Recently, I taught a three-day state exam review, which I teach once a month. About half of the students had been my students for pre-licensing. The other half went to other schools. I asked everyone, “How did you pick your real estate school?” Many of them said it was based on the online presence of the school. I told them that when I went to school, I chose the school based on the reputation of the instructor. I said this partially in jest (my dad, Ron Climer, was my instructor), but it was also true.
There are many real estate schools businesses that have an awesome online presence, but are actually terrible businesses. I don’t think this is news to anyone. A good online presence is indicative of one thing and one thing only – how much the business values an online presence. You can pay for a website. You can pay for search engine placement. You can even pay for positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and other sites. If that is important to a business, presumably they will pay for that. I’m not saying that any business with a positive online presence is a terrible business. Often, they are good businesses. I’m saying that that should not be your top priority in selecting a school. You need to get more information.
In my opinion the most important factor in choosing a school (whether real estate or otherwise), should be the instructors. A good instructor can make up for a lot of other problems and a poor instructor can negate many positives of an otherwise good school. Most of us have probably had the experience of being at a good school where one terrible teacher made that class unbearable, or the opposite – being at a mediocre school where one phenomenal teacher made that subject come alive.
So How Do You Determine If The Instructor Is Any Good?
The quality of the instructor is probably the most important aspect of a school, but also one of the most difficult to determine prior to taking the class. Many schools boast of having the best instructors, but that is almost always a self-appointed title.
Fortunately, many real estate instructors (including me) have videos online of them teaching. Watch a few videos of different instructors. See which person’s style click with you. If you like their style on video, you will probably like it in person.
With real estate, almost everyone knows someone in real estate. Ask your friends who their instructor was. Did they like the instructor? Here’s a hint: if they say, “Yea, he was pretty good,” that is not an endorsement. On the other hand, if they say, “The class was awesome. She was sooooo good. You have to take her class,” that’s an endorsement.
When you call the appropriate school to register for class, be sure you get the instructor your friend wholeheartedly endorsed. If your friend had Joe at East Cupcake School, don’t just call and register for any class at East Cupcake. Be sure you are in Joe’s class. This may seem wildly obvious, but I’m amazed at how often people don’t do this.
Now, I’m going to tell you a few things that I think are important for a real estate instructor. Your mileage may vary…
- Knows a lot of stories and mnemonics to help you understand and remember the concepts. Telling a lot of stories is not enough – they have to be learning stories. Anyone in the field can tell you a lot of war stories that contribute nothing to the learning. You need stories and mnemonics that will help you understand and remember the concepts.
- Is willing to answer questions. This might seem like a given, but it’s not. There are many instructors who are not willing to answer questions. They feel if you don’t understand it after their brilliant explanation, it’s your fault.
- Understands the subject matter and teaches the subject matter. In real estate (and most licensing situations), there is a big difference between what is on the exam and how to do the job in real life. For pre-licensing, you want an instructor who knows what’s on the exam and teaches what’s on the exam. Once you get your license, find a mentor who can help you learn how to do it in real life.
- Good sense of humor. Let’s face it – Real estate pre-licensing material is boring. A good sense of humor can make the time go a little faster and the concepts stick in the brain a little longer.
- Respectful of students. Again, this should be a given, but it’s not. Many teachers approach the class like they are king of the world, and can’t believe the students know so little about real estate. You need someone who will meet you where you are, whatever that level is, and get you where you need to be.
Fortunately, when I went to real estate school, my instructor had all of these traits. I try to exemplify them in my own classes. If you are interested in taking a real estate class with me, call me at 407-493-3974.
Please note that neither I, nor anyone in the Climer family, have any affiliation with Climer School of Real Estate. My father, Ron Climer, sold Climer School of Real Estate in 2014. You can find me at Demetree School of Real Estate.