Real Estate School: What Agents Wish They Would Have Learned

Young Student Watching Lesson Online And Studying From Home

Once you’ve obtained your real estate license and you head into the field, there will likely be many moments when you find yourself saying “Why didn’t I learn that in school?” You were given an overview, basic information about the generic world of real estate. However, you likely weren’t prepped on how to handle clients, contracts, or even how to manage your time. The industry can be tricky, and many successful real estate agents say they had to learn a lot on their own. So, we asked top producers what they wish they would have known starting out.

Brad Pauly is the owner/broker of Pauly Presley Realty. He earned his Texas real estate license more than 20 years ago, since then Brad has seen Austin change dramatically over the years. A constant analyzer of market data, he has always had a knack for helping consumers and investors alike procure solid investment opportunities. He’s risen to become one of Austin’s top producers, but there’s one thing he says real estate school doesn’t teach you:

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Being knowledgeable in this industry is important, so is being a hard worker.  However, none of that matters if you don’t have a network of potential Buyer, Seller, and tenants.”

Catherine Myers is a Broker Associate at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Drysdale Properties. Catherine consistently receives high marks on quality certified third-party surveys due to her excellent communication, follow up and education approach to the real estate process. She’s risen to the top and this is her advice to those just starting off:

“It isn’t as easy as just obtaining the license, in fact that’s almost the easy part. What new licensees need to know is how to select a broker, how to get clients, engage their sphere, build a business to last, find the support they’ll need, the prospecting they’ll need to do, etc. A “real life” what does it take to be successful would have been an important addition to real estate licensing school.”

studying at coffee shopVickey Barron is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker. When she talks, the real estate world listens. She is direct, honest and able to expertly maneuver through the twists and turns of New York real estate without ever missing a beat. Thanks to her calm demeanor, relaxed confidence and engaging spirit, her customers find the whole experience fun and rewarding from start to finish. 

“Had I been told about board packages and what was needed to get through the process then I might have made a u-turn! The irony is that I now teach agents how to put great board packages together. You can do everything right in real estate, but if you can’t do a board package, then it’s all for nothing.”

Happy woman studying and smilingWonwoo “Woo” Lee is an Asset Manager and Licensed Broker for Oxford Companies in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Woo is a commercial real estate professional with expertise in CRE financial analyses, debt structuring, office & retail lease negotiations, asset stabilization, underwriting, budgeting, and asset management.

I was surprised to learn that real estate is extremely interdisciplinary. Success in the industry requires cooperation with so many partners, from civil engineering and HVAC, to architecture, finance – and watching it all come together makes every day exceptionally rewarding.”

Tony Mariotti  is a former tech executive turned realtor. He’s held his California real estate license for 6 years. For his clients selling their homes, Tony brings unparalleled marketing skills and a deep proficiency with digital media in particular. For home buyers, he brings expert negotiation skills honed by years of high-value deal making. 

“I really could have used some insight to some of the local ordinances in Los Angeles, particularly about brush clearance in the Hollywood Hills. On my very first deal, a disclosure came to us about annual brush clearing requirements and compliance with the City of Los Angeles’ fire safety rules. The rules are worded quite vaguely and we got things sorted out by calling the local fire department. That said, it would be great to have a course chapter devoted to local laws that come up regularly during transactions. There’s enough fluff and esoteric information in real estate courses that could be removed and replaced with more relevant, useful information.”

woman studying with coffeeAjay Gohil is a real estate agent at Right At Home Realty. He has a true passion for all things real estate and strives to provide exceptional service, honest advice, and great care for his clients. Whether it’s a first-time property buyer/seller, a seasoned investor, or simply wanting to rent in a more desirable area, he will help navigate you through with ease. While he’s created a big name for himself, he says there are certain things real estate school can’t teach you. 

“I would say the one thing that you end up learning on your own is knowing how to effectively vet/qualify potential buyers and tenants, as the training materials assume that they’re already qualified. Oftentimes, buyers and tenants simply assume that they can contact a real estate agent and immediately start property hunting, without realizing whether they even qualify to afford the mortgage or rent. Buyers may need to connect with mortgage brokers/banks/lenders to review their financial health and obtain a mortgage pre-approval before even considering house hunting. Income, employment and identity should all be verified by the real estate agent for authentication and to rule out any red flags early on. Tenants need to know about the 40% affordability rule, i.e. rent should be under 40% of gross monthly income as well as ideal credit score target ranges and then eventually income verification, providing references, government issued photo IDs, employment letters, etc.”

studying for licensing examOmer Reiner earned his Florida real estate license back in 2011. He says he was attracted to the real estate industry mainly because of the opportunity to be able to support his family while also helping people in different situations improve their condition. Later he purchased his first property and formed Florida Cash Home Buyers Inc.

“I wish I could have learned how to analyze income properties. This is something that would have helped me a lot in figuring out what rental properties to recommend for my buyers to purchase, and also advise my sellers better on how they should price their rental property to sell fast for maximum value.”

Blake Schreckhise is the investment/income property specialist for the Limbird Real Estate Group, Arkansas’s #1 team. He specializes in helping new investors all the way to veteran investors make sound decisions when buying or selling property.

“There are a million things that I wish I had learned in real estate school. Real Estate school is all about teaching the agent the laws of selling real estate. That is very necessary, however they don’t cover how to write contract or even familiarize you with the forms that agents use every single day. I also wish someone would have warned me how many uncomfortable situations you have to endure in order to sell real estate. Along with that I wish someone would have told me how empowering it is to come out the other side of those interactions with a house to sell or a buyer writing a contract. ”

Bruno Fernandez is the Broker/Founder of Imagine Realty, he was born and raised in Spain! Upon graduating from Law School, he moved to the United States, and created his first real estate investment company shortly after. It is here that he discovered his love for helping families purchase the homes that he had poured his blood, sweat, and tears into creating for them. He says passion, among other things can’t be taught in real estate school. 

“NEGOTIATION SKILLS. Real Estate schools are great at preparing you for the Real Estate State test, but typically fail to teach the necessary skills to handle real estate negotiations. Real Estate transactions are complex, and negotiations are not just limited to agreeing to a specific purchase price. There are potentially seller’s concessions, repairs, personal property, closing costs and much more  that a savvy real estate agent can use as negotiation tools.”

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About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 2/2/2022