While different states and territories may have differing requirements to obtain a real estate licence, the need for professional and skill development is much the same. However, the how and the where of real estate training can be a bit trickier. Whether you intend to take online real estate classes or sit through an on-campus course will depend on your availability and personal support network. Fortunately, many training programs have untraditional timeslots on offer that can help you work around scheduling conflicts.
Besides completing your coursework, finding a knowledgeable mentor in real estate sales can give you a leg up on your colleagues as you enter the business. Gaining sales experience is another step that is often overlooked in the journey to becoming an agent. If you get these details ironed out ahead of time, you will have a much better chance of becoming the in-demand real estate professional you hoped you would be.
Where to Take Real Estate Classes
Some individuals thrive with self-study courses, and some students are better off in a physical classroom. No matter your study style, the large number of options available means you can find a way to earn your real estate licence if you truly want to do so. You do not necessarily have to choose one or the other; studying on the web from your home office and training at a local career college can be complementary to each other. Whether you want to choose just one method or combine online courses with classroom learning, the primary key to success is your determination.
If you take online real estate classes, you can learn how to sell properties while wearing your pyjamas. Of course, studying via the Internet means there will be no instructor present to motivate you to do your coursework, so you will need to practice self-discipline and keep to a semi-strict schedule all on your own. For students who are already working odd and unpredictable hours in another field, online real estate instruction may be their only window into starting a new career.
One way full-time students can benefit from online classes is by taking them on an accelerated time frame and earning their licences early, though students just as often take long breaks between active class loads. Plus, many formal courses are also expedited, and the in-person instruction is more likely to stick and lead to successful licensing.
At a Real Estate Training Centre
For students who want or need to sit in a physical class for real estate license training, you can usually enrol in a real estate program at a local career college. It is rare that you would not have access to a program locally, though you may wish to look elsewhere for the best real estate classes if you are willing to relocate. Either way, most of these programs now provide weekend and evening classes for students who are already employed; in fact, this type of scheduling has become the norm in many places due to the volumes of nontraditional students signing up.
> Traditional Schedules
Occasionally, a young adult straight out of secondary school will know he or she wants to become a real estate agent and enrol straightaway. Otherwise, night-shift workers, unemployed individuals and homemakers may find traditional scheduling most convenient as well. Whatever the case may be, you may be surprised to discover that real estate programs sometimes do not offer daytime classes at all. Make sure the program you are signing up for still provides regular courses in the daytime before you pay your enrolment fees. While any reputable establishment will likely refund your money if you are unable to take any classes, it is best to avoid the hassle and any delays it could cause.
> Night Classes
For busy professionals looking to switch careers, taking evening classes is one of the best options. This way, you can still enjoy your weekend getaways with your friends and family while making the transition into the new field. Just like the online student, someone taking classes at night can spend the day in bed in pyjamas and still achieve academic success. Stay-at-home mums will be able to take their classes while their kids are asleep, relieving potential day care costs for the family. It is no surprise that nighttime real estate courses tend to have the highest enrolment among all other offerings.
> Weekend Classes
If you are working the night shift, you likely need all the sleep you can get during the day. A great alternative to day and night classes without having to study online is to take your coursework on the weekends. Likewise, some nine-to-fivers also prefer taking classes on their days off so as not to become drained of energy during the rest of the week. This option provides a nice compromise between the relaxed schedule of online classes and the structured approach of meeting with an instructor at least a couple of times per week.
Deciding on the Best Real Estate Classes for You
Your situation is unique, as are your goals in training. Maybe you already know enough about the real estate business to get started; however, taking the best classes from the right, hands-on instructors can be the difference between being a mediocre agent and becoming a VIP with lots of client referrals. Taking online courses can be a quick way to earn your licence, but the one-on-one learning from a classroom will be worth any extra time spent if that additional knowledge helps you to facilitate more successful property transactions time and again.
Talk to a Real Estate Agent
The best way to get your foot in the door as an agent is to talk to someone who is already experienced in the real estate business. Even with the Internet opening up many channels of information and anecdotes for you to consider, it is always worthwhile to hear about the real estate profession firsthand. You cannot know the depths of your own ignorance, so find yourself a mentor to show you the ropes. If you build a good enough relationship with your mentor, he or she may even let you tag along on a few sales to see how clients react to different types of properties and what types of questions they ask.
Residential vs. Commercial Real Estate
Once you decide how you want to get your real estate education, you will need to choose which focus you want to pursue: residential or commercial. For the individuals and families you would serve as a residential agent, emotions will play quite a large role in their ultimate decision. Even a house meeting all points in a residential buyer’s checklist is not guaranteed to sell if it does not feel like home to that person. If you have strong interpersonal skills, you may choose this route.
On the other hand, a commercial investor is most concerned with his or her bottom line. Commercial real estate that has the greatest appeal is the storefront or warehouse that will net the most return with the least investment. The bigger the listing figure, the more work you will need to do to sell the property. If you are more of an analytical thinker, this may be the career path for you.
Bonus Points: Developing Experience as a Salesperson or Investor
A solid understanding of customers’ shopping and thought patterns in one market, such as automotive retail, can translate considerably well to another, such as commercial real estate. Knowing the work that goes into updating and improving a property also makes a major difference when it comes to selling a home or business location. The following are just a few ways you can use and improve upon your creative problem solving skills while you are still in school in order to ensure your future success.
Work in Sales
If you do not already have employment, try finding a job as a salesperson and taking night or weekend classes for your real estate training. As a customer facing salesperson, you will have to sell a variety of different things to sell, and not all of them will be your favourite. If you only sold your favourite items, you would be missing out on a whole segment of the market that does not share your particular tastes. You need to learn how to see the product from another person’s point of view, discerning the customer’s needs and how they might be met. When it comes to selling real estate, the same principles ring true, so until you get that licence practice where you can
Become a House Flipper
If you have the money or good enough credit, buying a small property while you are still in school and renovating it for profit can make for a valuable learning experience in more ways than one. Enlist an experienced partner if you are intimidated by the risk involved, or just as another resource from whom you can learn. By doing the work yourself, you will be better prepared in the future to advise your real estate clients on how a property can be improved after purchase, thus increasing the chances of the purchase being made.
With a good mix of skills learned from life and knowledge gained in the classroom, you will be on the fast track to becoming a leading real estate expert. Perhaps students will even be asking you to mentor them one day. If you commit yourself to taking the right steps and following through on your dreams, you will be able to overcome any obstacles that fall into your path, and you may even be able to sell them for a hefty commission.