Many people who are considering joining in-person real estate courses or online real estate courses are cross shopping and scanning their options. Most future real estate agents are doing their research homework by looking at different programs and comparing them.
Choosing the best real estate courses
When you’re about to start a career in real estate and choosing a pre-licensing education provider, here are some things to ask yourself.
- Is the school approved? Since real estate licensing happens at the state level, it’s important to go for an approved school that offers real estate courses.
- Are the real estate courses accredited? Accreditation means that the courses you will take will lead to degree credit, should you ever want to become a broker or own a business. It also tells future employers that the online real estate courses you took were legitimate. The school you’re considering needs to be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. It’s imperative that you opt for trustworthy real estate courses in order for your education to be approved.
- How long has the school that’s offering real estate courses been in business? Those that have been in business longer tend to run more smoothly. In addition, they’re likely to be more familiar with state and federal regulations. Not to mention future employers might recognize their name.
- What are the prices? After accreditations and approvals, narrow down the choices that fit your budget.
- What do the reviews look like? What have past students said about the online real estate courses? Are there many successful students who have benefited from the school’s program? What does the state regulatory or accrediting body say about the provider or its classes?
- Can you talk to an administrator? Gather all the questions you have and call the number given on the school’s website. Make sure you speak with an actual human, not just a computerized pre-recording. This is another indication of the support you’d receive.
- What real estate courses align with your personal schedule needs? Lay out and analyze your priorities. For example, if you have a family and a full-time job, you’ll need a flexible course schedule. You can choose from online real estate courses, in-classroom, or a combination of both. However, most schools only offer one type.
- What’s your learning style? How have you learned best in the past? Does the school offer its courses in learning methods such as visual, lecture, and comprehensive written text? Research the school’s delivery method. Are you able to work on your own pace, or do they have strict deadlines? Are there study groups that you can join? Are there intermittent quizzes and knowledge checkpoints during the courses, so you know you’re staying up to speed? Can you take practice exams? This comes down to how you learn, so take into account how they teach the real estate courses.
- Research and explore the course content. Does the school offer general real estate courses and state-specific content? Do they publish their own course materials? Do they craft their own curriculum? Make certain that they offer everything that your state-based licensure requires.
- Student support. Look for student support services; do they have a student service department to help your online real estate courses run flawlessly? Make sure they’re staffed by more than one person, even if the school is only online. They should have multiple contact options like phone and e-mail.
- Research the educational support. How responsive are their instructors to student inquiries and questions? How long have the instructions been with the education provider? Are the instructors also active agents or have they been in the past? Are they nationally recognized?
All in all, choose the real estate courses provider that best suits your needs as a student, make sure it works with your schedule, learning style, and budget, and will be considered legit after you graduate.
What to focus on while attending real estate courses
After you’ve chosen your education provider, the main thing to focus on is the courses’ content itself. No matter if you’re opting for in-classroom or online real estate courses, stick to the school’s established schedule or the one that you’ve developed and keep track of your progress. Whenever you don’t understand something, ask your instructors. If you want to expand your knowledge and go more in-depth, browse the world wide web for additional information that can help you better understand the concepts you’re learning about.
Most schools that offer real estate courses are also hosting prep tests, knowledge checkpoints, and quizzes, so make sure you take them very seriously. The results will help you figure out if there are any areas you need to cover again. These tests will be very useful for recapping all the notions that you’ve learned so far and make logical connections between chapters.
It’s highly recommendable to schedule your final state exam a couple of weeks after your last course. This way, you’ll allow yourself some time to go through all the information, practice answering questions, and switching your mind to exam mode. During the time between the last course and the exam day, create a realistic learning plan and recap all the lessons.
Don’t panic if you did the wrong choice. Did you decide to go with the online real estate courses and after the first few classes you’ve realized there’s no way you can motivate yourself to learn? This might indicate that you would do way better with the in-person real estate courses. The same goes if you’ve started the in-classroom real estate courses and you feel like you can’t keep up with the deadlines, make time to show up in class, and so on. Either way, keep calm and change the program to one that suits your learning style.
General details about real estate courses
As with any other type of educational programs, there are certain things you need to be prepared for when planning to attend in-person or online real estate courses.
Let’s start with the number of hours you should complete. Every state requires a different amount of credit hours; this varies from 20 to 200+ hours of classes. Most states (Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, Pennsylvania, etc.) require 60 hours of pre-licensing real estate courses. California requires 135 credit hours, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia require 75, Utah and Ohio require 120, and Texas requires 210.
Pricing also differs from school to school. As a rule of thumb, online real estate courses are slightly cheaper than in-classroom schooling. While there are no standard prices, you can expect to spend between $200 and $1,000 for attending pre-licensing real estate courses. After you’ve attended the classes, you’ll have to pay a fee to take the final state exam; depending on the state you live in, this will be between $15 and $60. Moving forward, once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll need to pay some fees for getting the license itself; the cost will be between $50 and $250. If your state requires going through a background check, there will be another $40 to $80 fee to pay.
In order to know exactly how many credit hours you need to complete, check out the requirements of the state you live in. And if you want to find out the cost of taking real estate courses in your area, browse some education providers near you and see how much they charge for the real estate pre-licensing programs.
There are many states that allow you to replace the real estate courses at any college for pre-licensing classes. Plus, multiple states let you skip the pre-licensing courses as long as you have successfully completed law school or even passed the bar exam.
Keep in mind that while most states allow online real estate courses, there some that don’t. If you live in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, or Washington DC, you won’t be able to take online real estate courses. States like Alaska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming allow only a part of the real estate courses to be attended online or via correspondence (which usually means snail mail).
Real estate courses requirements
While each state has its own requirements in order for someone to become a licensed real estate agent, there are certain commonalities. The requirements are set by the state’s real estate commission or department.
The minimum age for attending real estate courses and taking the final exam ranges from 18 to 21. For example, in Georgia, the minimum age is 21 years old, and in states like Illinois, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and many others the minimum age is 18 years old. Most states require aspiring real estate agents to be citizens of the United States or legal residents. Some states such as California, New York, Colorado, and Tennessee require a passing score between 60% and 75% to earn the real estate license. In all states, it is required to have at least a high school diploma or GED to become a licensed agent.
Background checks and fingerprints are required in many states; whether someone will pass the background check or not is subjective in each state. Numerous states such as Ohio won’t allow you to have a felony. However, every single case is analyzed for extenuating circumstances. If you’ve already attended real estate courses and earned your license in one state, most states will considerably reduce the education requirements for getting licensed in their state.
A few states have some very specific requirements. For instance, in Alabama, future real estate agents shouldn’t have had a license or application revoked or rejected in any state within the past couple of years. In the state of Indiana, you shouldn’t have been convicted of a crime indicating that you can endanger the public. Maine asks future real estate agents to bring notarize recommendations for at least three individuals stating that the license applicant has a good reputation. In Minnesota, you have to take three real estate classes, but you only need to pass the first one before taking the state exam; you must pass the remaining two classes within one year.
Clever things to do before attending real estate courses
Prior to starting your real estate courses or online real estate courses, there are some helpful things you can do. The first one is to reach out to a local or a big chain real estate brokerage. Any brokerage will be happy to talk to you if you hit them up and tell them you’re about to start real estate classes and you want to get some advice about the local market. When you start out, you know little about real estate, you have zero experience and a lot of questions. Write all your questions down and get them answered by a trustworthy brokerage in your area. This will set up a knowledge base and get you started in building a sphere of influence. Which leads us to the second advice.
Your sphere of influence can consist of the brokerages you contact, your friends, family, acquaintances, and so on. Tell everyone what you’re doing, that you’ll attend real estate courses, and that in a few months you’ll be able to help them out if they have any real estate needs. Get in the back of peoples’ minds so that when you’re licensed, and they’ll need real estate help, they’ll hopefully reach out to you.
Search the internet for anything related to real estate. There’s no wasted knowledge; anything you learn about the industry before attending the online real estate courses is going to be extremely useful. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all the terminology. The point isn’t to understand everything before you start real estate courses, but to familiarize yourself with some concepts, so you’ll be ahead of the game when you go into real estate school. You’ll have a frame of reference when you’re introduced to those concepts and that will give you a major advantage.
Save some money. As real estate is a 100% commission-based career, you need to know how to manage your money and have a cushion for when you’ll start your career. Having some money saved will help you pay for certain things after getting licensed such as marketing, mentoring, supplies, and extra real estate courses. In addition, it’s more than just a fact that is going to take a while to get the business going, so having some savings can be extremely useful. Regarding the amount, you can think of a few months’ worth of personal expenses plus some more cash for other career-related expenses.
Continuing real estate education after attending the pre-licensing real estate courses
If you want to excel in your real estate job, your educational path shouldn’t stop once you’ve earned your license. There is a plethora of other in-person and online real estate courses and training you can attend. These will help you master your skills and keep up to date with this ever-changing industry. As a matter of fact, your real estate education will go on for the rest of your career. By taking post-licensing classes, you’ll make sure that you meet all the ongoing licensing requirements. Plus, you’ll earn some special designations that will be useful in defining your niche in this market. The price of these programs ranges from $50 to $300+ per year and the majority of real estate professionals think that continuing their education is well worth the cost.
In Florida, a post-licensing course is required 18 to 24 months after getting your license. And whether you live or not in Florida, it’s highly recommended to get these classes done within 6 months after you’ve earned your well-deserved license. This way, you’ll be learning new things that’ll help you grow your real estate business as soon as possible. Another reason why you should attend your first post-licensing program quickly is that your schedule will become busier as time goes by. You’ll have more and more appointments, clients, and closings that will make it tougher for you to fit some extra courses in your schedule. Therefore, start your post-licensing education as early as possible.
What should you know before considering a real estate career?
Becoming a real estate agent is a lot different from most careers. Therefore, before joining any in-classroom real estate courses or online real estate courses, you should research the topic and see if this profession would really suit your personality. Here are some things you should know before getting into the real estate industry.
Commission. Realize that being a real estate agent is commission-based and you’re pretty much in charge of finding your own work and real estate. There will rarely be people knocking at your door. You have to go out and find leads, you have to be able to be your own salesperson and procure your own business. While the potential of earning an unlimited income may seem alluring, there’s a lot of hard, smart work, skills, knowledge, and networking involved in the process of making good money. An average transaction side can make somewhere between 2.5% and 3% of the entire sale price. Hence, on a $200,000 property, that’s a minimum of $5,000 in commissions. By selling one property per month you can end up making up to $60,000 per year.
Newbie years. The first few years after taking the in-person real estate courses or online real estate courses and getting licensed can be a bit tough. That’s because you’re cultivating a clientele base, you’re still relatively new as an agent, and you don’t know the ropes yet. You have to convince people to trust you with their large investments. To learn how to do that, you should surround yourself with more experienced professionals within your brokerage, be persistent, and dedicate some time to expanding your learning process. Keep in mind that while a real estate career starts up very slowly, your income can skyrocket with time.
Very fast-paced industry. In real estate, time is money and every single minute when you’re not working or devoting to your business can be seen as money being wasted. This career is perfect for competitive and dynamic people who love putting new concepts into practice as they learn them, so if you are one of those, you’ll absolutely love this job.
Working hours. Real estate is not for those searching for a 9-to-5 schedule or for a part-time gig that brings in some extra income. Typical working hours are usually off the table; thus, you should prepare yourself to work both during business and non-business hours, even throughout weekends. More likely than not, you’ll end up crafting contracts late at night and showing houses early in the morning or vice versa.
A lot of times, weekends and evenings are the most convenient for clients. And for the rest of the time, you’ll probably be doing marketing and paperwork. Wise organizing is key, so having an efficient time management plan will help you focus on the important stuff and spend less time on mundane tasks.
Clients. Growing your clientele list is essential for a prosperous, long real estate career. This is done by offering flawless customer service so that your current clients recommend you to other people. To succeed, you should be able to work with different groups of people, accommodating their needs, and helping them through key transactions.
Finding a brokerage. Choosing a brokerage is one of the main aspects at the beginning of your career. Do some in-depth research and get in touch with brokers while you’re still attending the pre-licensing real estate courses, so you don’t take a decision in a rush after passing the exam. Find out if the brokerages you’re considering partnering up with offer transaction assistance, training, and technological tools.
Whether you’re opting for in-person real estate courses or online real estate courses, sticking to the program you choose and passing the state exam is an important milestone in your career. Being a real estate licensee gifts you with a plethora of exciting opportunities if you continue working hard and developing your skills. Real estate is not an easy industry to be successful in, but both the journey and the rewards are we