Welcome back to our Instructor of the Month series. This month, we’re talking with Martin Welc, who chairs the Real Estate Department at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA.
Rockwell: How long have you been teaching?
Martin: I’ve been teaching for 26 years, since my undergraduate days when I was working toward my K-12 teaching certificate. I’ve been teaching real estate classes in the state college and university system since the ‘80s.
Rockwell: What do you like best about teaching?
Martin: I enjoy helping students connect their talents/interests to the appropriate subsector of the real estate industry. For example, is the commercial sector or residential sector more appealing? If residential is more interesting, do you want to focus on resale homes or new homes? Or what about lending? Appraising?
Rockwell: What is the biggest change that you’ve seen recently in the field of education? Have real estate students changed over the years?
Martin: I love helping “old school” students make the leap from live classrooms to online classes. Many students have incorrect perceptions when it comes to online learning. In my opinion, online learning provides the student with the best of all worlds. Caution, though—not all online classes are created equally! Many instructors try their best to create an online class, but haven’t been formally trained in how to create a learner-friendly online interactive program. Buyer beware!
Rockwell: What are the biggest challenges facing your students?
Martin: Finding the best instructor, institution, and instructional materials for their classes. I call this challenge “I to the power of three”—a student is only as good as any of the above. If you have a subpar instructor, it may prevent you from being a superstar in the world of real estate. If you enroll in a substandard school, this could keep you from passing the state exam. And if you are exposed to out-of-date, poorly written material, you are being denied correct information and user-friendly materials.
Rockwell: What advice would you give your students?
Martin: First, figure out which sector of the real estate industry is a good match for you and your skill set. In other words, follow your passion! Next, create a “competitive point of difference” on your resume. Go to the better schools offering the coursework. Find the best instructor for the classes you want and need to take. Make sure the college offering the classes has the best, most up-to-date, learner-friendly written materials. Failing to do any of these could prevent you from being a superstar in the world of real estate. Finally, test-drive your future career. That’s right—I said “career” and not “job.” People will spend more time researching what make and model car they want to buy than they do researching their careers. Toward that goal, enroll in a CWE (cooperative work experience) internship at your local community college.
While we’re talking about community colleges: you should investigate and earn appropriate certificates in your chosen career at your local community colleges. These certificates are excellent resume boosters. Having the certificates on your resume is one of many ways to create a competitive point of difference!
Earn your two-year degree in real estate and transfer to a four-year college to obtain your undergraduate degree. And don't be afraid to research graduate degree programs once you’ve identified your niche area in the real estate industry.
Rockwell: How did you get into real estate in the first place? What do you love most about this industry?
Martin: The father of an old girlfriend was a real estate investor and his success caught my eye and ear. No two days are ever the same in the exciting real estate world. You can invest in the real estate industry without it being called “insider trading.” (As long as you’re ethical in your agency representations, of course!) Look at all of the tax advantages in the real estate world. To me, Wall Street and stocks/bonds are like a suburb of Las Vegas. I prefer investments I can put my arms around. People have to have a place to live, a place to work, and a place to play.
Rockwell: What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t teaching?
Martin: I’m working on making the real estate program at Saddleback College the number one real estate program in the state of California—and in the nation!
Martin Welc teaches Real Estate Principles, Practices, Law, Finance, and Appraisal at Saddleback College.
Remember, Rockwell Institute is always happy to answer your real estate education questions!