4 Best Online Real Estate Schools in Iowa for 2024

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed Agent5/1/2024

Editorial Note: We sometimes earn a small commission from partners listed. This never affects editor opinions or evaluations. More

Need to get your real estate license in Iowa? I’ve spent over 154 hours evaluating the 8 most popular courses approved by the Iowa Real Estate Commission. I’ve checked out each and every course, and there are clear winners and losers – so be sure to read my guide thoroughly!

Best Online Real Estate School in Iowa

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Best Overall Iowa Real Estate School, Highest Pass Rates, Best Continuing Education Courses: The CE Shop

A+
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Top Features

: Self-scheduling flexibility, highest exam pass rates in the state
Starting at $359 $269

Undoubtedly, The CE Shop’s course is my top choice. When it comes to selecting the right course format for your needs, I highly recommend this one. It provides various packages that cater to different learning styles, allowing you to customize your learning experience.

One standout feature of The CE Shop is its affordability. It offers the most cost-effective option compared to other alternatives. What sets it apart as the best overall choice for an online course in Iowa is their free five-day trial. This exceptional offer lets you firsthand experience the classes before making any commitments, and there are no questions asked.

Plus, this is one of the courses available for our Tuition Reimbursement program, which is a big help. All you have to do is interview with one of our recruiters after passing the state and national exams, then join our brokerage. Request reimbursement after your license has been transferred to our brokerage, and we’ll reimburse you for the entire cost of the course that you purchased. See details in the Tuition Reimbursement section of this page.

Although you have the option to enroll in the more affordable package, I highly recommend considering The CE Shop’s “Premium” package due to its added benefits. The Pass Guarantee makes it well worth the extra cost, as it acts as an insurance policy against financial loss in the event of failing the real estate exam.

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Convenience: 4.9 out 5. The CE Shop’s course is one of my favorites simply because of its user interface, which plays a key role in the success of thousands of students in Iowa. The specially designed online learning platform is easily accessible on various devices such as tablets, desktops, and phones, providing the convenience of studying on the go. This flexibility is particularly useful for those with busy schedules, as it allows them to maximize their downtime by squeezing lessons into their day.

Upon logging in, I was particularly impressed by the dashboard that greets you. It offers a comprehensive overview of your course progress, clearly indicating the distance you’ve covered and the remaining lessons. The ability to skip ahead or review previous material at any time adds to the course’s convenience and adaptability. Furthermore, the course content itself presents a well-rounded blend of videos, infographics, and interactive quizzes. This diverse approach not only prevents monotony but also sets it apart from other real estate schools in Iowa that primarily rely on text-based materials.

Pass Rate: 4.8 out 5. The CE Shop boasts an impressive pass rate among Iowa students. Notably, Iowa is one of the states that experiences a significant drop-off between the national and state portions of the exam. However, with The CE Shop’s course, 90% of students go on to pass the national portion, while 74% successfully pass the state portion. These results surpass the state averages, which stand at 66% for the national portion and 48% for the state portion. What sets The CE Shop apart is their transparency in sharing their pass rates each year, unlike other providers who may withhold such information.

Course Duration: 4.6 out of 5. The Iowa real estate course offered by The CE Shop is relatively short, spanning only 60 hours, which is a great news! Many students, however, are eager to know how quickly they can complete the course or want the comfort of having extra time to finish it if they encounter challenges or become busy.

Thankfully, The CE Shop understands these concerns and provides a flexible extension policy to cater to your needs. Initially, the course expiration is set at 6 months from the date of purchase. However, there is a complimentary one-month extension available, granting students extra time at no additional cost. It allows for a more relaxed pace or accommodates unforeseen circumstances.

Beyond this initial extension, The CE Shop implements a fee structure for subsequent reactivations or extensions beyond the seventh month. Each 30-day extension incurs a charge of 20% of the current retail price of the course.

Support: 4.7 out of 5. The support team at The CE Shop deserves high praise for their exceptional service, providing assistance round the clock. While every team has its strengths and weaknesses, The CE Shop’s support team goes above and beyond to ensure customers are satisfied. They are available seven days a week via phone, chat, and email, surpassing the service offered by most other online schools.

During my interactions with them, I found the employees I spoke with over the phone to be really helpful. They provided me with a detailed list of what steps to take next, guiding me through the process quickly.

In instances where they didn’t have an immediate answer, particularly regarding course content, the support team took note of my information and assured me that I would receive a response within a day or two.

Refund Policy: 4.7 out of 5. The most notable advantage of The CE Shop is undoubtedly their 5-day free trial, which is a recent addition. This program allows students to enroll in the course and explore its contents without the need to provide any credit card information upfront. It is a remarkable feature that distinguishes them from other real estate schools in Iowa, as no other course in the region offers a comparable opportunity for trial enrollment.

However, when examining the refund policy alone, The CE Shop’s policy is relatively standard. It does not have any unique or exceptional features. Within the first month of enrollment, students are eligible for a full refund, provided they have not completed more than half of the course. This policy aligns with the industry standard, and other schools like Colibri Real Estate offer similar refund policies.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, if I could only recommend one course in Iowa, it would be The CE Shop. It’s simple to navigate, and will help to prepare you for the real estate exam. I’d suggest taking a look at the Premium package because the extra perks like the pass guarantee make it a better overall value. It also comes with career resource books written by experts, and business building courses which are a huge help even after you pass the test and begin your new career.

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The CE Shop Pros
  • More students pass the exam than any other real estate school in Iowa
  • Practice tests are unlimited
  • Built to study on the go
  • Comes with 5-day free trial
The CE Shop Cons
  • Must pay extra for exam prep
  • Interface can be glitchy
Starting at $359 $269

Best for Live, Scheduled Courses: Colibri Real Estate

A+

Top Features

: Several packages to choose from, lots of practice exams
Starting at $476 $377

Colibri Real Estate’s course has the best refund policy in Iowa, bar none. They offer a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, a course swap option, and a chance to demo the student dashboard before paying. If you are wavering back and forth about whether or not real estate school is the right path for you, then this is the I’d pick. It gives you the best chance of getting your money back if you change your mind.

When it comes to price, it’s definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, but there are four packages ranging in price ($307-$484) to choose from, which means you can add as many features as you want to. There are also almost always discounts and sales going on, which is a huge help.

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Convenience: 4.6 out 5. Colibri Real Estate offers interactive course content across all their packages, ensuring an engaging learning experience no matter which one you choose. Each of the four packages includes study guides and coaching videos straight from Buffini & Company. These videos provide real-world examples, showcasing industry situations and addressing common questions. With a standalone value of $150, these videos serve as an excellent complement to the course material.

For those looking for the best test prep experience, access to live Q&A sessions, or simulated exams, upgrading to one of the more premium options is what I’d recommend. While the most affordable course option is enough, the choice ultimately depends on your preferred learning style and needs.

One standout feature of Colibri is the “readiness assessment,” which I personally find to be my favorite part. This assessment evaluates your exam readiness and assigns a score ranging from 1 to 10. It serves as a valuable tool in determining whether you should continue studying or if you are ready to proceed with signing up for the exam.

Pass Rate: 4.2 out 5. Colibri Real Estate boasts a pass rate among Iowa students that exceeds the state average. Approximately 85% of Colibri students successfully pass the state exam, and the school has aided over 520,000 aspiring agents in obtaining their real estate license in Iowa. While this pass rate is commendable, it is important to note that it may not be the highest on our list of schools.

If your primary focus is finding a school that offers a more interactive test preparation experience at a lower price, there are alternative options available. These schools can provide the necessary preparation in a more engaging manner, catering to your specific learning preferences.

Course Duration: 4.5 out of 5. The Iowa pre-licensing course can be completed within 60 hours, which is a relatively short timeline. However, for those who prefer having extra time available due to potential unforeseen circumstances, Colibri offers the option to extend course access. Students can choose from 7, 30, or 60-day extensions, with prices increasing for longer durations. Moreover, Colibri provides a “retake” option, which grants a $25 discount if a student decides to restart the course. This policy is relatively generous compared to other schools, as it allows students the flexibility to manage their course timeline according to their needs. It is important to note that the initial course access provided by Colibri is valid for 6 months. If students require additional time, they can consider extending their course access to continue their studies.

Support: 4.6 out of 5. Colibri has earned a strong reputation as a trustworthy online real estate education provider, and their commitment to customer support reinforces this recognition. They offer multiple channels to connect with real people through various tabs on their platform. Whether you require assistance with enrollment or general support, they provide dedicated phone lines for each purpose. On top of that, their “live education specialist” is readily available for immediate assistance via live chat, responding promptly within seconds and offering a wealth of helpful resources. This commitment to customer support showcases Colibri’s dedication to ensuring a positive learning experience for their students.

Refund Policy: 4.6 out of 5. Colibri is an outstanding option for those who prioritize flexible refund options. They have implemented several safeguards to ensure that students do not risk losing their entire investment. Particularly, for individuals who enroll in their self-paced online courses, which are highly popular, there is an opportunity to receive a 100% refund within one week if they are dissatisfied with the course. Even if a student has not yet started the course, they can request a full refund within one month of enrollment.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: I would recommend Colibri’s Iowa pre-licensing course. For aspiring agents, I’d suggest taking a look at the Ultimate Learning package. The extra perks like the career success tools, the coaching videos, and the CompuCram Exam Prep make it a great value that will help you find success long after you finish your real estate course.

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Colibri Real Estate Pros
  • Very flexible scheduling
  • Can pick and choose from different features
  • Live Q&A chat available
Colibri Real Estate Cons
  • Study resources cost extra
  • Checkout process can be confusing
  • Glitchy interface
Starting at $476 $377

Free Option to get Your Real Estate License: Tuition Reimbursement

A+

Top Features

: Easy way to get your real estate school for FREE
Starting at $359 $269

Agent Advice is hiring realtors, and we’ve built the most affordable way for you to get your Real Estate License. Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase your course from agentadvice.theceshop.com
  • Complete your course and pass the state and national licensing exams
  • Email us to schedule your interview with our recruiters
  • Then join our brokerage, and we’ll reimburse your course costs (choose which package is right for you) as soon as your license transfers – easy peasy

Not sure if this is right for you? Get started with a 5 day free trial

Other program details

Once you receive confirmation from the state that you’ve passed the state and national exams, you can email us at support@agentadvice.com to get connected with our recruiters. One of our recruiters will reach out to you to get to know you and share any and every thing you’ll want to know to decide if our brokerage is the right fit for you. If it’s not, you’re under no obligation to join our brokerage.

If you do join us, our support team will then reimburse you within 2 business days of joining. Reimbursement will come in the form of a gift card or check equal to the value of the course purchased, and will be delivered electronically.

AgentAdvice.com is not the provider of any courses, and all state certifications, ongoing support questions, etc. will be provided by and fulfilled directly through the school. Feel free to email us with any other specific questions about our tuition reimbursement program.

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Starting at $359 $269

Best Test Prep in Iowa: PrepAgent

A

Top Features

: Updated study material, engaging instructors
Starting at $59

PrepAgent is designed to help future agents pass the real estate exam. They offer online group webinars, online training tools, e-books, and thousands of state-specific practice questions. 

I looked at dozens of different test prep vendors, including the ones that “come with” the courses – and frankly, all fall short of PrepAgent.

They are constantly updating their content as the exams change. While the questions cannot be the exact same as the real estate exam, PrepAgent strives to keep their content as close to what the exam will provide as possible. The material in the practice exams is written to reflect what an agent would need to know to pass the actual exam. 

See Pricing

Convenience: 4.8 out 5. PrepAgent offers multiple ways for the students to study. My favorite feature is that you can focus on your weaknesses with category-specific tests, or go straight for the master exam preparation. Interactive flashcards and study guides are available to quiz yourself with, as well as worksheets to help track and remember all the information that has been provided.

PrepAgent also offers explainer videos to help keep the learning process fun. If students opt for the premium package they have access to live online group webinars 7 times a week with a variety of topics that cover the real estate exam. There is a live chat as well as recorded webinars to watch in the future in case you miss one.

In addition to practice exams and up-to-date information on the real estate exam, PrepAgent also offers one-on-one tutoring for those that feel extra individualized attention may help them to better prepare. The tutors help focus on the struggles students are having with absorbing the material and helping to implement tips and study tricks to prepare for the exam. Students can schedule multiple sessions if necessary. 

Refund Policy: 4.1 out of 5. With PrepAgent, you really can’t fail. If you aren’t satisfied with PrepAgent, their packages are covered with a 100% money-back guarantee. This sets them apart from some of their competitors, who have much more restrictive refund policies.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I highly recommend PrepAgents’s Iowa test prep. A feature I really appreciated is the ability to listen to the information in their car. I also applaud the instructors for their relatable way of teaching and how easy they made it to retain the information taught. Overall students seem very pleased with PrepAgent and their teaching methods, with many having stated they were able to pass the real estate exam on the first try using all the tools offered.

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PrepAgent Pros
  • Can get 1:1 tutoring
  • Audio recordings available
  • Several packages to choose from
PrepAgent Cons
  • Exam prep only available for a limited time
  • Online only
Starting at $59

Not Recommended

We had a high bar in picking the best of the best real estate schools in Iowa. These schools didn’t make the cut (frankly, they’re not as great as our top picks – but were also evaluated).

Kaplan

C-
kaplan

Top Features

: Several packages to choose from, lots of practice exams
Starting at $789 $599

Kaplan’s course is one of the hardest to sit through in Iowa, but it can get the job done if you really need it to. Because it’s so boring and there are few redeeming qualities, so I’d say you’re better off choosing another provider.

It’s also more expensive than other courses out there with few added benefits to make up for the high price point. It is not known for being very interactive, so there are definitely better options that will probably hold your attention more.

See Pricing

Convenience: 2 out 5. The Kaplan courses are built on dated technology. It’s hard to navigate, glitchy, and slow. Even figuring out what courses to purchase gives you a headache.

Pass Rates: 3.8 out of 5: Kaplan’s pass rate amongst Iowa students is pretty lackluster. While it’s not the lowest pass rate by any means, you can certainly find a course that will give you more confidence. About 54% of Kaplan students go on to pass the state exam, which is significantly lower than the 68% average.

Kaplan does offer a PassProtection policy that allows students who enrolled in the Live or Live Online classes to retake their course if they fail the Iowa state exam. That’s great if you happen to fail, but why not choose a course that’s going to give you the knowledge to pass on the first try?

Course Duration: 3.2 out of 5: Although the Iowa real estate course only takes 60 hours to complete, some people want to know they have an extension 0ption upfront in case they need more time. Kaplan’s access policy is pretty limited. You only have 6 months to finish from the date of purchase before it expires.

Another thing to note is that students take a longer time to complete Kaplan courses than any other online real estate school providers. I chalk this up to the monotonous content, and the repetitive lesson plans.

Support: 1 out of 5. In my test purchases, I’ve experienced Kaplan support taking up to 3 business days before responding.  All other schools I’ve tested typically respond within 1-2 hours & never longer than 24 hours during Monday-Friday.

Refund Policy: 0 out of 5. On 3 separate occasions, AgentAdvice students were declined a qualifying refund for Kaplan course purchases, and in each case, we (AgentAdvice) had to step in to personally provide the refund to these students after Kaplan declined to refund the courses or offer a replacement course. We no longer buy courses from Kaplan for this reason, and recommend that any student considering a Kaplan Real Estate course purchase do so expecting not to get a refund if they change their mind.

Overall Value & Recommended Package: Overall, I can’t recommend Kaplan’s Iowa pre-licensing course. For aspiring agents, I’d suggest taking a look at one of The CE Shop packages instead. The interactive capabilities will seem like such a breath of fresh air compared to the monotonous text-based content Kaplan offers. The 96% student satisfaction rate blows Kaplan’s sub par courses out of the water, and their updated test prep is such a great value.

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Kaplan Pros
  • Multiple packages
  • PassProtection Retake Policy
Kaplan Cons
  • Dated content and technology
  • VERY confusing checkout process
  • Glitchy interface
  • Only 6 months of access
Starting at $789 $599

A bit about Pass Rates:

You’ll see me refer to Pass Rates in my article – these are estimated using a variety of sources – pass rates directly from the providers, estimations from other states where providers operate in multiple states, and user-reported qualitative information.

SchoolEstimated Pass Rate
The CE Shop
46%
Colibri Real Estate
45%
Kaplan
44%

Our Methodology: 

I ranked and rated each school on 8 different factors to come up with the very best real estate schools in Iowa. Our full guide on how we rank courses is available here, but the short version of factors considered are: 

  1. Course value
  2. How easy the courses were to navigate
  3. If there were any technical glitches
  4. Return policies
  5. Overall performance of each school as a whole
  6. Reviews directly from agents who’ve attended the school

There are dozens of options (some of them not so great!), so we’ve taken the work off your plate by narrowing down the list to only the ones that scored high enough. Whether you’re dedicating yourself full time to your new career, are looking to fly through the courses quickly to get them over with, or are busy and looking to work through them when you have downtime, here is a list of the best online real estate schools in Iowa you should consider.

Chris Heller Headshot

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: 5/1/2024