Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

FINC 397: Principles Of Real Estate

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  Course Description

An introduction to the principles and practices of real estate. Topics include the real estate profession and industry, home ownership, real estate financing, real estate appraisal, real estate contracts and real estate investment as it relates to personal financial planning objectives.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



  • Cortesi. Mastering Real Estate Principles. 7th ed. , 2016.  
    • ISBN-978-1-4754-34-033

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

The material is presented from both legal and practical applications in the industry.  The student will develop an understanding and application of national laws (laws of agency, contract law) and state specific laws (statutory law/administrative) laws.  Students should be able to identify and apply real estate issues in current real estate practice.

Each week we'll focus on different situations, issues, or problems encountered in real estate practices through our online conference discussions.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Objectives

  • To provide the learning participant a working knowledge of theories, methods and procedures used in the evaluation, acquisition and management of real estate.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the economic, societal, government and legal influences that affect the real estate business.
  • Describe the characteristics and interests in real estate.
  • Explain the methods for acquiring, financing and managing interests in real estate.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 792-880 90-100%
B 704-791 80-89%
C 616-703 70-79%
D 528-615 60-69%
F 0-527 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion 120 14%
Papers (Dropbox Assignments 1 & 2) 140 16%
Quizzes 160 18%
Midterm Exam 230 26%
Final Exam 230 26%
Total 880 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1a and 1b: Introduction & Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 2: Media 5
Quiz 20

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3: Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 4: Media 5
Quiz 20
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5: Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 6: Media 5
Dropbox Assignment 1 70
Quiz 20

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7: Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 8: Media 5
Quiz 20
Midterm Exam 230

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9: Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 10: Media 5
Quiz 20

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11: Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 12: Media 5
Quiz 20

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13: Topic 10 Sunday
Discussion 14: Media 5
Dropbox Assignment 2 70
Quiz 20

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15: Topic 10 Saturday
Discussion 16: Media 5
Quiz 20
Final Exam 230
Total Points: 880

  Assignment Overview

Each student is responsible for: 

  • Weekly Readings 
  • Media research of specialty real estate issues 
  • Weekly discussion topics
  • Weekly quiz
  • Two Papers (Dropbox Assignments 1 & 2)
  • Two proctored Exams: Midterm and Final


All textbook readings should be completed prior to submitting discussion and other assignments each week. 

Media Research

Each week one or more websites will be assigned for research and your opinions concerning those sites will be reported in the discussion area prior to the final due date for the week.  


There will be at least two weekly discussion topics.   A grading rubric for those comments can be found in the Content area of your course home page tool bar and near the end of this syllabus.  All discussions should be posted to the appropriate weekly topic in the Discussions area of the course.  


Dropbox assignments 1 and 2 are short papers that are to be submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course. The requirements for those papers will be listed in your content area in the appropriate week.  Remember that quality is more important than quantity. Each paper must be typed in Word.  I will grade each paper and provide comments in the feedback area of the corresponding Dropbox folder.  A grading rubric for each paper can be found in the Content area of your course home and near the end of this syllabus.


Each week you will have a twenty point quiz over the readings.  The quizzes will be located in D2L under the Quizzes application and will be multiple choice.


There will be a Midterm Exam during Week 4 and a Final Exam during Week 8. Both exams will be in the form of multiple choice questions, and they are accessed through the Quizzes area of the course. Both the Midterm and Final Exams will be proctored. Please see Proctor Policy below for more details on arranging your proctor.

NOTE:  You will find a plagiarism tutorial and self examination test in your content area and under the quizzes tab on your course home page if you have any question concerning the logic of not plagiarizing.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Units 1-3; Complete the Review Exercises and Part I Diagnostic Test
Discussion 1a and 1b: Introduction & Topic

1a. Introduce yourself.  Please give us more than your name. Include your profession; hobbies, interest in real estate, and any other information that can help us get to know you.  If you have the capabilities and inclination, your fellows would appreciate a picture of you since it would help us get a human side of all the posts we'll see from you.

1b. Present your opinion about claiming ownership by Adverse Possession?

Discussion 2: Media

Web Site Research: 

Complete Quiz 1 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Units 4-6; Complete the Review Exercises & Part II Diagnostic Test
Discussion 3: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • Which liens get paid first in foreclosure? Why? 
  • How do General Liens differ from Specific Liens? Why is the distinction made?
  • Find the real estate tax rate in your county, and show us what the taxes would be on a $100,000 home in your area.
Discussion 4: Media

Website Research:    

  • Tour web site (www.usgs.gov/ ). What did you find there?   Why is the site important to real estate practitioners?  
Complete Quiz 2 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Units 7-9; Complete the Review Exercises & Part III Diagnostic Test
Discussion 5: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • What are the issues in how we take title to what we own?   Remember that neither title deficiencies or any other mechanical issues such as recorded or not have any influence on how we take title.  
  • Explain the concept Right of Survivorship.
  • When would a Life Estate be appropriate?
  • Find out how a husband and wife hold title to property in your state.
Discussion 6: Media

Website Research:  

Dropbox Assignment 1

Address the topics below, and submit your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

  • What type of lease would you require if you were to lease a commercial building?  Explain why.
  • What clauses or elements would you as the tenant want in the lease?
  • It typically takes about a page to explain this.  Please remember that quality is more important than quantity!
Complete Quiz 3 in the Quizzes area of D2L
Units 10-12; Complete the Review Exercises & Part IV Diagnostic Test
Discussion 7: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • Explain TILA-RESPA INTEGRATED DISCLOSURE, its purpose, and what transactions are covered and not covered.
  • Explain the prorating process.
  • Think about why TRID is necessary and relate any instances where you might have become aware of violations.  If you haven't been involved, you may comment on the issues raised by others including myself in the conference.
Discussion 8: Media

Website Research:  

Complete Quiz 4 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Midterm Exam
The Midterm Exam will be Multiple Choice and computerized. It will be accessible through the Quizzes area of the course.  Instructions for taking the test will be posted in the announcements area of your course home page on Monday of week four.
Units 13-15; Complete the Review Exercises
Discussion 9: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • List three principle duties of the agent to the principal and explain why they are important.
  • How can you have a valid enforceable contract and have it become unenforceable?  Remember that an oral contract for sale of real estate is not a valid enforceable contract because your text is specific that such a contract appears to be valid but is not in court!  That also means your answer won’t include discussion of real estate brokers practicing law, or parties too young, or coerced or incompetent and so on!  The contract in this question is perfect because I say it is!
Discussion 10: Media
Website Research:   
Tour web site (www.law.cornell.edu ). What is the focus of this site?
Complete Quiz 5 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Units 16 -18; Complete the Review Exercises & Part V Diagnostic Test
Discussion 11: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • What was added to the Fair Housing Act in 1974 and 1988 that affects real estate agents?
  • What are the requirements to receive a real estate license in your state, or if you are overseas, the country you are stationed in?
Discussion 12: Media

Website Research:  

Complete Quiz 6 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Units 19-22; Complete the Review Exercises & Part VI Diagnostic Test 
Discussion 13: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • Is an appraisal a determination or an opinion of value? Why?
  • When would a Purchase Money Mortgage be appropriate?
Discussion 14: Media

Website Research:    

Dropbox Assignment 2

Address the topics below, and submit your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

Contact local builders and contractors and ask what the average cost per square foot is to build a residence such as you currently occupy.  With those figures and what you know about location, location, location, try to estimate the value of your home by measuring it and multiplying the square footage you come up with by those figures.

Complete Quiz 7 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Units 23-26; Complete the Review Exercises & Parts VII & VIII Diagnostic Tests
Discussion 15: Topic

Please provide answers and discussion on all of the following:

  • What is a 1031 Exchange?
  • What is the Capital Gains exclusion on the sale of a primary residence for married persons filing jointly?   For a single person? 
  • What does a Starker Exchange mean?
Discussion 16: Media

Website Research:    

  • Tour the web site (www.boma.org ). What does this organization do?  Why do you think I asked you to look at the site?
Complete Quiz 8 in the Quizzes area of D2L.
Final Exam
The Final Exam will be Multiple Choice and computerized. It will be accessible through the Quizzes area of the course.  Instructions for taking the test will be posted there on Monday of week eight.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.