A New Era for Arkansas Real Estate Education

by Gary Isom, AREC Executive Director
April 8, 2014

This article originally appeared on www.arkansasrealtors.com. 

With the support of the Arkansas REALTORS Association® (ARA), the 2013 Legislative Session brought changes that will improve real estate education for years to come. The Commission expresses its appreciation once again to the ARA and especially the 2013 Legislative Committee for their support in implementing this meaningful legislation and subsequent regulations.

The Real Estate Commission is working diligently to make the transfer of the regulation of real estate educators as transparent as possible, for both educators and real estate licensees. However, there is no doubt there will be situations that arise with the transition. All licensees are encouraged to select their education provider with care. Some educators that were licensed by the State Board of Private Career Education may choose not to renew their license with the Real Estate Commission. In that case, courses offered by those educators will no longer be accepted after April 30, 2014. For instance, if you purchased a distance education course from a school that does not renew its license with the Real Estate Commission, that course will no longer be accepted by the Commission as meeting any educational requirements after April 30, 2014.

The new broker education, both pre-license and post-license will be required effective May 1, 2014. Real estate educators in Arkansas recently spent several hours attending a workshop at the Real Estate Commission, presented by Ron and Cheryl Kelton. It was encouraging and exciting to see the level of commitment made by those educators who did attend. This will be a challenge for the schools that plan to offer the broker education because of the low number of potential students each year. In 2013, there were approximately 150 new broker applicants. The new broker education will only be offered by classroom attendance. Anyone who has completed the sixty-hour salesperson course in anticipation of using the course to apply for a broker’s license will have to provide an application for the broker exam by April 30, 2014. Effective May 1st, that course will no longer qualify an applicant to sit for the broker exam.

Real estate licensees in Arkansas have long enjoyed a committed group of educators who work hard to offer quality education that makes the time you spend on education, time well spent. Arkansas requires a relatively low number of classroom hours, both for entry into the business and for maintaining your license. For that reason, it is important that all approved courses have substantive content. Each person who holds a real estate license is encouraged to show your support for your Arkansas educators who make the effort to gather the latest information relative to the practice of real estate in Arkansas.

One of the most interesting statistics gathered in the Supervising Broker survey that was conducted recently, was the response to the statement, “Instructors should be familiar with the practice of real estate in Arkansas including laws and regulations pertaining to real estate”. An overwhelming 76.2 % “strongly agree” with the statement. That, combined with an additional 22.4 % who “agree”, brings the total to 98.6 % that expect their instructors to be knowledgeable of the Arkansas Real Estate License Law and Commission Regulations. One of the requirements that the Real Estate Commission implemented with its oversight of real estate education is that every licensed instructor must hold an Arkansas broker license. That includes distance education providers that will be required to ensure that any Arkansas real estate licensee who takes an on-line course, has an instructor who holds an Arkansas broker license, providing the student interaction for that course. Those instructors will be required to attest that they have reviewed the entire course content for accuracy and consistency with the applicable laws in the state of Arkansas.

Another somewhat surprising and very encouraging response occurred to the statement, “AREC should discipline real estate instructors who falsify course completions for licensees.  Strongly agreeing with the statement was 70.2 % of the responders, with an additional 27.3 % agreeing, for a total of 97.5 % supporting AREC taking such action.

The Commissioners and staff would like to express our appreciation to the large number of supervising brokers that responded to the survey. Approximately twenty-five percent of the supervising brokers in Arkansas responded. We consider that a very meaningful and significant response. Arkansas brokers have expressed a serious desire for quality education in Arkansas.

As I’ve stated in presentations to several of you, real estate operates on an interactive business model. If the person working the other side of the transaction lacks the knowledge, skills, and abilities to ensure the success of the transaction, that unskilled person could easily cause you to have to appear before the Real Estate Commission or a court of law. Encourage all of your colleagues in the real estate business to pursue quality education so you can all enjoy the rewards and satisfaction of your chosen career.