Last Updated on December 10, 2019 by Mark Ferguson
One of the hardest parts of getting your real estate license is completing the education needed for the licensing requirements. In most states, you can take online real estate classes or classes in a classroom with a real teacher. There are many pros and cons to both options, and the better option will depend on your goals and plans as a real estate agent. I obtained my real estate license in 2002, and have run a team that has sold over 200 homes in a year. Now I own a real estate brokerage and focus on real estate investing. I was able to get my license online and so have many of my agents, but my wife got hers in a classroom. This article will discuss whether it is better to take real estate classes online or in person.
Do different states have different requirements?
Every state has different rules and regulations for real estate agent licensing. Most rates require a certain amount of classes to get your real estate license before you can take the licensing exam. In Colorado you have to take 162 hours of education; other states are more and some much less. Some states are even thinking about making it a requirement that all real estate agents have at least a bachelor’s degree to get a real estate license.
Once you take the education portion of the real estate classes, you must also pass a test, take a background check, and then find a broker to work for. Taking classes is only a small portion of the process of becoming an agent, but it is important.
Which option takes less time?
One of the pros of taking classes online is you may be able to finish the classes sooner than the actual hourly requirement. Each class is given a certain amount of hourly credits and once you pass the class you get credit for those hours. It may take someone 2 hours instead of 4 hours to finish a section online if they are fast learners or readers. If you take classes in person, you have to be in a classroom for very close to the full hourly requirement. You also will have a set schedule with in-person classes, where online classes let you work whenever you have time.
I am able to breeze through my update classes which are supposed to take 4 hours in well less than an hour. It is important that you understand the material though. If you breeze through the material without absorbing it, it will be very tough to pass the test.
Which option is more exciting?
The downfall of taking real estate classes online is that they are extremely boring. It is tough for many people to stare at a computer screen for hours and absorb information. No matter how hard you try, it is really hard to make real estate license material exciting. You must have a very good attention span to spend the time it takes to study material online, learn it, and then be able to pass the exam. If you take real estate classes in person they will be much more exciting. You won’t be staring at a computer screen, you will be listening to a teacher, reading books and listening to guest speakers.
If you take real estate classes online you also have to be self-motivated. You have to find the time to sit down and put those hours in. In a classroom, you will have a set schedule and someone telling you when you need to be there. If you have a job and/or a family, then it makes it even tougher to find time to take online classes.
How important is a live teacher?
Taking real estate education in a classroom involves real people teaching you and learning with you. You will most likely learn much more from a real classroom because the teacher can explain many more things than a computer can. That teacher also should have some real-world experience in selling real estate and may even have connections in the real estate world.
When you become a real estate agent, one of the most important things is meeting people and networking. The sooner you can start networking, the better off you will be. Your teacher or teachers may have connections to help you find a broker, have insights on the best way to pass the test and help you get started selling houses! Real estate classes don’t teach you how to sell, they teach you the laws, how not to get sued, and how to abide by the ethics standards.
Where will you learn more?
The in-person real estate classes are much more interesting than staring at a computer screen all day, but there are other advantages. I am a HUD broker and I taught one of my HUD classes to a local community college that offered a real estate licensing program. I taught aspiring agents all about HUD homes, things to watch out for and how to make money selling them. An online class will not be teaching students about the best ways to sell HUD homes and will not have guest speakers.
The classroom may also bring in guest speakers and other agents who have succeeded in the business. An online class will not expose you to real estate agents making it in your area.
The teacher in a real class will be able to tell stories and relate the law and rules to real-world examples. Online classes may be able to give some real-world examples, but it is always better to hear stories straight from the people who experienced them.
Which option is easier to complete?
A downfall to a real estate class is finding a schedule that fits you. With an online class, you can take classes when you have time, but when you take in-person classes, you have to make their schedule work. If you already have a job that may be difficult to do, but I have found many schools offer night classes to help work around students’ schedules.
It is often easier for most people to make the online classes fit their schedule better. The online classes can be easier to complete as well because they may not take as much time. Remember, that easier is not always better.
How long it takes to complete real estate classes will depend on the student. If you are an extremely motivated individual who can handle hours at a time staring into a computer, then you might be able to finish online courses faster. If you are not motivated to take those online classes, it may be faster to take the in-person classes that have a set schedule. My wife went to school full-time for her license and finished up in about 6 weeks. One of my team members took his classes online and it took him about 6 months, but he also had a full-time job and a family. If you want to get your license quickly, taking classes in a classroom is most likely the fastest way to go.
What is your goal as an agent?
I mentioned early in this article that an agent’s goals will determine the best route for getting a license. If you want to make a career of real estate and jump in with both feet, take an in-person class. The exposure to people in the business will be worth it. You may even have a better chance of finding the right broker once you get your license.
If you want to be a part-time agent that only uses their license for their own investments, then it makes sense to take online classes. You may not need the connections and the personal help a real teacher will provide. However, don’t expect to be given guidance on how to get deals from a real estate class online. Real estate classes teach almost nothing about investing.
What are some online schools?
If you decide you want to take your real estate classes online, I know a couple of schools that offer licensing. My assistant took his classes at Real Estate Express, which also offers continuing education classes. Real Estate Express offers very affordable classes and great customer support.
Once you get your real estate license, there is much more you must do to become a successful real estate agent. In fact, before you even get your license you should be working on your business.
It is not easy to get a real estate license. The classes are long and boring, and the test is not a piece of cake. Once you get your license you must work hard to succeed as an agent. Choosing the right method of taking classes can help you succeed or fail as an agent.