An old student of mine recently emailed me about taking real estate investment courses online. Erin had taken several of my classes back when I was an academic and taught finance, and she’d heard I’d started investing in real estate after retirement. As a student, she had a real knack for numbers and I’d encouraged her to go into finance. She was now working with a prominent firm but admitted she was thinking about quitting her corporate job to start up a real estate investing company. I encouraged her to do that too. But, even though almost anything can be found on the Internet these days, I expressed my reservations about her taking real estate investment courses online. She’d done her homework, though. So, I reviewed some of the better options she found and made my final recommendations.
Where to Take Real Estate Investment Courses Online
I get why online learning is appealing, especially if you’re working full-time or are parenting. When you’re juggling multiple responsibilities, you simply have limited free time. The online environment allows you to attend classes at your leisure. It also gives you the freedom to study from anywhere, whether it’s a cafe in Austin or a library in Pittsburgh. And, these days, almost any subject matter is available to anyone who is interested. In many ways, the internet has equalized educational opportunities.
But, whether or not these online opportunities to learn about real estate investing are worth your time is debatable. There are risks to residential property investment that you won’t encounter in other fields. So, it’s imperative to be trained by instructors who actively, and successfully, invest in real estate. If you’re not careful, you could spend a lot of time—and money—learning from self-professed gurus who are intent only on furthering their own interests or making some cash off you. And, if the content you’re exposed to doesn’t teach you how to find properties, evaluate repairs and potential returns, determine exit strategies, or generally run your business as efficiently as possible, then making a career out of real estate investing isn’t probable.
With that in mind, let’s examine the online real estate investor training courses that Erin found to see if any of them get an “A.”
Currently, ed2go offers a couple of real estate investment courses that you can take separately or as a part of a suite. The classes are six weeks long and enrollment starts at the beginning of every month. Some of the topics covered include buying foreclosures, how to manage a rehab, and the effect of interest rates on investments. Individual courses are only $149 each and appear to be led by industry professionals. They also offer financial assistance and partner with over 2,000 schools. So, your coursework can be credited toward a degree you may be seeking elsewhere.
But, of the two courses offered on real estate investing, one focuses on real estate law. If you choose to buy the suite, a third class on money management is included. It’s not that these subjects aren’t important, but to skillfully invest in real estate, you’ll need to cover more ground than what one class, and three loosely related classes, can offer. Although the low cost to learn at ed2go may seem like a deal, it won’t feel that way when you have to spend more money to get more info from somewhere else.
Udemy offers several real estate investing courses covering a wide range of subjects at varying costs. You can take a real estate analysis class for just under $50 or learn about wholesaling properties for $199. Once you purchase a class, you can start anytime and you have lifetime access to the material. You also get a certificate of completion with most courses. Additionally, Udemy has a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you’re not satisfied with what you’ve learned, you’re not stuck with the bill.
Unfortunately, though you can get your money back when a class is subpar, you can’t get back your time. That’s problematic if the reason you’re taking online classes is because your time is limited. The background and experience levels of the instructors also vary widely and aren’t always verifiable, which can make choosing a good class a gamble. And, since you have to take several classes stretched out over as many weeks or months to get a well-rounded education, I’m betting the odds of you investing anytime soon are against you.
Rich Dad Education/Elite Training
The Rich Dad Education/Elite Training courses are available in a live streaming format, as well as on-demand, and are offered throughout the year. There are multiple training modules to choose from, including Creative Real Estate Financing, Foreclosure Strategies, and Income Properties. Depending on which format you choose, you could be in for a long weekend of learning or several sessions spread out over 3 weeks. These classes have the benefit of name recognition behind them, which lends a degree of credibility to the material. But, with a high-profile name comes an even higher price tag. Each module will cost you almost $6,000! By the time you get through them all, you could end up spending upwards of $50,000 or more. That’s a lot to invest in classes that don’t guarantee returns.
Harvard Extension School
Harvard University’s Extension School offers a certificate program in real estate investment which can be completed on campus or online. All you need for certification is three required courses and one elective. You’ll cover a lot of territory in the semester-long classes, including how to craft a business plan, raise capital, determine exit strategies, and negotiate deals. So, you should be well-informed by the time you finish. Of course, with a semester-based program, the average time it takes to finish is at least year-and-a-half. And, the average cost incurred is over $10,000. Sure, it’s nice that you get a certificate from Harvard when all is said and done. But, a certificate in investing, and the debt you acquired to get there, won’t necessarily deal you a good career.
Online courses are great for learning some things and, when I was still teaching finance, I often used them in conjunction with my classes on campus. But, with subjects like real estate investing, the importance of connecting with your teachers and your fellow students in real life can’t be overstated. You tend to learn as much from your classmates’ questions and concerns as you do from your instructors—and at a faster rate than cobbling together information from here and there. Even then, not every program is built equally or affordably. There is one, however, that will help you turn pro and get you starting a real estate investing company ASAP.
A Comprehensive Training Course for A Proven System in Real Estate Investing
Even before I retired from academia, I’d wanted to try my hand at real estate investing. But, I was always waiting for the right time to take the plunge. It wasn’t until after I retired, and became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, that I was able to admit that I’d been afraid of the risks involved and had used my full-time job as an excuse to stall. When I went through HomeVestors’ comprehensive week-long training course, however, I found I was not only confident about the knowledge I’d gained but capable of implementing it immediately. It only took one week of in-person training to get me started in my new career. After I bought, rehabbed, and sold my first house, I wondered why I’d waited so long. Afterall, HomeVestors franchisees have purchased more than 100,000 houses since 1996.
Ultimately, Erin decided she wanted to be part of this proven real estate investing system, too. She contacted HomeVestors to discuss becoming a franchisee and started investing in real estate in no time. If you’re ready to do the same, get offline and get on the phone. Call HomeVestors today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.