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Today’s real estate market is competitive. Aside from the mechanics of finding the right homes for the right buyers, how can prospective buyers and sellers guarantee that they’ve found the right agent for the job? Setting yourself or your agents apart from the pack can make all the difference. In an industry that is rapidly moving and shaking, education and training have become some of the most prevalent differentiating factors a brokerage can offer. For companies looking to retain a pivotal advantage over others, REALTOR® University, NAR’s online designation and certification course platform, can help boost agents over and above the skill levels of their competition.

REALTOR® University was created to foster the continuing learning and education of real estate professionals through a high-quality, entrepreneurial and career-oriented program in real estate. With an extensive variety of courses available online, such as the Accredited Buyer’s Representative Designation and the e-PRO® Certification Program, which offers training on all of the latest social media technologies, REALTOR® University is primed to take any agent with a hunger for education to the next level of his or her business.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is one forward-thinking brokerage that is positively taking advantage of what REALTOR® University has to offer. According to Amy Chorew, vice president of Platform Development, REALTOR® University’s interactive coursework is available to their brand through the company’s technology platform, BHG Greenhouse, and their network is embracing the opportunity for continuing education.

“When I started here, we had a clean slate as far as learning went, so I put a strategy together of what a franchise could offer brokers as education,” she says. “We created a certain curriculum that resonates with our network that we deliver to our brokers. Part of that is the ability for them to offer their agents continuing education (CE). REALTOR® University puts almost all of NAR’s designations and certifications online, so we thought we could give them one place to go in and get it through our BHG Greenhouse.”

Though many within the Better Homes and Gardens brand prefer attending live courses in person, many of the firm’s agents attend part of a class online and part of it in person, if possible, in order to network and talk to people. “The response has been very positive,” says Chorew.

“REALTOR® University has a very strong instructional design background with the way they write the courses. It’s step-by-step learning and it’s all chaptered. They can take a chunk, absorb it and walk away,” says Chorew.

Chorew and her team also use a product called Metric Step Matters, which uses what Better Homes and Gardens calls Level 3 and Level 4 surveys. As a result, they document not only if someone liked a class, but what the production of it was. How are they going to implement the information they learned? This information is all gleaned through the survey process.

“We get really amazing data. Now that we’re using REALTOR® University, we send that survey out on every course people take,” adds Chorew.

Better Homes and Gardens also sends out a monthly newsletter of all upcoming training available through the Greenhouse, including specials they are running or courses available directly through REALTOR® University.

“In our industry, there hasn’t been enough measurement,” says Chorew. “We measure everything here by whether or not it’s a benefit to the broker. Will they retain their agents? Will every agent get more business so everyone is more profitable?”

For Better Homes and Gardens, REALTOR® University’s convenient, easy-to-use designation and certification course platform does indeed benefit their brokers, and as an extension, it provides huge support in prolonging the continuing education of all the company’s active agents.

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