9 Replies

I am from DFW area and am having a difficult time deciding where and how to pursue my real estate education/license. I am making a carrier change and want to educate my self well in the real estate laws. I know that you really don't have to have your license to make money in real estate so do I really need my license? On the other hand the more education equals to more confidence for me. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

@Arturo Martinez I would find your local REIA and start attending for a few months to get a handle on investing in your local market before you pursue getting a license or taking any guru classes.

Read all you can for free here on BP as well to get a handle on the different types of investing that you could pursue.

You only *need* the license if you plan on doing something that requires you to have it. What are you looking to do, real estate-wise? Flip? Landlord? Wholesale? Broker?

@Arturo Martinez

Your title, simply "Education" is perfect for me to rant! Thank you.


Education comes in two forms, formal and informal. A formal education is through schools, universities, colleges and trade or professional institutions.

These educational routes have structured curriculums beginning with very basic information and then build upon the basics to varying degrees of complexity.

Why is that? Why did we first learn letters before we were taught to read simple words? Why do we learn numbers before we learn to add them? Because it's the natural progression of learning from our human capabilities to learn, retain information, apply logic and understand the reasoning behind a subject. We are also trained to learn, everyone was required to study on their own in school, we called it homework. Some study well on their own and some don't.

I'm dumbing this down to make an important point to everyone.

However, while some may study well on their own, there is no honest profession, no job, no career path, no advanced training that can totally be learned by self study without a formal type of instruction from a teacher. It just so happens that that real estate, while it can be a professional endeavor is also an area where people may engage in the practice of some aspects of real estate without very much of a formal education.

That brings us to informal learning. We can learn by doing things. Repetitious steps or procedures teach us a process. In real estate there are strategies or systems that are set out procedurally or in steps that can be learned. When these steps are followed and all the conditions are favorable an expected result can occur. A monkey can be taught a procedure and under favorable conditions the monkey can reach a desired result.

We also learn by combining formal teaching methods with informal methods. Vocational schools have used a hands on approach with formal education for hundreds, no, thousands of years. Today, professionals receive much more formal education than they do through informal experience, such as a medical doctor going through residency. Non-professional trades or job skills require less formal education and rely more on training through experience, for example a plumber who must go through an apprenticeship program.

In real estate we have both areas, a professional area and a layperson area where activities may be very similar but with huge differences. Professionals understand why things are done, they have been taught in a formal education process the legal aspects of activities, the economic and physical aspects of properties, their education was acquired through a curriculum of studies that built knowledge on the principles of real estate taking them to more advanced areas of studies. Then there are others who enter aspects of real estate that do not receive formal instruction and rely on self taught methods, learning by experience in those areas they have dealt with. For simplicity let's call these self taught participants "Operators" or "Investors".

In educational pursuits we have teachers, there are teachers in both areas of formal and informal education, there are mentors, coaches, instructors and those that provide informal approaches the we have called gurus.

Teachers in a formal setting are qualified to teach based on meeting legal and ethical standards required in teaching subjects. The others that facilitate a learning process may have qualifications, but they are not required to, thus almost anyone can make claims as to being qualified to give instruction.

This is the issue with real estate education, what type of instruction, who is teaching the subject, how are they qualified and what aspects of the subject are being taught. If you are going an informal route, you must choose carefully who you listen to and understand their qualifications. Making millions of dollars is not a qualification to give instruction, neither is being in the business over a long period of time. The reason is because there are many who act unethically, illegally, have carried out activities incorrectly for years that you really should not be learning. The other aspect is that things in RE change, laws change and things in one state or area may not be allowed in another state or area. Gurus are know for giving out bad information, advocating things that are unethically on a professional standing and may well be illegal due to various reasons.

IMO, operators or investors should be learning the basic principles of real estate in a more formal setting, from those actually qualified by education and experience to teach the subject. After they learn these principles, then the homework may begin just as they did when they were in school.

Having a mentor or coach to assist in their experience can be a plus, so long as that teacher is qualified and does not attempt to teach anything contrary to the basic principle learned, there are some bad ones that should be picking up the basics as well.

Your education in RE is never ending, you will always be learning new regulations, keeping up with laws and local customs change, so staying current is a challenge as well.

As to learning the basics, your local real estate school is probably the best place to begin. There are also college level courses offer online that are free that touch on areas of law, finance, economics and other related areas that will certainly enhance your professionalism in RE. I suggest you search these types of classes out and advance your skills.

The question of being in real estate and at what level is simply up to you. You can end up being a professional dealing in management of skyscrapers or multi-million dollar developments or you can simply be a part time investors with a few rental properties or flip a house every year. Your ambitions should drive your educational requirements. But either way, anyone dealing in real estate really needs to understand the basics, the principles of real estate to understand what they are doing. The professional investor understands not only the process but why the process is the way it is, the monkey doesn't understand why, but just performs. :)

Great post Gulley and Agree 100% ... little to late for me become a Real Estate Lawyer or some other RE professional ..
I will try to do my own education program an become a "Investor " who knows ,where to find and hire a great RE professional ..
Mis 2 centavos !!

Hi Arturo! If you want to become a real estate agent, property manager, etc, then yes, pursue your license. But there are tons of other resources for education that don't require taking formal classes. I've heard many investors say that having your license is super helpful in that you have access to the MLS, can get access to listed properties, etc. So if that appeals to you, then get licensed. Also, it might be a great way to break into the industry if you want a career change. I am currently taking on line courses offered by as I do plan to get my license - it's a great program where you can learn at your own pace and I think it was around $200. Good luck!

Thanks for the all the great advice! @Bill Gulley you dove right in to that one I really appreciate it makes good seance.

@Arturo Martinez

(Jorge, if you're about 50 years old, going to school to refresh your education and the go to law school, it may be a little late. Big mistake using your age or past education failures as an excuse not to advance and improve yourself. I'm sure you have plenty of time. )

I have a many stories about my high school years, I'll just say I was an extroverted jock with little inclination toward studies. I matured rather quickly in the Army and began attending college. My first RE deal was before I went in the service and later while in the service bought, leased and sold a few. I didn't have a clue about RE but honestly, I thought I knew a heck of a lot. It wasn't until I hit civilian life again and ended up doing estate planning with an attorney neighbor that I realized I didn't know squat.

Arturo, you need to take the RE class for agents, those who have never attended are in no position to advise otherwise as they don't know what is covered, they may think they do, but if you haven't been there how in the world can they say you don't need any of that? There was only one area of the basics taught I never used and that has to do with the structure of the state RE Commission and brokerages, that isn't needed to invest. It's still good to know the powers of the powers to be however.

75% of the questions asked on RE deals here wouldn't be asked if the poster had a basic understanding of RE. You can spend 2 weeks in a formal class and save yourself 5 years of trying to figure it out on your own. You don't have to sit for the state exam and get a license, you do need to know what agents know

Forums are great, but asking a "how do I" question will be answered but will always have limitations to answers. I skim the topic to answer specifics but I can't (nor does anyone) give any underlying reasons why or related ramifications. That's not to mention the poor advice given by many just having the urge to post. RE education is a real mess for investors. BP is an outstanding site but even Josh will tell you to do your due diligence concerning information found here.

I can't stress enough how important knowing local customs and state regulations are. I don't know anyone who can give specific advice on how to operate in every state, several seem to think what they do is good to go everywhere and it certainly isn't. Those RE classes will address state requirements as well as local customs.

The above post outlined the how we learn, not writing a book about this, but if people can't get it that you need to learn in progressive steps from the basics and build on that, there is no hope for them, they are either too lazy to put an effort in or they don't have the capacity to understand and either way, they are doomed to chase their tail.

I lay all the blame for making people think they can dive into some strategy and make money on the guru's. Mentors and coaches, many of them, aren't far behind, they are not educators. As long as their are naïve people who are looking for a quick buck that refuse to look at RE as a structured industry (that can be complex at times) these who claim to provide the path to wealth will thrive and feed on them. It really is pathetic. Then what you have are folks who learn junk who passes it along, it's much like an exercise many have seen; one whispers a few lines of information to someone, then that person whispers the information to another. By the time the information is passed all the way around the room the last person gets an entirely different story than originally given. You can see this in posts here where someone is so far off base in thinking they can do something in RE.

I recall one post where a member was wanting to do his marketing to people who had received a quit claim deed, I like to see imagination, thinking out of the box, but that is in another universe because he had misconception of what that deed actually is and when and why it is used. Is it possible to get a deal that way? Sure, so is handing out flyers at an intersection.

If you don't start with the basics, with information obtained from a formal education perspective, you're spinning your wheels. You don't know what you don't and if you don't know you certainly can't use or apply it. :)

@ Bill Gulley
Bill,I'm 38 years old,electrical engineer since 1998...Professional education not only give us an expertise on specific field also prepare us to overcome challenges,displine,etc.....I can recognize when i'm wrong ,so yes i will follow your advice and take some basic real estate class.
Can you advice me what you consider a good start?
Just taking classes like i will become a realtor is what you propose above ?
I dont want to chance carrers,can't affort it right now.

I'm good with numbers,no so good selling stuffs,english is not perfect(30 years in Cuba with Castro didnt helped at all), but i think is good enough(daily job 100% english only).

My goal become a successful investor.

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