If you’re interested in becoming a real estate agent, or if you’re already a real estate agent looking to hone your skills, there are several college-level courses that can help you succeed. You can go back to get a specific degree, like an MBA in business intelligence, or you can pick and choose the classes most relevant to you.

Thanks to the abundance of online course offerings available (many of which are free), you can study when it’s convenient for you, go at your own pace and pick an education track that makes the most sense for your goals. 

The question is, which areas are most important to succeed as a real estate agent? 

Top courses for real estate agents

These are some of the best classes to take to improve your skills and potential as a real estate agent: 

1. Anything real estate-related

This probably goes without saying, but consider taking any class that’s directly related to real estate. Most colleges and many online platforms offer dedicated real estate classes, like real estate finance, real estate law and classes related to housing and urban development.

Any course that introduces you to the basic mechanics of real estate, especially if they relate to your state specifically, will be helpful to a newcomer.

However, there’s one important hiccup to note here: You’ll be required to take lots of real estate classes as part of your path to licensure. The classes you take independently may or may not help you meet the minimum coursework thresholds for your licensing requirements, and you may end up with some redundancy. Still, it doesn’t hurt to get a high-level overview, especially if you’re unfamiliar with real estate. 

2. Economics

There are few areas of study more relevant to real estate than economics. Economics will teach you how all markets (in general) work, noting variances in supply and demand, what drives prices up or down and different philosophies for how the market works most efficiently.

The more you learn about economics, the more you’ll be able to delve into market reports and truly understand what’s going on in local neighborhoods. Over time, any real estate agent can develop a kind of sixth sense for housing market trends, but with a background in economics, you’ll be able to use numbers to prove your points. 

3. General business courses

Though it’s a broad field, almost any business course can help you become a more effective real estate agent. Even if you’re working as an agent with a major agency, you’ll still be treating your career like it’s an independent business.

You’ll be trying to find your own clients, make them happy and sell (or buy) as much as possible. Business-related classes will teach you skills like negotiation and salesmanship, as well as fundamental concepts like how to account for taxes and how to scale a business up in size. 

4. Marketing and advertising

One of the most important roles you’ll have as a real estate agent is making the properties in your portfolio appealing to prospective buyers. It will be your responsibility to display, list and promote various properties to encourage the highest possible offers, or in some cases, to attract as many offers as possible as quickly as possible.

For that, you’ll need at least some understanding of how marketing and advertising work. There’s a lot to dig into in this arena, from high-level theories about what makes people make purchases to ground-level tactics, like how to leverage social media advertising in your strategy

5. Psychology

It also helps to take a handful of psychology classes, including social psychology. As a real estate agent, it’s important for you to understand and “get inside” the human mind. You’ll need to see houses through the eyes of prospective buyers, and understand what’s motivating your sellers’ prospective goals.

You’ll also need to be able to get along with your clients; the better your relationships with your clients, the more you’ll be able to help them, and the more referrals you’ll eventually receive. 

Getting licensed

You should note that taking these classes won’t immediately qualify you to practice real estate. If you don’t have a real estate license in your state, you’ll need to go through a multi-step process to get one, including many hours of dedicated coursework and a licensing exam. These requirements vary from state to state, so make sure you understand what’s required of real estate agents in your area. 

That said, taking the aforementioned classes either as a precursor to your real estate license preparation or as a form of continuing education can significantly aid you in becoming a successful agent. The more knowledge you have and the more practice you get, the better you’ll become. 

Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher and business consultant specializing in entrepreneurship, technology and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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