The real estate profession has expanded and offers one of the widest career selections in the business world today. Helping people buy and sell homes, office buildings, industrial property and vacant land, property management, land development, mortgage banking, urban planning, real estate counseling, appraisal and research are all aspects of a career in real estate.
Advantages and Rewards of a Career in Real Estate
A career in real estate provides flexibility and freedom to set your own pace. Income directly reflects your efforts, with no limits on what astute, hard-working individuals can earn. Those successful in real estate are goal-oriented, persevering, self-motivated, ambitious and people-oriented. The rewards are a potential for high earnings, status in the community, autonomy, time freedom, helping people, the intellectual challenge and the satisfaction from those accomplishments. Working in real estate allows for independence and choices of environment in which to work, such as affiliation with a large or small firm as a listed salesperson. With more experience and upon passing of an additional exam, becoming a real estate broker is the next step. Brokers can own their own businesses and employ other salespeople.
Education for a Career in Real Estate
While a degree in Real Estate specifically is not required to embark on a career in the field, many colleges and universities now offer a variety of real estate related courses. Students may choose to specialize in a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree in real estate. Some universities offer graduate level courses. A Bachelors Degree in Business, Economics or similar discipline, however, is generally a great start for someone interested in a career in real estate.
Professional Requirements for a Career in Real Estate
Entry into the real estate profession takes preparation. As with other professions, licensing is required. Licensing requirements vary depending on what country, state or province you live in but all require prospective salespeople and brokers to pass a written exam. Some jurisdictions require pre-licensing educational courses accredited by the licensing agency before individuals are qualify to sit for the exam. In Bermuda, all that is required is that the individual passes a written exam before seeking employment with a Broker.
Getting Started in Real Estate
Entry into the real estate field depends on education, training and interests. Most people begin as sales trainees in a brokerage firm. Other possibilities include office assistant, listing or rental agent, assistant in a department of a large real estate organization, or in the mortgage division of a bank or savings and loan.
Careers in Residential Agency
Helping people buy and sell homes is one of the most important and basic services a real estate representative performs. Sales Representatives are experts in the process of buying and selling property, financing, government programs, etc. The real estate representative’s expertise facilitates the transaction, saving clients time, trouble and money. Real estate professionals need to have a thorough knowledge of such areas as real estate law, local economics, fair housing laws, types of financing, mortgages and government programs.
Careers in Commercial Agency
Commercial representatives specialize in income-producing properties, such as apartment and office buildings, retail stores and warehouses, shopping centers and industrial parks. To understand and explain why the properties are good investments, commercial brokers need to be aware of the growth possibilities of the area where the property is located, current income tax regulations and purchasing arrangements that give the buyer a greater return on investment. Commercial brokers may also have to arrange financing.
Careers in Real Estate Appraising
Real estate appraisers determine the value of properties. Real estate is appraised to determine many types of values—assessed value for tax purposes, investment value or present value for a potential investors, “book” value of accounting purposes, rental value for income projections and insurable value. Appraisers need to know acceptable principles of appraisal and related information. They need to have practical experience, technical education, good judgment and some knowledge of mathematics, accounting and economics. A Chartered Valuation Surveyor is someone who is qualified to perform analysis at such a level. The Chartered Valuation Surveyor is qualified by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and to be qualified the individual must first complete an accredited degree or diploma in General Practice Surveying followed by a two year structured training program followed by an assessment of professional competence. See Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – Valuation – www.rics.org for information on this discipline.
Careers in Property Management
The property manager’s primary function is to maintain the property in order to produce the highest possible financial return over the longest period of time. More importantly, they are responsible for protecting the owner’s investment. Managed commercial properties are likely to be office buildings and shopping centers. Residential properties might be apartment buildings, apartment developments, condominiums and groups of homes owned by a single investor. Property managers usually work for real estate firms. However, other opportunities are found in the real estate department of banks and trust companies. For large housing and commercial development, managers are often expected to maintain an office or residence of the premises and work with only one enterprise. When living on-site, property managers can expect to be on call for emergencies at all times, beyond maintaining standard working hours. Contact the Institute of Real Estate Management at 1 (800) 837-0706.
Careers in Land Surveying
Land Surveyors, as implied, carry out surveys of land. They provide data relevant to the shape, contour, location, elevation and dimension of land as well as land features. They work to measure distances, directions or angles between points and elevations of points and determine the precise location of important features in the survey area. Land Surveyors research legal records and look for evidence of previous boundaries, record the results of the survey, verify accuracy of data and prepare plots, maps and reports. To become a Land Surveyor, an individual would obtain a degree or diploma in Land Surveying/Geomatics at a university or college. In Bermuda, all Surveyors, including Land Surveyors, must be registered with the Bermuda Surveyors Registration Council and a degree/diploma in Surveying/Geomatics is a requirement for registration.
Careers in Land Development
Land development is one of the most important and challenging specialties in real estate today. Developers turn land into profitable, marketable developments –residential, commercial or industrial. Site selection is the first decision developers must make. Planning and layout is handled only after the developer determines the need for a project. Before the actual building can begin, developers must first analyze all costs and arrange the financing. Then they contract for the physical structures and supervise construction. Finally, developers promote the finished development to the prospects for whom it was planned.
Careers in Urban Planning
If you would like to improve the environment and the quality of people’s lives, becoming an urban planner may fulfill your career objective. Urban planners work with local governments and other civic groups to anticipate their city’s future growth. They propose physical changes to accommodate this growth. Not many career guidelines exist for urban planning, but broad general experience is important. Some colleges are now offering degrees in urban planning. Contact the Urban Land Institute at 800-321-5011 or visit their Web site.
Careers in Real Estate Counseling
Real estate counselors are in the business of giving advice about property. They are the experts others seek when they want answers to real estate questions. Counselors must know every phase of the real estate business because they use that knowledge in nearly every consultation. Often they will be asked about income opportunities and productive uses of different kinds of properties. There are relatively few brokers specializing in counseling, but the field will grow as investors and owners realize the value of expert advice in developing property and improving income. While accumulating experience in other real estate specialties, people planning to become real estate counselors also continue to study in continuing education programs in financial management. Contact the Counselors of Real estate at http://www.cre.org.
Real estate is a rewarding career, offering flexibility, freedom and the opportunity to build a secure future for yourself and also help shape the future of your community. If you would like further information about how to get into real estate in Bermuda contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (441) 292-1793.
Further Reading on Real Estate Careers
Evans, Mariwyn. Opportunities in property management careers, rev. ed. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons, 2000.
Evans, Mariwyn. Opportunities in real estate careers. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons, 1997.
Harris, Jack C. Barron’s real estate handbook, 3rd ed. Hauppauge, NY: Barrons, 1993.
Janik, Carolyn and Rejnis, Ruth. Real estate careers: 25 growing opportunities. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1994.