Agent Essentials

Shop Talk - The Real Estate Agent Podcast

7: Jill Malloy

Shop Talk Episode 7 - Jill Malloy
November 7, 2018

Jill Malloy, National Real Estate Expert at The CE Shop, talks about staying ahead of state requirements, the benefits of online learning, and what constitutes expertise.

At the end of my second year, my husband paid me the biggest compliment. He quit his job.

Jill Malloy

About This Episode

Jill Malloy started her career on a whim. She initially took a break from being a telephone operator to to support her husband as he pursued a real estate career, but she ended up loving the flexibility and never went back.

Today she’s the National Real Estate Expert at The CE Shop, tasked with coordinating a team of Subject Matter Experts to ensure that every course has the content it needs. In this episode, Jill talks about how she stays ahead of new state requirements, why online learning is the best learning, and how new agents can get started on the right foot.

Episode Transcript

JON: Hello and welcome to Shop Talk: The Real Estate Show. I'm Jon Forisha and joining me this week is Jill Malloy, the National Real Estate Expert at The CE Shop. Thanks for joining me, Jill.

JILL: Well thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

JON: It's great to have you here. So let's start with your background. How did you get started in real estate?

JILL: Well, I would love to tell you how I was thinking entrepreneurial. I'd love to say that, but unfortunately the truth is that like so many people who get started in this business, I really didn't have a grasp of what the business angle was. I didn't understand that it was a business. All I knew was getting a license. That's what I really understood and I got the license because my husband was a really good salesperson in another industry and he decided he wanted to get a real estate license and I knew that if I wanted him to go through the course and really go all the way through to the end, it would be easier for him if I took the course with him. It wasn't even really a course. It turned out nothing was required and way back then I had to read a book and he quit reading the book.

JON: Wow. So you got your first license and then you didn't really have a plan. You were just doing it to help your husband?

JILL: Well, initially I was, but he never got licensed because he never finished reading the book. He never went and took the test, so I wanted to take a test because I just read a whole book and there was a test to be taken. I guess there's that academic in me and then the really horrifying part, Jon, is you know that with most testing services, if you pass, they'll tell you your grade. So there I want to know. Well, of course, I believe the academic in me wanted to know, but instead I joined the real estate firm, the one my husband had planned to join, and started figuring out what the job really was.

JON: Wow. So you just went right in.

JILL: Well, what else was I going to do? I had no idea what the job was. I had to figure it out somehow.

JON: And what were you doing before you got your license?

JILL: Oh, see, most people aren't going to even remember that this was a job once. I was a long distance telephone operator. I sold telephone service over the telephone. So that's what I did before I got this real estate license.

JON: And I assume that career didn't play into real estate too much.

JILL: You know, it probably could have. If I would have understood the connection between it. Truthfully, I didn't take advantage of what I learned at the phone company about helping people make decisions and a closing for the order. I didn't use it because I didn't see the relationship.

JON: That is the hard part sometimes, just figuring out how the pieces go together. So your title now is the National Real Estate Expert. How did you get from getting a license not knowing what you were doing to now you're the national real estate expert?

JILL: Can I laugh at the title? I just find it so overwhelming. Really. I do, but the truth is that I sold real estate for a while and I discovered what I didn't know at first and that was that it was absolutely a wonderful career. It was a career that allowed me some flexibility of time. It was a career that allowed me to make more than I had ever thought of, making a lot more than I ever made at any telephone company. But I found myself in an office that was going through some internal trouble and by that time had gotten a broker's license. So they asked me would I manage it for awhile and I did, I managed it for a while and during that period of time I determined that I don't like management. I was able to figure that out. So they asked me did I want to manage permanently and I said no. And they said, well let me send you to management school. So I went to management school. It was really nice and afterwards I could tell them why I didn't like management. It's good they sent me for all that. But after that they asked me if I thought I would like to train agents and I thought, huh, maybe let's try that. And so throughout my career I would both sell and do classes. I'm in real estate for other agents and it just took on a life of its own and I guess many, many years later, it landed me in really a, this is a great position. I get to work with other real estate training and education professionals throughout the country. You get to collaborate. I get to work with a curriculum team with some of the best courses I have ever seen anywhere. It's hard to figure out how I got here in the end. I ended up in real estate education and then here was this wonderful opening and it is so perfect to work with a team like this.

JON: Wow. Sounds like it really worked out. It seems like it seems like you sort of had just a trial and error approach to your career and you got to where you need it to be.

JILL: Well, there we go, and without the one error who knows where I would've been because it's the tide and if you're referring to the phone company, um, they were good for the time being. It was a great job for the one year I was there.

JON: Why did you choose to work with The CE Shop?

JILL: I was a big fan before I ever came to work for The CE Shop. Huge fan.

JON: Oh, so you did already know of them.

JILL: Oh yeah. Listen, I was with two major real estate firms in the Washington metropolitan area. I probably shouldn't say this out loud. I won't say any other names but I will say both of these had a different partner who was doing their online training for them. While I was in the position of being there, a head of their training department made the switch over to The CE Shop because it was so different. So let me tell you, the first time I took an online course, it was not from The CE Shop and like so many other people still think of online training. I thought, okay, I can get through this. I have to get my credits and I let the time wind down on me. I'll just make it through. We read and answer, read and answer and when you think about the capability of an online class to make it fun and interesting and that's not what I had seen and suddenly when I saw what The CE Shop had in terms of classes that made them much more interactive. That made them much more interesting. I felt very strongly that my firms needed that as their online training, so most of the firms that we switched over to The CE Shop and I was a huge fan.

JON: You already mentioned some of the things that you do as the National Real Estate Expert, but could you elaborate a bit? I mean you said you work with the curriculum team, you work with regional experts.

JILL: Yeah. It's really kind of fun because when you're the training director at a real estate firm, which was what I had been before, you do a lot of the writing of your own courses. You become the research person, right? You deliver courses and you think you're doing all right until you see people who are trained as course writers. So first off, what I get to deal with, what would these people who we serve want? The answer is really interesting fun courses. Then what I get to do is I get to look at the courses for content just to make sure the content's good because I've got the real estate background, so I look at content and it's not really even editing. Someone else will do the editing and the fact is, I told you I laugh at that national real estate expert. I love the title, but it is erroneous. Nobody can be a national real estate expert. Every state has its own laws, every school does things differently. So one of the things that is really fun for me is to find people in other states who have the expertise, the knowledge of their laws, the knowledge of the protocol, the knowledge of the contracts that are used in their area and work with those people. They're called our subject matter experts and we don't have all that we need, but we have an army of subject matter experts who are experts in their own states. And I get to interact with them and say, okay, tell me something. How does Arizona look at this? What are the big issues in real estate agency law, which has to do with who you represent and the transaction to the licensee. How should they be looking out for the best interest of the buyer should they be looking out for the best interest of the seller. And each state has treated that law very differently. And so in order to have a good understanding of it, you are almost compelled to work with someone who works in that market. And I say that like it's a task. It's no task. Real estate people are nice, they are people people, I really have the opportunity to look for people who know their stuff, do a good job in the state in which they serve, and then let them help us and I get to give them money for that. And free courses.

JON: Sounds like a pretty nice setup. Why do state requirements vary so much?

JILL: That's because state laws differ so much in each state. First off real estate, think about it. It's a very local business. It's not nationally or federally regulated to any great degree. It is state regulated and because of that and because the people who practice real estate and each state need to know their own specific state law. It is going to be related to that state. Everything from I mentioned agency, but there are other issues that are so state specific, like how much continuing education do you need and what topics in order to renew a license, what does it take to become the broker in a state and be able to run your own real estate firm. And that differs in every single state and each having their own real estate licensing body, whether they call it a commission or they call it a division or they call it a department of real estate. Each state has its own and they make decisions that are best for that state. Water rights are different in every state. So when you talk about the right to use the water, if you're from the east coast, you think of that one way and if you're from an arid state, oh my gosh, it's entirely different.

JON: Yeah, that makes sense. So what would you say is the ultimate goal of a real estate course?

JILL: Depends. Some real estate courses that we make, the ultimate goal from the viewpoint of the learner is to be able to pass a real estate exam so that they can get a license and that would be a licensing course and each state decides on a minimum basis of knowledge that people should have in order to get a license in that state. And then most states work with a testing service that they communicate with what their minimum requirements are and they create questions that are surrounding those minimum requirements of knowledge. And so would that course. It is important that people know what's going to be tested and they know the answers to the information and it's not just memorization, it's understanding concepts so that they can answer questions which are situational in nature. So I would say that's what's important with any licensing course, but when it comes to continuing education, then what you want to look at is how will it make that agent better at serving their clients? And so you're looking for something that actually gives them an opportunity to improve either their skill or knowledge level with respect to serving clientele.

JON: And are you basing how helpful something will be for a real estate agent just based on your expertise and that of your subject matter experts?

JILL: I think the licensing authority in each state has something to say about that. Core courses. And that means that these are essential elements that everyone must know. It's not unlike a state to include fair housing as a part of that. It's not unlike a state to include real estate regulations, especially ones that have been passed recently as a part of their environmental issues. So things that help you to help your clients. It's not unlike a state to include contract law in those things that are considered core. But there are elective courses that many states have so that not every topic is mandatory, but most states want that to be something that you can show the benefit to the consumer, not to the agent, for example, it's my job, Jon, to help you find a home that you want, then to write your purchase offer and help you to negotiate the best terms that you can, a course in negotiating skill that would help me learn how to do a better job for you would be approvable in a state. So the state give us guidelines as to what's improvable.

JON: A lot of education providers will come out with courses and then not really update them or go a long time without updating them. What would you say is the importance of having up-to-date courses?

JILL: Okay. It's two fold. And again, I look at our continuing education courses and I look at our licensing courses and post-licensing courses. The problem is that people don't pass the examinations and naturally we want to help them do that. But that's not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing that I see happening is if you give bad information in a course, an agent does something thinking that they were perfectly legal if they are doing what is right for people and they're not. No matter how many disclaimers you see in a course, it's still imperative that we make every effort to stay up to date and subject matter experts who go to meetings where new laws are announced before they're even effective and they let us know about it. That's an essential ingredient for us. Subject matter experts who help keep us right on point.

JON: Yeah, that's definitely essential to staying ahead of those kinds of changes and in being able to offer a course in time for those changes to go into effect. Right?

JILL: Yeah. It really is. Generally speaking, not always, but generally speaking, when a state has a new law or regulation coming, there is some time between the time that they say this is what it's going to be and the time that takes effect. The challenges that we face are when states make that a very short period of time so that we practically have no time to make the turnaround and change that is necessary. But most states give us plenty of warning that, you know, as of June 30th or June first or July first of the year, this is what it's going to look like. And if they tell me that in February, I'm fine.

JON: Could you have a real estate education company without experts?

JILL: Now maybe you know my answer. But the truth is some people do, how I don't know. I don't know what else they do because I couldn't, you know, like I said, my title is really nice but laughable because the real experts are the subject matter experts that we're able to reach out to in the states and we're able to lean on them and we look for people who are involved with their state real estate licensing agencies who are involved in the actual business of real estate. So they understand legislation regulation, but they also understand protocol and practice.

JON: Do you have an example of the worst case scenario of a bad real estate course?

JILL: You know, I don't have one that I know, but when I think of the worst example, it wouldn't be a course that it's not even having someone fail an exam. It would be a course that gave bad information that caused a real estate licensee to do harm to the consumer. That would be a bad real estate course. That would be a worst case scenario in my mind if you have someone who's got good intentions doing bad things because of bad information.

JON: Yeah. Basically the opposite of what we're striving for when we make real estate courses. Right. And so what does somebody have to do to become the instructor of record?

JILL: Once again, it depends. I've just gone through that process in Utah and then you talk, for example, I had to go pass the entire sales exam that a real estate salesperson would, but with a higher score than they would in Utah. I had to get a minimum of 80 percent on both parts. So on the general real estate exam and on the state real estate exam. And that meant I had to learn the laws of Utah. On the other hand, there are some states where the fact that I've taught for so long in Virginia, Maryland, and the district of Columbia, I may able to submit those credentials and actually simply attest to the fact that I have read below and I am acceptable as an instructor there. So it really does depend on the state. Everything again is so state specific. It also depends on whether it's continuing Ed. or licensing courses.

JON: Do you find the licensing courses to be more strict?

JILL: Generally speaking? Yes. And when I say generally speaking, some continuing ed courses, they are looking for specific expertise in courses that I might be committed to be the instructor of record and one state I wouldn't be in another just because I haven't practically done the things they're talking about. No matter what the knowledge level is. On the other hand, with pre-licensing, I find that that's probably the stricter overall. I know some states require me to actually get a license, not just be approved. They require me to go in and get a license to be a pre-licensing instructor. I carry a license in Virginia to instruct those broker and salesperson pre-licensing classes and they're very stringent on the requirements to get that license. But I renew it every two years just like I do my real estate broker's license in Virginia.

JON: So I imagine you have quite a few licenses in different states.

JILL: I know someone who has more. He's got 49.

JON: Oh my gosh.

JILL: One of our best clients by the way, but I won't say his name without his permission.

JON: Yeah. I actually think I've heard the sales team talk about this person. That's crazy. Wow.

JILL: Forty nine licenses. I should've asked him for permission to use his name. What he really loves about the company is yes, we're able to let him where he is able to take courses that will satisfy more than one state. He doesn't have to take separate hours for each of those stages. Right. And for that, he is very grateful and I think that for me also was a big deal before I started working for The CE Shop. Honestly, I had my other licenses and if I could get more bang for my buck, it was a good thing to do.

JON: Yeah. Reciprocity is great. Saves a lot of time.

JILL: Say you were working up in the DC or in the Missouri area, but you were working in Kansas and Missouri and you're working, I don't know, maybe even Tennessee for your work in that tristate area and each one has different requirements. Well, if you can beat more than one state's requirement with one class, we do that, so we check into what you can do with it and you take the course once and we'll issue you both certificates for it.

JON: Yeah, that's really nice for those agents. All right, so looking at the pre side of things, for people that are just getting into real estate, just starting their careers, what would you say are three essential things that a new agent should do in their first year of licensure?

JILL: The first thing that I'd probably say is to assess their own inventory, but when I say inventory, what I mean is real estate is a business of networking. It really is. People like to do business with other people that they know and trust, especially when you're talking about something as big as the purchase of real estate, it's especially important that they want to know that they can trust the person helping them so if they know you beforehand or if they know you in something other than your real estate career, that helps the trust to where I would say you need to assess your own business inventory, but that includes your sphere of influence. That also includes your knowledge of things like the paperwork in business and not know how they deal with the contracts would be horrible, would be frightening, and yet I'm going to tell you that that has happened in real estate in some firms, that people were able to get started without ever even reading how the contracts are formed. So assessing your own inventory, which includes your knowledge base, your sphere of influence, and your tools. Like in today's world, you really need some sort of client relationship tool. They help you keep in touch with your clients and customers on a regular basis. The second thing that I say is essential is a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Not everything you're going to do in building a business will be comfortable for you, especially if you think of someone who's just moved from the east coast to the west coast and they don't have a large sphere of influence yet. And part of what they need to do is begin to reach out and develop a sphere of influence. And that can be challenging for some folks. So the willingness to do what is uncomfortable but the right thing to do. When you're in business for yourself, it's about doing the right thing. You can spend a lot of time making color-coded wonderful maps. You can spend a lot of time dwelling around in multiple listing systems and looking at properties. But if you don't develop relationships, you've got no one to help with all of your knowledge. Third, Gosh, you know, what third, I'd probably say as much as I didn't do it, trying to take a conscious stab at developing some sort of business plan, some sort of realistic business plan that allows you to juggle your time between prospecting, finding the people to do business with. I'm interviewing with people for the job so that you know, you want it and they know they want you before you have a relationship and then actually doing the job, which is often a marketing job, and often a negotiating job. So I would say that those three things are probably the essential is assessing the inventory, willingness to do the uncomfortable, and the business plan.

JON: That's a great answer. This is my last question. If you could go back to the beginning of your career, what is one thing you would have done differently?

JILL: Know what I was getting into.

JON: I thought that's what you would say.

JILL: Yes, having a better understanding before starting. It turned out to be wonderful, but I would have a better understanding of it. I was really well into my third year before I felt like I could take a breath and know that we were going to be okay. At the end of my first year, my husband paid me the best compliment you could have ever paid anyone. I'm sorry. I said at the end of the first year was actually at the end of the second year selling real estate. He paid me the best compliment. He quit his job.

JON: Wow. That's a lot of faith in you.

JILL: It really was. It was a compliment, but it was scary because you're in business for yourself and you don't have a base salary and I'm not going to say that no agents do, but I had no base and he had been my backup plan and now after two years in the business he said, hey, you're doing fine. I don't need a job. I've always wanted to have a business, and he took a couple of years off, went to school and then started the business of his own and it was scary. A business plan would have made that less scary for me.

JON: All right, well that brings us to the end, so thank you so much for joining me.

JILL: Well, thanks for having me today. I really appreciate it.