Starting an online school can mark the beginning of an exciting journey. Online real estate schools are becoming increasingly popular during the pandemic, but they’re likely here to stay. If you’re a licensed real estate agent who wants to transition to teaching, keep reading.
What Does a Typical Online Real Estate Course Cover?
You’ll typically see the following topics in a real estate course:
However, every state has its own laws for what to include in its real estate courses. For example, an online real estate class in Arizona takes 96 hours to complete. That means your licensing course in Arizona would contain more information than Florida’s 63-hour course.
The qualifying education requirements vary between states. Some may even require a college degree. Most states have a prerequisite number of hours of specified coursework to complete in an accredited real estate school. Most online coursework can be finished in a few weeks.
However, not every state will allow you to take the exam online. For example, Idaho and New Jersey require an in-person exam that takes approximately 3 hours to complete.
What Should You Do to Become an Instructor?
To teach a real estate course, you should become a real estate agent. It sounds obvious, but there are plenty of people who teach courses without having authority in the subject.
It’s possible to gain enough knowledge to teach anything, but no one will take you seriously in an educational space. Budding real estate agents will want to learn from experts. You can prove you’ll be a fantastic instructor by getting a real estate license and enough industry experience.
Plus, if you get a real estate license, you’ll know exactly what your course should cover. Agents also have to work under a broker. Brokers can offer even more insight into the world of real estate. Soft skills, like negotiating and communication, will also help you instruct a course.
If you want to learn how to teach, there are four possible avenues:
Contact an Office of Education: To speak to an Office of Education, contact the Dean’s Office at a college or university in your state. An Office of Education offers seminars and workshops about teaching, or it may set you up with a faculty consultant.
Speak to Your Colleagues: You brokers and other agents may know some who’ve taught a class. Or, they may have taught a class themselves. You can also contact the school you used to get your license for some tips on becoming a better teacher.
Observe Other Teachers: If you have a close relationship with a real estate instructor, ask to sit in on one of their classes. Actually seeing a person teach can offer more insight on how to do it yourself. Plus, you can get an idea of how to set up your course.
Take a Teaching Course: There are plenty of online courses that teach others how to teach. For example, a TEFL certification can help you teach English in an international school. However, you can also get a teaching certificate or a temporary permit.
Since real estate has a lot to do with sales and being personable, you’re likely comfortable speaking to an audience. Still, learning how to teach is a separate skill you need to learn to run your own classes. If you don’t want to teach a class, you still need to know enough about teaching to find qualified instructors. Most instructors don’t need a degree to teach.
How Do You Accredit Your Real Estate Course?
Any online real estate school can give out a certificate, but that won’t count for anything unless you’re accredited. There are two ways to do this: the university route or professional development route. If you plan on only issuing a real estate course, then take the uni route.
However, the uni route involves a lot of red tape, and you have little control over your course. You’ll need to get accredited by agencies recognized by the Department of Education.
If you’re planning to open a school, you’ll need to get approved by a sanctioning body. You can either take your accreditation request to a specific or broad accreditor. It’s typically easier to partner with IACET to get your foot in the door. Then, you can speak to the real estate board.
What Steps Should I Take to Open a Real Estate School?
Opening an online real estate school is much easier than opening a general education center. Your topics will only revolve around one subject, so you won’t need to hire experts unrelated to real estate. However, you may need help coming up with a branding and content strategy.
Choose Your Online Learning Platform
There are a plethora of online learning platforms and learning management systems (LMS) that can help you build your online school. Each platform has its own tools and capabilities that allow course creators to promote their courses. These platforms connect to your website.
Platforms like Potential.com offer incredible features, like branded landing pages, custom submission questions, certification, payment gateway integrations and more. You can easily upload your real estate courses to the Potential.com platform, visible to your employees, stakeholders, and class attendees. Your platform could be up and running in less than a week. You could get in touch here for details.
Include Pre-Licensing and Exam Prep Courses
As stated, most states have strict rules for what can and can’t be included in your pre-licensing course. However, you have some leeway on how in-depth you want each topic to be. As long as you cover enough of the subject to pass the real estate exam, you’ve covered what’s required.
It’s a good idea to create pre-license courses in all 50 states. Your competition is doing the same thing. You’ll need to understand licensing requirements for all states to ensure you’ve covered the right materials. Keep in mind that a pre-licensing course isn’t an exam prep course.
You can sell an exam prep course as an extension to the pre-licensing course. At checkout, include this service as an “add-on.” Explain how the course increases the likelihood of passing.
Include Information About Requirements
For every state-specific course you offer, include a “License Requirements” section in the subheading. This gives your users easy access to what they need to qualify for each course. Include steps your students must take to get their full real estate license in their state.
Include a “Why Choose Us” Section
Instructors should explain why their online real estate school is the best of the best. In your “Why Choose Us” page, outline your education, experience in the real estate industry, and teaching credentials. If you’re a member of an organization, include it here.
Include a License FAQ Section
A FAQ section is great for SEO, but it’s also the perfect way to help your users. Becoming a real estate agent can be a complicated, confusing process. Your FAQ section shows you have your students back. An FAQ section also reduces the number of email inquiries you’ll receive.
Include a Learning Portal
All online schools should have a separate learning portal exclusively for students. These online portals allow your students to log in, check their progress, and continue with their course. A learning portal also makes it easier for your institution to prove your students have graduated.
Include a Pricing and Contact Section
As you start adding more courses, you’ll need a pricing section. This helps your students see the difference between similar courses available on your website. If you expand the types of prep courses you offer, like a real estate sales associate course, place them here.
Use Technology and Tools
Some online learning platforms will give you everything you need to market or track your course. If not, you can use other tools to fill in the gaps. Every online school needs:
Email Marketing Software: For sending updates and coupons to students.
General Marketing Tools: For general promotion on websites and social media.
Productivity Apps: For automation, content marketing, and time-keeping.
Analytic Tools: For tracking your website and social media performance.
API and Custom Code: For a unique website and secure login process.
Without these tools, it will be difficult for you to promote your brand and grow your school.
Create a Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy that includes updating your website with relevant blog posts can help bring new eyes to your site. Keep your topics real estate specific, like “how to negotiate a home’s buying price.” Put your blog posts on social media to entice people to buy your courses.
Since your brand is in the education sphere, you can use comparison posts to help sell your courses. For example, you can find another online real estate school and compare it to your own. This tactic helps students understand why your course is the best on the market.
Develop a Brand
Developing a personal brand isn’t easy, but if you’ve already worked in real estate, you should have marketing experience. You’ll have to follow all the same steps, like analyzing your audience and competition. The only difference is you have to market from a student perspective.
Your online real estate school should be optimized with internal settings, an impressive UX design, and features that protect your students from identity theft. To improve your website:
Lockout users that don’t have a username or password
Improve navigation to ensure all your courses are easy to find
Set a site language
Include watermark protection on documents
Determine who is and isn’t allowed to comment
Turn on notification emails
Customize your email notifications (aka course and payment emails)
Include payment gateways and supported e-wallets
Integrate your favorite tools directly onto your learning platform.
Connect your domain to your LMS or learning portal.
You may want to add more configuration to your school, but you need to at least have the basics. Your students need to be able to pay for your course, access it, and graduate.