These days, just plain hard work and working long hours are likely not enough to be a successful professional in the real estate arena. Competition and changing market conditions make it imperative that you have skill-sets that allow you to stand out, in order to advance your career and increase – or possibly even just to maintain – your earnings!

A critical element for any successful professional is to stay abreast of changing conditions and the opportunity that stems from change – both for themselves, and their clients. No longer will experience by itself suffice. The key elements for the successful Real Estate Professional are broader knowledge, and skill-sets that enable application of this knowledge.

In addition to enhancing your professional image, learning new ways of conducting business – and providing your clients with the most up to date marketing concepts and problem solving techniques – will play a huge role for the Real Estate Professional in the 21st century. That role includes re-educating themselves based on today’s market conditions.

Something Old, New Again?

Two of the most powerful tools an elite Real Estate Professional can have at his disposal are a basic working knowledge of Exchanging; and Seller financing. What many folks don’t know, is that these tools have been mainstream for over 50 years, and encompass training that is part of the CCIM curriculum, as well as of the two most prestigious Realtor related professional exchange groups: Society of Exchange Counselors, and National Council of Exchangors.

In the 1950’s, San Diego Realtor Richard R. Reno observed that many real estate owners were uncomfortable in the circumstances surrounding their current property ownership. They didn’t necessarily want to quit investing in real estate – but, they were in an ownership situation that did not suit them. Reno recognized that there was no bad real estate, only inappropriate or untimely ownership. The problem wasn’t with the property, but with the people who owned it.

This hypothesis led Mr. Reno to conclude that incorporating the circumstances surrounding the ownership of the property into the process of transacting real estate deals, was the most effective way to deal with real estate. Reno recognized that fully understanding the underlying reason(s) an owner wanted to sell – and what the owner would do with the cash if it were obtainable – was the key to successful transactions.

Reno advocated a professional approach that incorporates the understanding that cash itself is not the answer to all real estate conveyances. He saw exchanging as an alternative to the unavailable cash buyer. If people exchanged real estate it could solve many of the real estate circumstances existing in San Diego’s overbuilt market. Mr. Reno also observed that there was a need for education in counseling and exchanging in the broader marketplace.

At Mr. Reno’s instigation, 19 Realtors met in November, 1961with the common goal of forming a national organization composed of individuals who were committed to practicing creative real estate and counseling. This was the first meeting of the Society of Exchange Counselors, which has since become a prototype for most marketing groups internationally.

In a similar vein, the National Council of Exchangors is a trade organization of client-centered real estate agents trained to solve real estate problems and help their clients take advantage of real estate opportunities. NCE members bear the designation of Equity Marketing Specialist or “EMS” after attaining a high level of education in real estate marketing, real estate counseling, real estate taxation, real estate financing, real estate management, and real estate exchange.

For real estate investors in particular, Exchanging and seller-financing have continued to be a primary tool in achieving their investment objectives – whether they are buying OR selling investment properties. There are very compelling reasons for that. …Continued in Part 2.