Personal Assistants: Learning to Excel

REBAC course gives assistants leg up into the world of real estate support services.

February 1, 2002

“When I hired my first personal assistant, Jim Brown, seven years ago, I did it because I was so busy I needed immediate help. The last thing I had time for was to give him training. I wished then that I’d had a place I could have sent my assistant to quickly learn the basics of real estate sales,” says John Q. Podesta of Great Southern Realty in North Palm Beach, Fla.

It was a long wait, but in November 2001, Podesta saw his idea become a reality. At the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Annual Conference and Expo, he officially launched the training course he helped write for real estate assistants. The two-day “Real Estate Professional Assistant”course, which is being licensed to REALTOR® associations and real estate schools by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, helps assistants gain confidence and learn to anticipate the needs of the real estate practitioner, says Podesta. For example, an assistant familiar with real estate terminology and the information contained in a listing agreement or purchase contract might be much more likely to catch errors that could later stall the transaction.

The course also emphasizes such important legal issues as the roles of licensed and unlicensed assistants, fair housing laws, and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. “Knowing what’s expected of them helps keep assistants out of legal difficulties and gives them the confidence to do the level of work that will help your business grow,” says Podesta. He’s living proof that his ideas work. His assistant of seven years ago is now his partner—and they’re in the market for a new assistant.

Ask the Experts

If you want advice on hiring or working more productively with your current assistants, here’s your chance to ask the experts. E-mail your question to and receive free, personal advice from the REALTORS® in our story. Please include your name, company name, and city and state.

Mariwyn Evans

Mariwyn Evans is a former REALTOR® Magazine writer and editor, covering both residential brokerage and commercial real estate topics.

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