Monday, January 10, 2011

Real Estate school

Normally my Mon post is entitled "Weekend highlights" and I share what I did over the weekend. But for the next several weeks my weekends will be spent in real estate school, so I'll tell you about it.

The school is located 80 miles north of where we live, which means a 90 minute drive in both directions. Fortunately its a straight shot. It started snowing at few minutes after I got up Sat morning so my drive was not an easy one. At 1 point the snow was really coming down hard and made visibility difficult. I was only able to drive 40 mph for a while, making me worry I'd be late for my 1st class. Fortunately the weather let up and I got ahead of the storm, able to get back up to speed. I arrived with several minutes to spare.

There are 19 students in the class, which runs Saturdays and Sundays only. After we all did a short introduction of ourselves and why we were there I was surprised to find that just a couple of us are planning to be full-time agents. Several want to be part-time agents on weekends and evenings while working their regular 'day jobs'. Another guy is a property manager who's boss wanted him to get licensed as a realtor. Another woman currently works as a receptionist in a real estate office and by law is not allowed to give out information about properties over the phone unless she's licensed. I guess I expected the majority of the students to be planning for a career as an agent.

When the syllabus was handed out several students noticed that the final test was scheduled for March 5 instead of February 13. We were told that the website had incorrectly listed the course as ending on February 13, rather than March 5, which was very disappointing to many of us.

The course is divided into 3 sections: real estate principles, real estate math, and real estate law, each with its own instructor. The principles instructor is a woman named Ruth who has been in real estate since 1968. That's right, over 40 years. She's very knowledgeable and has a sense of humor, so that's nice. The math instructor looks to be 150 years old and proceeded to tell us that he is asked to teach all the time because he's brilliant. Well, if you can't be modest you might as well be brilliant. He also appears to have a sinus problem because he repeatedly pulled a dingy, wrinkled hanky out of his pocket and blew his nose and cleared his throat. Repeatedly. The law instructor is a practicing attorney with his own practice. I've never heard someone so dull or monotone. The math and law sections of this course are going to be hard.

Ruth gave us the option of taking a 1/2 hour lunch and skipping 2 of our 15-minute breaks which would allow us to leave an hour earlier than scheduled. We unanimously agreed to this, which will allow me to get home before dark. Not that I have a problem driving at night, but I think everyone would prefer to drive in daylight if given the option.

The introduction to real estate principles was just a review for me. Spouse & I have bought and sold so many properties (for our personal residences and for investment purposes) that I was familiar with everything they covered. This made for an easy 1st day.

Then we were given a math test. It was all word problems and they were extremely hard. Here's an example of one: "John purchases a distressed property for $35,000. which he plans to fix up and sell for the market price of $125,000. He wants to make a 25% profit on the sale after paying a 6% realtor commission, $850. real estate taxes, and 1.5 points on the mortgage. How much can John spend on the renovations?" Even with the use of a calculator I thought my head was going to explode.
After returning home, Spouse & I had dinner at home and watched TV. I read the 2 chapters in the principles book we were going to cover the next day.

On Sun the drive to school was uneventful. We covered the chapters about real estate terminology, responsibilities and structure. After lunch we covered multiple types of insurance. Again Spouse & I had dinner at home and watched TV.

My life is going to be different from now on. Even after real estate school ends, at least part of my weekends going forward will be spent working - very different from the way I used to spend my weekends. But I'm not sad about this. Its a necessary part of my career transition, and having some weekdays off will give me the opportunity to do things and go places when its not as busy as on weekends. However, as accepting as I am of this, I can't ignore the fact that Spouse & I will no longer have that guaranteed time together every weekend. We'll need to figure out how to socialize with friends and spend quality time together in the evenings rather than just on the weekends. Less TV and more other stuff.


A Lewis said...

Wow. A life change! Good for you...always good to challenges the brain. I wish you all of the success possible.

Java said...

Good luck with your real estate class. I admire your decision to make this career change. It could prove to be exciting and rewarding.

Ron said...

A nice read Mark. I'm looking forward to reading more about your classes. I feel like I'm there with you, especially the brilliant math instructor with the runny nose.

D said...

Just a heads up before you have an actual Realtor jump down your throat... the designation 'Realtor' is only for those that adhere to the rules of the Board of Realtors... and pay a fee. Not everyone is a Realtor, although that has become a generic term for real estate agent. It pisses actual Realtors off.

As far as the math problem, I would suggest that John catch the house on fire and collect the insurance money. Much easier... and a much easier math problem :)

anne marie in philly said...

ok, I would not make it through the first class...math has never been my strong suit.

but I admire your diligence.

spouse and you will have to find your way around your new life, but I know you will survive (cue gloria gaynor).

Bob said...

That math question hurt my head.

Why can't you just show houses and host open houses!


Seriously, good luck with the class, it sounds very interesting.