Is a marketing degree good for a career in real estate?

by Corben Grant on 08 Jun 2022

One of the biggest draws of a career in real estate is the ability for anyone to get into the field and find their own unique path to success. While you don't need any education outside of your real estate license to work as a real estate professional, many people come to the field with various educational and career backgrounds.

Each agent brings their own unique set of skills and experiences to the field, which will affect the way they approach the job and the areas they excel in. If you are looking to get a university or college degree or are already part of the way through a program but think you may want to get into real estate after, you might be curious if your degree now will be helpful later.

One degree that you may hear is useful for real estate is a marketing degree. After all, your work as a real estate agent is a business like any other, and a marketing degree will teach you the skills to best reach your clients to expand your real estate business. While it won't teach you everything about real estate and isn't the only degree that would help you succeed in real estate, it is certainly a good option.

To help you decide if a marketing degree is right for you, let's explore a bit more about how getting one can help you in your career as a real estate salesperson.

What education do you need for real estate?

Anyone can get into real estate, but it isn't as simple as working with clients right away. There is some level of mandatory education required before you can practice in real estate.

In Canada, the specific requirements vary between each province, and the local regulator is in charge of determining the requirements of each area. That being said, there are some general requirements that some or all provinces will require of their prospective real estate agents.

In general, you will need to reach a certain education level. Often this takes the form of a college-level course in a real estate major, and schools in each province will generally offer real estate degree programs tailored to that province’s industry. The Real Estate Council of Ontario licenses agents in the province and offers real estate courses in collaboration with Humber College in Toronto. These courses can be taken online if you are not near the Humber College campus. Applicants have a maximum of 24 months to complete their studies at Humber, which involve a series of lessons and exams.

Some provinces will also require a period of 'articling' in which an agent undergoes supervised practical training. This training will either be a part of your educational courses or after they are completed.

Another common feature is the real estate exam. Simply taking classes is not enough to begin working as a licensed real estate agent in most areas. Usually, either at the end of your education or when you register with your local regulator, you must pass a real estate exam. This written exam will test your knowledge of the field and will verify that you have the know-how to work with clients.

Beyond your real estate license, there are also many opportunities for continuing education, either by expanding into an area of expertise like becoming an international property specialist or by moving up to the next level and becoming a real estate broker.

Should I get a degree before starting in real estate?

Beyond the mandatory education in real estate required by your provincial regulator, there is no requirement to have any other education, such as a degree from a college or university, nor does having one provide you with any real fast track to becoming a real estate agent.

However, that doesn't mean that having additional education is bad for aspiring real estate professionals. Depending on what you studied, your degree can help you a lot.

Getting a degree in a related field can give you a lot of additional skills and knowledge that you can utilize as a real estate agent. All agents have the same mandatory education, but your additional skills may help you stand out among your peers and competitors.

You may also be in the opposite position, where you already have a degree in a relevant program and want to get into real estate. This could be a great way to use what you learned in your previous studies.

Also, consider that real estate is a job with a famously flexible schedule. Even if you are already working as a real estate agent, it may be possible to take a college or university course in your off time to develop new skills to use in your career.

The downside is that if you choose to get additional education, you can expect to wait a lot longer before working as an agent, and you will need to spend a lot of money. Many real estate agents find that it can take a bit to begin making money consistently, and high student debts may make it even harder for you to make ends meet. While you may aim for more education to help you succeed, be careful not to let the debt be the reason you fail.

Ultimately, the biggest question is, if you decide to pursue additional education, what do you plan to do with it? Not every degree will be relevant to real estate, and not every degree will be a good fit for your own personal working style. If you choose to get additional education, you should make sure that it is relevant to a career in real estate and something that genuinely interests you. This may even come in handy if things in real estate don't work out, as you will still have the education in a field that interests you to fall back on for a new career.

Why is marketing a good choice?

Now to address the actual topic of this article, that being whether or not a marketing degree is a good choice for real estate. The answer is yes: a marketing degree is one of the best degrees you could get to help you succeed in real estate.

One of the biggest skills that successful agents possess is the ability to market themselves to generate leads and therefore do more business. Especially in the modern world of digital marketing, it is as easy as ever for anyone to market themselves.

That being said, just because it's easy to get started with digital marketing doesn't mean it's easy to succeed, and trying to learn good marketing techniques can take a lot of time and effort for agents who don't have experience. Either that or they may choose to spend extra to hire a marketing agency to handle it for them, which may be the best choice for agents without this particular background.

A degree in marketing will give you a headstart on establishing your business’s online presence and finding clients, which can greatly help you succeed. The need for marketing is a near-constant, even as you progress in your real estate career and become more established. Having a good foundation from the start will make this even easier down the line.

You might decide to become a real estate broker and form your own real estate team under your brokerage one day. If you do this, marketing will become an even more critical part of your job as you will be marketing not just yourself but a team of salespeople as well.

Marketing is a very common program at many schools, so you will have a choice of many institutions, both universities and colleges, and other choices like the length of the program and whether or not you can take online or in-person courses.

What are other degrees good for real estate?

Beyond just marketing, some other degrees may be helpful when working in the real estate industry. Because real estate is a multifaceted job, many relevant skills can help you in aspects of the job. Some other degree choices may include:

Business

A degree in business will help with many aspects of real estate. It can help you effectively manage yourself, your time, and your business's administrative needs, which can come especially in handy if you start a brokerage later. It can also help you learn essential business communication and negotiation skills, which will make closing deals easier.

Finance

A degree in finance can give you great insights into financial concepts that underlie the real estate market, which can help in many ways. For one, you will be able to provide your clients with your knowledge of why prices and trends are the way they are, which can help them find the best deal. It can also come in handy if you plan to invest or work with investors, as you will better understand the fundamentals of sound investing. This degree could also help you if you decide to go into property management, become a mortgage advisor, or get into real estate development.

Accounting

When it comes to real estate, understanding money is vital to success. An accounting degree will help you manage your business finances and help your clients understand their financial needs when buying. It can also help you through tough times if you need to budget wisely between sales.

Human Resources

In real estate, you will need to work with people all the time. Getting a degree in human resources can be a major benefit in learning how to effectively communicate, manage conflicts, manage a team, employ business ethics, and more. People skills, in general, are a great tool to make sure your client is happy with their service, which can help you get great referrals to drive future business.

Conclusion

only educational requirement for real estate agents is, in most cases, to complete a relevant real estate course and pass your province's written exam. However, getting an additional education can be a huge benefit for those looking to go beyond the basic skills or those interested in specializing in a particular area or expanding into a brokerage one day.

Marketing is an excellent choice, but other degrees can be just as valuable, depending on what you want to specialize in. Ultimately, any degree is a tool you must choose to make the most of.

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