Innovations in Real Estate Training
Training staff is a major investment which will reap rewards for the future of your business, however this will depend on the method of training, the trainer’s expertise and whether a system is in place that will validate the training. With the news of the White Paper on regulating the real estate industry in Malta having been presented in parliament, there has been an emergence of real estate companies gearing their focus on training.
The COO of RE/MAX Malta Jeffrey Buttigieg explains that the reality is that there is much more to do than to hash together a course or two. He further explains that building a real estate academy was one of the innovative steps that has been invaluable to the development of RE/MAX Malta, a company which today counts twenty-two offices opened with over three-hundred and fifty estate agents.
Currently, there are numerous experts available to share their specialization with those few enterprising people interested and willing to grow their knowledge and bettering their career. Unfortunately, in Malta, the real estate sector does not have a huge pool of specialized trainers with experience in real estate and more particularly up-to-date understanding of the actual market trends. Mr. Jeffrey Buttigieg, COO of RE/MAX Malta said “When we first started we had hired Paul Vincenti, a trainer with experience in real estate. With his experience combined together with the resources available through the RE/MAX system, we
follow the process of tailoring our courses to suit the Maltese culture and way of doing business. In fact, our efforts have been recognized by RE/MAX Europe and we have often been invited to share practices with other regions at the European Regional Headquarters in Vienna. This has turned out to be one of the key contributors in achieving the training program standards we are offering to our personnel today.”
Training has been a culture at RE/MAX Malta since its origins dating back to 2004, when the founders Kevin and Jeffrey Buttigieg launched the brand on the Maltese Islands. Their first taste of training was when they contracted American trainer from Texas, Mr. Jim Van Horn to provide the first foundation course namely, “Jump start”. Jump start was an entry level training course which eventually evolved in 2009 into the Career Development Model, which today has been developed into “My RE/MAX Career” and the “Succeed Mentoring Program”, a mandatory forty-eight hour training course.
As a means of supporting the training to our agents, a mentoring system is also in place. The system is devised to ensure that after each module, the managers of the agents are reminded of the learning objectives and in turn are requested to follow up with their agent/s to assess their assignments thereby ensuring continuity and improved results. This system is mirrored when International trainers visit the Islands so that the company receives the most value.
An important link to understanding training needs is creating a support system where real time data is available and trends are captured consistently. A tedious process, yes, however if successfully accomplished will go tremendously long ways in guiding an operation in the right direction. Mr. Buttigieg explains, “We wanted to take our training to the next level and instead of just delivering courses, we set out our own milestones and measured this by commissioning consistent market research and the art of mystery shopping to gauge our own service levels.” “Being in touch with this kind of information allows us to study our own weaknesses and deliver even more customized training to bridge the competency gap and improve productivity.”
Thanks to the consistent flow of data and trends we are able to understand changing markets such as the 180-degree turn in the property market, which basically saw a buyer’s market move to almost a complete seller’s market. It allows the company to be proactive and create certain measures in training to adapt to changing markets.
Mr. Jeffrey Buttigieg believes that teaching must be delivered as a process and whilst classroom training will always be a preferred method, e-learning courses that are delivered via desktop or mobile offer a perfect method to further ensure continuity while it can be a quicker means of rolling out new training programs and messages to the company affiliates.
Technology will be playing a major role in the way that RE/MAX Malta will be delivering its training courses. Together with Paul Vincenti, Regional and International trainer, RE/MAX Malta has just announced that it will be launching an online e-learning training suite to all its agents before the end of December 2016.
The new system will serve as a follow up to class-room training and a valuable resource for agents to re-experience courses. After each class room training course, the agents attending will complete the same course in the form of its own on-line version. Mr. Buttigieg said “When combining class-room, online training and assignments together the learning is bound to improve tremendously. Moreover, our online courses are also divided into chapters and agents are required to complete a test at the end of each chapter, before they can access the next on their way to completing the course. This ensures that our agents are following the training and the required level of understanding of the fundamentals has been achieved”.
Malta’s Property Code and Regulations, as per the proposed White Paper, hasn’t been finalized by the competent authorities to date but as yet there are already courses being offered as ‘the ideal’ to obtain the real estate license. Mr. Buttigieg says it is completely against the RE/MAX company values to offer a course and present it as the license course when the full curriculum hasn’t even yet been released. “We have been in consultation with the competent authorities on this subject and all we have managed to come up with is a skeleton, albeit quite detailed, of the format of the training program for the proposed license. In our opinion what we have is not enough for us to base any full and comprehensive training program upon and therefore we cannot understand how “out of the blue” real estate agencies are promoting different courses that will help agents obtain the license.” Mr. Buttigieg said.
In 2009, the European Confederation of Real Estate Agents issued real estate standards EN15733:2009 that have been adopted in over 30 European countries. RE/MAX has combined the standards from EN15733:2009 and built them in into its practical real estate training modules. These modules now form part of the course which RE/MAX will be rolling out to their own agents shortly. The course will be an accredited qualification course based on what is believed will be the standards that will be proposed by “Property Malta” the NGO founded to carry on Malta’s Property Code and Regulations license course. It is still to be seen whether the company will offer this course to the public.
In the first quarter of 2017, RE/MAX Malta will be opening three new offices whilst looking to recruit sixty new agents to add to their network. These offices will be located in Msida, Marsascala and Swieqi. It is also confirmed that on the 31st of March, Tom Ferry, a leading International trainer and one of the most influential personalities in global real estate will be visiting Malta to deliver the RE/MAX Malta sales associates a full day seminar.
For more information about joining RE/MAX please contact any one of the Offices or send an email to Jeff Buttigieg, COO, RE/MAX Malta [email protected]
Post by Jeff Buttigieg
Jeff Buttigieg is Co-Founder and COO of RE/MAX Malta and JK Properties Ltd. He overseas the marketing, PR, IT and business development of the company. He has a vast experience in real estate having been an associate and manager himself for several years.