To function effectively in multiple roles and priorities concerning property students need to know property knowledge that they would not know prior and sadly, all too prevalently, after to an introductory real estate principles course. These roles subsume responsible citizen, consumer of property goods and services, choosing place in which to live, selecting and arranging the terms of a particular property interest, property in business, development and the place making process, property financing and investing, and the various functions of property and the careers associated with those property functions.

This big scope, big scale, big tent knowledge prescription implies an audience for property education extending well beyond those who might work in the property discipline per se. Introductory property textbooks, however, are predominantly oriented to those who would pursue property careers.

The design of a property curriculum necessarily follows from consideration of the scope and particulars of the property discipline as widely recognized and practiced.

If the property discipline is considered narrowly, as it most often is, then the needed knowledge may be very different than if the property discipline is considered more broadly, as it too seldom is. Consider the differences in how need to know property knowledge might be defined from such contrasting perspectives as:

  • Sell side or buy side
  • Business level or individual consumer level
  • Private property or public good
  • Property owner or tenant
  • Property provider or property user

The property discipline is most be effectively considered from dualistic perspectives, a portfolio of yin and yang contrasts.

Just as property practitioner and professionals education must reconcile the challenge of balancing established institutions and new models, tradition and innovation, continuity and discontinuity, so, too, must the articulation and instruction of property knowledge reconcile these competing objectives. This task is made even more fraught by the extraordinary change in so very many elements of the property discipline.

This paper builds on an empirical content analysis of real estate textbooks in relationship to their relative emphasis on major categories of knowledge, to consider the degree to which these textbooks cover the major perspectives that may be favored for property knowledge. A structure to organize property discipline knowledge into 15 property knowledge domains is provided