By Dearborn Real Estate Education

Top 6 Findings from the 2018/2019 State of the Real Estate Education Industry Report

1. What Schools are Teaching Beyond Licensing is Changing

Not surprisingly, real estate licensing is the most popular core curriculum for schools, with 84% providing it—a slight decrease from last year, but still high. As real estate coaching continues to gain a foothold in real estate education, we asked educators if their schools are offering it. Almost 15% do. In the survey, we also asked about continuing education (CE). We found that more schools are offering real estate CE than last year, but fewer are offering topics related to property management, taxation, and construction/development.

2. How Schools are Providing Education is Changing

Online real estate education is on the rise. Fewer than 10% of real estate schools offer live classroom instruction only, a 33% decrease since last year. Meanwhile the number of schools that offer only online education increased to 15% from 9% in 2017. Of the schools that provide both online and classroom training, those that offer 50–89% of their curriculum online are on the rise. Finally, the schools surveyed currently offer 35% of their courses online, which is up over the previous year as well.

3. The Biggest Real Estate School Business Challenge is Not Competition

In the survey, we asked participants to list the biggest challenges they face in running their businesses. This was an open-ended question. Competition was not the top challenge identified; it came in second with 18%. Instead, the biggest challenge is marketing and attracting quality students, which was cited by 30% of the respondents.

Additionally, we gave respondents a list of general business challenges they experience and asked them to rank them as very challenging, somewhat challenging, or not challenging. The top response was that licensing exam questions are being written to trick students rather than test their practical knowledge. The respondents rated that as very challenging (38%) or somewhat challenging (40%). Another interesting finding is that 40% of respondents listed students’ lack of appetite for detailed reading as very challenging. When asked to anticipate business challenges for the future, the top answer of respondents was the entry of low-cost education providers into the market.

4. Technology is a Future Tipping Point

Technology is having a major impact on the way students learn and the way we teach the profession of real estate. When asked to choose challenges they anticipate for the future, 52% of educators say they expect that meeting the technology demands of students and supporting mobile devices as learning platforms will become more difficult. Another 42% feel reduced student contact will make it more difficult to monitor student progress and assess their understanding of key concepts. The takeaway is that adaptation will be critical for schools to continue to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners.

5. Referrals are Still Seen as the Most Effective Marketing Efforts

When asked to name the marketing activities they felt were most effective, an overwhelming majority (82%) of respondents cited referrals from brokers, although that number is down from last year’s 88%. Other top responses were email, social media, and search engine optimization. Interestingly, most of these responses did not match marketing spend. Spending on referrals was down 4% from last year, and spending on email was down 8%. The top marketing budget investment was social media marketing. Second was print ads, and third was brochures, even though they are not seen as particularly effective.

6. Exam Performance is Not a Reliable Predictor of Industry Potential

Ninety percent of respondents feel they are informing students well on the topics required by the State Real Estate Commission, and 88% feel they are doing a good job preparing students for the exam. These are the top two measures of success the schools cited when asked. Yet, only 71% feel they are preparing students for a successful real estate career. This data supports what many of the people in the real estate education industry have been telling us: a completely different skill set and knowledge base is required for being a successful real estate agent than for passing a state real estate exam.