May 26, 2020
Whenever Garden State Real Estate Academy starts a New Jersey real estate licensing seminar, we face the same challenge: how do we make it an interesting learning experience that helps students pass the New Jersey real estate license exam?
Know Thy Audience
Unlike a typical school classroom, Garden State Real Estate Academy has perhaps the most diverse group of guests of any school anywhere. In our past real estate licensing classes we have had guests aged from 17 to 70 looking to earn their real estate license. In almost every class we have guests who were born outside the USA with varying degrees of English proficiency. In just the last two classes I have taught, I can think of guests who came from Australia, England, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Myanmar, China and Vietnam.
So lesson number one for our instructors is to deliver the content clearly and to take time to ensure that everybody really understands the subject being taught, even if it means spending some one-on-one time after class.
Then we have people who inevitably get terrified when questions requiring knowledge of math are introduced. I can remember a person in our broker licensing class who was so convinced that she would fail every math question that she literally refused to even try those questions. Everybody else in the class would be bent over their textbooks calculating the answers and she would be sitting there, arms crossed, looking out the window. “I know I’m going to fail every math question, so what’s the point of even trying?” she said.
Lesson number two for our instructors is to devise ways to teach little tricks or memory-joggers to help our guests remember concepts that they might otherwise have been a challenge for them. That is the fun part of teaching: to suddenly hear the guests exclaim, “Ooooh, that’s really cool! I get it! I really get it now!”
Make Learning Fun.
There is no place in a serious business school for instructors to be jokesters. But that doesn’t mean they have to deliver their lessons in a dull monotonous voice. Preparing for the New Jersey Real Estate license requires understanding topics that are not what one would call “fun.” But that doesn’t mean an instructor has to deliver tedious content in a tedious way.
Students of any age learn best when they like their teacher and when that teacher makes his or her classes interesting. We use games, spot quizzes and stories from the real world of real estate that make those difficult to grasp concepts more understandable and memorable.
I would never criticize a competitor by name, but it honestly blows my mind trying to understand how a school can have real estate licensing classes taught by a person who has never sold a home in his life! Yet that is whom many real estate schools employ as instructors.
Look Beyond the Real Estate Exam.
Of course, the major objective is to help our guests become so familiar with the required topics that they will pass the New Jersey real estate licensing exam on the first try.
But then what?
Having first earned my NJ real estate license 32 years ago, I can remember dozens of newly licensed agents who joined a brokerage, received little or no training, discovered it was not the road to easy riches . . . and quit. Studies show that 80 percent of newly licensed real estate agents drop out of the business in the first three years.
A school might argue, “That’s not our problem. Our only obligation is to get them through the state licensing exam.”
All the Garden State Real Estate Academy instructors have—literally—decades of experience managing and owning real estate offices and selling tens of millions of real estate properties. We consider it an obligation to share that experience with our guests who are just beginning their real estate careers if it will help them.
It’s Not a One-Way Street
It’s not enough to make sure the guests have a great learning experience. Our instructors also have to love that experience! Who wants to be in a dreary, boring job? And so it is. There are few things more uplifting than to finish teaching a class and to receive dozens of emails and cards saying, “We never could have passed the real estate exam with your help” or to get a call a couple of months later from a previous guest who says she has just made her first sale.
If you, or somebody you know is considering a real estate career, Garden State has pre-licensing classes that run during the daytime and other courses that operate three evenings per week. For experienced Realtors® we hold broker licensing licensing courses and continuing education classes. http://www.GSREacademy.com
David C. Forward is a licensed real estate broker and instructor and was first licensed as a Realtor® 32 years ago. During his career, David and his business partner sold more than 450 homes in South Jersey. He is now School Director of Garden Real Estate Academy, has won numerous awards for real estate sales, is a much-requested public speaker who has addressed audiences on six continents and is the author of 15 books. David can be reached at David@GSREacademy.com