Training Real Estate Pros Since 1990
Legends Real Estate School LLC, headquartered in Dallas, has been in business since 1990, and has had more than 100,000 students. The school offers three kinds of classes:
- Real Estate Sales Agent classes, which last six weeks for daytime classes, and 12 weeks for evening classes
- Real Estate Home Inspector classes, which last 14 weeks
- Insurance Claims Adjuster classes, which last eight weeks
Legends currently has about 100 students studying to become home inspectors and 120 students studying to become real estate sales agents.
All classes are live, and the school uses a hands-on approach in its instruction. For example, students conduct live inspections at real properties for their inspection and insurance classes.
All of the instructors are veterans, and Legends has been approved to train veterans and their spouses under the GI Bill for more than five years. Legends favors veterans as students because they have a work ethic that exceeds that of non-veterans.
A VETERAN GRADUATE | KEN EARP
Ken Earp is a graduate of Legends Real Estate School and the owner/operator of WIN Home Inspection Frisco, which is located in Frisco, Texas, north of Dallas. He served in the United States Navy for 20 years, retiring as a chief petty officer in 2008. He served aboard submarines from 1988 until 2005. Then he transferred to the United States Naval Recruiting Command, where he served as a recruiter, recruiter-in-charge, zone supervisor, and district trainer in various locations, including Dallas, San Antonio, and Denver.
After retiring from the Navy, Earp became an admissions advisor for a university and then the national director of military programs at another institution. After that, he moved on to further his education – he earned an AA, a BS, and an MBA using the GI Bill.
Then, realizing that home inspection offered the freedom to own his own business, control his own time, and set his own goals for earnings, Earp enrolled at Legends in October 2013. In January 2014, he completed the Texas licensing requirements to become a professional real estate home inspector and began business as a WIN Home Inspection Franchisee.
Using skills gained as a Navy recruiter, he went to work building his business. For his efforts, he was awarded the WIN Home Inspection Best First Year award at the WIN Business Annual Conference.
Earp is a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Non-Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA); and he is a graduate of the Entrepreneurship Boot camp for Veterans. He is also a member of the Texas Professional Real Estate Inspectors Association (TPREIA), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
“After retiring from the military, it took me several attempts at finding a career that would satisfy the taste for variety that I had acquired in the Navy,” he said. “Performing home inspections provides the variety I was after. I am able to operate my own business and have the freedom I wanted to operate my own schedule and have my own time.
“Legends allowed me to learn my trade in a classroom and at live inspections. The hands-on learning provided felt more like the methods we are accustomed to as veterans. In my opinion, the learning methods also provide a more real-world environment and allowed me to begin inspecting with a level of confidence I do not feel many of my peers who completed online courses shared.”
A VETERAN STUDENT | MARTY WILSON
Marty Wilson served in the Air Force for nearly 27 years, retiring as a colonel in 2014. His main responsibilities were as a B-52H evaluator, radar navigator, and inspector general. Now, as a civilian, he provides formal training for professional pilots on aircraft operations, security, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, and company policies for domestic and international flights. He started his studies at Legends in October 2015.
Wilson knew he wanted to travel a different path after leaving the military. “After retiring from the Air Force as a colonel, I did not want to follow the traditional path of returning to employment within the DoD,” he said. “I was seeking a change in venue for the next chapter of my work life. I had a desire to get into real estate, but was looking
for something I could do part-time to start, with intent to transition to full-time and operate my own business. The best option I found was to become a licensed professional real estate home inspector.
“There are many real estate schools that offer inspection courses. My research found Legends Real Estate School provided not only the most flexible option for me but also, in my opinion, the one that provides the best hands-on experience. Other programs offer a controlled lab setting for the practical portions of training. As a result of my military training, I understand nothing can compare to actual, real life, hands-on experience for enhancing the learning process. Legends does not use a lab, but in fact utilizes actual residential properties to provide students an opportunity to see real homes and conduct real inspections for actual home owners and/or buyers.”
The quality of instructors also helped. “As a former USAF aviator/navigator, credibility was absolutely critical to my effectiveness as both an instructor and evaluator,” said Wilson. “The credibility of instructors is no less important to selecting a training school. Jerrell Johnson, himself a USAF veteran and Legends instructor, has a unique ability to relate with veterans who are his students. He brings to the classroom the experience of over 40 years of residential construction and 20 years of residential and commercial inspection experience – completing over 4,500 documented inspections.
“The flexibility of the training program (one fee, attend as long as you need), the actual properties used for inspections, and the instructors’ significant experience and credibility were the driving factors in my decision to select Legends Real Estate School to become a licensed professional real estate home inspector in the great state of Texas.”
ADVICE FOR VETERANS
Wilson said that veterans should not be afraid to look for help. “The best advice I can give for military members leaving and coming into the civilian work force is to use the help that is available to you,” he said. “There are multiple organizations that are there to help veterans transition.
“What may be the most important thing is the translation of skills and language from military to civilian and understanding that things are different. There is not a set of shared experiences and similar training to fall back on. The understandings and trust in our fellow servicemembers that we are accustomed to are not there. It takes some adjustment.”
He said that home inspectors will succeed as long as they are interested in helping home buyers. “In my opinion, the most important quality needed to become a home inspector is common sense. You have to gain a knowledge of building construction methods and materials, building codes, the standards of professional practice in your state (in my case, the Texas Standards of Practice), basic operation of mechanical systems, and common failures of building systems. But this information does not help if you cannot put the indicators and evidence together and teach a home buyer – on the home buyer’s level – what is going on with the system. This is how you can help them.”
Wilson recommends that servicemembers take advantage of all the educational opportunities available to them. “Obtain industry certifications in the mid-stages of your career, and begin developing network connections within the civilian industry outside of military connections,” he said.
There are also skills that translate from the military to the business world. “Briefing and presentation skills developed in the military directly impact the effectiveness of instructing,” said Wilson.
Another recommendation: Servicemembers should start their transition from the military to the civilian sector as early as possible. “Start preparing for the transition two years in advance,” said Wilson. “The final year will be consumed with out-processing and focusing on ensuring family concerns are addressed. Research the industry you anticipate transitioning to, make connections in that industry, and nurture those relationships. Expect the transition to the civilian corporate sector to be difficult if you are not staying within the DoD environment.”
And what about people who are interested in attending classes at Legends? Wilson encourages them to do their homework – before they enroll. “Do research on home inspections and the expectations of an inspector as well as the potential liabilities,” he said. “Do not assume the inspection industry is easy or that the requirements are minimal. Expect to study much like you would have to for a college class.”