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It’s a great time to be in real estate. The economy is humming, and we’re in the thick of one of the best real estate markets we’ve seen in years. If inventory were to gain some ground, we’d be in even better shape.

I’ve spoken with a number of agents who are as busy as they’ve ever been. It’s all-hands-on-deck, with phones ringing, texts flying back and forth and offices buzzing with activity.

The Q2 RE/MAX National Housing Report bears this out. Home sales for the first half of 2017 set a new record in the report’s nine-year history, and over half of the 53 metro areas cited in the study experienced an increase in transactions.

Amid all the hustle and bustle of showing homes, working through contracts and closing deals, it can be easy to lose track of a key component of any successful real estate career: your professional development.

Even though we’re all enjoying a hot market, it’s important to keep pushing forward with career development and education. In doing so, you ensure you stay ahead of the curve on whatever market trends and consumer preferences lay ahead.

It’s interesting to note that regardless of market conditions, you often find that the productivity of top agents remains relatively consistent. Their business doesn’t rise and fall due to forces around them—they’re in control of their own destiny, their own success.

And just like the best athletes constantly work to hone their skills, you find the top real estate producers attending courses, going to seminars and earning certifications to further their expertise. Natural talent can only take you so far. The best of the best know that greatness is achieved through continual training and development.

Taking time to further your professional growth might be the last thing on your mind at this point of the year, but it shouldn’t be. A long, thriving career depends on continuing to push boundaries and learn new techniques, strategies and skills.

As busy as you may be, now’s the time to step up. Take a course. Sign up for a seminar. Go to a real estate event. Carve out a few hours and attend an evening class. Create the momentum for a thriving business.

The resulting knowledge you gain directly translates into the value you offer clients. And without value, there’s no such thing as a sustainable business. What sets you apart from the next agent? What makes you better than them? What do you offer that they don’t? The answers to these questions form the foundation of a successful career.

Every real estate agent can agree that a hot market is certainly nice—and a boon to our business. But for those agents who make professional development a priority, success comes no matter the conditions or trends.

Geoff Lewis is president of RE/MAX, LLC.

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