Professional Development and Education Committee

Yesterday I attended my first meeting as a volunteer for the Austin Board of Realtors’ 2010 Professional Development and Education Committee.  I am very excited to be a part of this group of over 100 real estate agents who are committed to education and clearly very serious about their careers.  We will be helping to choose, audit, and monitor the continuing education courses that are offered to the over 8,000 members of ABOR. 

Last year, as I was studying for my Texas Real Estate Broker’s exam, I took more than 270 hours of continuing education.  During that time our industry was affected by things like City of Austin mandatory energy audits for sellers and Federal home buyer tax credit incentives.   I was able to apply brand new information about these topics directly to my everyday business. Not only did my sales volume increase, but I was better equipped to represent my clients and protect them from inadvertently breaking any new laws. As I worked with other agents to close transactions, I was also able to advise them on changes that affected our closings. This experience made me realize more than ever the importance of continuing education for real estate professionals.  The minimum continuing education required by law simply isn’t enough to stay current.  The way we do business is constantly changing, and I want to be the first to know when those changes take place.    

One of the legal topics that we discussed yesterday was the new Good Faith Estimate and HUD1 Settlement Statement that mortgage lenders and title companies will be required to use. This change is designed to hold lenders accountable for their estimates to borrowers.  The rules are strict and the penalties are severe.  In fact, if the lender’s fees turn out to be higher on the settlement statement than on the good faith estimate, it could prevent them from selling that loan on the secondary market, and it could easily hold up a closing. There are, of course allowances for changes in circumstance during the course of a transaction, but this will no doubt change the way loans are shopped, compared, estimated, processed, and closed.