NJ First-Time Home Buyers


Real Estate Professional in Training and YOUR HOME is the Training Ground!!

Real Estate Professional in Training and YOUR HOME is the Training Ground!!

Everyone is a "newbie" at some time. We see managers training the teenager at Taco Bell or the "Student Driver" signs atop of cars.   But when was the last time you saw a "Real Estate Professional in Training" badge on a Realtor or loan officer?


FawnA good real estate company will hold an agent's hand during the "baby" stage. And a good lender will make sure a complete mortgage application is completed for a new loan officer. Sadly what often takes place is a "sink or swim" training method and some poor soul's home purchase is the training ground.  We've seen this with both newbie real estate professionals and often with the "I'm using a relative" scenario.

Is it a fair question to ask a professional how many transactions they have completed lately ... this year ... EVER?  ABSOLUTELY.

I'm working with a newbie ... I'm scared!

As a home buyer, working with a new agent or loan officer isn't necessarily a curse. Just because a real estate professional is new to the business doesn't mean they have to be new to professionalism! Indeed, some new real estate professionals are years ahead of some of the "dead wood" that has been around for years. (And I would tell some people to their face if they asked!). If a newbie has strong support, you can feel confident they should do a fair job. If they lack support and they are green, then you are rolling the dice and "good luck" with them handling one of the largest transactions of your life.

Real estate transactions are highly detailed. The home buyer should never be the training ground that a new agent or officer learns the ropes on. They might lose a commission check if the transaction doesn't close. A home buyer however may lose a home, a place to stay, a lot of money, or even worse.

As a home buyer, DO NOT be afraid to ask questions upfront and put the professional you choose to work with to the test. Any professional worth your time will welcome the questions and concerns. And that is a fact, because in such a situation, the professional has the oppurtunity to shine, which will help all parties understand one another and work better together.

(Side Notes for the Professional ... As a new agent or loan officer, do not accept a company that treats training as a "put out the fire" situation. If the company you are joining doesn't have a training program written down before you join them, be skeptical about what training you will recieve. Some owners/managers are nothing more than glorified salespeople and are only looking to make money from you. They don't care about your success. Don't line their pockets as you make a bad reputation for yourself.)

Steve Kappre is a mortgage loan officer in New Jersey. For more info or questions feel free to contact Steve.

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Comment balloon 34 commentsStephen Kappre • August 09 2010 05:04PM


Unfortunately our industry is not regulated as strictly as others, that is why the reputation of our industry is not the greatest, because many are practicing with what generally is the biggest asset of other people lives.  Good Blog!

Posted by Nicole Kraus (Signature Realty Associates) over 10 years ago

Nicole - It makes me think of the food industry ... if people only knew what was happening on the other side of the wall, haha.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

There are national real estate companies that focus on recruiting agents directly from the testing centers.  I call those agenies boot camp for real estate agents. 

Posted by Susan Morrison (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 10 years ago

Steve- you  bring up a very good point.  I was a Realtor for about a year about 30 years ago.  When I think about it, I joined a very reputable firm but had no real training.  Granted I had several wonderful agents who took me under their wings but nothing formal.  Luckily there were no fires to put out but there certainly could have been, and worse, it could have involved someone's sale or purchase of a home. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 10 years ago

And that's why they join ActiveRain to get all the information they can not find elsewhere. If I can help a fellow agent by pointing them in the right direction I do as I know help is not readily available.

Posted by Teral McDowell (Referral Patners LLC) over 10 years ago

I know a lot of newbies who are told "fake it till you make it" and it's incredibly scary for everyone involved! I was fortunate to work at a company where I had a mentor and the Broker also accompanied me on listing appointments to show that an agent from our firm had the support of the entire company. In all honesty I did not tell them I was "that" new.

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Steve - AMEN!!!  I just recently wrote a series on how to choose your lender and also encouraged buyers to ask all the right questions.  It's one thing for someone to say they have a 100% close/pull-thru rate if they're only doing a couple of loans a year and quite another if they're doing a couple a month.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) over 10 years ago

New agents need to be attached at the hip with a  seasoned agent during a training period....they should go on all appointments together for a period of time.....then the attachment can slowly be severed.....slowly, if the newbie catches onto the program.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) over 10 years ago

Good post. And yes, those newbies can be scary. To safeguard, we have a mentor program at our company-- and are very careful about who we hire. It seems some companies will take anyone with a license and a pulse then throw them all against a wall to see who will stick. My own training was in a small shop where I had the guidance of my broker through the first half-dozen deals or so.

Posted by Cece Blase (Paragon Real Estate Group) over 10 years ago

So true!  I remember when I started, very little training.  I hadn't a clue what to do at the first closing!  I would not want to be a new agent's first (or second, or third!) "victim".  While everyone has to start somewhere, there has to be some mentoring to safeguard everyone.

Posted by Kathy Kenney, Realtor - Princeton & Central NJ Homes for Sale (Keller Williams, Princeton, NJ) over 10 years ago


You make some excellent points here. I think it is critical to encourgae buyers to ask questions whenever they want. Indeed, if they don't I get REAL concerned. They also need to know that no question is stupid or silly, and that asking the same question at a later time, just to clarify, is aboslutely OK, too.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Good Post

Posted by Phil Parisi, Specializing in Florida's Treasure Coast (Laviano & Associates Real Estate Professionals) over 10 years ago

I happen to be a "newbie"  with just under a year in the business; however, I worked for an REO here in Texas back in the 80s, so it's not my first time around.  Having said that, when I started last year I interviewed with ONE broker, and that's where I started.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I'd made a mistake.  I was terrified and lacked the confidence to do a lot of prospecting, but I managed to take in a little business.  Meanwhile I learned that the person who was supposed to be our "trainer" had very little experience and had completed only a few transactions.

Nevertheless, I did the right thing for my career and moved to my current broker who offers a solid support system to all the agents, not just the "newbies."  I'm mentored by a team of top-notch experienced agents, and my confidence level is where it should be for a "newbie."  I strive each day to be the best I can be.  I come to AR and read the blog posts of seasoned professionals from all parts of the industry.  I take every opportunity I can to learn, and when I hit a plateau I seek to move up even higher in my knowledge base.  Ideally ALL agents would do this, "newbie" and seasoned alike. 

Just one thing -- I agree with your post -- but the comment "I'm working with a newbie -- I'm SCARED!!  Well, could you cut us some slack?  We really don't have kooties or anything.  In fact, I am middle-aged with prior real estate experience and a very strong business background.  I think I can handle this.  Meanwhile, it is very true that agents with years of experience sometimes lack the professionalism to continue to invest in their education while NEVER improving their people skills.

So there! -- we're even!  ;)

Posted by Kate McQueen, Tailored service for your real estate needs! (Realty Associates Texas) over 10 years ago

Steve - Nice post, my friend.  We were all new once, but when dealing with a newbie, it's the support and training that become so important.  Terrific points here.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago

Like it ! And I think the newbie should tail some not-so-newbies and learn a lot before taking on a client on their own.

And nice return to the feature page brutha ;o)

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) over 10 years ago

I agree with the training and support part it is so important. The other part I agree with is there are many that claim to be seasoned veterans that should go back to training. There are many in our industry that do not understand this is a business and must be treated as such. I enjoy working with new agents as long as they are willing to learn.

Posted by Surprise Arizona Realtor Jim Braun Sun City Grand Active Adult Communities, Surprise AZ real estate Phoenix West Valley (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Jim Braun Sun City Grand Az ) over 10 years ago

OK everyone - my firm has been very kind and offers training, and I've reached a point of great respect for the profession. However, even with the training it takes hands on to actually learn and do everything. Having said this, I wouldn't mind apprenticing if I could find the right 'master realtor' who wants to take the time to help me learn the business properly without all the mistakes.

I need to make a living and care very much about things going well for the client - I'm grateful for the support system in place with my firm even if I'm not attached at the hip.

Posted by Roseanne Campagna, Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA (John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA ) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve, when I started 14 years ago at C21 and other real estate firms throughout the years they all had a mentoring program. When I was a newbie all of my contracts was double checked by my broker and my mentor. They coached me and went with me on appointments until I felt comfortable going out alone. I would not have been able to do it any other way.

Posted by Kymberly Caldwell-Muniz, TCR Group Keller Williams Realty Rancho Cucamonga ((909) 973-0410 ) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve -I'm a new real estate agent - I have been at it for about a year.  I picked my company based on their training program, the woman who used to be my Realtor works for them and she has been my mentor.  I can't imagine doing it any other way - I wouldn't feel comfortable assisting someone in making the the biggest investment of their lives without a broker who answers my calls (no matter how small the issue) and a mentor who talks things through with me.  I also got connected with a loan officer from the get go who has been INVALUABLE to me.  I feel comfortable to take on anything because I'm not embarassed to call my broker or mentor when I don't know the answer.  It's those who think they know everything or have too much pride to ask for help that I'm worried about!

Posted by Lori Liveston (Virtual Homes, Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve. I really don't have that much to add. I was just very curious to see what the kid was selling? And good for him getting his license so early!

Posted by Rob Magnotta, Huntington Beach & Newport Beach Coastal Specialist (Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Irvine REALTOR) over 10 years ago

Steve, cool analogy. Yes, we were all newbies once. There are some agents that really like working with them. However, there are those who think that they are a real pain...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 10 years ago


Mentoring and training is so crucial to this business when you are starting out. Unfortunately, I did not get much help and "faked it" until I actually knew what I was doing. I would not want to go back there and do it again.


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) over 10 years ago

I was new 25 years ago and was fortunate to have been trained by a mentor who let me follow him around and who helped me do my first agreement of sale.  I used to hate the question "how long have you been in the business" back then!  I love it now!  Hard to argue with 25 years experience!  Congrats on the feature!

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 10 years ago

I agree with Rosanne. It's a balancing act - taking full advantage of the company's training programs and mentoring with a seasoned agent, but also being respectful of everyone's time during these challenging years. In my part of the country we're all working very hard to survive. With three years in the business, I've needed to draw from a combination of training, a supportive broker, other supportive agents, and also my own wits and professionalism. I've made some mistakes along the way. I've learned a lot from those mistakes and I've been lucky those mistakes were not huge. I don't know what it's like to have started during the boom times when everyone may have had more time to spare. In my world, my fellow agents and I cover several counties, small towns, rural areas, lakes, and recreation properties. My office is primarily my home, my phone, and my car. I see other agents maybe once a week. I am learning as I go. When something new comes up, I'm on the phone to my broker or another agent. I'm not attached at the hip to anyone, there's not time for that here. I do know when to ask questions and I'm not afraid to ask. And, I don't fake it with sellers or buyers.

I'm doing OK in NW Wisconsin and loving this business.

Posted by Jean Hedren, CRS ABR SRES RSPS, Your Northwest Wisconsin Realtor (Edina Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Newbies need to be Mentored !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Many companies fail at this and should not be recruiting !!!!!!!

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 10 years ago

Great comments folks. Personally I never recieved any training, AT ALL. I started with a "hole in the wall" firm and ended up paying money to educate myself through different online services which in the end made me far more knowledgable then many of the professionals in my market. It took a longer time and the income was very slow for the first year. In fact I could have worked part time at McDonalds and made about the same.

I would have loved to have had a good mentor. I think it should be a requirement when new to the business.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) over 10 years ago

Most of the really good companies recognize the value of training. I've received excellent training since I joined my present company.

Posted by Bernadine Hunter, SFR, ACRE, "Finding Solution to Your Real Estate Needs" (Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty) over 10 years ago

A mentor is a fabulous idea but unfortunately think why?  It's too ego driven & too competative to work & the mentor/teacher doesn't get paid.  Lots of time spent because it should be done?  Just playing devils advocate here.  Great post Steve, I LMAO when I saw the deer.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 10 years ago


The Enthusiasm of Youth should be coupled with the Wisdom of the Aged.  

A New Real Estate Agent assisted by a Mentor or Experienced Agent can  accomplish great things.


Posted by Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Steve - The lack of a solid REQUIRED mentorship program is one of the biggest problems in our profession...

Posted by Brent Wells, Real Estate Broker serving all of North DFW (The LivingWell Team) over 10 years ago

Hi Steve,  Remember, much of the training is done by trainers who were trained by trainers who were trained by ...  Well, you get the idea !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 10 years ago

I agree with everything you are saying...except that part about newbies "tailing" a seasoned agent.  Not that I don't think that could be very beneficial for the 'newbie', but because not many seasoned agents have the time, patience, or willingness to share what they consider to be classified info that might create competition for them one day in the form of a not-so-newbie! 

Posted by Barbara Adamson over 10 years ago

This is great stuff!  I like the idea of having all the first year newbies wear an "In Training" badge.  As you said we all have to start somewhere, but having the help and support of a surrounding staff or team is key.  Great article!

Posted by Patsy Overton (Patsy Overton Interiors, Atlanta, Georgia) over 10 years ago

Steve, sadly many companies do not train the newbies, I always try to help if they are receptive. Here in Southern California without training the Newbie could get themselves in such a quick legal quagmire, hence I am shocked that  some Brokers do not focus on training, mentoring......

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) over 10 years ago

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