Top 3 Real Estate Virtual Assistants to Hire

As the saying goes: Time is Money.

Whether you just got your real estate license or you are a well-established real estate agent, everyone can take their business to the next level by getting some help. I’m sure you didn’t get into real estate to design websites or shuffle paperwork around, so why not focus your time on the things you are passionate about (and are going to actually make you money). Fortunately, we live in a time where it is easy to find help. However, finding high-quality help is another story.

Here are the three best places we have found to find high-quality help, regardless of what the job is or the budget you are working with.

CompanyIdeal forCommitmentCost
1. FiverrSmall projects such as logo/website design, marketing materials, blogging, social media postsLess than 2 weeksLess than $100
2. Onlinejobs.phSeasoned Agents who need a quality assistant without breaking the bank1 to 3 years$5K to $12K/year
3. MyOutDeskBrokers or Seasoned Agents who only hire the bestLong-termOver $20K/year

Fiverr touts itself as the largest marketplace for digital services in the world. Basically, that means you will be able to find someone to help you with anything. It was originally founded in 2010 in Israel with the idea that all the Gigs would be priced at $5. However, they have since grown into a $1 billion company that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and allow Gigs to be virtually any price now.

There are already a plethora of people offering up services on just about everything. You can filter the search results by price range, seller rating, delivery time, and more. It has a very clean interface and is easy to use. They provide customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Signing up is free. You can browse through Gigs that are currently available or post one yourself. You only pay when you order a Gig. Fiverr acts as the middle-man and will collect the payment directly form you to give to the recipient. Fiverr also collects a small service charge of $2 for any Gig that costs up to $40 and then 5% off any Gig that is over $40.

The great thing about Fiverr is there is such a deep talent pool and lots of reviews to go on. I’ve personally used it about a dozen times and never had a bad experience. Of course, I always went with people who were reviewed with the highest ratings. Also, since most Gigs are small tasks, you can get the best of both worlds by hiring the best talent in each area. For example, if you want to setup a website, you can hire a specialist on web-design, a different person for photography, and another person who specializes in marketing. This way, you are not putting all your eggs in one basket by hiring a single person and trusting them with everything.

Onlinejobs.ph, based in Utah, was founded by John Jonas, who was also looking for some help. He hired a virtual assistant from the Philippines in 2006, and it worked out fantastic. So much so that he still is working with that same person even today! He wanted a way to share that experience to help other people.

What I like about this company is not just because there are over 500,000 resumes from the Philippines to choose from, but they seem to genuinely care about everyone they work with—not just their paying customers. They post testimonials from their virtual assistants along with the employers, and you can see how onlinejobs.ph has enriched their lives and created some amazing opportunities for them.

You can setup a free account to post a job and review job applications. However, you won’t be able to see their contact information or communicate with them until you pay for a subscription. Don’t let the word “subscription” scare you though. There are no contracts, commitments, or hidden fees. You can pay for a month, hire your virtual assistant, and then just cancel right away so you won’t pay for a second month. If you are still on the fence about them, they back up their claims with a 100% Satisfaction guarantee. They go to great lengths to make sure you feel like you are not getting ripped off. All you have to do is contact them within 30 days, and they will give you all your money back.

Once you have hired your virtual assistant, you will pay them directly through EasyPay or Paypal. I like this model because it cuts out the middleman, and you don’t ever have to wonder if there are any accounting tricks being pulled behind closed doors. Also, since they are classified as an overseas sub-contractor, you won’t have to deal with the 1099 tax forms.

MyOutDesk (MOD) is the industry leader when it comes to virtual assistants. Founded in 2008, they originally came from the real estate industry, providing virtual assistance to real estate agents. Since then, they have branched out into other industries and grown to one of the largest VA staffing companies in the country with over 5,000 clients and thousands of staff members all over the world. MOD is perfect for brokers or well-established real estate agents who are in need of long-term, reliable help but without the high cost of hiring a full-time employee.

MOD goes through an extensive screening process when they hire VA candidates. They employ FBI-grade background checks, personality tests, and only hire the people they feel are the “best of the best.” Once hired, their employees go through 160 hours of rigorous training and 5 additional hours of continuing education every month. As a result, they have been ranked as having 36 out of the top 100 teams on RealTrends™.

With all of this high quality help, it will cost more than choosing a freelancer. So is it going to be worth the investment? On their Facebook page, you can see that out of 90 reviews, they have a high 4.7 out of a 5-star rating. On Google, they have a perfect 5-star rating based on 199 reviews. What I think gives the best insight into a company is to see how the employees rank their own company, since I’m a firm believer that the best companies have happy employees. On Glassdoor, their employees have given MOD a 4.3 out of 5 star rating and 95% of people approve of how the CEO is running the company.

If you decide to hire someone from MOD, you can expect to spend a minimum of around $20K per year. That’s not too bad compared to spending $35K to $40K per year on a regular assistant that comes in the office. Not to mention all the costs associated with interviewing job applicants, payroll taxes, and dealing with employee turnover.

This probably would not be a good fit for someone who just go their real estate license. However, if you are a successful real estate agent and your business is booming, MOD can save you thousands of dollars by providing you with highly educated and trained virtual assistants.

How to Become a MLO in California (DFPI)

The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) provides protection to consumers and services to businesses engaged in financial transactions. The DFPI oversees the operations of state-licensed financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, money transmitters, issuers of payment instruments and travelers checks, and premium finance companies. 

Special Note:

If you currently have a California real estate license and want to originate loans, you will be getting an MLO endorsement under the DRE.

If you don’t have a real estate license, then you will get the MLO license under the DFPI.

What’s the difference?

Both require the same amount of work, and it’s virtually the same process to get it. It is just regulated by a different agency depending based on whether or not you have a real estate license.

Short Answer
  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content
  3. Submit your License Application (Includes a background check and credit report)

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • Applicant must be a US citizen or lawfully-admitted alien.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.

1. Complete Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The DFPI requires you to complete 20 hours of NMLS-approved education.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 2 hours – California-DFPI Law
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (Includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 10 hours – Elective topics of your choice

The first assignment that you will get when you start this program is to obtain an NMLS ID#. If you already have one, then you will keep using the same one. 

If you don’t, you can get one for free through the NMLS website. 

This is important because your course certificates will later be attached to your NMLS ID# and permanently become part of your licensing history. 

Be forewarned, there are no shortcuts with this course. The NMLS has put in the effort to make sure you are paying attention in these courses. For instance, online courses will log you out automatically if you are idle for 6 minutes or so.

There are programs that are only 2 days long but it is very intense and rigorous.  I personally recommend finding a program that is 7 to 14 days long. That allows your brain time to digest all the information and doesn’t encroach on your regular schedule too much. 

2. Pass the National Exam with UST

You can actually schedule to take this exam at any time, even  before the 20 hour course. However, I don’t recommend it. The exam is hard enough as it is, and you will learn things in the course that will help you later on the exam. 

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

The first step to applying for the National Exam with UST is to enroll on the NMLS website, where you’ll pay the $110 testing fee.

Once you have enrolled, you can schedule an exam online with the national testing company called Prometric. If you want to call instead, their phone number is (877) 671-6657.

You have 6 months to take the exam after you have enrolled on the NMLS website. If you miss that window, then you will have to pay the $110 test fee again. 

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

 

The low test scores may seem daunting, but if you know what to study and study hard, then you will be fine. 

The National Exam with UST is testing you on the most current laws and regulations. Keep in mind, they change almost every year. That means that in order to successfully pass this test, you will need to be up-to-date on current events. 

What used to be the law last year may not apply anymore this year. I recently saw a lot of test-takers struggling because they weren’t caught up on all the changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule in 2018. 

If you don’t pass, you can re-take it but there is a waiting period of 30 days. If you fail Attempt #2, you have to wait another 30 days. If you fail Attempt #3, you have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

The next step will be to apply online on the NMLS website. You will need to fill out the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM). This is pretty standard application that asks you for your contact information, employment history, and any financial or criminal disclosures you want to make. The application fee is $300. 

Along with your application, you will need to get your fingerprints taken by an approved Live Scan Provider. This is a quick and painless process that only costs $36.25. 

They will use this to run a federal criminal background check in the FBI database. 

If you had your fingerprints taken with the NMLS within 3 years, then you will not have to do this again.

They are looking for serious felony convictions such as money laundering, breach of trust, or fraud. 

You must also authorize the DFPI to run your credit report. The SAFE Act has given each state the broad discretion to determine their own standards of financial responsibility. There is no minimum credit score. They will review your credit history in comprehensive detail to determine if they can trust you to handle other people’s money. The credit report fee is $15.

A good idea I recommend is to check your credit history before they do. You can get your free annual credit report at http://www.annualcreditreport.com. This way, you can resolve any potential disputes with the credit agencies before it holds up the application process. 

4. Find a Company to Sponsor You

After they approve your application, you will be issued your license under “Approved-Inactive” status. You will not be authorized to conduct any business yet.

You will need to find a mortgage company that is approved by the DFPI and has submitted their request to be your sponsor. Then, your license status will change to “Approved-Active.”

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Courses in California

If you want to work in the real estate industry, helping people obtain financing for a house is one of the best ways to do it. You can make as much money as a real estate agent without having to step outside of the office.

You will need to obtain a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) license (or what they call an endorsement if you have a real estate license) by completing the 20-hour course required by California and passing the National Exam.

If you are like me, you did a quick Google search to find an NMLS-approved course provider and can’t decide on which school to choose. There are so many of them!

This Is What I Discovered

There are certain things that every school will do the same. There are mandatory requirements set by the NMLS, so there is no way around it. Here are just a few examples:

  • When you login to your account, you have to go through an annoying biometric password system called BioSig-ID.
  • If you take an online course, you will have to spend a minimum number of hours logged in online. If you are idle for too long, it will automatically log you out. There are no shortcuts.
  • Every course has to be “instructor-led” that starts and ends on a specific date. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a live person has to teach the class. It just means that you will be put in a group (or what they call a cohort) and has an instructor assigned to you. The instructor will check in with you and try to interact with you on assignments. This is usually done via messaging or discussion forum.

What Makes A School Different From The Rest?

Although every approved NMLS course provider has to abide by certain regulations, what sets a school apart from the others is their price, quality, and course availability.

  • Price: My only advice here is don’t go with a school just because it’s cheaper. If a school is cheaper, there is usually a reason for it (low quality). This will come and bite you later on. For example, the average pass rate for the National Exam is 58%. If you don’t pass it on your first try, you have to pay the $110 exam fee again and wait another 30 days to re-attempt it.
  • Quality: Every school develops their own courses and content. They have their own staff of instructors that teach in a certain way and with a certain style. Eg. Do you want an instructor who talks in a monotone voice or someone who is full of energy and gets you excited?
  • Course availability: Every school has their own start dates and course schedule. This will vary widely. Some programs are only 2 days long while others can last for 2 weeks. Some schools require you to show up at certain times while others do not. Regardless, they will cover the same 20 hours of content.

Now that you know the basic similarities and differences between each school, let’s take a look at the best NMLS course providers in California to launch your career as a Mortgage Loan Originator.

Best School for Learning Interactively

MortgageEducation.com is arguably the biggest online mortgage school in the nation. They are one of the few schools with courses in all 50 states. Since a lot of loan originators prefer to be licensed in multiple states, this comes in handy because you can get all your courses done at one place.

They have just launched a new pre-license program that is interactive and engaging. Their 20-hour pre-license course is in full video now, and there are live instructors to help you along the way. The best part is that you have the flexibility to start any time and finish any time (up to 14 days). This means if you are in a rush to get licensed, you can start right now and complete the course in 3 days. Or, if you already have a full-time job or busy schedule, you can work on it on nights and weekends as needed. 

MortgageEducation.com also just came out with brand new exam prep to help you study for the National Exam. While other schools only offer multiple-choice practice tests to help you prepare, MortgageEducation.com now offers an optional video course designed specifically for the National Exam. This video course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it any time. It covers what to expect on the exam, how you should be studying for the exam, and smart test taking tips.

Best School for Text-based Courses

Allied Schools is one of the most recognizable real estate brands in California. They have been the industry leaders for almost 30 years. They recently merged with one of the biggest mortgage schools in the Midwest called Learn Mortgage and has since consolidated their programs under the Learn Mortgage platform.

The format and structure of the course is virtually identical. The course is formatted as an online book, where you go through the chapters, complete assignments, and take a multiple-choice test at the end. You can choose between a 7-day or 14-day track. Although you can work on it at any time of the day, these courses do follow a daily schedule so you have to keep pace. If you love reading books, then this is the right program for you. 

One major upgrade that Allied Schools got with the merger with Learn Mortgage is the exam prep for the National Exam, which is called CompuCram. CompuCram integrates vocabulary tools, practice testing, and comprehensive simulated exams into an “all-in-one” solution. You get unlimited access for 180 days, and there is a “Readiness” indicator that will let you know when you are fully prepared to take the exam. 

Best School with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators and Compliance also has a solid mortgage course and has one of the biggest programs in California. They incorporate a video format, which makes it more engaging. However, there are activities and quizzes that you have to complete every 5 minutes, so you will definitely have to be 100% focused the whole time.

They offer classes in person, but only in select locations (California and Utah) a few times a month. There is also a live webinar option, which lasts 3 days. However, the webinars are only offered three times per month and usually start at 9 am. You will most likely have the best chance at finding a convenient time with one of their online options. They are offered very frequently several times every week.

The biggest differentiator that separates Mortgage Educators and Compliance from other mortgage schools is their price. You can get a whopping 30% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses when you sign up through this “Get 30% Off” page.

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Course Providers in Florida

If you are interested in becoming one of the approximately 37,000 loan originators in Florida, you are getting in at a good time. Florida is experiencing among the strongest growth for loan origination compared to the rest of the country.

While you don’t need any previous real estate experience, you do need to obtain a license. This is a fairly simple process. You just need to complete the 20-hour course and pass the National Exam.

When searching for a school, you will realize there are a lot of options out there. They all say the same things like:

  • “We’re the best!”
  • “Our instructors are the most experienced!”
  • “Your success is guaranteed!”

After doing some research on each school, I found that there were some things every school did the same and some things that were different.

Similarities

Every course provider has to follow strict NMLS guidelines in order to be an accredited school. Here are some examples of the things every school does. If they don’t, that is a major red flag, and you should run!

  • NMLS requires that the 20-hour course is “instructor-led.” This means you are put in a group with an instructor. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to show up at a certain time. It just means the instructor will interact with you in some manner, usually it’s via chat or discussion forum. They are also a great resource to use if you have questions.
  • All 20-hour courses will start and end on specific dates. This is not like other online courses where you get a year of unlimited access to study whenever you want. The NMLS does not like that kind of online format.
  • Your time in the course will be tracked—one way or another. Whether you take an online course or go to a live classroom, you will have to spend 20 actual hours to complete the course. There are no shortcuts.

Differences

I found there are only 3 major factors that will determine which school is the best.

  • Price: Every school has the freedom to set their own price. My only advice here is don’t go with a school just because it’s cheaper. If a school is cheaper, there is usually a reason for it (low quality). This will come and bite you later on. For example, the average pass rate for the National Exam is 58%. If you don’t pass it on your first try, you have to pay the $110 exam fee again and wait another 30 days to re-attempt it.
  • Quality: Every school develops their own courses and content. Since you are trying to launch a new career, my suggestion is to set yourself up for success by choosing the provider that has the best and most reputable program.
  • Course availability: Every school has their own start dates and course schedule. This will vary widely. Some programs are only 2 days long while others can last for 2 weeks. Some schools require you to show up at certain times while others do not. Regardless, they will cover the same 20 hours of content.

Now that you got a quick crash course on what to expect, here is my review of the best NMLS course providers in Florida to start your career as a Mortgage Loan Originator.

Best School for Interactive Learning

MortgageEducation.com has the most comprehensive mortgage program in the country. They are one of a few schools that cover all 50 states as well as provide continuing education for after you get licensed. This is really handy, especially if you have your sights set on being licensed in multiple states. Since they cover all the states, you will be able to get all your courses from one school very easily.

They just spent a great deal of time (and money) to take their program to the next level. The 20-hour pre-license course is offered in full video now, and there are live instructors to help you along the way. The best part is that you have the flexibility to start any time and finish any time (up to 14 days). This means if you are in a rush to get licensed, you can start right now and complete the course in 3 days. Or, if you already have a full-time job or busy schedule, you can take more time and work on it on nights and weekends as needed. 

MortgageEducation.com also just came out with brand new exam prep to help you study for the National Exam. While other schools only offer multiple-choice practice tests to help you prepare, MortgageEducation.com now offers an optional video course designed specifically for the National Exam. This video course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it any time. It covers what to expect on the exam, how you should be studying for the exam, and smart test taking tips.

Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400051

Best School with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators and Compliance is one of the biggest mortgage schools in the country. They incorporate a video format, which makes it more engaging. However, there are activities and quizzes that you have to complete every 5 minutes, so you will definitely have to be 100% engaged the whole time.

There is also a live webinar option, which lasts 3 days. However, the webinars are only offered three times per month, and you would need to add-on the 2-hour Florida course (total of 22 hours).

What really sets Mortgage Educators and Compliance apart from all the other mortgage schools is their discounts. You can get 30% off all online pre-license and continuing education courses when you sign up through this special Get 30% Off discount page.

Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400062

Best School for Knowledge Seekers

Learn Mortgage is a part of a really well-known real estate and mortgage school called Hondros Learning. They have had a long-standing presence on the east coast and claim that over 300,000 students nationwide have been able to pass the exam and get licensed on their first attempt with their program.

The pre-licensing course is your standard online format. You get one page of text on the screen at a time, and you just flip through it like a book. There are multiple-choice quizzes and final exams that need to be passed to get credit for completing the course. You can choose to complete the course over 7 days or 14 days. Although you can study at any time during the day, there are assignments due on certain days, so you have to make sure you keep pace with the program. If you love to read, want to study hard, and your goal is to learn as much as possible, then this will be the perfect program for you.

Learn Mortgage also has a really strong program to prepare you for the National Exam called CompuCram. This “all-in-one” solution has been designed to be comprehensive and everything you need to successfully pass the exam. You get interactive flash cards along with unlimited MLO practice exams that ensure you never see the same practice test twice. It is mobile and tablet friendly, so you can easily study while on the go. There is also a “Readiness Indicator” gauge that tracks your progress and will let you clearly know when you will be ready to take the exam. 

Approved Course Provider NMLS #: 1400214

How to Become a Real Estate Agent | Everything You Need to Know

If you are reading this, the real question you are probably asking yourself is “Should I become a real estate agent?”

People enter the real estate industry from all types of backgrounds, age groups, and for all sorts of reasons. There are teenagers who are still in high school, new college graduates looking to build a full-time career, people who already have a full-time job and want a secondary source of income, or retirees who are just looking for a hobby.

The truth is that anyone can get into real estate because it involves something that we all have in common: wanting to find a place that we can call home. And the only thing better than achieving your own dream is the satisfaction of helping others to obtain theirs.

In this blog post, we will give you a brief introduction about what it takes to get started in the real estate industry so you can determine if this is something that you want to do. We will go over what you need to know, and most importantly, what you actually need to know.

The Basics

If you want to work on anything related to the real estate industry, you need to obtain a license. This is needed because there are a lot of shady and unethical people out there and issuing a license allows the government to track an individual’s work history. For example, if a person is caught breaking the law, then the government can revoke a person’s license to prevent them from working in real estate in the future.

Because every state governs itself and makes its own laws, there is no such thing as a national real estate license. This means that all 50 US states have their own real estate commission to establish their own criteria for obtaining a real estate license. As you can imagine, there are similarities across states, so some states will have reciprocity with each other. If you are licensed in one state, a different state may grant you partial or full credit for having an existing real estate license. Reciprocity is not widespread among states, so it is usually the exception rather than the rule.

Each state not only set their own rules and regulations, they use their own terminology. Fortunately, they are the same in principle. Each state has two levels of real estate agents: people who own the company and the people who work for them.

Below are some examples of what they are called.

State
California
Florida
Texas
Washington

License Type #1
Salesperson
Sales Associate
Agent
Broker

License Type #2
Broker
Broker
Broker
Managing Broker

When you begin your real estate career, you begin on the first level-Type #1. Keep in mind that although you technically work for a company, you still operate as an independent contractor.

If you want to run your own company and get to the second level, all 50 US states require between 2 to 4 years of previous experience in the real estate industry. If you are an attorney, some states will exempt you from the experience requirement.  

Getting Licensed

Every state has different requirements for each license and each level. However, all states generally have the same steps. To obtain the real estate license for Level #1, there are 3 basic steps:

  1. Complete real estate pre-licensing courses
  2. Pass the state exam
  3. Find a broker to work for

Generally speaking, most people can finish the whole process and get their license in about 2 to 3 months.

Let’s look at a few examples to see how the requirements can vary by state.

Course Requirements

State
California
Florida
Texas
Washington

Number of Courses
3
1
6
2

Total Course Hours
135
63
180
90

State Exam

State
California
Florida
Texas
Washington

Number of Exam Questions
150
100
80 National/ 30 State
130

Time (Hours)

2.5
3.5
3.5

Passing Score
70%
75%
70%
70%

License Fees

State
California
Florida
Texas
Washington

License Term (Years)
4
2
2
2

State Exam Fee
$60
$54
$36.75
$138.25

License Fee
$245
$89
$205
$146.25

Choosing a Real Estate School

If you haven’t done a Google search for a real estate school yet, you will soon discover there are an overwhelming number of schools to choose from. How do you decide on which one?

No one knows you better than yourself, so the answer is really up to you and your own preferring way of learning.

There are 3 formats to take these pre-licensing courses:

  1. Online Courses
  2. Video Webinars
  3. Classroom

Online Courses

The vast majority of people today get their license by taking online courses. This is the cheapest, most convenient, and typically the fastest way to complete the courses. This is essentially just like reading a book online. At the end of the chapters are multiple-choice quizzes and at the end of the course is a final exam. You can study from anywhere and at any time. Online schools will typically give you about 6 months of unlimited access to finish the courses. If you are working full-time or just have a busy schedule, this will be the best option for you.

All online schools have different levels of packages available. Their lowest (and cheapest) package just gives you the required prelicensing course. From there, they offer more expensive packages that add on study materials to prepare you for the state exam, such as practice test questions and instructor support.

For example, the biggest online school is Real Estate Express. Regardless of which state you are in, they have 4 different packages to choose from. Their Exam Preparation package gives you over 1,000 multiple-choice questions to prepare for the state exam and is backed with a money-back guarantee. That means if you do not pass the state exam, they will give you 100% of your money back. The Exam Preparation Plus package gives you the ability to interact with live instructors through the Instructor Q&A. The instructors are on a webcam, so you can see their faces as they answer your question.

If you want the best chance for success, you will want to go with their Ultimate Learning package. This includes everything in the other packages plus they will mail you copies of the hardcopy books, which makes studying a lot easier. What I really like about this package is that it not only helps you get licensed, but it also provides additional training for after you are licensed with the 90-day boot camp and 1-year Professional Development membership. You get access to hundreds of video tutorials and a video course led by real estate expert Sherri Johnson, who will teach you how to close your first deal within the first 90 days.

Video Webinars

If reading a book is not going to work for you and you need something more interactive, Kaplan Real Estate Education is the most trusted brand and one of the only schools that offer a webinar format. This is basically a video course that you can take from home where you watch an instructor teach the material. There are live webinars, which require you to login at specific times, and on-demand options that allow you to watch at any time of the day or night. 

Classroom

If you are old school and want to sit in a classroom, you will have to check with your area to see which school is offering. There are no big real estate schools that offer live classes around the country. They are usually offered at small, “neighborhood” schools. While this does give you a more intimate and engaging setting, taking a live class is generally the most expensive option, doesn’t come with any money-back guarantees, and requires you to show up on time, every time.

How much does it cost?

The cost can vary widely depending on which state you are in, what format you choose, and how much exam prep and support you want. Online programs are the most popular and cost-effective route. You can get an idea by looking at some examples listed below.

State
California
Florida
Texas
Washington

Online Courses
$119 to $419
$117 to $399
$507 to $797
$189 to $404
Check Your State

Video Webinars
$399 to $749
Not Available
$429 to $1,089
Not Available
Check Your State

Classroom
$749 to $949
Not Available
$989 to $1,189
Not Available

Preparing for the State Exam

Most schools offer some kind of exam prep to study for the state exam. They are either in the form of a video course or multiple-choice practice test questions, just like what you will see on the actual exam. You will definitely need to get some exam prep to successfully pass the exam. A lot of people make the rookie mistake of thinking they can just study the material in the pre-license course. The problem is that the state exam is not testing you on that. Your pre-license course already came with its own final, so the state is not going to test you on the same material twice. The state exam deals more with real-world scenarios and testing your ability to put learned principles into practice.

The only way to study this is to practice with study materials specifically designed for that state exam. Don’t try to skimp on this just because you want to save a few bucks. Trust me. You will thank me later.   

Finalize Your Application

Once you complete the courses and pass the state exam, you just need to finish your application with the state. Typically, this just means a quick criminal background check and sending them a check for the license fee. They will issue your real estate license to you after everything is done.

Finding a Broker

A lot of people have concerns about finding a broker. They think, “Why would someone hire me? I’m new, I just got my license, and I don’t know anything.”

This is irrelevant. This position is 100% commission-based, which means brokers are always trying to recruit new agents. In fact, some brokers will try to lure new candidates by offering to pay for their real estate courses. As a side note, I would advise against accepting an offer like this because there is always a catch. Typically, they will lock you into a contract at a low commission split or tack on additional hidden fees on your first commission check. Think about it. If the broker is so wonderful and great, why would they feel the need to lock you into a contract? Wouldn’t you want to stay there without one?

There are all types of brokers with their own strengths and weaknesses. You want to visit at least 3 to 5 brokers and pick the one that will set you up for long-term success.

When you interview with them, think of it as a 2-way street. You are there to interview them and see what they have to offer you. After all, you are the one who will be making them money.

As a new agent, you want to focus on finding a broker with a strong mentorship and training program. Try to absorb and learn as much as possible, especially in your first year. A good broker will help you develop your business plan and path to success.

For example, eXp Realty is a large, nationwide brokerage that offers its agents 25 hours of training per week, stock options, marketing materials, etc… If anything, they overwhelm you with too much information.

Keep in mind that you are not married to a broker for life. You can always quit and join a different one. You should not feel stressed about this part at all.

What to Expect in Your First Year

The first year is always going to be the hardest. You are new and still learning how the industry works. It takes the averages real estate agent 6 months to close their first deal. That means that you won’t be with a paycheck for at least 6 to 9 months.  During this period, you may feel discouraged and be questioning your life decisions. Keep in mind, building a business takes time. I strongly recommended investing in a mentor if you can’t find one who will coach you for free. They will not only bring you up to speed faster, they will build your confidence.

Renewing Your License

As you get your real estate business is chugging along, you will need to renew your license every 2 to 4 years, depending on your state. Every state requires its agents to complete continuing education courses and pay a license renewal fee.

Some states also require post-license education on your first renewal. This is basically just an extension of the initial pre-license education. Instead of making you do it before you get licensed, they allow you to take this afterward.

Here are some examples of what the renewal requirements look like.

State
California
Florida
Texas
Washington

Post-License (Hours)
None
45
90
90

Continuing Education (Hours)
45
14
18
30

Final Thoughts

If you have been considering getting a real estate license, I would encourage you to do it. It doesn’t cost a lot and isn’t hard to get. As for the potential payoff? It could be the best decision of your life. Ryan Serhant was a broke, 24-year-old pursuing an acting career when he decided to spend a couple of hundred dollars to get licensed in New York. Today, his real estate team is ranked #1 in New York City, and he has a hit TV show on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.”

Top 3 Online MLO NMLS Course Providers in Texas

If you decided to pursue a career as a Loan Originator, you probably know that you need to obtain a license. Texas has 2 basic requirements to get licensed: you need to complete 23 hours of NMLS-approved courses and pass the National Exam.

There are a lot of schools and options available out there. How do you decide which one to choose?

After spending a lot of time researching into this, these are the top mortgage school contenders in Texas.

Top MLO NMLS Schools in Texas

 SchoolFormatBest for:
1Mortgage-Education.comOnlineHighest quality content
2Mortgage EducatorsOnline, WebinarLowest prices
3Champions School of Real EstateLive ClassroomLearning in a classroom

All of the schools listed above are approved by the NMLS to provide these courses. That being said, their course must follow strict guidelines so there will be a lot of similarities. Before we take a deep dive into each school, we should first break down the NMLS course requirements to see what every school will do the same, no matter which one you decide to go with.

Course Requirements by the NMLS

  • NMLS courses are always “instructor-led.” This means that you will be put in with a group of 10 to 15 other students with a dedicated instructor assigned to you. This could be a live human being teaching the course, or depending on which school you go with, this could be virtual, meaning they will interact with you via messaging or discussion forum. You will not necessarily have to show up at a specific time.
  • The course will have a specific start and end date. Other online programs usually give you the freedom to study whenever you want. However, the NMLS is very particular about the structure of this course. They want to make sure you are actively participating the whole time and keeping pace.
  • There are no shortcuts. In the past, many people were caught trying to cheat through the courses or even go to the extremes of having someone else take it for them. Every NMLS provider must adhere to their regulations to prevent that from happening, such as making students sign in through a biometric password system called BioSig, automatically logging you out if you are idle for too long, and signing an agreement that you agree to abide by NMLS rules.

Best School with the Highest Quality

MortgageEducation.com is leading the nation in online mortgage education and has high marks in pretty much every category. They are one of the few education providers with programs in all 50 states. So, if you are thinking about getting licensed in multiple states, then you can get all of your courses completed in one place. 

MortgageEducation.com recently revamped their program and now offers their Pre-license course in full video. There are also live instructors to help you along the way. The best part is that you have the flexibility to start any time and finish any time (up to 14 days). This means if you are in a rush to get licensed, you can start right now and complete the course in 3 days. Or, if you already have a full-time job or busy schedule, you can work on it on nights and weekends as needed. 

They also just came out with brand new exam prep to help you study for the National Exam. While other schools only offer multiple-choice practice tests to help you prepare, MortgageEducation.com now offers an optional video course designed specifically for the National Exam. This video course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it any time. It covers what to expect on the exam, how you should be studying for the exam, and smart test taking tips.

Best School with the Lowest Prices

Mortgage Educators and Compliance also has a very well known mortgage licensing program in Texas. You are able to watch videos when you take their course, which makes it a lot more engaging. However, you can’t just doze off. You will be quizzed and have to complete activities on average every 5 minutes. You are allowed to take breaks during the session. However, it is recommended you try to sit through the whole session since it will require your 100% concentration. They also do have some live webinar options but there is limited availability, and you have to log in at specific times.

The course schedule is a little bit more fixed at Mortgage Educators and Compliance. There are two track options that you have to choose between to finish the course: 5 days or 12 days. Also, you cannot start the course anytime. You must choose a start date on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or within the next 24 hours. 

Nonetheless, everyone loves a great deal, and you can get 30% off their online courses when you enroll through this 30% off discount page.

Best School for Learning in a Classroom

Champions School of Real Estate is perhaps the best known real estate school in Texas. They offer live classes and webinars that are second to known across their 7 campuses. All of their mortgage pre-licensing courses are 3 days long and start at 8:30 am sharp. Also, they are only offered once a month at each of their campus locations, so if you have a full-time job, it may not work with your schedule. They do offer what they call “Champions Advantage,” which lets you mix and match between live class and webinar. Keep in mind, they do not offer an online program of their own. They are reselling another school’s program.

Course Availability

Held once a month at each campus

Starts at 8:30 am CT
3-day duration

Top 3 Online Real Estate Schools in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is the government agency that establishes all the rules and regulations regarding real estate for Colorado. They are the ones who determine what you will need to do in order to work as a real estate agent (and they didn’t make it easy). Colorado’s #1 priority is to protect the consumer. As a result, they hold real estate professionals to the highest standards and place among the highest requirements for obtaining a Broker license compared to other states.

To get licensed, you will have to complete 168 hours of qualifying education and pass the Broker exam. No matter which school you go to get the 168 hours, they will all contain the same following topics:

  • Law and Practice (48 hours) – This is an introductory course that covers common real estate terminology, concepts, and knowledge as well as national laws that are shared by a majority of states
  • Contracts and Regulations (48 hours) – This goes over the types of Colorado Statutory Relationships, Brokerage Relationship Agreements, Sales Contracts, and other considerations in contracting.
  • Record Keeping and Trust Accounts (8 hours) – This course shows students how to properly keep records as required by law as well as manage other people’s funds
  • Current Legal Issues (8 hours) – This topic deals with current issues going on in the real estate industry and changes periodically as important legal issues and developments arise.
  • Closings (24 hours) – This topic is meant to train people with the basic skills needed to properly close a real estate transaction, including all of the responsibilities after closing.
  • Practice Applications (32 hours) – This course is meant to give new agents a working knowledge of practical applications so that they have a baseline level of competency prior to entering the real estate industry.

Your success at being licensed will largely depend on which school you choose. That’s why it is important to weigh the pros and cons to find the best one that works with your learning style. Here are the 3 best real estate schools that will help you become a Colorado real estate agent.

Best School for Busy People

Real Estate Express currently has the #1 market share when it comes to the real estate education industry. They have a lot of tools and resources to not only help you get licensed, but also launch your career. In fact, they have so many options available, you may have a hard time deciding what to get. 

Real Estate Express gives you four package options to choose from, and while they all contain the required 168-hour course, they include different levels of exam prep and support. So, if you want to add on hardcopy books, you can get that added to your package as an option or go with the Ultimate Learning package, which already has it included. Or, if you feel like you want to be able to ask an instructor questions on the spot, you can go with a package that includes the “Instructor Q&A”.

The only thing that Real Estate Express doesn’t offer is actual live courses like in a webinar or classroom setting. You read the course material online like a book and then answer multiple-choice questions. This gives you the flexibility to study any time and anywhere, which is helpful if you already have a full-time job or full schedule. 

Perfect for Learning Interactively

Kaplan Real Estate is arguably the biggest name in the education industry. This billion-dollar company has over 12,000 employees with programs in over 100 countries. So, they may know a thing or two about how to teach a course. While they do offer an online correspondence course, what really sets them apart is their live classes. They have them available in both a webinar format that you can take from home as well as a physical classroom that you sit in. These live courses give you the maximum amount of interactive engagement and sharpen your study skills.

Here are the 4 different types of formats available:

  1. Home Study – This is where they mail you textbooks, and you study independently by reading the book and answering test questions. You get 6 months to complete the program.
  2. OnDemand – You get access to recorded videos of the course, so you can watch (and re-watch) it at any time. There will be multiple-choice test questions after each section.
  3. Live Online – This webinar format allows you to attend a live class but from the comfort of your home (or anywhere). You have to login at the scheduled date and times, and you can interact with the instructor.
  4. Live Class – This is your traditional classroom setting, where you drive to class and listen to the instructor teach the lesson.
  • Career Launcher (optional) – You can add this on to any of the programs above for an extra $200. This includes an intense 8-hour online course that shows you how to get your real estate business going after you get licensed. You will have access to a professional real estate coach for the first 8 weeks to help you get going.

Regardless of which route you choose, you will get access to their helpful Interactive Study Groups. These are live video webinars where you can join a lively discussion on a range of topics with instructors or your fellow peers. It’s like having a virtual study group where you can ask all your questions.

All Kaplan Real Estate programs also include their national and state QBank exam prep. The QBank is a comprehensive test engine that simulates what you’ll see on the actual exam. This powerful tool will drill you with customized questions until you are fully prepared to tackle the test.

Perfect for Knowledge Seekers

The CE Shop is a large online school with programs in all 50 states. However, they are headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado, so you can rest assured that they know real estate laws and regulations in Colorado better than anyone.

The CE Shop is 100% online-only, so they don’t have any physical materials to study with, such as hardcopy books. You read the course material online, which means you can study any time and anywhere. What really sets them apart from other schools is their rigorous format. They incorporate real-life scenarios and a variety of interactive exercises throughout the course to make learning more engaging, thereby helping you retain the information better. They specifically designed their program to teach you to master the material. On the one hand, you will know the material like the back of your hand and should be able to pass the exam with flying colors. On the other hand, it may take you more time to finish studying. 

No matter who you are, one thing that everyone will like is their frequent promotions listed on their website. They seem to be running all the time. Their big discounts, combined with their high pass rate and 7-days-a-week support, makes this an unbeatable deal. 

Best Small School Program

Colorado Real Estate School is a small, homegrown school in Colorado. It was founded by fellow real estate professional Jon Farnlof, who has over thirty years of instructor experience. Jon felt there was a lack of innovation in real estate education, so he wanted to change that by leveraging technology to provide the best learning environment possible.

Colorado Real Estate School offers 3 convenient packages:

  1. Standard – 168-hour on-demand video course plus thousands of online practice tests for the Broker exam
  2. Enhanced – The includes the Standard package, and you get 2 additional months to complete the 168-hour courses and a Broker exam diagnostic test to assess your readiness
  3. Deluxe – This includes all of the above plus an additional 2-month extension (10 total months to complete the program). You can also call in to talk to the instructor, rather than being limited to email support only. The biggest add-on is the Exam Cram Live webinar, which is held once a month. An instructor will guide you through the Broker exam and review key areas of the national and state portions of the exam. If you pass the Broker exam on your first try and within 4 months of signing up, they will reward you by reimbursing you for the state exam fee ($44.95).

Best Program for Busy People

Mbition is a rising star in the space of real estate education, but that’s not because of their size. They are actually a relatively large school with programs in all 50 states. It is because they have been aggressively enhancing their courses with engaging content and top-notch instructors.

They don’t mess around with a bunch of marketing gimmicks or bells and whistles. They focus on delivering what you need in the best way possible.

Mbition offers 2 packages to obtain the Colorado Broker license that breakdowns like this:

  • Gold Solution – 168-hour online program (text-based) with over 1,000 national practice test questions.
  • Platinum Solution – You get the Gold Solution plus additional Broker exam study materials and Colorado-specific practice test questions

5 Reasons To Get Into Commercial Real Estate

Have you chosen real estate as a career and now you are confused whether you want to choose commercial real estate or residential real estate? There are pros and cons to working with both types of properties, but you have to choose the career that leads you towards success the best. Although it is easier to break into residential real estate, if you want to make more money during your lifetime, you need to choose commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate brings you the big deals because you are dealing with corporations instead of someone who wants to rent, sell, or buy a single house. Although you need to work harder in commercial real estate, hard work is necessary to be successful in every job, so why not get paid fairly for your hard work? Today we would like to tell you about the top 5 reasons why you should go commercial instead of residential real estate.

1. More Commission

If you are dealing in commercial real estate, you will definitely make more money because the percentage of commission is more significant as compared to residential deals. The properties are more expensive as compared to a residential building, and the clients are willing to pay more because they need the property for putting their business on the ground. A commercial deal may take 9 to 10 months to be closed and fully funded, but it would definitely pay off commensurate with your hard work.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a commercial real estate agent makes $85,000 per year on average and a residential real estate agent makes $35,000 per year on average. You can see such a massive gap between the earnings and decide which one would suit you the most. If you can become a commercial realtor, you may even receive up to 100% of your commission.

2. Career Growth

A commercial real estate agent needs to have a proper degree to work in the market, which helps him or her to make full use of their knowledge in the field. On the other hand, residential real estate agents don’t need a degree. Regardless of college education, both types of agents are required by law to have a real estate license.

If you are working in the commercial market, you’ve got better chances to grow because you are in contact with different businesses outside of the market. The connections you make in the business community can lead you towards getting even bigger clients shortly.

A residential real estate agent is only in contact with small families most of the time, which cannot help them to take their career to the next level. Even if a small business needs to find a property, it would have to contact a commercial real estate agent, so you would be in contact with almost all the companies in your area looking for property to expand their operations.

3. Work with Large Companies

The environment of commercial real estate is really different from the residential market. You get to talk to the big fishes in the industry. This is not a side hustle. The commercial side introduces you to the real corporate sector, and you get to see more serious buyers and sellers. It is more about making the business happen and allows you to earn tens of thousands of dollars with just one deal.

Residential real estate gives you the chance to make great relationships with various families, and get more time for yourself. A commercial real estate agent is always on the move and trying to earn more instead of finding time to relax. Working in the commercial area is a full-time job, and you definitely get paid for the months of hard work you put in to close a deal. If you are looking to make a name for yourself in the market and work with big corporations in your area, you need to choose the commercial side.

4. Exclusive Clientele

As a commercial sales agent, you do not have to deal with a variety of clients because not everybody can buy a retail center worth $3 million. You will get to see more people from the corporate sector dealing with buying and selling in the commercial sector. This is where you can build a vast network with the people in high places in your area.

You will get invited to parties where you will meet people who are ready to invest in millions. You don’t have to bargain for a few thousand dollars because these people know how business is done. You can get straight to the point and close a deal if you give these clients a real proposition which suits them as they have a lot of money at their disposal.

5. Fewer Competitors

A bigger chunk of real estate agents chooses residential real estate because it is easier to get into and you can even do it as a side hustle. You can see evidence of this whenever you attend a networking event for real estate agents, or when you see signs of homes or apartments available for sale or rent.

On the other hand, there are only going to be a handful of commercial real estate agents that you’ll see attending networking events. So there is a lot of competition in the residential market, and if you can market yourself in a better way, you may find it easier to get the top spot in the commercial real estate market in a few years.

There are not many agents contacting commercial property owners with property worth millions of dollars so you can get a great deal done in a few meetings. All you need is someone who needs a commercial property and someone who needs it right away. Several commercial properties worth less than $4 million would be a long shot for a residential investor, but it is not a significant investment for a commercial investor. So you can easily hit the jackpot if you are persistent and willing to work hard in the commercial sector.

Top 4 Washington State Online Real Estate Schools

There are currently 43 proprietary education providers that offer real estate courses that have been approved by the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).

When you start going down the list, you begin to notice a pattern: they all sound the same.

They all say, “we have the best program,” “our courses get the highest pass rates in the industry,” or “look at our long list of glowing recommendations from our students.” Some schools will even post reviews on themselves. And wouldn’t you know it? They always come back with the highest ratings. 

To make matters more complicated, everyone has different study habits. So, what may be a great school for one person is not going to necessarily be a good fit for another person. 

Having researched through the entire list, we have narrowed down our picks on who we feel are the 4 best real estate schools for obtaining your broker license for the state of Washington. 

Real Estate Express is currently the nation’s top real estate educator and was established almost 30 years ago. They have a refreshingly modern website loaded with tons of content. Being a big school, you get a sense that they have a system in place for everything, with a track record of success to back it up. 

They list 4 different packages on their website that you can pick from. The Basics package covers the bare minimum requirements of the 90 hours of pre-license education. The next package called Exam Preparation includes practice tests and a money-back guarantee that you will pass the state exam. If you want to be able to ask a live instructor questions, you’ll need to get the Exam Preparation Plus package. The top package, Ultimate Learning, gives you all of the above plus hardcopy textbooks. 

The Real Estate Express online courses look nice and clean. However, it is just reading the text. There are no videos or interactive exercises. You really have to have the discipline to study on your own to succeed with this format. They do offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for the first 7 days. If you are not happy with it, they will give you your money back. No questions asked. 

A key differentiator with Real Estate Express is the massive amount of content they have available for when after you get licensed. They have a Career Hub which contains hundreds of useful blog posts that will help you hit the ground running. Also, if you subscribe to their Professional Development program, you get access to webinars, video tutorials, job aids, and more. 

Best suited for: the Value Shopper

Real Estate Express gives you the best overall value at a great price. They score top marks in pretty much every category. The online courses can be a bit dry at times, so you do have to be diligent in your study habits. 

OnCourse Learning is the company behind Mbition and is one of the fastest-growing online real estate schools in the market. While the company was officially founded in 2007, they have acquired well-established brands over the years that bring more than 40 years of experience. Mbition was recently released by OnCourse Learning to be a state-of-the-art online learning platform for real estate education. There are tons of new features as well as a new look to enhance the user experience.

Mbition has 3 simple packages for obtaining the Washington Broker’s license. The Silver package gets you the two required online courses. The next level up is the Gold package, which adds on their proprietary Exam Prep to help you study for the state exam. If you want to study out of hardcopy books, then you will want the top package called Platinum Solution.

All of their packages include flashcards, some exam prep, and live instructor support.

OnCourse Learning has designed its program with the working professional who already has a full-time job (or a person juggling a family with kids) in mind. They give you a clean interface and deliver high-quality content. They don’t do anything flashy or have a bunch of bells and whistles. They focus on delivering the information you need in a way that is easy to digest.

They kind of remind me of Costco’s business model.  They don’t carry a wide selection of products and options. Instead, they focus on what you actually need and then deliver those things at a high quality and low price.

Best suited for: Busy People

Mbition is the perfect solution for somebody who isn’t ready to jump into a full-blown real estate career right this second. If you already have a full-time job and want to do this as a side-hustle, or if you just have a lot of other life commitments that take up your time, Mbition gives you the materials you need in an engaging and easy-to-use format that works around your schedule.

Kaplan Real Estate Education is one of the more well-known names in the education industry. They have an online program that is second to none. However, the courses are only available online, so it is like reading a book on the computer. 

There are 3 packages available to obtain the Washington broker license:

The 90-hour Licensing Package fulfills the basic requirements of the 60-hour Real Estate Fundamentals course and the 30-hour Real Estate Practices course.

The next package at Kaplan Real Estate Education adds on the Master Exam Prep, which gives you access to two of the industry’s most powerful test engines: the National PSI Real Estate Drill and Practice QBank and the Washington Real Estate Drill and Practice QBank. These advanced testing platforms are interactive and allow you to simulate nearly any testing scenario. You also get access to the Interactive Study Group which covers the national portion of the state exam through live webinars with other students and faculty.

The Career Launcher Package is the top package. This includes everything mentioned above plus additional state exam prep for both the national and state components through video courses that you can watch at any time. Kaplan Real Estate Education also gives you the Real Estate Accelerator course, which is also in video format. This 16-hour program teaches you everything you need to know after you get licensed so you can launch your real estate career quickly. 

Best suited for: the Independent Learner

Kaplan Real Estate Education offers one of the most comprehensive state exam prep materials in the industry. They will be able to diagnose and analyze the areas that you need to work on the most and provide you with all of the tools. However, you will be the one to have to put it together.

The CE Shop offers an online-only program that is focused on helping you retain the course material as much as possible. It is primarily text-based but they implement various scenarios throughout the course to make it more interactive. The scenarios are based on real-life situations that actual real estate agents have dealt with in the past. 

All 3 of their package options come with the 60-hour Real Estate Fundamentals course, 30-hour Real Estate Practices course, state exam prep, support 7 days a week, 30-day refund policy, and money-back guarantee. So, even with their lowest Standard package, The CE Shop will give you everything you need to get licensed. 

The Value package gives you an additional 3 professional development courses. These short, 3-hour online courses are not required for licensing, but simply to help you develop your business plan and get your real estate business off the ground. 

The Premium package also includes the 90-hour post-license course that you will have to complete within the first 2 years of obtaining your broker license. If you do this early, then you will not have to worry about continuing education until your 4th year. 

Best suited for: the Knowledge Seeker

The CE Shop not only arms you with the knowledge needed to get licensed, they require that you master it. Their learning system follows a rigid format that will most likely have you spending more than 90 hours to complete the program. However, you will come out of it knowing the material like the back of your hand, and ultimately, you will be able to pass the test with ease. 

Notable Mention | Rockwell Institute

Review of Rockwell Institute | Real Estate License

Rockwell Institute is based in Washington and has been around since 1974. They used to have a really strong program. However, real estate education is fiercely competitive and rapidly evolving. They are one of the smaller schools and haven’t been able to keep pace with the other real estate schools on the market. Still, if you haven’t found a school to your liking, they have a pretty decent program that you may consider. 

The live classes are led by instructors who present complex materials in a way that is easy to understand. Throughout the lecture series, students are quizzed with questions that will prepare them for the state exam. Instructors encourage active participation and classroom discussion during the course. 

Rockwell Institute offers only one location in Bellevue for the live lectures. They are held during regular business hours from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. There are new classes that start every 2 to 3 weeks, and you can complete all 90 hours of pre-license coursework plus the state exam prep in 3 weeks. 

If you can’t make it to the class, they offer an online program as well. The interface is a bit antiquated, but if you can look past the appearance, it delivers reliable content. There are hundreds of challenging exercises and quizzes, along with thousands of sample state exam questions. 

Rockwell Institute backs their programs with a guarantee, provided that you have completed the courses with them and passed their Cram course with a score of 80% or better. They will refund you the test fee if you fail on your first attempt.

Top 5 Online Real Estate Schools in Texas

If you are tired of working for other people and ready to be your own boss, becoming a real estate agent is a great option. It doesn’t require any prior experience, doesn’t cost a lot to get started, and gives you the ability to make as much money as you want. You are basically an independent contractor, so it is like you get to run your own small business.

The first step is to get the Sales Agent license. You achieve this by completing 6 real estate courses (180 total hours) and passing a real estate exam. Currently, there are 68 different colleges and education providers where you can go to take your classes, and the list grows longer every year. Which one should you pick?

There is no right answer that applies to everyone. Every school is different and has their own strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, everyone has their own personal style and needs when it comes to their study habits. Some people prefer to learn in a live classroom environment while others thrive in an online program where they can study independently.  

After researching and analyzing the long list of schools, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 schools that we think offer the best programs to get a real estate license in Texas. 

Packages start at $422

Aceable Agent is one of the newest real estate schools on the market. They are based in Austin, Texas and originally founded their school specifically for Texans only. However, they have been growing rapidly and now offer programs in eleven other states. 

What makes them different is how they incorporate a lot of new technology into their learning systems and are the first online real estate education provider that designed their courses specifically for mobile and web application. They actually have a mobile app that you can download on your phone, so that you can study on the go. Believe it or not, most schools still don’t do this. 

Another big difference with Aceable Agent is how they setup their package. Other schools will give you two, three, or even four packages to choose from. Aceable Agent condensed everything you need down to just one, single package. No need to purchase any additional study materials or exam prep. 

This one-size-fits-all approach seems to be working as they have the highest state exam pass rate of 87.13% for large schools as reported by the Texas Real Estate Commission at the time of this writing. If you want more assurance, Aceable Agent backs their program with an Ace the Test Guarantee, where they will give you a full refund if you do not pass the real estate exam.

Best suited for: Busy People

Aceable Agent is leading the industry when it comes to finding new, innovative ways to study. They incorporate advanced video technology and cutting-edge learning techniques that appeal to the ever-evolving study habits of today’s professional. If you already have a full-time job or just don’t have a lot of time to commit to studying, this program will work around your schedule and stick to the stuff you actually need to learn.

Packages start at $499

Real Estate Express is currently the largest provider of online real estate education in the country and has been at it since 1996. They boast the highest pass rate of 70% on the state exam in Texas compared to the other large online real estate schools. Real Estate Express has a solid program with above-average marks in pretty much every category.

There are four packages available for you to choose from so it should be able to cater to anyone’s preference, whether you are on a tight budget or want the full-blown treatment with all the bells and whistles. There are hardcopy textbooks available, practice tests for the state exam, real estate dictionary, hundreds of short video courses, and live instructors available that you can interact with. There is also a Career Hub that is filled with useful articles and blog posts about how to hit the ground running once you get licensed. Real Estate Express has something for everyone.

The main drawback I saw was that it was a pretty standard curriculum. You basically just read an online book, take chapter quizzes, and then have to pass the final exam at the end. There was nothing really new or innovative about the learning experience. Also, there are some hidden fees as well. For instance, if you do not pass the final exam after your second attempt, you will have to pay a fee and re-take the course. 

Best suited for: the Value Shopper

Real Estate Express is a great pick for an independent learner who wants a reliable program at a great price. They provide you with all the tools you need to succeed. However, it will be up to you to make the most use of them.

Packages start at $389

If you feel like going big on your real estate education, Kaplan Real Estate is the way to go. They are a billion-dollar company with millions of students located in over 100 countries all around the world. They have been around for over 80 years and are the experts when it comes to education. 

Kaplan Real Estate has every option available when it comes to a real estate school. You can take a regular online course where you are basically just reading an online book and taking multiple-choice tests. This is their Home Study Solution package. Or, if reading a text-book is too boring for you, you can go with the OnDemand Solution package where you watch pre-recorded videos of an instructor walking you through the material. You can watch (and re-watch) this at any time, and it feels like you are in a classroom. 

For the best interactive learning experience, they offer webinar sessions with a real live instructor through their Live Online Solution package. You get all the benefits of being in a classroom without the hassle of actually driving there. You participate remotely through a computer from the comfort of your home or office. You can ask questions on the spot and directly to the instructor as they are teaching the class. 

Whatever course format you choose to go with, Kaplan RE includes plenty of additional support to supplement your learning. You will get access to their Qbank online practice test engine, which are thoughtfully developed questions and answers that show you where you should focus your study efforts for the best possible test outcome. You also get access to the Interactive Study Groups. These are live, small-group study sessions held regularly. 

Best suited for: Learning Interactively

If online learning by yourself is too boring or lonely, Kaplan Real Estate offers the best program to keep you engaged and motivated. With their Live Online Solution package, you get to sit in class without the classroom by learning through a live video webinar. On top of that, if you have a lot of questions, there are also live study sessions held every week.

Packages start at $519

The CE Shop offers one of the most comprehensive online programs in the industry. The interface is sleek and clean. The course content is text-based, so it is primarily reading. However, they incorporate various formats on their quizzes and final exams, such as matching, multiple-choice, fill in the blanks, etc… The CE Shop also base the course material on real-life scenarios and actual situations that real estate agents have encountered, which makes it more interesting to read. 

This type of learning requires your active participation and helps you absorb the material better. You will not be able to just skim through the content. You will have to read each question and answer carefully. This also means that you will probably take longer to complete the program than compared with other programs. Nonetheless, this rigorous preparation is most likely why they have one of the highest state exam pass rates of 82% in Texas. 

The CE Shop packages come with nice perks. They just launched an advanced learning platform that is mobile friendly, so you can study from your smartphone. They include a generous 30-day refund policy if you change your mind, a money-back guarantee if you fail the state exam, and support by phone, chat and email 7 days a week. 

Everything is strictly online, so they do not offer printed textbooks or any other additional study materials.

Best suited for: the Knowledge Seeker

This is the ideal program for you if you want to learn as much as possible about real estate and are not in any rush to do so. The CE Shop provides you with informative content to set you up for success and usually has a promotion to get you the best deal. 

5. Champions School of Real Estate

Packages start at $988

Champions School of Real Estate is the undisputed champion (pun intended) for getting a real estate license in Texas. More people have taken their award-winning courses to get licensed than any other real estate school.

Champions School of Real Estate offers the “total education experience.” They focus on providing students with the most up-to-date information coupled with passionate instructors who teach with enthusiasm and support. 

Although they offer an online program, they are more well-known for their live classes. Champions School of Real Estate currently has nine campus locations in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

As glowing as many of the reviews are about Champions School of Real Estate, it is worth noting that their pass rate on the state exam is only 60% according to the Texas Real Estate Commission, which is just average among all real estate schools. They also don’t offer any money-back guarantee like some of the other schools do. 

Best suited for: Learning in a Classroom

Champions School of Real Estate provides you with an immersive, learning environment. This program is perfect for someone looking for both an education and an experience. Although on the higher end of the price range, you will not be disappointed.

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