Online real estate courses prepare you to be a real estate agent or broker, and to take the real estate licensing exam or exams required by your state. For that reason, when reviewing online real estate courses, you should be familiar with the requirements of your state, and first determine whether the online real estate courses you are considering meet those requirements, along with your own objectives for an online program. There could be little worse than completing a real estate course only to realize that it hadn’t prepared you for your state exams!

When looking at online real estate courses it is also important to be careful that you are looking at programs which lead to the credentials which you want. There is a difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker, and there are online courses available for both.

According to no less an authority than the United States Department of Labor, the difference between a real estate sales agent and a real estate broker is that real estate agents are “independent sales workers who provide their services to a licensed real estate broker on a contract basis. In return, the broker pays the agent a portion of the commission earned from the agent’s sale of the property,” whereas real estate brokers are “independent businesspeople who sell real estate owned by others; they also may rent or manage properties for a fee. When selling real estate, brokers arrange for title searches and for meetings between buyers and sellers wherein details of the transactions are agreed upon and the new owners take possession of the property… Brokers supervise agents who may have many of the same job duties. Brokers also manage their own offices, advertise properties, and handle other business matters.”

It may be helpful to think of a real estate agent as the sales person out on the floor of a showroom, and the real estate broker as the sales manager. Both people can and do sell things, but the broker has many additional duties and responsibilities.

Once you have determined your state’s requirements for the credentialing you are seeking (real estate agent or real estate broker), you can set about reviewing the various online courses which are available to you. You will want to keep in mind the different distance learning models, and find a program which suits your own particular needs and learning style.

With any program, it is critical that they cover the legal background you will need. There are many complicated legal rules which come into play during the sale of real estate, and your customers will rely on you to advise them accordingly.

Subjects you can expect to cover in a typical online real estate course include:

General Real Estate Practice
Real Estate Law
Contract Law
Escrow
Real Estate Financing
Real Estate Appraising
Business Math

In addition, if you are seeking a real estate broker’s license, you should expect to take courses in business administration.

Finally, when looking at online real estate programs, check out what sort of exam support they offer. Be sure to look for a program which offers not only the coursework you need, but real estate exam preparation and support for their graduates.