Real Estate Careers

From buying and selling homes to determining home values and calculating mortgage costs, real estate professionals hold some of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs in the industry.

The field offers plenty of opportunities for those interested to find the perfect niche. Some real estate professionals sell homes, while others perform property appraisals. Still others manage properties on behalf of others. The earning potential for some real estate professionals is nearly unlimited and is based on their sales performance. Most real estate professionals operate independently and set their own schedules. Therefore, the field is ideal for those looking for work-life balance and flexibility. Below is more information on the many opportunities available in real estate.

Overview of Real Estate Careers

Real estate offers an abundance of career opportunities in the business and legal arenas. Perhaps the most common career path is that of a real estate agent. Using their expert sales and negotiation skills, real estate agents help homeowners sell their homes. Many agents also specialize as buyers agents, assisting buyers to locate and purchase homes.

Real estate agents must use a variety of skills over the course of their workday. Agents work one on one with clients to determine appropriate pricing for homes and put together marketing campaigns to sell those homes. They also meet with other agents and buyers to give tours of properties, help coordinate property inspections and work with attorneys to prepare for the closing.

Perhaps one of the most important duties of a real estate agent is to negotiate a fair price to help sellers receive maximum value for their homes. Beyond sales, there are a host of other real estate careers for one to consider.

  • Property managers act on behalf of owners to manage rental property. These real estate professionals handle everything from marketing available properties and screening tenants to collecting rent payments and coordinating repairs.
  • Appraisers perform evaluations of homes to offer their professional opinion as to the value of the property. These real estate professionals play an essential role in a real estate transaction, as they help sellers determine a fair price for their home. Additionally, appraisers provide valuable information to buyers to help them decide how much to offer for a home.
  • Mortgage brokers help buyers obtain financing for their homes. Mortgage consultants collect information from buyers to determine how much to lend. They perform credit checks, calculate closing costs and work with closing agents to finalize the transaction.

How much do real estate professionals earn?

The salary for real estate professionals varies by specialty. Real estate agents generally work on commission and earn their wages by collecting a percentage of the home’s selling price. Thus, their salary depends mainly on their sales. Property managers also make a commission by charging owners a portion of the monthly rent.

Appraisers mostly work on salary. As of May of 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median wage for property appraisers is $54,010. Some appraisers choose to operate as independent contractors. Most of these appraisers charge a set fee for their services or sometimes charge on the basis of each appraisal.

Training and Education Requirements for a Career in Real Estate

Each real estate profession has different training requirements that range from vocational certification to college coursework. Agents typically possess a high school diploma or equivalent at a minimum. Real estate agents must complete a real estate course and pass a test administered by the state to receive their license.

The test covers state-specific real estate laws, relevant real estate terminology, how to determine property value and real estate ethics. Additionally, they must complete coursework each year to maintain their licenses. Most states require property managers to complete the same coursework and pass the same exam as real estate agents.

Mortgage brokers must pass a 20-hour class on mortgage origination, as well as on laws and regulations for real estate lending. Additionally, they must pass a national test known as the SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test.

Due to the complexity involved in valuing real property, appraisers must undergo extensive training and pass a comprehensive exam to qualify for a license. Depending on the specialty, aspiring appraisers must pass a minimum of 150 hours of appraisal coursework and a minimum of 2,000 hours of hands-on appraisal experience to earn an appraisal license.

Those who wish to receive higher level accreditation must hold a minimum of an associate’s degree and complete 200 hours of training with 2,500 hours of work experience.

Essential Skills and Character Traits of Real Estate Professionals

Perhaps the most essential skill for any real estate professional is that of customer service. Real estate professionals interact with clients and other real estate professionals on a daily basis. They must be able to present themselves, communicate clearly and dedicate themselves to providing high-quality service to each client.

Regardless of the real estate specialty, finance and math skills are a must. All real estate professionals must understand real estate finance, which involves a variety of complex calculations. Math is particularly crucial for mortgage brokers, as they need to perform calculations to determine debt-to-income ratios to qualify borrowers for loans, interest rate calculations and closing costs calculations.

Due to the significant amount of money involved in real estate calculations, attention to detail is essential. The numbers must be accurate, closing documentation must contain correct information for all parties and legal disclosures must be provided as a part of the transaction. Finally, real estate professionals must possess solid reading comprehension skills. Real estate transactions require a multitude of documents, all of which a real estate professional must understand so that they can explain them properly to their clients.

Real estate is a profession that connects buyers and sellers of properties. Although sales is a common career path, there are plenty of other opportunities in the field, such as appraisal, mortgage consulting and property management. Real estate is a field with an earning potential that is based on performance, and real estate professionals enjoy flexible work schedules, various opportunities for career advancement and a work-life balance suitable to their lifestyle.

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