Real Estate School - what they "usually" don't tell

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Preferred Realty

While I was going through real estate school I had learned so much that it was nearly overwhelming. However, I did enjoy it and felt that I was well equipped to start my new career. Of course all of the local real estate companies are recruiting you and now it is up to you to choose the one that will be the best fit. I began my career with a fairly large and highly reputable company. This particular company did loads of transactions per year, had most of the top agents in the area, and were up-to-date with technology.

So, off I go to work I go armed with a plethora of knowledge, a new interior car mounted cell phone, and dressed to impress. It took a while to get acclimated to a whole new way of life - strictly commission! We would have our every Tuesday morning meeting, discuss all of the great things that the seasoned agents were doing, and then go on a caravan tour of our listed homes. Throughout the week I was learning the ropes from my mentor whom I thought (and still do) was one of the best in the business. Part of my training was simply doing cold calls. For those who have never had to do it, trust me, you don't want to do it. Ninety nine percent of the time, it could ruin your day if you let it. All along I was trying to gain business from friends, neighbors, church members, etc. Next I had to learn the art of "getting to know you" with total strangers. I remember my first transaction was a lead that was given to me by my Broker-in-charge - and I was scared to death. Why? Well, real estate school is sort of like learning to play basketball. You are taught the fundamentals early on and practice, practice, practice. However, when it's game time, it is a whole different situation. You never know all the answers. Well, I finally got the paperwork finished and all of the inspections, appraisal, lending, etc. completed. We had the closing and I was so excited to finally get paid. My first paycheck - WOW! I cherished that moment for a long time.....because it took a while before my next one came to fruition. This leads me to the climax of the story.

Real estate school does give you everything you need to pass the state exam. However, most agents and most real estate schools will tell you that the education and the actual experiences are two totally different ballgames. What you "usually" will not learn in the school is that you must have one or both of these; (a) some other steady income source or (b) have enough savings that will pay your bills for 6-9 months.

I learned the hard way. I didn't have the steady source of income or enough savings. Hopefully there are some real estate schools out there that are teaching "all" of the fundamentals - and I'm sure there are.


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
real estate school

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Christina Lackey
Coldwell Banker Prime Properties - North Syracuse, NY
Syracuse Central New York Real Estate
I agree with you.  I knew going into my new career that it was going to be tough, and then there were some shadowy mentions in RE school, but there is nothing like living it.  Maybe it's the optimist in all of us that assumes that it won't happen to us, you know?  But- you know how they say you'll be fine after the first year?  They're right.
Apr 26, 2007 01:59 AM #1
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

I was very lucky in my instructor for all of my pre-licensing real estate classes (I took one from her, recognized my fantastic luck in chancing to take a class with her, and promptly signed up for every class she taught).  She taught us what we needed to know to pass the exam, and then would give us invaluable tips from her over two decades as a real estate agent/broker/investor/landlady.  So I was more prepared than most, and signed on with a broker who gives so much training that information is pouring out of your ears, and I STILL felt unprepared for those first few transactions.  It took my broker a while to get through to me that you never will know everything and that every transaction is different, forever and ever, and that the trick is learning to accept that and fly with it.  Well, at least I won't get bored! 


Apr 26, 2007 02:08 AM #2
Jonathan Angevine
Greater Calgary Real Estate - Calgary, AB
Calgary Realtor
The Real Estate course does not really prepare most new agents for the shock of what a commission sales job is like.  Maybe this is why so few people last for the long haul in the business.  This is a business after all and if you treat it like one you will be more likely to succeed in it!
Apr 26, 2007 02:08 AM #3
Laura Karambelas
Baird & Warner Downers Grove - Downers Grove, IL
Realtor - Downers Grove

When I first started, oh over 10 years ago, I was given a phone and a desk and sent out on my own.  I remember my 1st contract and I was terrified to write it.  Not sure if it contained the right information....was I filling out all the contingencies correctly....did I do a good CMA for my buyers.  The saying back then was "FAKE IT 'TIL YOU MAKE IT!"

The training they offer new agents at our company now, seems to be much better than when I started. 

Apr 26, 2007 03:05 AM #4
Patricia Abel
- - Austin, TX

Thank you Keith!!!  I am living this right now, not because *I* am trying to make it, but because my husband is.  We knew the first few months would be tough, but it's just like having kids.  You have no idea how bad...and how much fun... it will be until you live through it.  We are lucky in that we both work with a great team of Realtors (myself as an admin, him as an agent) and have a fantastic network of support.  I don't know how new agents make it without that to fall back on!


I'm going to pass this on to him, it helps when he hears that other people DO manage to live through this! 

Apr 26, 2007 03:53 AM #5
Colorado Springs Real Estate
Colorado Springs, CO
I feel like I only learned about 20% of real estate in school. I feel like everyday I am constantly learning something new about our field. Active Rain is an awesome way to keep up on everything!
Apr 26, 2007 03:55 AM #6
Paul David Hiebing
Grampp Realty: Real Estate in the Quad-Cities - Bettendorf, IA
Quad-City REALTORĀ®, @ Grampp, Realty of The Q.C.

I wonder how many agents (even the most experienced and successful ones) could pass their given state's Real Estate licensing exam today: Right Here, Right Now--- without doing ANY reading or studying of any of the exam material beforehand...

Anybody remember "Riparian Rights"?

I scored a 96% on my state exam. And I would be happy if I could get an 85% on it today, without doing any preparation.... 

Most of the things on the licensing exam are used so infrequently in real life, day-to-day, business that they quickly fade away from our memories.   

The pre-licensing courses are a way to build a good foundation, but the superstructure is constructed through on the job training, experience and good mentoring .... 

Apr 26, 2007 03:57 AM #7
Ana Connell
G & C Properties - Burbank, CA
Burbank Real Estate Agent
I am in total agreement with you, thank you for the post!
Apr 26, 2007 04:31 AM #8
Mario Levesque
Advantage Avenue Real Estate - Wesley Chapel, FL
Tampa Realtor


Thanks for the post.

In most states, the govt is concerned with you following the law.  The govt does not seem to care if you make money or not.  With your Broker, the later is usually very important!



Apr 26, 2007 04:46 AM #9
Caroline Carrara
EWM/Christie's-Las Olas, Real Estate - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Yep...welcome to the real world!!!! Keith you are so right. I am on the management side and I see the shock of new agents all the time crossing over into this business...As long as they have some money to hold them for at least 6 months and they are eager and willing to work the business, we will give them all the support and training possible. The beginning can be tough, especially now with the changing market, but it is also a great opportunity for those destined to become great Real Estate Agents...If you learn and master it from your Broker, co-workers, resources like AR and really, really work it like a business, it will grow...Patience is key...I have only been in the business for 3 years, and boy have I learnt alot, but in RE business, 3 years is nothing...I am surrounded by folks that have been doing this 10, 20 or more years...I still have a lot to learn and am so eager to do so...Thanks for your post.

Apr 26, 2007 05:46 AM #10
John Cilladi
Keller Williams Real Estate - Exton, PA
REALTOR, EcoBroker, e-PRO

The first thing my pre-licensing instructor said was, "When you pass you exam you will be totally useless." He was very close to being right. 

Thanks for a good blog!

Apr 26, 2007 09:07 AM #11
Keith Pate
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC

Christina - I agree with you. If you can work through the first year, you should be ok.

Tricia - A good instructor makes all the difference in the world, do they not?

Jon - Great point. If the financial preparations were taught, most would be better prepared.

Laura - Aren't you glad that we don't have to take it all over again?

Patricia - I'm glad that I could help......let me know what your husband says.

Dan - A/R is an awesome avenue for learning. We've got some great bloggers out there.

Paul - I'm just happy that I have the classes behind me. Experience is invaluable.

Ana - Thank you! You are certainly welcome.

Mario - Very interesting point. I guess it's all about the money.

Caroline - There are some bright new agents out there and if they are trained properly, they will be an awesome asset. Thanks for your response!

John - Great response! How true it is...

Apr 26, 2007 10:17 AM #12
Roberta Paul
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Dawsonville, GA

Hi Keith,
Sounds like you and I started our RE careers with the same company.
One of the things I remember most after I passed my exam and signed on with one of the big name companies was being told that everything I had just studied so hard to learn was of little use and that they just needed something to test us on.  Boy did that cut deep.  Among other painful memories of those first baby steps were the cold calling and script practice that made me feel like a complete idiot.  It is true that every deal is different which is why I think I'll always feel like a little green.  Fake it till you make it!  Now there's one I've heard a few times.  I'm still faking it three years in.  It's a tough business and the general population has no idea what it costs to maintain our real estate licenses.  Which is why a good many of us have "other" jobs.  At times it seems like I'm playing the lottery.  I keep pouring money in hoping for the big payoff.  And then by the time it comes I'm barely breaking even from all I've invested.  Sound familiar?
Thanks for the post Keith.  You did a great job of putting into words exactly what I am sure most new agents feel and/or have felt.  And who knows, maybe your post and others like it will make a difference in what the RE schools teach.

Apr 26, 2007 11:32 AM #13
Grant Howell
Alex Lowery Real Estate - Frisco, TX
Broker/Owner 214-234-6901
Keith - I agree there should be more "real world" training.  I have yet to hear of a real estate school or brokerage that offers this.  Or provides an "honest" view of what life is like as a new agent.  Often I think Realtors should apprentice like appraisers have to do!
Apr 26, 2007 01:21 PM #14
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

My instructor way back in 1984 was of the first things that he said in the class was that 70% of us wouldn't renew our licenses when they came do in 3 years and that 90% of us would be out of the business within 5 years.  Sad to say, he was right.


R.B. "Bob" Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Apr 26, 2007 04:07 PM #15
Andy Kaufman
Better Homes & Gardens Mason McDuffie Real Estate - Berkeley, CA
East Bay Sales & Investments

Great post Keith.  It's so true too.  I aced the hell out of the exam, but had no idea how to do business.

Finding the right fit right out of the gates is so crucial to long term success.

Apr 26, 2007 07:18 PM #16
Midori Miller
Talk 2 Midori, LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Digital Marketing Director
Most great real estate schools will warn you the purpose of the course is to pass the state exam.  When it came down to the business I naturally wanted training and spent $$$$$$ on training as well as pick the right company.  Reality is there is nothing like good old fashioned experience. 
Apr 27, 2007 07:41 AM #17
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!


Nice honest post! (would look good in the Real Estate Rookie Group:) I agree that there definitely be courses for the everyday life of a Realtor. You take your exam and then you are pretty much thrown to the wolves. No one really has time to help you, you need to grab the bull by the horns and use every trick you have, especially the way the market is right now. This is where the Passion to be an agent comes in. Sometimes its' just too much and in a bad market and not enough money to live on, well??? We all need to push for more education telling people the basics.

Btw, Riparian rights, as opposed to Littoral Rights, is the right to use moving water, ie rivers and bays. littoral rights covers the oceans.  (I know this, but it never sounded right to me because the ocean is moving also)

Apr 28, 2007 04:21 PM #18
Tori Thompson

I passed a real estate salesman course and real estate math course at a community college in NC - 2005. I did not take my boards......stupid, i know, but I was scared of failing. I would like to finish what I started. Does anyone know of a way to get through this the quickest and safest way? I would appreciate anyone's kindness. Thank you!

Sep 29, 2007 05:22 PM #19
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Keith Pate

Raleigh, NC Real Estate
Spam prevention