Having the inside scoop on the best online real estate schools is critical for taking the next step toward a successful real estate career. We evaluated all sorts of online real estate school options and came up with the top five based on their value, course offerings, and ease of use.
Whether you’re looking for the best school to help you get your license, a reliable place for all your continuing education needs, or an institution that offers advanced real estate designations, these are the top five schools you need to know about.
Best Online Real Estate Schools Comparison Chart
|Best Online Real Estate School||Cost for Prelicense Classes||Our Top Pick For:|
|Real Estate Express (Best Overall)||CA: $119|
|Comprehensive prelicensure classes|
|Mbition (Best Overall Runner-up)||CA: $129|
|Customizable packages for exam prep|
|Kaplan Real Estate Education||CA: $149|
|The CE Shop||CA: $129|
|Continuing education options for real estate agents|
|Center for Realtor Development||None offered||Affordable and valuable designation packages|
Best Overall Online Real Estate School: Real Estate Express
You can’t get started in real estate without a license, and you can’t get your license without first taking your prelicensing course and passing your state’s real estate exam. Though all but one of our online real estate schools offer real estate courses that would satisfy these prelicense requirements, Real Estate Express’ options are the best.
We chose Real Estate Express because their real estate prelicensing courses are designed for students with little or no business experience, making the transition into real estate easier. They also offer comprehensive exam prep courses, allowing their students to transform their class knowledge into success on the exam, as well as a satisfaction guarantee to make sure you get everything you want out of the class.
Real Estate Express does offer other options in terms of continuing education, but from our research, their overwhelming value is in their real estate prelicense education opportunities.
Real Estate Express Pricing
Real Estate Express offers prelicense real estate courses, exam preparation, and continuing education. Here are three states in different geographic areas of the country and examples of the pricing in each. Make sure to check with Real Estate Express for the exact pricing in your state, as well as what current discount promotions are available.
Real Estate Express Pricing Summary
|Continuing Education Courses|
Real Estate Express: Our Favorite Feature
Real Estate Express has the best content and study aids for aspiring real estate agents, providing options that assist in not only the educational requirements of obtaining a license, but also helping to prepare students for life as a real estate agent after they pass their test.
We particularly like the live chat question and answer (Q&A) available with some real estate prelicense packages, where students can join sessions with licensed real estate agents and brokers to ask questions about their material, the upcoming test, and how the information they’re learning can be applied in the real world after they begin their real estate career.
Real Estate Express: Our Pick for Prelicensing Real Estate Courses
Though Real Estate Express’ continuing education content is great, their bread and butter is their prelicensure offerings. There are lots of packages available, from the more basic self-paced course all the way up to a deluxe course with a printed textbook and intense professional development coaching after you pass your test.
Dollar for dollar, Real Estate Express offers the best prelicensure value on the market.
Real Estate Express: Most Useful Real Estate Continuing Education Course
We’ve talked a lot about Real Estate Express’ prelicense options, so let’s turn to their continuing education courses to highlight “The End of the Paper Trail: How to Conduct a Paperless Transaction.”
As technology continues to change and the speed of business increases, staying on the front edge of the real estate process will only become more important. This course walks you through the step-by-step process of transitioning all your transaction communication and paperwork into the digital realm, creating speedier and more efficient processes. A three-hour elective course, it’s also very affordable, coming in at $25.95.
Where Real Estate Express Could Improve
Real Estate Express offers lots of great options for real estate agents in just about every leg of their professional journey, except those looking to obtain a broker’s license. Currently, Florida is the only state where Real Estate Express offers a broker’s prelicense course, so unless you live there, those looking to start their own shop will have to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for broker class options, our next online real estate school, Mbition, is a great place to start.
Check Out Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express offers everything soon-to-be real estate professionals need to launch their career. Visit their website to find out what promotions they may be running to save you even more on the start of your life in real estate.
Best Overall Runner-up Online Real Estate School: Mbition
Formally OnCourse Learning, Mbition is a unique option because it caters their offerings to individual students as well as to brokers who are looking for group training solutions, specifically for a crop of soon-to-be agents they’ve recruited and are ushering across the prelicense finish line.
Mbition leads the field with top-notch exam prep as well as a growing list of continuing education options. With a wide variety of customizable packages, including combos of their real estate prelicense offerings with their exam prep solutions, Mbition provides solutions for students looking for everything from the most basic requirement fulfillment to deluxe preparation packages.
Mbition offers prelicensure classes, exam preparation, and continuing education, as well as broker prelicense classes (where available). Pricing varies by state, ranging from about $129 to $599 for prelicensing. Make sure to check with Mbition for the exact pricing in your state, as well as what current discount promotions are available.
Mbition Pricing Summary
|Continuing Education Courses|
|Broker Prelicensing Courses|
Mbition’s prices are definitely competitive, and with their package customization options, you don’t pay for things you don’t need.
Mbition: Our Favorite Feature
Mbition offers a wide variety of exam prep packages that really hit the mark.
Specifically, their Master Exam Prep Package includes an adaptive learning interface that tracks the questions you have trouble with during your practice tests and then gears the next round of review toward your weaknesses. With over 1,600 practice questions and eight full-length exams, you’re sure to go into your test day ready.
Mbition: Our Pick for Exam Preparation Courses
If you’re a nervous test taker or just want to supplement the preparation you’ve received as a part of your prelicensure class, Mbition is the place to do it. Their exam prep options are great for individual students, in a group setting of almost-real estate agents at a local brokerage, or in the context of your prelicense class (where available) with Mbition.
Mbition: Most Useful Real Estate Continuing Education Course
Are you ready to PARTY?! Then you need to sign up for the “Tax Free Exchanges” course. OK, we know, it doesn’t have the most glamorous title, but here’s why we’re excited about it.
First, it fulfills two hours of legal-focused continuing education, something that most real estate agents need every year.
Secondly, it costs $14. Seriously, you’re getting your legal requirement for less than the cost of lunch.
Lastly, 1031 and other tax-free exchange options are powerful buyer techniques that those who have established themselves financially use to leverage their wealth. That’s a crowd you want to hang with as a real estate agent; having some skills in this area is going to allow you to contribute to those conversations and start landing some of those investor clients with deep pockets.
Where Mbition Could Improve
Mbition’s continuing education options are relatively slim compared to other online real estate schools we looked at. There certainly are classes to choose from, but for those who are looking to use that education to further their own professional development instead of just fulfill a requirement, there aren’t a lot of options. This limits Mbition’s potential as a place you can return to for continuing education every year.
If fantastic continuing education options are important to you, we suggest checking The CE Shop.
Check Out Mbition
With so many options to choose from, Mbition is a great option for anyone looking for a customized experience tailored specifically to your learning style. Visit Mbition today and get started building your personalized real estate education experience.
Best Real Estate School for Live Instruction: Kaplan Real Estate Education
If you’re looking for a company that is synonymous with quality instruction, look no further than Kaplan Real Estate Education. Kaplan has a long track record of preparing students for standardized tests as well as providing classes to fulfill state requirements, like your real estate prelicensure class before taking your real estate license exam.
Kaplan Real Estate provides a number of different options for prelicense classes, exam prep, continuing education, and broker prelicense classes, even including crossing over into live classroom settings. This makes Kaplan Real Estate Education perfect for students who are looking for a more traditional learning environment.
Kaplan Real Estate Education Pricing
Because Kaplan’s offerings of format and interaction are so diverse, their pricing is as well. Their completely self-driven, self-paced options start as low as $199, all the way up to a live classroom option (currently available in California and Texas) with an experienced educator (who also happens to be a rock star real estate agent instructor) starting at $989.
Here are three states in different geographic regions of the country and examples of the pricing in each. Make sure to check with Kaplan Real Estate Education for the exact pricing in your state, as well as what current discount promotions are available.
Kaplan Real Estate Education Pricing Summary
|Continuing Education Courses|
|Broker Prelicensing Courses|
Kaplan Real Estate Education: Our Favorite Feature
Kaplan Real Estate Education’s best feature is by far the different options for instruction.
As a Kaplan Real Estate student, you can choose from three different online formats: Home Study, OnDemand, and Live Online.
- The Home Study method is a text-based learning program, completely self-paced, based out of an e-textbook. No interaction, and perfect for students who learn best by reading quietly.
- OnDemand takes your nose out of a book and gives you video streaming of prerecorded lessons of instructors in live classrooms, teaching the material while you follow along in your textbook. Jot down your questions, email your instructors, and get clarification about whatever you need.
- Live Online is a virtual classroom with a live instructor where you hear the instructor’s words as they are saying them. Ask questions and interact with your fellow students—this format is like the best webinar you’ve ever attended.
Kaplan Real Estate Education: Our Pick for Interactive Instruction
If you’re completely green to the real estate game, Kaplan Real Estate Education is a great place to go because their instruction options are so varied.
Also, Kaplan provides opportunities to get a jump on some early professional development as well, providing a program called Real Estate Accelerator. A two-day intensive course lead by a super-qualified real estate agent with a ton of experience and knowledge to share, this program jump-starts a student’s business plan and marketing strategy, and helps to set graduates of the program up for real success in year one.
Kaplan Real Estate Education: Most Useful Real Estate Continuing Education Course
Kaplan Real Estate Education’s continuing education selection isn’t huge, but they do have some quality offerings, and almost all of them are available in their sought-after OnDemand format, featuring fantastic instructors delivering you the material rather than being forced to just read on a computer screen for four hours.
The course that caught our eye was “Millennials: Challenging the Traditional Real Estate Model.”
In this course, you’ll learn about paradigm shifts in communication, how the latest homebuying generation’s views on money and debt are affecting the homebuying process, and go beyond the newspaper headlines to get to the heart of how to close deals with millennial buyers and sellers.
Where Kaplan Real Estate Education Could Improve
Kaplan’s interface for their OnDemand and Live Online formats is a little dated compared to what you will see from other schools we’ve reviewed, and overall their technology feels a little clunky. In that same vein, we’ve read regular reports of students who have trouble getting Kaplan’s programs to run on various web browsers, so a little bit of technology troubleshooting might be necessary.
If a more user-friendly interface and sleeker technology is important to you, both Mbition and Real Estate Express offer modern platforms with great user support.
Check Out Kaplan Real Estate
If a live, instructor-led experience is what you’re looking for, Kaplan Real Estate is the best option. Visit their website today to find out what classes are available in your area, or if Live Online is the way to go.
Best Online Real Estate School for Continuing Education: The CE Shop
The CE Shop offers a wide variety of education options for the real estate field, including prelicense classes, test prep, and post-licensing requirements.
Where they really shine is in continuing education (CE), which makes sense, since “CE” is in their name. The CE Shop sets itself apart from other schools by working hard to offer classes that real estate agents will actually want to take, instruction that they can take and apply to their career, and information that they can’t readily Google for themselves.
Also, with the introduction of Leap 2.0, your real estate courses on The CE Shop are optimized for delivery on just about any platform, so you could knock out continuing education requirements on the train into the office each morning.
The CE Shop Pricing
The CE Shop may be known for their continuing education options, but they also offer good deals on real estate prelicensing classes as well.
Here are three states in different geographic regions of the country and examples of the pricing in each. Make sure to check with The CE Shop for the exact pricing in your state, as well as what current discount promotions are available.
The CE Shop Pricing Summary
|Continuing Education Courses|
|Broker Prelicensing Courses|
The CE Shop: Our Favorite Feature
The CE Shop has some great continuing education courses in relatively specialized niches, allowing real estate agents in different states to focus their knowledge and advance their career. Classes in areas like Assistance Animals in Fair Housing, Marijuana Laws in Real Estate, and Land Contract Details are just some of the topics you can study while fulfilling your continuing education requirements and then using that information to serve your real estate community.
The CE Shop: Our Pick for Continuing Education Options
It goes without saying that utilizing The CE Shop for your continuing education needs is the way to go. Lots of options in each state, great pricing, and topics relevant to all your real estate needs.
The CE Shop: Most Useful Real Estate Continuing Education Course
Every four years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) requires its members to take a refresher course in the NAR code of ethics. The CE Shop offers a great option that fulfills this requirement, called “Code of Ethics: Good for Your Clients and Your Business,” that should be one you consider if you’re coming up on needing to complete your ethics training.
Three hours long and only $25, this course reviews some of the recent amendments to the NAR code of ethics, including those that relate to new rules for behavior on social media and involving internet communication in general. Whether you’re a brand new real estate agent or you’re building your first real estate website on Geocities, this course is a valuable one.
Where The CE Shop Could Improve
Unlike most of their competitors in this space, The CE Shop offers nothing in the way of exam prep for those who are about to take their salesperson license exam. Though it appears that there’s some prep built into the prelicense course, you don’t have the option to purchase only preparation services and materials, a feature that’s relatively standard across the real estate education space.
Check Out The CE Shop
With so many continuing education options available, The CE Shop is a perfect choice for real estate agents who want a reliable place to complete their CE requirements every year without fear of having to repeat courses.
Best Online Real Estate School for Realtor Designations: Center for Realtor Development
You’ve got your license, and you maintain your status by taking the necessary continuing education courses. What else could you need an online real estate school for? The very important option of adding designations and certifications to your title as a Realtor.
Center for Realtor Development specializes in providing Realtors with paths to add certifications like Military Relocation Professional or Accredited Buyer’s Representative to their signature line.
Center for Realtor Development Pricing
The cost for each designation or certification varies, but the fees start around $160 (the cost for the Military Relocation Specialist class). Some of these designations are quite involved and require multiple classes and a separate membership fee from the National Association of Realtors, making the upfront cost close to $1,000.
Center for Realtor Development: Our Favorite Feature
If this collection of online real estate schools was a Swiss army knife, Center for Realtor Development would be the corkscrew. Yes, you COULD use this platform for different things, but our favorite (and its best) feature is its ability to provide Realtors a path to valuable designations that can help them advance their careers.
Center for Realtor Development: Our Pick for Career Advancing Designations
Realtors will get the most out of this platform by first doing an inventory of the different designations and certifications offered, then evaluating which on that list would be valuable in your market. Choose a power-up for your license that is going to turn the heads of the people who matter most to you: your future clients.
Center for Realtor Development: Most Useful Real Estate Continuing Education Course
As the housing market continues to shift toward a younger and more millennial buyer, it is important to remember that many of those homes the millennials will buy are being sold by older adults.
The Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation is going to be a valuable resource as this move to downsizing by older homeowners accelerates.
Costing just $295, and then $99 per year to maintain after your first year, it is one of the most competitively priced options from Center for Realtor Development, and will be something you can brag about on your next postcard campaign.
Where Center for Realtor Development Could Improve
The cost of continuing education with Center for Realtor Development is significantly higher than it is at any of their industry competitors.
Granted, most people are coming here seeking a certification or designation and not to fulfill CE requirements, but it would be nice if they were at least in the ballpark (six credit hours of CE will run you, on average, $115, as opposed to less than $50 at The CE Shop), so that Realtors could pick up their CE and a new certification all in the same place.
If affordability is one of your top priorities when it comes to continuing education, head over to The CE Shop to check out their wide range of affordable options.
Check Out Center for Realtor Development
If it is time to take the next step in your career and get some letters at the end of your signature line, the best place out there to go is the Center for Realtor Development. Visit their website and get to work on the designation that is going to level you up to the next stage of real estate.
Real Estate School FAQs
Now that we’ve armed you with the best options for online real estate education, let’s look at a few of the most frequently asked questions from real estate agents and soon-to-be real estate agents on the topic.
Need a little more information about what it actually takes to get a real estate license? Start with our comprehensive guide: How to Get a Real Estate License.
Are the requirements for a real estate license different in every state?
Yes. Each state has their own class requirements, testing procedures, and application requirements. We here at The Close are in the process of developing quality guidance for every single state. If you’re in the states of California, Florida, or Texas, we’ve already got state-specific guides for the best real estate school options in your area ready to go.
What if I’m already licensed in another state?
Good news! If you’re currently licensed in a state other than the one you want to do business in, you could have your prelicense education requirements waived thanks to a license reciprocity agreement. Each state is different in how they handle reciprocity, so we’ve put together an entire article dedicated to Real Estate Reciprocity Rules for Each State—check it out.
Online real estate school vs in-person real estate school: which is better?
The answer to this question depends on your learning style and what you need to master new material. If you’re someone who needs face-to-face interaction in a classroom setting, away from the other obligations and distractions at home, an in-person class might be the best bet.
However, if you’ve got some experience with online learning, or are willing to try something different, the online real estate school option is definitely the way to go. When you go online, you get the benefit of complete flexibility, self-paced courses, and massive online resource libraries that allow you to answer your own questions in real time.
Also, if you have a question that you can’t answer yourself, most major online real estate schools offer great instructor support through email, live chat, and even video chat Q&A.
I’ve never done an online class before; is it hard?
If you’ve never participated in an online class before, it can sound a little intimidating at first, but we assure you it isn’t. If you’ve ever gone to YouTube to find out how to change a headlight or fix a leaking sink, you’ve attended a short online class.
The classes you’ll take through any of our five recommended online real estate schools will be involved, interactive, and require your time and attention, but if you can watch and learn from a video on YouTube, you’ll do fine here.
How much does it cost to go to real estate school?
Each state’s prelicense class requirements are different, so there isn’t a set price for everyone across the country. Through our top recommended school Real Estate Express, classes in California start as low as $119, in New York as low as $239, and in Texas as low as $484. Check out the Real Estate Express website for detailed pricing information for your state.
Best Overall Real Estate School: Real Estate Express
Real Estate Express’ affordable prelicense real estate courses, exam preparation options, and continuing education classes lead the way in this space. Their package add-ons like Live Instructor Q&A, a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, and even post-licensing professional development makes them a fantastic choice for your real estate education needs.