Instructor leading a real estate class

The Top Challenges Facing Real Estate Schools Today

By: Dearborn Real Estate Education

There’s nothing “simple” about running a real estate school. Many school owners wear the hats of instructor, customer service representative, marketing and sales professional, bookkeeper, and many other roles. As part of the research we conducted for the Dearborn State of the Real Estate Industry research report, we asked real estate schools about the challenges they feel are affecting their business today.

What is Your Biggest Challenge?

First, we asked each real estate school the open-ended question:

“In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge your real estate school is facing?”

23% of the 318 respondents cite low enrollment and the challenge of recruiting new students as their top challenge. In a crowded marketplace, it’s become increasingly difficult for educators to compete for the attention of potential students. In addition, some hold a feeling that interest in the real estate industry is down, possibly due to the fact that the market is still recovering.

An additional 18% of the survey respondents point to factors related to the competitive environment they are operating in as their greatest challenge. A number of them cite the growth of multi-state online real estate schools, as well as new and underqualified  schools, making it difficult to compete.  

Schools also feel challenged to keep up with new course development. 13% of the respondents indicate that keeping content fresh and relevant in today’s fast-evolving marketplace is their biggest challenge.

Finally, 10% of the schools we heard from say that incorporating technology into their curriculum development and delivery is the biggest challenge. The majority of this group cite difficulties with making the move from a “live class only” facility to one that also offers online education. Others point to rapidly changing technology and the lack of online resources that are compatible with the technological platforms students are using. Finally, several respondents have the general opinion that online education isn’t as effective for students and lacks the ability to keep their interest with interactivity.

How Big of a Challenge is This for You?

Prior to the survey, we held a number of in-depth interviews with real estate professionals across the country. The interviewees identified 25 unique challenges they believe are of the utmost importance to real estate schools. We presented these 25 challenges to survey respondents and asked them to tell us how big of a challenge each one is to their school on a three-point scale from “not challenging at all” to “very challenging.”

Below, we will analyze the 8 biggest challenges that schools pointed to through this exercise:

  • 87% of the respondents say shrinking student attention spans and appetites for detailed reading assignments are at least somewhat challenging.
  • 83% cite recruiting new students and getting sufficient class sizes is at least somewhat challenging. 35% categorize this as very challenging.
  • 79% feel that questions on licensing exams seem to be intended primarily to trick students rather than test their practical knowledge, and feel this is at least somewhat challenging. 36% cite it as very challenging.
  • 78% of respondents feel online materials are not interactive enough to engage students so they retain key concepts.
  • 77% cite finding better ways to prepare students to pass licensing exams at least a somewhat pressing challenge.
  • Strong competition is categorized as somewhat challenging by 76% of the respondents.
  • Finally, 72% indicate they are feeling challenged to constantly develop CE courses that both meet the state regulator’s requirements and offer enough practical value to agents.

We hope this article helps to illustrate some areas of concern that you share with the greater community of real estate educators. By presenting this research, we hope it can begin to create dialogue among real estate education providers that starts to build a bridge for the industry to begin reaching solutions to the challenges that seem to be so common among us.

We also asked survey respondents questions about what items they anticipated would present greater challenges in the future. You can read more about that and a number of other topics in the Dearborn State of the Real Estate Education Industry research report.  

Free Download: 2017 State of the Real Estate Education Industry Report

We talked to over 300 real estate educators across the country to get learn more about what and how you are teaching, where you see the industry going, how you’re spending your marketing budget, and what challenges you’re facing. We compiled the results in this free report.

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