The state of Rhode Island has a very straightforward law regarding renewing your real estate license. The state Department of Business Regulation requires all real estate salespeople, all real estate brokers, and all lawyers with a real estate license to abide by the same criteria. That criteria is that all licensees must complete, by April 30, 2012 (and every even-numbered year thereafter), twenty-four hours of state approved real estate continuing education courses. Of these 24 hours, six must be in what the DBR refers to as “core” classes. These core classes include the following state approved courses:
- Agency: Rhode Island law defining relationships between licensees and consumers
- Rhode Island real estate license law
- Landlord-tenant law
- Contract law
- Fair housing
- Lead hazard mitigation or other environmental issues pertaining to real property
- Local ordinances and regulations pertaining to residential real estate
- Financing the purchase of real estate
- Ethical considerations in real estate transactions.
As a licensed real estate agent, it would seem that you already have knowledge about every one of the subjects presented in these core classes. Apparently the state wants you to be near expert level in six hours worth (2) of them every time you renew your real estate license. In addition to the core classes, a total of 18 hours must be completed in “elective” courses. For these courses you can choose from a wide array of options to increase your expertise in specific areas of interest to you. A sampling of these elective courses from one real estate school includes:
- Basics of Real Estate Taxation
- Cracking the Code of Ethics
- Foreclosures Demystified
- Foundations of Real Estate Finance
- From Contract to Keys: the Mortgage Process
- Going Green: the Environmental Movement in Real Estate
- Business Planning for Real Estate Professionals
- Listing and Selling HUD Homes
- Today's MLS: New Paradigms for Success.
Now, what if you try to just sneak by without taking the required 24 hours of continuing education requirements in Rhode Island? Well, first of all, you have to provide continuing education documentation with your license renewal. This documentation must verify your completion of the entire 24 hours of CE courses. So, you would have to counterfeit such documentation to get your renewal. Rhode Island will revoke all real estate licenses if they do not meet the CE requirements, or are found out to have fraudulent documentation. Reinstatement of the license would incur fines of $1,000.00 per license law violation. Let's see: not completing the CE courses is one violation; providing misleading documentation is another; violation real estate ethics could be a third. Wouldn't it be easier, and cheaper to just do the continuing education requirements long before the April 30th deadline? I thought you might agree.
Now, real estate continuing education conjures up visions of long hours on hard chairs in stuffy classrooms listening to platonic monotone presentations by less than exciting class instructors, doesn't it? This often comes at exorbitant fees to boot. There is an option that you might want to consider as you contemplate renewing your license this year. That option is online real estate continuing education. Rhode Island, as well as all 49 other states, has certified certain online real estate education providers to offer continuing education courses which the state recognizes to fulfill your CE needs. As a matter of fact, the elective courses cited above were chosen from the elective courses offered by one of these sites, theceshop.com. The advantages of taking your CE courses online are numerous:
- You “attend” classes at home, at your office, or down at the local pub if that's where you are comfortable. You choose the place.
- You attend classes at 8 AM, 8 PM, or 2 in the morning if you want. The websites are available to you 24-7. You choose the time.
- You select from a wide variety of electives, not just the scant few offered at most locations.
- Most sites offer a “package deal” with all the course requirements included for your state at a very reasonable price.
- You complete the courses on your own schedule, not on the arbitrary time frame given by a local instructor.
- You can retake the final test as many times as you want, either to pass it or just to get a better score than the previous one.
Real Estate continuing education need not be a burden that you must complete just to renew your license. In fact, by using an online real estate school, you just might find that you will actually learn something from the CE courses that might help you in your chosen career. Perhaps you will discover some little nugget of wisdom in the relaxed atmosphere of online CE that you would have missed in the other, more mundane classroom experience. A little nugget that might just enhance your bottom line. Now, wouldn't that be a nice result for completing the Rhode Island state continuing education requirements? Go ahead. Check out the online schools. Get going on your CE courses. April 30th is just around the corner!