(Photo : Alexander Surminski)
The power of e-learning is immense. It can change the landscape of any industry by equipping masses with the required knowledge in the shortest amount of time. It will enable them to make correct decisions, which, in turn, will benefit the economy and the financial health of the industry. The space where e-learning can make the biggest difference is the high-value investments.
After all, buying any big-ticket items is a task in itself, as it requires extensive knowledge about the domain to decide where to invest in and where not to. But disseminating education to such a large audience is easier said than done. It is next to impossible to achieve with the in-person form of education. Hence, the only available option for us is e-learning.
Let’s take real estate investment for example. There are millions of people who invest in real estate globally, which is one of the most common high-value investments today. When it comes to the global real estate market, it is a massive space, economically and infrastructurally. According to the latest available data, in 2020, the size of the commercial real estate market worldwide was nearly US$32.6 trillion, up from US$30.3 trillion in 2019. The EMEA region occupied the largest share of more than US$10 trillion.
Being successful in such a market frequently boils down to how much information or knowledge one has. That’s where e-learning will come in handy. To understand the crucial role that e-learning plays in spreading financial education, we also talked to Alexander Surminski, CEO of Immocation.de, a Munich-based startup on a mission to disseminate knowledge about real estate investment through e-learning. So, let’s begin with a deeper look at why the real estate market appears complex to many.
The real estate education gap
Real estate – anywhere in the world – is a high stake game. It eats up a large chunk of an individual’s savings or wealth. A survey done by the US Federal Reserve on consumer finances showed that nearly 65% of American families owned their primary residence in 2019. Giving an example of just how high stake real estate investments are, Immocation’s CEO Alexander Surminski says, “owning a house of one’s own is one of the most crucial milestones in one’s life, if not the most in many cases. On the other hand, there lies a large market for rental properties to be occupied by people who don’t yet have their own houses.”
He further adds, “altogether, the risks involved in this market are far more intense than any other segment in a consumer’s life. One can easily replace or get away with an electronic gadget if it is not up to the mark or has worn off after some years. Real estate ownership is not that liquid. For most buyers, it is a once-in-a-lifetime investment.”
Talking about the impact of macroeconomic factors on real estate investments, Surminski says, “apart from one’s purchasing potential, which changes with one’s income and the ability to save a part of it, other macroeconomic factors play a crucial role.”
The overall inference that regular consumers draw is that a market is ripe to enter when the economy in which that market operates is in good condition. But, a composite entity of so many factors that any national economy is, it becomes crucial which parameter has a relatively severe impact on the market. And that assessment only comes with reading, researching, gathering information, and analyzing it in the right way. But, is it an easy task to accomplish for an individual? Apparently, not.
Apart from the gross macroeconomic conditions, the policies of a government and the regulatory structure in which a market operates are crucial. It helps if there are incentives in tax cuts or tax credits for first-time homebuyers. Deductions and subsidies also help price optimize the market and make it affordable and inclusive. But the policies could come with an opposite impact on the market too. They might appear to be restrictive or prohibitive. Also, not having the correct information on crucial pieces of the law might result in inspiring a completely inefficient purchase decision.
The “e” solution
Now, the question is how to make real estate decisions work if it is that complex? The answer lies in gaining knowledge and education. One has to keep updating oneself on real estate education. One needs to learn how real estate purchases help successfully create wealth, generate passive income and achieve financial freedom.”
Commenting about how startups are making real estate education easier for the masses, Surminski says “it is easier to list out what one needs to do to become successful. But when it comes to carrying out these tasks on the ground, it proves complex. However, new players are emerging in the market who are making this space an easier one to sail. For instance, Immocation.de combines real estate with education by providing the right types of content and tools for digital learning in the sector.”
In this time and age of physical distancing, often resulting in long bouts of isolated living, digital learning is the way to go. And new-age startups like Immocation.de makes the real estate digital learning space all the more interesting by bringing together storytelling and domain expertise. It observes the market and helps users make efficient choices through their interactive Youtube videos and content on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media.
Since knowledge plays a vital role in this market in making the right decision at the right time, companies like Immocation.de can revolutionize the industry by bringing clarity of thought and adequacy of information to a consumer’s mind.
Using e-learning to disseminate financial knowledge
Surminski believes that when it comes to the dissemination of any financial education, just any generalized in-person education wouldn’t be enough. What we need is an up-to-date e-learning program like Immocation’s, as such programs are far better when it comes to accessibility, which matters when the goal is to reach as many people as possible.
He also adds, ” no matter the location, e-learning can be accessed from anywhere in the world. All that is required to access the e-learning programs is an internet connection and a device that can be connected to the internet. That’s it.”
Another benefit of financial education through e-learning mode is that it is comparatively cheaper, time-saving, and easier to scale than the in-person form of education. Also, the time duration it takes to complete the intended course through e-learning is far less than what it takes through in-person education. In today’s fast world, time is something that can either make or break an education program, as people just do not want to get involved in something that will take up too much of their time.
Alexander Surminski has been Managing Director of the Munich-based training company immocation.de since January 2021. Previously, Surminski worked, e.g. as a Director at OnVista (2017-2020), Managing Director of ayondo and other internationally oriented financial companies. The aim of the Munich-based company is to provide people with a strong interest in real estate topics with the broadest possible know-how for their own asset accumulation.