Once you’ve decided to pursue a real estate career, you’ll need to attend many real estate education hours from a trustworthy, accredited real estate school before passing the state licensing exam. Each state has different requirements regarding the number of credit hours and course content. Nevertheless, courses are crucial for becoming a real estate agent. While you’ll be enrolled in a real estate school, you’ll spend money and time, but the knowledge that you’ll gain will set the base for your future career in the industry. For this reason, your education should suit your lifestyle, expectations, and personal needs.
In-classroom vs. online real estate school: which one should you choose?
If you’re thinking about taking real estate classes, one of the main questions that’s probably on your mind is whether you should choose an in-classroom real estate school or an online real estate school. The answer to that is that it depends how you learn best. If it’s easier for you to teach yourself and do your own research, you’re not a procrastinator, and you’re great at prioritizing, the best option is an online real estate school. If you learn better when an instructor teaches you, then an in-person real estate school is the way to go. Both types of real estate schools offer comprehensive study guides, state-relevant material, and access to instructors. You can easily find state-approved courses taught at regular real estate schools as well as online real estate schools.
In-classroom real estate school: pros and cons
In-person real estate schools have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of them.
Pro: face-to-face interaction with the instructors. You’ll be able to ask in-depth questions, get answers right away, and participate at discussions in a classroom setting
Pro: important information filtering. The instructors teaching the real estate courses will go through the books with you and they’ll tell you what’s exactly what you need to focus on for the quizzes, the final state exam, and real-life situations. This will help you retain essential details without struggling to memorize all the information you’re reading.
Pro: meeting future colleagues. While you’re in class, you’ll get to know many people who want to start a real estate career. This can lead to great future business partnerships and even beautiful friendships. You can organize study groups, help each other learn, and make the entire process more fun.
Pro: you get the courses done quicker. Regular real estate schools are going through all the classes, quizzes, and test preps considerably quicker than online schools. Usually, the classes take between 4 and 8 hours per session. This means that you can take the final exam, earn your real estate license, and start your career faster.
Con: lack of flexibility. Sticking to a strict schedule isn’t for everyone. Some people have families and full-time jobs, so they can’t keep up with a real estate school’s tight deadlines or drive to the classroom.
Con: cost. A regular real estate school is usually more expensive than an online one. This can be a serious con for people who are struggling with money.
Online real estate school: pros and cons
Here’s a brief list of pros and cons of an online real estate school.
Pro: affordability. Online real estate schools are slightly cheaper than in-classroom ones. They also save you some gas money because you don’t need to drive to a physical school. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you can consider attending online classes. However, don’t let this be the only reason why you choose a certain education provider.
Pro: flexibility. If you cannot make it to a regular real estate school and you don’t have the time to work around a strict plan, the online options offer you schedule and location flexibility. Thus, you can make your own schedule, break the material into small bits, spread it out, and learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your home. Usually, you have approximately six months to complete the course and take all the quizzes.
Pro: webinars. Most online real estate schools host webinars where you can interact with qualified instructors and ask questions.
Con: distractions. Online real estate schools provide you with virtual books that you can read whenever you want. However, if you’re not very self-motivated, there are a bunch of distractions that can slow you down from studying. If you can’t schedule some time to sit down, read off a screen for a few hours, and retain the information, online learning might not be the suitable alternative for you.
Con: less guidance. Even though you can get in touch with instructors while attending an online real estate school, the level of interaction is still at a basic level. You’ll have to filter the information by yourself and you won’t have someone giving you real-life examples as you’re going through the chapters.
Con: online real estate schools aren’t allowed in all states. Most states allow online real estate courses, yet there are some of them that don’t. These states are Arizona, Washington DC, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina, Idaho, Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Jersey. Plus, if you live in Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, New Mexico, or South Dakota, keep in mind that you can only take only a part of the real estate courses online.
Real estate school main requirements
If you want to join a real estate school and grab your license, you need to be a minimum age. This differs by each state, but it ranges from 18 to 21 years old. Here’s a tip for those who are slightly under the minimum required age: sign up for the classes, so when you turn that age, you can take your test.
You must complete a minimum number of hours of education in order to be eligible to take the exam. Again, the number of hours is different in each state, so make sure to check out how many credit hours you need to take in your state.
Some states require you to undergo a background check as well as fingerprinting.
How to look for a real estate school
Now that you know the basic differences between regular and online real estate schools, it’s time to choose the education provider that best suits you. When making your decision, take into account that not all real estate schools are the same. Besides their way of teaching classes, things that vary from school to school include the customer service availability, fun-factor, and the course material’s quality.
Here are some aspects to consider before committing to a certain school:
- How do their online reviews look like? Do students recommend it? Browse the internet, check their social media platforms, and dig real estate forums for people’s opinions. If you know real estate agents that have taken a real estate school’s classes, you can ask them about their experience.
- Do the real estate schools on your shortlist have good BBB ratings? Are they approved? Are their courses accredited?
- Do the real estate schools have high state exam rates?
- How much do the pre-licensing programs cost? Does the price include, besides tuition, exam prep, the passing guarantee (applicable only in states where it’s allowed), and study materials? It’s important to choose a real estate school with prices that fit your budget. Also, don’t forget to add the travel expenses to the total cost if the school teaches in-person classes.
- Are there any payment plans offered?
- Is exam prep offered by the real estate schools?
- Are there coaching, continuing education ops, and extra career insights offered? These can be really helpful to start your career strong.
Things to do while you’re in real estate school
There’s never such thing as being too well-prepared. If you want to increase your chances of being a successful agent, there are some tips you can put into practice way before earning your real estate license.
Search for a brokerage. By doing that while you’re still in real estate school, you can begin to spend time in your future professional environment. Thus, the transition from student to agent will be pretty smooth and seamless. Plus. you’ll meet experienced agents and form relationships with them. A wise move would be finding someone who will allow you to shadow them, even if it’s just for a little bit of time. Whether it’s an appointment with a buyer or seller, when they make phone calls, or when they talk to clients, you’ll be able to get a real feel of the day-to-day real estate job. That’s actually some of the best, hands-on training you can get. This way, when you’ll have your first client, you’ll be fluid, confident, and you won’t act like a rookie.
Study contracts. When you go to a brokerage, ask if you can sit with a transaction coordinator or if they can direct you to the nearest escrow office. You’ll get to learn about the processes and study the contracts as well as the market.
Get familiar with MLS. Ask an agent to let you go on their MLS or browse the MLS with them. Study what homes are for sale, what’s the average number of days on the market, how many homes are expiring, prince increases and decreases, how many homes are pending in escrow, how many homes are closing every single month, and so on. Get to know these little details. It may seem overwhelming, but if you study them little by little every day, you’ll slowly become a good expert. Therefore, when you’ll get a house in your area, you’ll be able to give a fairly accurate price range of what it’s going to sell for along with other key real estate information.
Practice with your fellow classmates. When you’re attending real estate school, you’ll meet plenty of future agents with zero experience. You can easily link up and roleplay, in order to practice job-related scenarios. Imagine meeting with a buyer or seller and think about what you’re going to say. Come up with some scripts and dialogues and practice them with your classmates. By the time you’ll get your license, you’ll have all these scripts almost mastered. Hence, when you’ll meet with clients, even though you won’t be polished yet, you’ll come off a lot more natural and well-versed.
Build a sphere of influence. It’s very important to start building your sphere of influence while you’re still in real estate school. For starters, this can consist of family, friends, acquaintances, and business partners. Let these people know that you’re enrolled in school and that you’ll soon be getting your real estate license. Next, when you’ll earn your license, get in touch with them and tell them that you’re a licensed real estate agent. These individuals already know you, like you, and they’ll most likely recommend you to other people.
Passing the real estate exam
After you’ve taken all your courses taught at the real estate school, took the quizzes, and attended the prep sessions, the next big milestone is passing the real estate licensing exam. This test is not rocket science, but there’s a lot of stuff to know. There are some smart things you can do to successfully pass the final state exam.
Go to the real estate school that best fits your learning style. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s so important, that it needs to be highlighted and explained. Real estate schools are a little bit different from colleges. You’re attending the real estate courses in order to get your license; this is the main goal. After that, you can go on with your career and start making money. Consider your situation, be honest with yourself, and choose either a regular or an online real estate school. Also, try going for one with a high pass rate.
Repetition is key. Especially with learning everything in the book. The real estate book mainly focuses on laws, technical seller-buyer situations, and other details. A good way to cram all that information in your head is through repetition.
Take a cram course. This is a special, few-days-long course that goes over everything you’ve learned at your real estate school. It’s recommendable to take this cram course no more than a couple of days before you’re scheduled for the actual exam. If your real estate school offers such type of course, go for it with no hesitations. Otherwise, search for an education provider that organizes cram sessions. If you attended an online real estate school, you can switch learning style up and take the cram course in-person. Or, of course, you can take it online. Vice versa, if you were enrolled in an in-classroom real estate school, you can choose to take the cram course online or stick to an in-person program.
Create flashcards. Write down the main notions that you need to know for your exam and look through them on and on again. Make sure that you remember all the definitions of the words on your flashcards.
Time management. While there’s no way to be 100% ready for this exam, scheduling it one or weeks after you’re done with your real estate courses will help a lot. During this time, set up a few hours a day to study hard and prepare. If you’ll wait too long, or put too much time into it, you might start to forget some of the concepts or you’ll feel overwhelmed.
Get some rest. Be sure to relax and allow yourself one rest day before the exam. As the test takes a while, you want to be able to focus and perform at your best.
Don’t rush. During the exam, realize that you’re most probably not going to run out of time and that if you slow down you’ll get more questions right. Many questions look easy at first sight but are in fact tricky. Therefore, make sure that you’re paying attention to what each question is actually asking. Not to mention that you’ll come across questions that are lengthy and if you rush through it, you risk missing something.
Don’t be discouraged if you fail on the first try. You can always get up and retake it. As a matter of fact, at least you’ll know what to expect the next time when you’ll take it.
Continuing education as a real estate licensee
If your state requires post-licensing or first renewal courses, it’s wise to start them sooner rather than later. And even if continuing your education after you’ve attended in-person real estate school or online real estate school isn’t a ‘must’ where you live, doing it is still a smart decision.
Post-licensing courses are generally designed to encompass everything a new agent is supposed to know in real estate. Hence, don’t put off the education. In fact, you’ll find that you can further your career faster by continuing your learning journey.
It’s advisable to complete all new agent training your broker offers. The great news is that you’re most likely not the first person going through the training classes and some brokerages offer extensive courses. Take advantage of this, as it will get you up to speed quicker than just about anything else.
Begin spreading the world with your sphere of influence that you’ve started building while you were in real estate school. People like to work with people they know, and the first listing is always the toughest one to get. Get the word out to people you know, because you’re now their go-to when buying or selling a property.
Is the real estate agent life right for you?
If you’re still in doubt if you should join a real estate school, the following questions can help steer you in the right direction.
- Do you love working with people?
- Are you a witty problem solver who likes to come up with creative solutions?
- Do you have a desire to eventually be your own boss or run your own business?
- Do you get a sense of accomplishment in by being of service to others?
- Are you interested in houses, architecture, buildings, and land?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then you share many of the same traits as other successful real estate professionals.
Once you’ll go through real estate school and you’ll have your license, you’ll be ready to rock. But what does a real estate agent’s life really look like? Well, below is a list with certain daily aspects you’ll experience.
You won’t be stuck in the office. Being a real estate agent doesn’t require spending a lot of time at the office. You’ll be driving around a lot, you’ll be outside, and you’ll get to visit numerous houses.
You’ll keep in touch with your creative side. Marketing yourself and the properties, talking to so many people, and having to constantly find solutions will unleash your creativity and spontaneity.
You’ll get nice commissions. There’s a large amount of money that you can potentially make in real estate if you’re serious about it.
You’ll meet all kinds of different people. You’ll get to run into all sorts of diverse characters as you do the job. This includes the people you work with, buyers, sellers, and so on.
You’ll work for a brokerage. When you’re just starting out, you’ll need to hang your license with a brokerage for a few years. During this time, you can try to learn from the more experienced agents, you can opt for partnering up with other colleagues, and set a base for the time when you’ll work independently.
You’ll do prospecting and lead generation. You’ll need to get your face out there and attract leads, which, depending on your personality, can be either very exciting or pretty tiring.
You’ll help people. As a real estate agent, you’ll help your clients go through the process of purchasing or selling a property. This is a big event in anyone’s life and you’ll be the one who facilitates it.
Every year, thousands of ambitious individuals are drawn to this rewarding profession. Compared to other career choices or starts that require a substantial investment in time and money, the start-up costs to begin working in real estate are relatively low.
Taking the time to search for the real estate school that suits your needs will help you stay informed and prepared for a prosperous career. Making the right decision will also get you ready to pass the final real estate exam and earn your license. Good luck!