Why Go to Real Estate School? Is It Worth It?

There are plenty of reasons why people consider becoming real estate agents. It can seem like a glamorous profession, and if you love the idea of staging, walking through, selling, and even buying homes, it’s certainly something that will appeal to you. While it can be a lucrative profession, it takes a lot of hard work to make a good living at it. If you enjoy sales and you’re fascinated by law and finance, it can be a great option.

One of the first questions people ask when they think about pursuing real estate is, “Why go to real estate school? Do I have to, and is it worth it?” The answer to the first question lies in the second. Yes, you really have to go to school if you want to become an effective agent. Let’s look at the process of becoming a real estate agent, why you should go to real estate school, and what you need to know going in, about the profession.

Benefits of a Real Estate Career

There are many benefits to getting your real estate license. It allows you to earn extra income, and, if you’re really good at it, real estate can become a career. Since you’ll work on commission, the amount of work you put in determines what you get out of the job.

As a real estate agent, you’ll get access to the best deals on homes, which can lead to property investment opportunities. You will inevitably expand your network of contacts in many different areas, since your client base will run the gamut of careers and lifestyles. You will improve your business knowledge in areas such as finance, property laws and contract law.

Requirements of Licensure

Of course, in order to function as a real estate agent, you’ll need to become licensed. This means meeting specific requirements which vary from state to state. In some states, the only formal education that’s needed is a high school diploma. In Nevada, however, you need at least 90 hours of education approved by the Nevada Real Estate Division. These include 45 hours of Real Estate Principles, and 45 hours of Real Estate Law, 18 hours of which must be Nevada specific.

In Nevada, you need to go to real estate school for real estate agent training if you want to become a licensed agent. In fact, such courses are fairly universal. No matter where you live, a pre-licensing course will be required in addition to your formal education from high school or college.

After you complete your coursework, you’ll take the licensing exam. After you pass the exam, you’ll be eligible for licensure. Filing your application requires fingerprinting, background checks, and certain other items of paperwork and records. After this point, you’ll want to consider becoming a Realtor or joining a real estate brokerage.

Continuing Education

Your real estate agent training doesn’t stop when you get your licensure, either. In some states, you immediately have to take a post-licensing course. In almost every state, there will be ongoing continuing education (CE) requirements which you need to take for renewing your license every so often. That means not only do you need to go through real estate agent training to get your license, you’ll need to continue to take classes throughout your career.

These requirements can vary greatly from state to state. In Nevada, the first renewal requires 24 hours of CE credits: 3 in Agency, 3 in Contacts, 3 in Ethics, 3 in Law & Legislation, 3 in Broker Management, and 9 General courses. Half of your credits have to be via live instruction.

After your first renewal, the requirements depend on when you got your initial licensure. For newer (post-July 2015) licenses, you’ll need the same 24 hours of CE as you need for your first renewal. As you can see, the state values education in a big way.

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor

You may have heard the term “real estate agent” and “Realtor” used interchangeably. The truth is, they are different things—not all Realtors are agents, and not all agents are Realtors. Only those agents and brokers who are active members of the NAR, the National Association of Realtors, can call themselves Realtors, which is trademarked by that agency.

In fact, there are many home appraisers, real estate counselors, real estate managers, and even property managers who hold active membership in the NAR, allowing them to identify as Realtors. Only about half of the licensed agents in the United States are Realtors. Getting membership in the NAR first requires you to get membership in your local real estate organization.

After you gain membership in the local board, you gain membership in the national organization, at which point you must take more real estate agent training, including an online ethics course, and pass an ethics exam. The code of ethics of the NAR is extremely strict, as are its standards of practice. That means that if you can identify as a Realtor, you’re advertising that you abide by the very highest standards.  

Things to Consider Before Real Estate School

If you’re not a fan of ongoing coursework, real estate may not be the career for you. As with any career, there are things you want to consider before you take the dive. There’s certainly an investment in time and money, as well as effort. The exam is not easy to pass. You’ll require a broad and varied skill set to excel.

In addition, you’re going to be an independent contractor. This means you’ll need to pay self-employment taxes and you’ll need to become an expert in running your own business, even if you’re nominally part of an agency. While it also means you have a flexible schedule, those agents that make good money work on weekends and holidays all the time.

You won’t make great money right away. You’re going to be investing a lot of cash up front, and only as you begin to make regular sales will you begin to bring in more money. Finally, closing a real estate transaction can be very stressful, so you need to be good at working under pressure.

An Exciting Career

On the other hand, becoming a successful real estate agent can lead to a very exciting and rewarding career that is also lucrative. Completing your training can take only a few weeks to a few months, and you’ll be ready to get started. You’ll have the thrill and freedom of being your own boss, and your income won’t be limited by a salary or hourly wage.

If a regular 9-to-5 isn’t your thing, being a real estate agent can be a great option, since you’ll work when your clients need you and when you are available. You’ll get to meet and socialize with many different kinds of people, making friends and business associates every day. As you begin selling more properties, you have the opportunity to make great money.

In the end, being a real estate broker or agent is a very rewarding career, full of excitement and satisfaction. It does, however, require you to keep taking classes, both to obtain your license and to keep it.

Century 21 Americana Real Estate School

If you’re looking to start your real estate agent training to get into this exciting career, Century 21 Americana Real Estate School is the perfect way to start. Our 90-hour pre-licensing course will offer all of the instruction, knowledge, and tools you need to launch your career. Learn more about our courses, and get in touch to register today!

Juan Martinez