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Saddleback Real Estate Program Preparing Smarter, Savvier Property Pros Programs

December 17, 2018

When many of us think about Real Estate professionals in Orange County, we think of billboards and bus stop benches. Perfectly pressed power suits. Million-dollar listings, and smiles to match.

But a suit and a smile can only tell you so much. And with the average home priced at $838,500*, there’s a lot at stake for those braving the Orange County real estate market. And to Saddleback College Professor Martin Welc, that’s a scary thought.

“[I could] be a former felon, got Ds in all my required classes, 18 years old — good, bad or indifferent” and still obtain a Salesperson’s license, says Welc.

Saddleback’s Real Estate department chair warns that potentially sloppy — and even dishonest – work by undereducated agents can lead not only to a bad investment, but possible legal headaches, as well.

“I don’t think consumers appreciate that the legal liability can go all the way to the client,” says Welc, stressing the sometimes-overlooked value of a respected career education in his field. “[Saddleback is] WASC-accredited, which means we’re audited on a regular basis to make sure were not just teaching answers to the [exam] questions.

“You’re only as good as your instructor, your instructional materials, and you’re only as good as your institution.”

Saddleback College’s Western Association of Schools and Colleges-accredited Real Estate program is among the state’s largest and most successful, with graduates entering a wide variety of careers related to Southern California’s piping-hot property market. Offering six career-relevant degree and certificate options, in addition to prerequisite courses for the Salesperson’s licensing exam, Saddleback prides itself not only on completeness, but on utility.

“Our program is built to accommodate anyone and everyone,” says Professor Brock Schermerhorn, Saddleback College’s Real Estate department co-chair. “We have heard lots of praise by individuals who have very busy schedules and thought they would never have the opportunity to take a Real Estate class. The design of our program makes this possible.”

“We’re everything,” agrees Welc. “We’re there for people who want to better consumers, better investors, and better real estate professionals, whether it’s a … broker, appraiser, or a whole other slew of subcategories.”

Unique to Saddleback College’s Real Estate program is a “staggered” schedule, in which new sessions for core classes persist throughout the semester. Courses are available on a 4-week, 6-week, or 8-week basis, with multiple sessions for core classes also beginning during the summer.

Saddleback is also a pioneer in online Real Estate course offerings, both “synchronous”, meaning the classes are taught “live” with the professor and students interacting through a web interface in real time, and “asynchronous,” meaning coursework is accessed and completed independently. By offering a choice, the college hopes to accommodate a broader range of traditional and working adult students, including those facing unique barriers.

“Students can be working a full time job, be actively deployed in the military, be a full-time caregiver, be a traditional full-time or part-time student,” says Schermerhorn.

Adds Welc: “We’re not just a bunch of text that’s online, you can read us, listen to us, watch us — a variety of learning modalities are taking place here.”

For students looking to specialize in a specific aspect of the real estate business, Saddleback offers degree and certificate programs in Sales & Brokering, Escrow, and Appraisal. Coursework covers basic principles of real estate, in addition to comprehensive training on the legal and financial components of a decidedly complex industry. Students go on to careers with brokerage firms of all sizes, local and national, including familiar “bus-stop brands” Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway, and Tarbell.

For a new real estate professional looking to break into the energetic but competitive Orange County market, Welc says it’s all about setting one’s self apart.

“My competitive difference is: I have a certificate or degree from Saddleback College. That’s what makes me a little more outstanding.”

To become a Saddleback College Real Estate student, or for more information on the program, contact Department Chair Martin Welc by phone at (949) 395-1765 or by email at mwelc@saddleback.edu.

For information on other Orange County Career Education programs, in Real Estate and beyond, visit FutureBuilt.org.

*https://managecasa.com/articles/california-housing-market-report/