A Career in Real Estate

Is Real Estate for You?

Successful real estate professionals are self-motivated, determined, and goal-oriented. Different avenues in the real estate field require distinct types of abilities. Outgoing people who enjoy working with others should consider a career as a real estate broker. Highly analytical people, who are more comfortable working with research, technical skills, and problem-solving, should consider other potential fields of real estate, such as corporate real estate development and investment.

In general, knowledge of business, economics, and global markets are required, as well as technical/computer skills, such as word processing, the ability to use spreadsheets, graphical analysis, and geographic information systems. The ability to communicate well also is important for private consultations and negotiations with clients.

Career Paths

Corporate/Business Real Estate Field (typically owner-user)

Professionals involved in corporate real estate management focus on maximizing a firm’s value of resources devoted to space needs. They also focus on evaluating a company’s real estate holdings with the goal of cutting costs and generating profits. Experienced corporate real estate personnel deal with site analysis, acquisition, and many other facility-management decisions.

Institutional Real Estate, Portfolio Management & Investment

Institutions, such as the larger life insurance companies, pension funds, and real estate investment trusts (REITs), may utilize individuals with a real estate background (and often an MBA degree) to review and analyze proposed investments. Professionals occupying these positions must have knowledge of tax laws, regulations, demographics, and global economic and industry-niche market trends.

Real Estate Development & Construction

Developers turn land into profitable and marketable residential, commercial, or industrial developments. Developers acquire land, prepare it for development, and oversee construction processes. Before building can begin, developers must first analyze all environmental and zoning requirements and construction costs and find sources of financing. Finally, developers promote the finished development to potential buyers.

Real Estate Property Management

Most property managers begin their careers as on-site managers, working closely with tenants. The property manager’s main function is to maintain the property with the aim of producing the highest possible financial return over the longest period of time. Managed commercial properties are generally shopping centers, office buildings, apartment complexes, condominiums, and groups of homes owned by a single investor.

Appraisal and Consulting

Appraisers determine the value of properties for financing, investment, and tax purposes. They determine the present value, long-run income-generating potential, and insurable value of a property for a potential investor or financier Appraisers need to have knowledge of mathematics, accounting, and economics. Practical experience and good judgment are essential parts of success in this field.

Residential, Commercial, and Land Brokerage

Helping people buy and sell homes is traditionally one of the most important services a real estate agent performs. Real estate professionals must have knowledge of contracts, real estate, and fair-housing laws; local market conditions; economic conditions; types of financing; and mortgage rules and regulations. Commercial brokers specialize in properties such as offices, retail, hotels, apartments, recreational, and industrial. Land brokers deal in land acquisitions for residential and commercial expansion or farming.

Other Real Estate Fields

Mortgage and Construction Lending
Urban Planning and Environmental Consulting
Design Review
Real Estate Consulting and Research