Published by Kartik Subramaniam
When most people think about working in real estate, they immediately think of selling houses. While residential sales are the most common occupation for those with a real estate license, it’s far from the only option. In fact, there’s a lot you can do within real estate that has nothing to do with the conventional sale of houses. Here are some of the real estate jobs available for those that don’t want to just sell houses.
If you like sales but don’t love the idea of selling homes to residents, you can still find the career of your dreams within real estate. Instead of selling homes, you’ll sell and lease office space and property to businesses. But the differences between commercial and residential real estate sales don’t end there. In commercial real estate, agents must be knowledgeable about the sectors in which they work and provide valuable analysis to potential buyers. Since newcomers to an area might not know much about the region’s demographics or traffic levels, it’s the commercial real estate agent’s job to fill them in and help find the best location or tenant for a given area. Because of this added analysis, it can be a longer and more difficult process to make a sale in the commercial realm than in the residential space, but the rewards can be greater -- a commercial Realtor can make a great living.
Although it’s commonly believed that a real estate license is the same across the board, most states actually have levels of real estate licensure. And if you’re not content to act as a conventional real estate agent -- or if you’ve been an agent and want to try something else -- there’s still a way for you to get involved in real estate without being an agent. Becoming a real estate broker requires a healthy dose of ambition, but there could be serious benefits down the road. As a broker, you’ll have your own firm where real estate agents will work for you. It’s a way to keep your hands in a lucrative business while also allowing you to start your own business, applying your knowledge and expertise in an industry for which there’s always demand.
Earning a license also opens up the door to becoming a real estate property manager. Property managers oversee buildings for owners. A common role for a property manager that’s responsible for the units within an apartment complex (or a series of homes owned by a person or company) and is charged with fixing repairs, collecting rent and finding new tenants when existing tenants move out. This type of job is for someone who loves real estate and likes accounting, but doesn’t want to become a Realtor. Property managers are generally paid based on the gross rents collected; property managers can also receive leasing commissions for screening and finalizing deals with tenants.
The life of a real estate agent isn’t for everyone. Not everyone wants to travel to open houses and to meet with clients. However, for those that simply want to work in real estate while remaining in one location, there’s a way to make it happen -- and you may not even need a real estate license to do it. A real estate assistant provides support for agents and brokers, including answering phones, posting listings and preparing paperwork. These tasks help the agents tremendously as they manage their workflow. It’s also a good introduction for those who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of real estate. A real estate assistant may realize that they want to be an agent after all, and they can continue to work as an assistant while they take real estate license courses.
Real estate agents and brokers are often too busy with their everyday duties to take note of emerging trends in the marketplace. That’s where financial analysts come in. Analysts look at real estate data and attempt to predict where real estate is going, particularly in the local area. Financial analysts that work in real estate are also tasked with finding attractive investment opportunities so that the company can properly allocate its resources. Being a real estate financial analyst means being based largely in an office; it also doesn’t require a real estate license. Most large commercial real estate companies will have analysts on their team.
If you like numbers, but don’t want to be tied to a desk all day, real estate appraisal might be the career for you. You don’t need to go to real estate license school but you will need to obtain a separate appraisal license. Once you do that, you’re able to determine accurate property values for the houses you examine, based on the home’s characteristics and comparable sales data. Appraisers are used when houses are sold or refinanced.
Outside of the agent, the bank and the buyer, an inspector is the most important part of any real estate transaction. Inspectors visit properties before they’re sold and look for potential issues that would not only impact the sale, but would cause problems for the buyers down the road. Inspectors must be highly knowledgeable in all areas regarding houses; they don’t need a real estate license, but if you’re interested in being a real estate inspector, you’ll need to understand the inspector requirements of your state.
Real estate loan officers don’t actually issue loans. Instead, they’re the intermediary between the bank and the buyer. Loan officers help buyers to get approved for financing, point out any issues that inhibit a buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage and recommend products based on the unique situation of each home buyer. To become a loan officer, you don’t necessarily need a real estate license. Instead, you’ll have to take a 20-hour pre-licensure class that covers the laws and legalities around real estate lending. After that, you only need to pass the NMLS SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test and you’re ready to start working as a real estate loan officer.
There are plenty of cogs in the real estate machine. If any of these fails to function properly, the entire operation fails. Even if you don’t want to be a Realtor or obtain a real estate license, there’s a career option for you in our great business.
Are you ready to get your real estate license?