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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

My Costs To Maintain My Real Estate License

When I first became eligible to apply for my Maryland Real Estate Salespersons License (Feb. 2022), I began in earnest to research the costs associated with maintaining the license as a practicing buyers or sellers agent.

The first decision I made, interview with area real estate teams to be a licensed transaction coordinator rather than a buyers and/or sellers agent. Factors involved in my decision included:

  • Legal protection for my Maryland small business, QiSoftware.
  • Acquire valuable hands-on experience with real estate sales in a team environment.
  • Avoid some of the costs associated with being a real estate salesperson, i.e., insurance, MLS fees, membership fees, etc.
  • Paycheck lower however guaranteed.

Though I interviewed with two area teams for the transaction coordinator position, they really wanted me to sign up as a full-fledged buyers/sellers agent.

In my case, I felt it pointless to continue interviewing for the licensed transaction coordinator, so instead, I decided to become a referral agent with a local brokerage.

The actual costs to maintain my active real estate license as a referral agent?

Below, a snap shot from the Microsoft Money Business software I use to track all of my financial transactions (both business and personal)- for the activity associated with my Amazon Signature Visa since last November (2023). The related transactions have a green arrow in the margin.

Though I do not need a website to renew my real estate license, I did register the domain reginathomas.studio to maintain a web presence for this service area and the related marketing efforts.

The current yearly cost to renew the domain registration is shown below.

Why pay about $200 biennially to renew the license if you are only looking to refer clients? I wanted this professional license and want to keep it. I hope some day to be in a better position to use the license as I originally intended, however right now my legal concerns outweigh my desire to actually assist clients with their needs in this area.

Home ownership is perhaps one of the most expensive purchases a couple or individual will have. Legal issues can and do come up. I have done my research. Right now, I cannot afford any legal issues- I could have avoided.




Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Finally Completed The CE Courses For Real Estate License Renewal

Over the weekend, I finally completed all of the continuing education requirements to renew my Maryland Real Estate Salesperson's license.

As noted in the graphics for this post, I completed most of the courses between January 26 - 28, 2024, however came down with a stuffy nose and cold on January 30, 2024. I did very little for a whole week.

Finally, Saturday, February 10, 2024 I took the last course- (Legislative-A) DL/Maryland Legal Update.

These courses renewed my interest in doing more with real estate, however, the last course especially, renewed my concerns with the many legal actions that can be brought against licensees working in this area.

See this related post.




Sunday, January 28, 2024

Continuing Education Real Estate Courses This Weekend (Jan. 26, 2024)

On Friday, January 26, 2024 I began taking the remaining continuing education courses I need to renew my real estate license. Refer to the earlier post on this topic.

The first course, Fair Housing- DL/Diversity: Your Kaleidoscope of Clients- that I began working on Friday morning and continued into the evening. There was a lot of material offered and I checked almost every link.

This was my first time taking a course with The CE Shop, so I am going to admit there was a bit more overhead associated with this course.

The other issue I ran into- dealt with research into gender labels and their exact meanings. Unfortunately one of the questions I missed was because I still do not understand how everything is being defined.

In my defense, I would like to suggest that not all definitions on gender labels appear to be the same.

The following graphic shows my Certificate of Completion for the Fair Housing- DL/Diversity: Your Kaleidoscope of Clients and the score I received on the final exam.

When I began taking the final, I noticed I had 1000 chances to pass the final exam. I passed the first time with the 85 score, however, had no opportunity to up the score with subsequent retries. I was also a little surprised about how long it took me to complete the course and final exam.

The second course taken this weekend (all day Saturday), Ethics-D DL/Maryland Real Estate Code of Ethics was a long course. A lot of emphasis was put on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of The National Association of Realtors®. I had the NAR PDF link in one of my browsers all day and probably should credit a correct answer on the final exam to this fact.

The following graphic shows my certificate of completion and the passing score of 95 for the ethics course.

The following illustration shows the remaining courses I will take hopefully this week to satisfy my continuing education requirements.

If you are like me and your first real estate license renewal is approaching, and you also need continuing education course credits, I would not wait until the last minute. Those who have renewed their licenses at least once, probably know this.




Saturday, January 20, 2024

All Ready To Complete Continuing Education For Real Estate License Renewal

In February, it will be two years since I took the Maryland and National real estate exams- which were required to obtain my Maryland Real Estate Salespersons License.

As noted in the image above- showing my license pocket card, my license expires on April 21, 2024.

I plan on renewing the license even though I signed up as a referral agent (also means a fully licensed real estate salesperson) and have never had any sales.

In Maryland, licensed real estate salespersons must complete continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.

The following illustration shows the continuing education requirements for Maryland agents (salespersons) and associate brokers who were licensed before October 1, 2023.

In 2022, after becoming a licensed agent I searched for online courses to ensure all of my educational requirements were taken care of by the time of my renewal date (April 21, 2024). I found some free courses and my brokerage offered a couple.

Noted below, the Maryland Real Estate Commission's (MREC) records of the coursework I completed in 2022, which counts as continuing education credits towards my license renewal.

So why did I not complete the continuing education requirements before now (or the not-to-distant future)? Busy and I found all of the free courses I was going to find.

One free course I signed up for- required in-person attendance at a site in Northern Virginia and I had to cancel at the last minute. The other courses I took in 2022 were virtual.

So on January 2, 2024, I pulled out my credit card and signed up with The CE Shop to take the remaining courses I need for license renewal.

Your question: "So today is January 20, 2024 and you still have not opened any of the courses you have paid for?" My Response: You would not believe the many things that have happened since January 2, 2024. Mostly to do with my sites and the new year, but there have been one or two other issues I have had to deal with.

I hope to complete the continuing education coursework I need for license renewal by the end of the first week in February, given no other distractions.




Thursday, May 04, 2023

Now I Remember Why...

Since the beginning of the year (2023), I have had a number of problems with my new real estate site.

I installed the core site area on a subdomain (realty.reginathomas.studio), because I decided to use the WordPress CMS.

I used Wordpress quite a bit in the past, however in 2011 decided the program's programmers changed too many core features for new releases.

In addition, my web hosting services regularly requested I allow the updates for outdated Wordpress installations. This meant I had to stop what I was doing and "fix" any problems that arose because of a new Wordpress update.

This was very time consuming, so I moved on to Thingamablog.

The main site (reginathomas.studio) area is a Thingamablog. I use the main site area as a blog and the subdomain (realty.reginathomas.studio) to maintain property listings.

When (March 2022), I initially installed Wordpress for my new real estate site- the Wordpress version was 5.9.2.

In March 2023, when I began having issues with the automatic updates installed on my site, I changed the wp-config.php to disable the automatic Wordpress updates. See the following illustration.

My current Wordpress version is 6.1.1 and no longer works. The latest release of Wordpress is 6.2.

I spent most of yesterday researching this problem with no luck. It was almost as if someone else was online at the same time changing my .htaccess file as I was trying different options. The error is a 403 code which is normally very easy to correct.

Long story short, I have updated most of the links to the Wordpress site to the blog on the main area. When I stop screaming (get off my site), I will look at this issue again.




Monday, September 12, 2022

The First Twelve Days of September 2022

It has been a busy start to September 2022. Some of the things I have been doing, include:

  • Corrected the problems with my Instagram demos, see here and here.
  • Corrected an issue with the Zillow Zestimate API demo.
  • Filmed cooking videos for my Youtube channel. I have a lot of editing to do on the videos.
  • Began working on a new tool using the Youtube API that provides earnings for specified Youtube channels.
  • Researched Youtube Vloggers.
  • Completed 1.5 hours of real estate continuing education (Fair Housing) for my license renewal in April 2024.
  • Researching ways to make money online. Wanted to understand whether surveys were a viable source of income. Made about $20.00 in a little over a week, however given my other time constraints, feel it is more of a burden than I can handle. That said, one can earn money online, doing surveys.
  • Went to the markets (Costco, Safeway, Food Lion) on separate days.
  • Finished a book I borrowed from the library, "Cry of the Halidon" by Robert Ludlum. Thought I had read everything he had ever written.
  • The $10,000 five year CD with my business bank matured, so closed it out and opened a new CD with another of my banks. The rate of 3.50% APY on a five year term CD was too hard to pass up at the other bank. My business and personal banks are large institutions with many branches. For most things like opening or closing accounts I have to make an appointment at one of the branches. My online banks do not have branches, however I love the fact I can open a new account without leaving home.
  • Noticed tributes for Serena.
  • Watching some of the many tributes for the Queen of England.




Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Blog Dilemma With My New Real Estate Site

I built my new real estate site using WordPress, incorporating several plugins to further one of the goals of the business plan, sourced marketing.


Sunday, June 12, 2022

More RE Continuing Education..

In the United States, real estate career professionals must meet continuing educational requirements for license renewal. Educational related areas are chosen to ensure compliance with current federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

In Maryland, the Maryland Real Estate Commission (MREC) maintains the education records for each licensee for the individual's two year license term.


Monday, May 02, 2022

Strawberry Filled Almond Buttermilk Cake With Almond Buttercream Icing

I have been so busy setting up online resources for my real estate activities, I have had little time for anything else. Based on these recent activities, I added two items to my wishlist:

  


The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens will enable the wide angle room or exterior property shots that are popular with real estate photographers and agents. I use an adaptor with my Canon EOS M50 camera which allows any Canon EF lens to be attached.

The Canon EOS M50 comes with software which greatly enhances the quality of my photos. Combined with Canon EF series lenses, I am able to capture great photos.

Over the last two weeks, the only other thing I have had time for is baking. Sunday, before last, I made an almond, strawberry filled buttermilk two layer cake with almond butter cream icing. This cake was so good, I told myself I would miss it when it was all gone. Every time I lifted the glass dome from the cake plate, I could smell the wonderful almond extract that I had been very generous with- when adding the ingredients.

I used the basic buttermilk cake recipe from this post, however made the following substitutions:

  • Rather than ¾ C (or 6oz) of Buttermilk, I used 7oz for this version.
  • Rather than pure vanilla extract I used just under a tablespoon of pure almond extract.

For the strawberries, I used fresh- which I sliced, de-stemmed and macerated in pure cane sugar for a day or so. The almond buttercream icing:

  • ⅜ C Unsalted Butter or 1 whole stick plus 2 tablespoons, room temperature
  • 2+ C of Powered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1½ Teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract

Whip the butter for about 5 minutes before adding the other ingredients- to taste. Note, I made the cake around 5:00 in the evening on Sunday (earlier, busy shooting photos for my real estate profiles) and after it cooled, let it sit in the pans in the microwave until the next morning. I then made the buttercream icing and put everything together.

Last week, I was out shopping for the basics, when I came across the wood cake stand shown in the photos below. Also shown below, the very similar cake stand I found on Amazon.

 

The cake stand I purchased, did not come with the glass dome and quite frankly was under $20 from Walmart. I wanted to show how the stand looked- covered.




Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Real Estate Pocket Card & Profile Photo

Yesterday, my brokerage office sent over a copy of the PDF file, the Maryland Real Estate Commission (MREC) issued to my broker, providing a copy of my license and pocket card.


Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Mostly, Coming Together...

Over the last two weeks I have worked a number of projects, mostly related to becoming a real estate agent.

  • Last Tuesday, had a job interview with a local real estate team. Having problems in that- though I apply for the non-commissioned positions, they want the commissioned sales agent. Looking into a referral agent type affiliation.
  • Reviewing a number of invites to apply for positions in both the real estate and software development areas.
  • On Wednesday, attended the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Real Estate Forecast Summit via Zoom.
  • Last Thursday, out taking photos of area model homes to use on my new website.
  • Most of the weekend, tweaking different areas of my new web site. WordPress with three real estate related plugins.
  • Setting up related social media accounts for the new site, see illustration below.
  • Yesterday, minor research for my online shop.



Monday, March 21, 2022

Establishing a Real Estate Web Presence

It has been awhile since I have done any work with WordPress. Q's Wire was a WordPress blog that went online in the spring of 2005, and was retired in 2020 or so.

Over the weekend I began researching options for establishing a web presence for my real estate interests. The first major hurdle involved my current domain registrations and could any of those domains be used.




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