Licensing is only the start of your real estate career. In today’s marketplace the competition is steadily increasing, and it’s becoming even harder for newcomers to distinguish themselves. Weakening trust in the industry, the changing regulatory environment and frequent ethical dilemmas are just some of the ways you can get lost in the crowd, or worse – earn a tarnished reputation. So how do you make yourself stand out among the growing number of sales professionals?
“Ongoing education and professional development are vital in a rapidly evolving real estate industry,” says Gareth Jones, FRI CRES, Executive Vice-President at the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC). “It’s more important than ever for practitioners to elevate their understanding of the ethical issues that confront brokers and other sales professionals every day.”
Questionable real estate practices and resulting legal interventions have become well-publicized, especially through social media, and can present real barriers when it comes to client trust. To help you navigate these issues, and demonstrate expertise and integrity to clients, REIC offers the Fellow of the Real Estate Institute (FRI) designation program. To earn the FRI designation, candidates must complete strong education and experience requirements that go above and beyond what is required for licensing. The program enhances your knowledge and skills in legal and regulatory issues, advanced negotiation techniques, and professional ethics with real world applications.
While you may feel hesitant to invest in more education, for REIC members like Derek Mak, FRI CRES, Sales Representative at Del Realty Inc., Brokerage – enhanced knowledge is the key to success.
“I work for a high-rise condominium developer where I sell brand new products, therefore I don’t get many opportunities to deal with outside clients and listings/showings,” he says. “The FRI program provides the knowledge that I would not otherwise encounter in my daily work.”
Advancing ethics in real estate
Raising ethical standards, and the reputations of their members, is one of the cornerstones of REIC as an organization. The FRI is the longest standing real estate designation in Canada. Established in 1955, it remains an elite designation to this day: with more than 120,000 registered agents in Canada, just under 600 have earned the FRI. A cornerstone of the FRI program is the “Ethics in Business Practice” course which diagnoses our provincial real estate codes and is taught by established sales professionals with decades of experience.
“The instructors at REIC are the gurus of the industry,” says Mak, “and they mentor with real life scenarios, which is something that cannot be learned from textbooks alone.”
Enhance your professional network
When you join the FRI program, you become part of a network of real estate professionals affiliated with REIC, IREM and NAR. REIC is the exclusive provider of IREM management courses and designations in Canada and is also an authorized provider of courses leading to NAR credentials. Members of all three organizations have the opportunity to connect online and in-person at various events.
“REIC is one of most powerful business networks in the Canadian real estate industry, as it gives you access and the ability to meet like-minded professionals in all the different segments of the real estate market,” says Don Kottick, FRI CRES, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development for Peerage Realty Partners.
REIC membership also offers a sense of familiarity between professionals. “There are times when I meet with another realtor and after exchanging our business cards, we realize we both have the FRI designation,” Mak adds, “this gives us a mutual understanding of the level of knowledge and professionalism we both possess, and it takes seconds to warm up the conversation and get straight to business.”
How to apply
The first step to achieving the FRI designation is to submit your application to become a Candidate Member. You must hold a valid real estate license and be actively involved in real estate at the time of application. In order to complete the program, and earn the FRI designation, candidates must have accumulated a minimum of five years of real estate experience, in addition to fulfilling education requirements and maintaining membership with the Institute.
Application forms and further information can be found on the REIC website: www.reic.ca/FRI
The FRI program is a great way to enhance your skill set and acquire quality clients. In addition to upgrading your industry knowledge, you will learn how to sell your skills, market yourself, and network successfully. Use professional designations, association membership and elevated business standards to increase client trust and your reputation.