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Broker Classes: Week One

insert thermostat picture here

I just started broker classes this week.  Requirements to become a broker in Arizona: 3 years as a sales person, another 90 hours of classwork, and a coupla tests.  And the usual paperwork, fingerprints, etcetera.

But let’s go back to the 90 hours of classroom education.

Because I have to sit there for 90 hours, even if it would only take me, say 30 hours to learn the stuff on my own.  We’re there 8 hours of the day, but with breaks and lunch, there’s only 6 hours of that time that counts.  Out of the 6 hours of class today, we’ll say there was:

  • 1.5 hours devoted to quizzes and quiz reviews (that’s two 20 question multiple choices quizzes, by the way)
  • 2 hours of actual teaching of the material
  • 1 hour of tangentially related story-telling
  • 45 minutes of answering questions about the math section of the state exam from folks who can’t calculate the area of a rectangle
  • 30 minutes of Powerpoint presentations timed to Enya songs or to that Secret Agent Man song
  • 15 minutes of bagel eating and general crowd control

So now, I’ve got Sail Away stuck in my head and have started referring to my clients as “appurtenance purchasers.”

Did I mention there’s no internet at the school?  I spend breaks during the first half of the day fiddling desperately with my phone, trying to reconnect the outside world, and during the breaks in the second half, enough life has been sucked out of me that I can only stare at the thermostat on the wall above me, which taunts me to my very soul with its “DO NOT TOUCH THE THERMOSTAT” sign.

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There has got to be a better way of mandating education without having to mandate a specific number of hours of time spent in a classroom.

Written By

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.



  1. Matthew Rathbun

    May 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Well, I won’t bore you even more with the significantly higher rate of retention that classroom training has over on-line training; but if the instructor isn’t keeping your attention…… hmmmmm

    I am glad to hear that you’re moving in the Broker direction. I know you’ll do well!

  2. Kelley Koehler

    May 9, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Matt – I’d happily still hear it from an instructor. But there’s so much wasted time spent on fluff. It’s like they KNOW there isn’t 90 hours worth of stuff, so the cram in as much extra crap as possible.

    If they presented the information, you took a quiz and could go home… people with questions or who wanted extended discussion could stay and do that.

    But literally – enya and the ‘A B Cs of being a Real Estate Broker’? Ridiculous.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    May 10, 2008 at 6:24 am

    I get ya! I really do… This does bring me around to a future post, I assume. For all the people who yell that we need higher pre-licensing education standards, what exactly should be taught? How would we fill those hours. I can honestly tell you that I could easily fill more than 90 hours about how to be a broker in a class, without enya and student domination of the class – but I’m an elitist 🙂

    Sorry it sucks, but I’m still glad you’re moving that direction. I’ve always felt that being a broker is the best place to be as an agent. The freedom to (or potential ability to) run your own business is the best part of being an agent.

  4. Jeremy Hart

    May 10, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Kelly – don’t you know your A B C’s? And P’s and Q’s?

    Matt’s right, the retention rate in classroom training IS better, but I’ve always had problems keeping up with classroom training simply because of the tangents the instructor inevitably seems to go off on. It’s got to be hard as an instructor to keep on task AND make sure that you’re teaching the material in a way that everyone, with different learning styles, can best absorb, though … maybe that’s one reason why some instructors tell so many random stories.

    Doesn’t matter though … you still can’t touch the thermostat! Good luck with the classes.

  5. Kelley Koehler

    May 10, 2008 at 9:13 am

    I’m not lobbying against classroom teaching, I prefer to do my continuing ed live and not online because of the discussion and interaction. But even in a 3 hour cont.ed class, there’s an hour of filler.

    As an example, let’s take easements. You got your 4 kinds. Great. Here’s the drawing (the same drawing every time), here’s what each is, here’s examples of their use. Now, instead of telling me 4 stories about different transactions where there was a trouble easement, why don’t you tell me one and then review how to identify easements, ways I might be able to mitigate that risk in my business practices especially if I’m a broker and have my own agents. But that’s not on the exam, so we don’t go over it.

    They start the course by saying they’re going to cram so much stuff into your head that you should take the exam immediately before it all leaks out. I have trouble with that premise. The stuff we’re learning is basically all review – if you didn’t know this stuff before, or if it didn’t jog your memory after a review, then how can you read a prelim? How can you measure a room? How can you read and understand all the REO contract addenda that your client has to sign? How have you made it this far?

    Can you imagine if our test scores were made public? Agent X passed the national exam in one try with a 97%. Agent Y took 3 tries, and finally passed with a 78% on the last try. All this talk about ranking agents, no one mentions that.


  6. Scott P. Rogers

    May 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I had the same frustration as you last week. I attended a 1-hour session where we didn’t start on the material until minute 21. And then there was continued filler throughout the remaining 39 minutes.

    Furthermore — I REALLY don’t like (as you mentioned) when an instructor over-promises at the start of the class telling me there will be SOOO much information conveyed!

  7. Bill Lublin

    May 11, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Kelly – Congratulations on moving your career forward with your Broker’s license- Obviously the problem is that neither Matt nor I teach those courses in Arizona 🙂
    Seriously the problem here might be that the teacher fell in love with the form of their presentation without seeing if it was really engaging the students.
    Power points and music are good tools but engaging the students and creating the potential for dialogue is part of the teacher’s job – Maybe the next intructor can do a better job – After all, especially in brokerage classes, there is room for discussion as spirited as any blog – and you see what happens there 😉

  8. Brian Brady

    May 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I agree with you, Kelley. People learn at different speeds. Most people won’t do the preparation required so the lion’s share of the time spent in class is reviewing “last week’s” lesson. I prefer online training to classroom but can see the value of classroom.

    Why couldn’t they put half those hours online and fail people out for showing up unprepared for the classrooms?

  9. Kelley Koehler

    May 12, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Brian – they need the passing scores to be able to sell their education, to say they have a ninety-whatever percent pass rate among their students. It’s not in their best interests to make it more difficult or to fail people out.

    Bill – in fairness, there may be people in the class that find that sort of fluff engaging. I come from a math and science background – fluff and classrooms don’t mix for me. And I do enjoy the discussion, as long as it stays on topic, and doesn’t degrade into story-time. That’s why I keep doing live continuing ed, and not online classes.

    Scott – my favorite continuing ed classes are the ones where the instructor will say, “Now, put a star by that, you might see a question on the test that says something like…”. And at the end of 3 hours, you have 20 stars, and 20 questions on the test. That’s not teaching me material, that’s memorization.

    I realize it’s not practical to have five different broker courses for every sort of person. But I feel like the current course isn’t aiming at the middle. It’s aiming at the bottom quartile. In every other education I’ve had except real estate – ballet, college, scuba – there were expectations set that we had to meet. We had to come up to that level in order to move on. And once you moved on to the next level, there were fresh challenges and levels expected of you. I don’t find that to be true in real estate at all – in terms of the formal education offered.

  10. Thomas Johnson

    May 13, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Kelley: The Realtor associations thrive on membership-the more the merrier. The Realtor associations have gobs of lobbying money (campaign contributions) to spend. By lobbying for (buying) a real estate educational system from the state legislatures that caters to everyone to the right of the left side of the bell curve, they ensure the maximum number of dues paying members which in turn brings more dues (lobbying money, er, campaign contributions). Which keeps the incumbents in office. Rinse Lather Repeat.

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