Selling salespeople: Long-time Realtor Sue Britton teaches the trade

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A native of St. Louis, Sue Britton moved to Cape Girardeau in 1969 and began her real estate career in 1975. She is a real estate agent for Century 21 Key Realty. In 2006, she opened the Cape Girardeau Excellence School of Real Estate, the only realty school in the area. She wears a few hats, acting as a personal assistant to Jane Clark, a Missouri licensed broker-salesperson, and the owner/administrator and instructor of the real estate school. During Sue's leisure time, you can find her and her husband on their 2003 Anniversary Edition Ultra Classic Harley-Davidson.

Business Today: How long have you been involved in real estate?

Britton: I have been licensed as a Missouri Real Estate Broker-Salesperson since 1975.

BT: When did you begin the Cape Girardeau Excellence School of Real Estate?

SB: November 2006.

BT: What prompted you to open the school?

SB: As long as I can remember, I had a vision of owning a real estate school and the opportunity presented itself last year.

BT: Could you explain a little about the program?

SB: The Missouri Real Estate Commission requirements include completion of two courses and I offer both at the school, a pre-exam course and Missouri Real Estate practice course. The salesperson pre-exam is a 48-hour course and includes subjects as types or real estate and the market, property and the law real and personal, concepts of homeownership, laws of agency and types of agency, relationships, real estate license laws, antitrust laws, listing and buyers agency agreements, estates in land, forms of ownership, trusts, condo laws, legal descriptions and surveying, liens on property, contract laws, transfer of title, title records, financing principles and practice, lease agreements, property management, appraisal process, zoning, fair housing, environmental issues and closing the real estate transaction. The Missouri Real Estate Practice course is a 24-hour course and some of the subjects are listing property, pricing property, types of seller agency agreements, buyer representation and types of buyer agency agreement, elements of both seller and buyer agency agreements, compensation, cooperating with other licensees, obligation to clients and customers and role of the appraiser, types of financing, estimating closing costs, contract, earnest money and how to avoid misrepresentation. My classroom is very comfortable and my students seem to enjoy the information in the courses and continually comment how fast the classroom hours pass by. With both completion certificates and a passing grade from the testing center, the student can obtain a profession license placed with a Missouri brokerage firm. Even through the purpose of the school is to assist a person to become a licensee, there have been people take my courses who just wish to get an insight into the details of the real estate transaction.

BT: What is most rewarding about it?

SB: Watching my students understand the material, pass the test and go forward to enjoy the business, meet people and become successful. I teach subjects such as contract law, agency relationships, types of ownership, appraisal process, contracting, closing the transaction and many more related subjects. However, day-to-day real estate is a people business, which makes it a very enjoyable profession.

BT: What can be stressful?

SB: No stress at all. Actually, I find it very fulfilling. I have made a commitment to provide a high level of instruction to my students.

BT: Approximately how many students come through?

SB: Class size range from 10 students to 22 students.

BT: What is the age range?

SB: My youngest student was 19 and the oldest was 74.

BT: What is it about real estate that keeps you going?

SB: Visualize a profession that no two days are ever alike. In the real estate business you are constantly meeting new people -- buyers and sellers, lenders, appraisers, surveyors, etc. Every transaction is as different as the needs of the people involved. Still, another perk is you gain long lasting friendships. These new friends rely on you and trust you for years to come to help them with their real estate needs. They will also call you when something exciting happens in their life like a new job or new baby. The stranger you simply met one day can become a friend for life.

BT: Do you think real estate is an expanding market?

SB: I do -- especially for the person who intends to treat real estate sales as their full time profession.

BT: There has been a recent show of a nationwide real estate slowdown. Do you think it will bounce back soon?

SB: The Cape area market and our immediate outlying area market have historically been stable. We are very fortunate to live here. We a definitely a "home-ownership" community and the interest rates are still reasonable and affordable.

Meet Sue Britton

Age: 59

Position: Owner of the Cape Girardeau Excellence School of Real Estate

Experience: 32 years Broker-Salesperson, Cape Girardeau Board of Realtors President -- 2003, Cape Girardeau Board of Realtors -- Realtor of the Year 1999, GRI designation (Graduate, Realtor Institute), Served on the Statewide Professional Standards Committee

Personal: Husband, Ricky Bowden, Daughter Kimberly Jones, son-in-law Greg Jones, and grandsons Eric, 15, Austin, 13, Ryan, 9, Noah, 6, and Nathan, 3.

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