Body of Knowledge in Residential Real Estate
Posted: 1996 ~ Reviewed 2005


This is a statement of what the residential real estate practitioner needs to know or be able to do in order to practice competently. The body of knowledge below was developed by researching similar task analysis documents and curricula of real estate educational programs (including university real estate research centers). The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Education Committee appointed a group of REALTORS® to develop a draft model based on this research. The model was sent by survey to approximately 300 real estate practitioners and educators for validation; below reflects the outcome of that validation survey.

The COMPETENCY area is indicated in bold, the TASK area is immediately below the competency and the individual TASKS are bulleted. Have you mastered these competencies? If not, designations courses are geared to teach you how to perform all these tasks — check them out.
Sales Process
Identify spheres of influence
Develop a referral network
Telephone techniques
Develop a farm or business base
Use contact management databases
Work with expired listings and FSBOs


Hold an open house
Develop and use a personal presentation program
Show a property
Establish property price
Make a listing presentation
Present offers
Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
Create advertising
Create a direct mail campaign
Develop a marketing plan for a property
Handle competing offers
Research a property

Customer and Client Service
Build trust with client
Qualify buyers /sellers, (needs, wants, financial)
Counsel seller / buyer on home buying process
Communicate with seller and buyer
Negotiation skills
Transaction management, contract to closing
Knowledge of home financing

Legal and Regulatory

Professional Standards
Comply with NAR Code of Ethics
Comply with NAR professional standards
Understand arbitration and mediation process
Understand and comply with state rules and regulations

Fair Housing
Understand and comply with fair housing laws
Understand and comply with Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement (VAMA)
Understand and comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Brokerage Relationships
Understand and comply with the law of agency
Explain agency relationships to a seller or buyer
Understand employment agreements
Understand and comply with antitrust law
Recognize and disclose a closed business arrangement

Understand and complete applicable contracts, agreements and forms
Handle clauses and contingencies
Understand and comply with applicable escrow and trust fund requirements
Avoid unauthorized practice of law

Understand and comply with appropriate environmental laws
Locate qualified environmental professionals
Know consequences of failure to comply


Assess individual technological needs
Select appropriate hardware

Assess individual technological needs
Select appropriate software
Tools: Contact management, word processing, presentations, Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA), database management, spread sheet, accounting, financial management, etc.

Assess individual communication system needs
Select appropriate communications systems
Tools: On-line systems, cellular phones, interactive television, e-mail, voice-mail, pagers, Internet, etc.

Professional Development

Business and Personal Management
Develop goal setting and time management strategies
Maintain a professional image
Develop a personal business plan
Develop a professional contacts network
Develop problem solving skills
Develop communication skills
Develop negotiation and counseling skills
Community involvement
Continue life long learning


About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice. Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be up-to-date or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.