming approval.
“Of course, new means different, so we have made efforts to educate our members on the process, and we are encouraged by positive reports from Mississippi appraisers who faced the same requirement two years ago,” Hollister said.
The Mississippi Realtor Institute is the education division of MAR and is the premier provider of Mississippi-specific real estate and home inspection education. It is the only real estate school in the state with a 50-year track record of quality courses taught by top producing realtors. It’s also the only provider in Mississippi approved by the National Association of Realtors to award the Graduate Realtor Institute designation.
“We work with our local boards across the state to provide sales pre-licensing, broker, and continuing education courses in classroom settings and online,” Hollister said.
“These classes are offered throughout the year and a schedule is available on our website, realtorinstitute.org or by calling our office at 601-608-0216.”
Another change for realtors is that the National Association of Relators will require ethics training every two years instead of every four years beginning in 2017. The NAR code of ethics was put into practice in 1913. This is another example of self policing as the industry strives for improvement, Hollister said.
“Not all people who have a real estate license are Realtors. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, the basic difference is that a Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors and must subscribe to a strict code of ethics,” she said.
“The code remains a living, dynamic statement that is updated annually to guide Realtors in their daily professional lives.”
For example, the code requires these professionals to be competent, conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified. Also, Realtors pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own, to treat all parties honestly, and to give equal professional service to all clients and customers irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation.
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