Temple University Real Estate Institute: Meeting the Challenge of Change

REI Students talking in class

If there is one constant in the real estate industry it’s that it is constantly changing. Realtors are always having to adapt to market forces and changing times, learning new skills and refreshing old knowledge.

That’s where the Temple University Real Estate Institute comes in. Located at the Temple University Center City Campus, the Real Estate Institute has been preparing realtors and brokers from all walks of life to succeed in the industry for nearly 50 years.

“The Real Estate Institute (REI) has been educating some of the leading realtors in Philadelphia and throughout the Delaware Valley,” said Nicole Westrick, Associate Vice Provost for University College and Acting Director of Temple University Center City. “Since its inception, we have really kept pace with all aspects of real estate including residential and commercial real estate — that’s one of the things that really sets us apart is that focus on commercial real estate.”

The Real Estate Institute “has always looked forward,” Westrick said.

“We don’t just keep teaching the same content year over year. We’re constantly looking at what’s happening today,” she said. “Look at our continuing education catalog — it’s a snapshot of what’s happening in the real estate industry. I’ve been going through historical files from the past 20 years and you can see the topics and the way the industry has changed in that time — technology in particular is now part of a realtor’s everyday life; having a brand is part of your everyday life.”

Founded in 1974 by Jay Lamont, a longtime Philadelphia area real estate radio talk-show host, REI is known and respected for its wide-ranging course selection, which includes classes for professional real estate salespeople, brokers, appraisers and property managers, as well as for people simply interested in expanding their knowledge about the real estate market,” said Timothy Galbriath, Real Estate Institute Program Coordinator.

“Our real estate salesperson courses — basically your ‘Real Estate 101’ — provide a great starting point for anyone interested in the field. These are the courses someone needs to take to become a licensed real estate salesperson in the state of Pennsylvania,” he said. “We also offer real estate broker courses. These are courses that are intended for people who are already licensed in real estate and that want to pursue their broker’s license.”

Temple’s Real Estate Institute additionally offers real estate continuing education courses, “which are required by the state,” said Galbraith.

“Anyone with a real estate license needs to renew every two years in the state of Pennsylvania. In 2022, by the end of May, everyone has to have their hours in — those programs will be offered by the Real Estate Institute in the new year,” he said. “Being a part of Temple and Temple’s University College, I think one of our benefits is the resources available to our students. Even before the pandemic, we were able to provide courses in a variety of ways. We have the advantage of Temple’s Zoom infrastructure and other systems, such as Canvas, to modernize how we give out assignments and exams.”

The Real Estate Institute “balances practical knowledge and academics,” Galbraith said.

“Temple is an institution of higher education so we take the academics very seriously,” he said. “We combine that with convenience and flexibility. I think we better prepare our students for the real estate exams and their career.”

Programs from the Real Estate Institute are geared toward an exceedingly wide range of people, said Westrick.

“The real power of the Real Estate Institute is that we meet our students where they are — students who simply want to know more so they can make an informed decision when buying a first house to the person who has known for a long time that they wanted to be a realtor,” she said. “They may be leaving a career of 10, 20, 30 years to follow their passion or it may be someone that knows they want to do something in real estate, they just don’t know what, but they know that the license is their first step. We have students from ages 18 to nearly 80.”

Real Estate Institute faculty “are not only experts in real estate,” Westrick said.

“They are also really committed to each of our individual students and their journey. Many of the big names in real estate have gone through our school and have continued to teach at the Institute,” she said. “Most of our instructors have taught for us for decades while continuing their real estate practice — they can provide day-to-day insight into the present state of the industry. They provide a strong balance between the theoretical concepts and practical experience.”

University College “truly understands non-traditional learners,” said Westrick

“We understand adult students. We understand people who are working full-time and who are spending their days, nights, weekends, to get their real estate license or their broker’s license so that they can begin the next step in their career,” she said. “Many of our students take great pride in being alumni of the Real Estate Institute — you join a network of Real Estate Owls that are thousands deep from not just the Delaware Valley but all over the country. We’ve also built strong relationships with the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network and other major real estate organizations.”  

It’s very exciting to see how people are using what they’ve learned at the Real Estate Institute, said Westrick.

“They are coming to Temple because they know that what they are getting here is not just a course that teaches to a book or how just to pass an exam,” she said. “Realtors have a true entrepreneurial spirit — you may be part of a brokerage, but you are crafting your own business, your own brand. Our programs give you a pathway to achieve whatever goal you’re setting for yourself, whether that’s becoming a licensed realtor or owning a brokerage or just exploring investment properties.”

Not everyone who gets a real estate license “or takes our courses plans to be a realtor,” Westrick said.

“In some cases, they want to be a property manager or they want to flip a property that they’ve inherited and build that generational wealth,” she said. “Our programs provide the knowledge, background and experience for a professional career or that personal pursuit of a passion.”

For more information about the Real Estate Institute, including how to earn your Real Estate Salesperson License, Real Estate Broker’s License or renewing a current license, visit here or call 215-204-1539. For a complete list of upcoming courses, both in person and online, visit https://noncredit.temple.edu/rei.

REI