To protect consumers and prevent predatory practices, the state of Colorado requires real estate agents to acquire a professional license. Here’s what you should know about this license, including what it entails, why it’s required and how often it must be renewed.
Why licenses are required
As with any profession, a certified license affirms that a person has undergone a certain amount of training. It also demonstrates that the professional has accumulated enough expertise to pass examinations that confirm their industry knowledge.
While licensing requirements vary by state, the typical Colorado real estate agent has to complete several hours of real estate coursework. They must also become knowledgeable about all relevant local, state and national real estate practices and laws. Certified agents are also required to continue their education and must go through a regular renewal process to keep their certification from expiring.
How do agents obtain licenses?
To become certified, agents must complete 168 hours of approved pre-licensing education at an accredited school with DORA-approved college-level real estate courses. They must also complete a routine background check conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
If they make it this far, agents are able to apply for licensing exams. This comprehensive final exam consists of 100 Colorado-specific questions and another 100 national questions. If they pass the test, the agent will need to provide proof of Errors & Omissions insurance. Then, they can complete their state real estate license application and await approval.
When do licenses have to be renewed?
To operate as a real estate agent in the state of Colorado, a person is legally required to obtain a license. They must also renew this license every three years. Agents are required to renew their licenses frequently to ensure that they adhere to the state’s continuing education requirements for real estate professionals.
Licenses aren’t everything
While they do prove that an agent has received a minimum amount of education, real estate licenses don’t tell you much about a person’s experience, communication or professionalism. It takes years for savvy agents to accumulate the expertise they need to serve clients. It also takes years to develop reputations — either good or bad — which help clients decide on whether an agent will have their best interests at heart.
In virtually every industry, people prefer to work with professionals who have extensive experience and expertise. Real estate is no different. In fact, experience is more critical in real estate than in many other industries.
Without extensive experience, agents can have difficulty streamlining the complex home selling and buying process. They may overlook key details and have trouble attracting interested buyers. Inexperienced agents also tend to lack knowledge about local markets and the communities in which they work. On the other hand, experienced agents know how to pique interest in buyers and represent the best interests of the clients they serve.
They also know how to handle complex paperwork and navigate the many steps that go into each transaction. Experienced agents can efficiently identify and predict trends. They can tell you the neighborhoods that are trending up or down and explain why. If you don’t need to sell or buy right away, they can recommend when you should wait and when you should act.
Experience also plays a critical role at the negotiating table. Negotiating is an art form that is honed by frequent practice. Experienced agents often have insight into who is motivated to sell quickly and who has the patience to sit and wait for a more favorable deal.
It’s also important to understand that selling or buying a home typically requires working with vendors such as title companies, mortgage lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, pest inspectors and general contractors. Because they’ve been in the industry so long, experienced agents know who to avoid and who to trust.
Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home, it’s important to make sure you are working with a licensed agent. It’s also important to make sure the agent has extensive industry experience, so there won’t be any surprises or needless complications that could torpedo the sale or purchase of a home.
Thinking of buying or selling a home? The Wheaton Team can help. With 60-plus years of combined experience, our team specializes in residential real estate throughout all of El Paso County, including Colorado Springs and the Tri-Lakes area. Let us guide you through each step of the selling, buying and financing process, so you can turn dreams into reality.