Your Guide to the Top 7 Real Estate Classes Online to Propel You Into 2021 + Tips for Choosing the Best Career Option for You

October 20th, 2020
Your Guide to the Top 7 Real Estate Classes Online to Propel You Into 2021 + Tips for Choosing the Best Career Option for You

If you’re interested in joining the exciting field of real estate, the first step is to get started on your pre-licensing courses. And with the pandemic still a major concern in most states, online options are more attractive than ever. To help you make the best decision, below we’ve broken down our top seven picks for real estate classes online along with tips for succeeding on your journey as a real estate professional.

Table of Contents:

The 7 Best Online Real Estate Classes

Here we’ll go through our choices for the best real estate classes available online in terms of price (most shown are for the state of California specifically), a pros and cons comparison, and any special features that will help you succeed in remote learning.

  1. Kaplan

kaplan course overview

Kaplan Real Estate Education is one of the country's premier real estate schools, providing real estate licensing and continuing education (CE) courses. Because many of its instructors are practicing real estate professionals themselves, they understand the needs of their students. Courses are designed to guide you through your career—from your first real estate agent license through your subsequent renewals many years later.

  • Price: $400 - $950
  • Trustpilot Rating: 4.2/5
  • Average Pass Rate: 76%
  • Pros: Offers “on-demand” courses that can be completed at the student’s own pace
  • Cons: Does not offer tuition assistance or payment plans
  • Key Online Feature: Helps to organize study groups for students who are unable to meet in person
  1. Real Estate Express

real estate express cost overview

Real Estate Express began in 1996 as a pioneer in online real estate education to one that now serves tens of thousands of real estate professionals each year. A McKissock company, it offers online real estate pre-license and post-license courses across a nationally accredited platform, along with providing free guidance through its Career Hubs to launch and sustain a successful real estate career.

  • Price: $150 - $350
  • Trustpilot Rating: 3.2/5
  • Average Pass Rate: 78%
  • Pros: Offers a refund on the Exam Prep Master course for students who don’t pass the real estate exam
  • Cons: According to reviews, the student forum isn’t as active as it could be with questions going unanswered for long periods of time
  • Key Online Feature: Offers compatibility with smartphones and tablets unlike other online real estate classes
  1. The CE Shop

CE shop overview

Whether you're looking for Pre-Licensing, Exam Prep, Post-Licensing, or Continuing Education, The CE Shop has got you covered. Great real estate agents never stop learning, and the CE Shop is devoted to innovating and evolving as you do. With convenient online courses written by industry experts, you can rest assured that what you learn will help you succeed.

  • Price: $100 - $200
  • Trustpilot Rating: 4.7/5
  • Average Pass Rate: 74% (on the first try)
  • Pros: Also provides a pass guarantee for certain courses in certain states
  • Cons: Bundled packages make it difficult to take only exam prep or pre-licensing courses on their own
  • Key Online Feature: Offers the largest number of online-only continuing education courses for agents in all 50 states
  1. Aceable Agent

Aceable Agent overview

Aceable Real Estate School is an online real estate school and first-ever provider of real estate education designed for mobile app and web. Their mission is to create and support agents in their pursuit of becoming the best in the world through superior educational programming and instructional tools. They’re the innovator in a centuries-old industry, putting real estate pre-license, continuing education, and professional development courses right at the fingertips of the agents who need it.

  • Price: $120
  • Trustpilot Rating: 4.9/5
  • Average Pass Rate: 85%
  • Pros: First real estate school with a focus on smart technology integration, making it easier to learn on the go
  • Cons: Only available in 11 states
  • Key Online Feature: Offers an app which makes it easy to navigate and keep track of course videos
  1. VanEd

Van Ed overview

The mission of VanEd (Van Education Center) is to create the highest quality real estate school online with agent, broker, and appraiser training courses that meet the needs of students and the requirements of the real estate and appraisal industry. Whether you are entering the industry and need an initial license, or must satisfy the requirements of an existing license through continuing education, VanEd is here to help.

  • Price: $450 - $600
  • Trustpilot Rating: Not listed
  • Average Pass Rate: Not listed
  • Pros: Offers a free five-day trial so potential students can test out the format before committing
  • Cons: Higher price than other online real estate classes and only available in select states
  • Key Online Feature: Offers live instructor and customer support with every purchase level
  1. NAR Development Center

NAR development center overview

The Center for Realtor Development is hosted by the NAR (National Association of Realtors) primarily as a resource for continuing education and niche subject education. They offer dozens of courses on everything from catering to different customer segments to learning about specific home selling techniques for places like vacation homes and luxury developments.

  • Price: $30 - $300+ per individual course (bundles also available)
  • Trustpilot Rating: Not listed
  • Average Pass Rate: N/A as they don’t offer pre-licensing courses
  • Pros: Best source for specialty and continuing education courses, they offer frequent sales and discounts
  • Cons: No pre-licensing courses or exam prep, most courses require membership as a REALTOR
  • Key Online Feature: Courses can be accessed online for a full year after purchase
  1. OnCourse Learning/Mbition

OnCourse Learning/Mbition overview

Formally OnCourse Learning Real Estate, Mbition provides online courses for real estate agents, brokers, appraisers, and home inspectors. Their online real estate course catalog is designed to prepare you for your exam, help you become licensed, and maintain your license through continuing education. Their real estate, appraisal, and home inspection pre-licensing courses satisfy the educational requirements for licensure by the appropriate jurisdictions and adhere to all state licensing requirements.

  • Price: $110 - $290
  • Trustpilot Rating: Not listed
  • Average Pass Rate: 74%
  • Pros: Offers a wide variety of courses including pre-licensing and exam prep, continuing education, home appraisal, and home inspection
  • Cons: Lack of direct communication features between students and course instructors
  • Key Online Feature: Courses are also available “on-demand” online so students can complete chapters at their own pace

State Breakdown of Agent Certification Requirements

Now that you understand your options for taking real estate classes online, we wanted to provide you with some helpful information about how the certification process works overall. Below are the specifications for California, Texas, Florida, and New York, which you can use as an estimate if you live in a different state.

state breakdown visual

California Requirements

  • Initial Requirements: 18 years old and commitment to trustworthy practicing of real estate
  • Pre-Licensing: 135 hours
  • Minimum Exam Pass Percentage: 70%

Texas Requirements

  • Initial Requirements: 18 years old
  • Pre-Licensing: 180 hours
  • Minimum Exam Pass Percentage: 70%

Florida Requirements

  • Initial Requirements: 18 years old, social security number, and high school diploma
  • Pre-Licensing: 63 hours
  • Minimum Exam Pass Percentage: 75%

New York Requirements

  • Initial Requirements: 18 years old and no prior felony convictions
  • Pre-Licensing: 75 hours
  • Minimum Exam Pass Percentage: 70%

What Type of Agent Should I Be?

Though most real estate agents choose this path as a full-time career, did you know that that’s far from the only option? Many also choose to become a part-time real estate agent or to just do real estate as a side hustle to make some extra money. If you aren’t positive that full-time real estate work is right for you, we’ve included some pros and cons for different options below.

what type of agent should you be visual chart

  1. Part-Time Agent

Like we mentioned above, becoming a part-time real estate agent is becoming a more popular choice for people who don’t want to commit to the hustle of a full-time gig. Part-time agents typically work on evenings and weekends, which is both the easiest schedule to fit around another 9-5 and is the time that most prospects are available for open houses.

  • Pros: Flexible schedule and ability to be your own boss, can make significant extra cash on the side
  • Cons: If done in conjunction with a full-time job the hours can be overwhelming, it may also be more difficult to find brokers willing to hire part-time agents
  • Best For: Experienced agents who want to scale back, people wanting to explore the real estate market without committing to a full-time job, highly-motivated people looking to make extra money
  1. Side Hustle Agent

Though similar to a part-time agent, people who choose to do real estate as a side hustle typically look for “easier” wins as they aren’t focused on potentially making this a full-time job. Examples of side hustle agents could be people who already have a lot of connections and make money off of referrals, or agents who decide to get into the investing side of things to make passive income.

  • Pros: Ability to make side income without a significant time commitment
  • Cons: Usually requires fairly significant startup funds and personal connections
  • Best For: People already familiar with the market through other work, such as property managers or real estate lawyers
  1. Full-Time Agent

This is the path that most agents take when first starting out. Full-time agents are employed by brokers to either help with home sales and buying or in the rental market to find and fill apartment vacancies. The duties of a full-time agent will include significant time reaching out to prospects and nurturing relationships, organizing and showing open houses, and helping to coordinate documents and paperwork.

  • Pros: Flexible schedule, fast-paced and exciting work environment, support of a brokerage to handle complex aspects of deals
  • Cons: May experience a heavy workload especially during the first year, difficult to make connections when first starting out
  • Best For: Anyone looking to get started in the world of real estate

Choosing a Specialty as a Real Estate Agent

In addition to choosing a level of work commitment, there are also many specialities real estate agents can pursue depending on their interests. We’ve outlined just a few below to give you an idea of the diverse opportunities out there.

real estate specialities visual

  1. Luxury Real Estate Agent

Luxury real estate agents deal with high net worth individuals, helping them secure or sell properties in the millions of dollars. Getting into luxury real estate is tempting for one main reason - the hefty price tag attached to the commission rate. However, luxury real estate is also one of the most intimidating fields to enter as it's a smaller circle, and therefore more competitive. 

The good news is that succeeding as a luxury real estate agent doesn’t actually take any different skills than being a successful real estate generalist, it just requires developing those skills even further. You need to know your properties inside and out, understand your clients and their every need, and be extremely detail-oriented.

  1. Green Real Estate Agent

Green real estate agents have received specialized training and certifications on sustainable and energy-efficient homes and building practices. As more people become focused on limiting their environmental impact, this is a great field to get into that will likely be experiencing even more growth in the next few years. 

Green real estate agents will take on clients who are committed to finding eco-conscious homes. They’ll help them with tasks like identifying possible home modifications like solar panels, or conducting an audit of the property to make sure it is meeting sustainability standards.

  1. Senior Real Estate Agent

Another specialization option for real estate agents is the senior market. Senior real estate agents have received specialized training on how to best work with older clients, both on a personal communication level and on how to identify living situations that will best suit their needs. 

Not only can senior real estate agents refer their clients to other senior-specific services like home evaluators and tax specialists, they can also help with a variety of situations like selling the family home, renting in a senior living community, fixing a house up to be safe for senior family members, and more, all while dealing with the client and their family in a sensitive manner.

These are just three specialities or “niches” that you can pursue as a real estate agent, you will find many more opportunities on your journey.

Study Schedule Printables for Online Real Estate Classes

We hope the thought of all these different types of roles and specialities makes you excited to get started in your new career. But the first step is still passing your online real estate classes. Because it can be especially difficult to stay motivated with online learning, we’ve created these handy study tools that will help you keep track of how long you’ve studied, terms you still need to learn, and concepts you’ve mastered so you don’t have to cram right before your final exam.

printable weekly study plan printable monthly study tracker

Additional Resources

To help you make a more informed choice about your career as a real estate agent, we’ve also compiled the list of resources below:

  • Test-Guide - Free practice exams for the licensing exam
  • Investopedia - Detailed steps for becoming an agent in different states
  • The Balance - Help with choosing a real estate specialty or niche

Once you’ve successfully passed your online real estate classes and are well on your way to becoming an agent, remember to check out RentSpree’s helpful suite of tools for finding the best people to fill your rentals, including online rental application and tenant screening services.