If you are interested in becoming a real estate agent or are already a real estate agent and want to hone your skills, there are several college courses that can help you be successful. You can go back to get a specific degree, such as a MBA in Business Intelligence, or you can choose the courses most relevant to you.
With the abundance of online course offerings available (many of which are free), you can study when it’s convenient for you, go at your own pace, and choose an educational stream that best meets your goals.
The question is, which areas are most important to being successful as a real estate agent?
The best courses for real estate agents
Here are some of the best courses you can take to improve your skills and potential as a real estate agent:
1. Everything related to real estate
It probably goes without saying, but consider taking any course directly related to real estate. Most colleges and many online platforms offer courses dedicated to real estate, such as real estate finance, real estate law, and courses related to housing and urban development.
Any course that introduces you to the basics of real estate, especially if it relates specifically to your state, will be helpful to a newcomer.
However, there is one important issue to note here: There are many real estate courses that you will need to take as part of your path to licensure. The courses that you take independently may or may not help you meet the minimum course thresholds for your licensing requirements, and you may end up with some redundancy. Still, it doesn’t hurt to get a high-level overview, especially if you’re unfamiliar with real estate.
There are few fields of study more relevant to real estate than the economy. Economics will teach you how all markets work (in general), noting the gaps between supply and demand, what drives prices up or down, and the different philosophies for how the market works most efficiently.
The more you learn about the economy, the more you can dive into market reports and really understand what’s going on in local neighborhoods. Over time, any real estate agent can develop some sort of sixth sense for housing market trends, but with an education in economics you will be able to use numbers to prove your points.
3. General business courses
Although this is a vast area, almost any management course can help you become a more effective real estate agent. Even if you work as an agent for a large agency, you will still treat your career as if it were an independent business.
You will try to find your own customers, make them happy, and sell (or buy) as much as possible. Business-related courses will teach you skills such as negotiation and the art of selling, as well as fundamental concepts such as accounting for taxes and growing a business.
4. Marketing and advertising
One of the most important roles you will have as a real estate agent is to make the properties in your portfolio attractive to potential buyers. It will be your responsibility to display, list and promote various properties in order to encourage the highest possible bids, or in some cases, to attract as many bids as possible as quickly as possible.
For this you will need at least some understanding of how marketing and advertising work. There’s a lot to dig into this area, from high-level theories on what drives people to shop, to basic tactics, like how to leverage social media advertising in your strategy.
It is also helpful to take some psychology courses, including social psychology. As a real estate agent, it is important for you to understand and “step into” the human mind. You will need to see homes through the eyes of potential buyers and understand what drives the potential goals of your sellers.
You will also need to be able to get along with your customers; the better your relationship with your customers, the more you will be able to help them and the more referrals you will receive.
Obtain a license
You should note that taking these courses will not immediately qualify you to practice real estate. If you don’t have a real estate license in your state, you will need to go through a multi-step process to get one, including many hours of dedicated lessons and a licensing exam. These requirements vary from state to state, so make sure you understand what is required of realtors in your area.
That said, taking the aforementioned courses, either as a precursor to your real estate license preparation or as a form of continuing education, can go a long way in helping you become an effective agent. The more knowledge you have and the more you practice, the better you will become.