Are you planning to switch to a real estate career this year? If so, it’s a great plan with a lot of options. Besides working as a real estate agent, you could also become a home inspector or property manager, or – you can flip houses for a living.
It’s normal to feel anxious when switching industries. That’s why finding the right education partner is crucial. You need a group of people to help you through the licensing process and help you get started in your real estate field.
Here are some real estate career options to consider – as well as advice on choosing the right career path for your strengths.
Career Paths in Real Estate
Here’s a list of obvious and not-so-obvious real estate career paths. We’ll give a brief job description and advice on how to get started. One of these may be the perfect choice for you!
1. Real estate sales agent
A real estate agent helps clients with their real estate transactions.
Here are some of the responsibilities of a real estate salesperson:
- Guides clients through the buying or selling process
- Creates property listings
- Represents their clients during negotiations
- Stays informed of market trends
- Completes contracts and other paperwork related to the sale
- Creates marketing strategies for properties for sale
- Networks with others in the industry
Real estate agents often specialize in a niche. Two of those main categories are residential and commercial real estate.
Residential real estate agent
A residential real estate agent specializes in the buying or selling of single-family homes, duplexes, or four-plexes. They may also help people purchase investment properties.
Commercial real estate agent
A commercial real estate agent specializes in the buying and selling of office buildings, retail spaces, industrial properties, multi-family properties, hotels, or special-purpose properties.
How to become a real estate agent: Real estate agents are licensed by their state. To become a real estate agent, you must take a pre-licensing course, pass the real estate exam, and complete a background check and application. Residential and commercial real estate agents go through the same licensing process.
2. Real estate leasing agent
A real estate leasing agent facilitates the leasing of properties on behalf of property owners or landlords. Here are some of the duties performed by a leasing specialist:
- Markets the property
- Screens tenants
- Shows properties
- Negotiates leases and contracts
- Prepares lease agreements
- Maintains tenant relationships
- Stays current on market trends
Like real estate salespeople, a leasing agent sometimes focuses on a niche.
Residential real estate leasing agent
Some real estate leasing agents focus on residential properties like apartment buildings or complexes.
Commercial real estate leasing agent
A commercial real estate leasing agent specializes in leasing office buildings, retail spaces, industrial properties, hotels, or special-purpose properties.
How to become a real estate leasing agent: Check with your state’s real estate licensing agency to learn the requirements to work as a commercial real estate leasing agent. Often, a leasing agent must have a real estate license unless they are an employee of a property owner or apartment complex. Some states have specific licensing requirements for real estate leasing agents.
3. Real estate consultant
A real estate consultant is a licensed real estate agent or broker who offers clients specialized knowledge and strategic advice regarding real estate matters.
Here are some of the duties of a real estate consultant:
- Offers advisory services and education to clients
- Stays current on market trends
- Develops a real estate investment strategy
- Guides development projects
- Negotiates on behalf of their clients
- Assesses and mitigates risks associated with real estate transactions
- Completes market research
- Stays current on regulations and laws related to real estate
How to become a real estate consultant: Most real estate consultants are brokers. To become a real estate broker, you must first become licensed as a real estate agent before upgrading your license. A real estate broker must take additional coursework and pass a background check and test.
4. Real estate appraiser
A real estate appraiser is a licensed and certified professional who provides an unbiased estimate of a property’s value.
Here are the tasks performed by a real estate appraiser:
- Inspects properties
- Stays current on sales of comparable properties in an area
- Prepares appraisal reports
- Communicates with interested parties
How to become a real estate appraiser: Appraisers must complete a training course before becoming a trainee appraiser. Depending on your state, you may need to take additional coursework, state-specific training, or college-level classes. Finally, you must pass the state-specific appraisal licensing exam.
5. Real estate broker
A real estate broker has experience as an agent who takes additional coursework and passes a broker licensing exam. Real estate brokers oversee the work of real estate salespeople. They are also able to work independently or lead their own brokerage.
In addition to the tasks performed by real estate agents, real estate brokers also do the following:
- Oversees and trains real estate agents
- Manages the real estate office
How to become a real estate broker: To upgrade your license, you must take state-approved broker courses and pass a background check and licensing exam.
6. Real estate wholesaler
A real estate wholesaler finds and secures properties at a discounted price to sell to another buyer. In short, a real estate wholesaler works closely with investors by finding properties to flip, rent, or keep for a long-term investment.
If you are considering becoming a real estate wholesaler, here are some of the tasks you should expect to complete:
- Stays current on real estate market trends
- Finds discounted properties
- Forms relationships with real estate investors
How to become a real estate wholesaler: A real estate wholesaler is often a licensed broker. Follow the licensing guidelines in your state to become a real estate broker.
7. House flipper
A house flipper purchases a home that needs updates and/or repairs. They then complete the repairs and sell the home – hopefully for a profit.
A house flipper does the following:
- Works with a real estate agent to find properties with fix and flip potential (Some house flippers are licensed real estate agents who find properties themselves.)
- Budgets expenses for renovation projects
- Finds a network of contractors, suppliers, and other professionals to help with the renovation process
How to become a house flipper: You do not have to be a licensed real estate agent to be a house flipper, but being a real estate agent will give you more access and insight into the market. Typically, house flippers are good at performing home improvement projects (or are good at finding reliable professionals to complete projects.)
8. Property Manager
A property manager is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a property to ensure it is well maintained, financially sound, and meets the needs of tenants and the property owner.
Here are some of the duties of a property manager:
- Handles tenant relations
- Collects rent
- Maintains the property
- Budgets the property’s income and expenses
- Advertises the property
- Conducts safety inspections
- Oversees the move-in and move-out process
How to become a property manager: Most states (like Florida) have specific licensing requirements to meet before becoming a property manager. Property managers often have a background in real estate, business, or a related field.
9. Home inspector
A home inspector is a trained professional who assesses the condition of residential properties to evaluate a home’s structural and mechanical components.
Home inspectors play a crucial role in the residential buying and selling process. They perform the following tasks:
- Examines the structural integrity of a property
- Inspects mechanical systems
- Completes examinations of the home’s interior and exterior components
- Checks the condition and operation of major appliances
- Confirms the house adheres to local building and safety codes
How to become a home inspector: Home inspector requirements vary by state. However, most home inspectors take training programs recognized by professional home inspector organizations.
10. Home stager
A home stager is a professional who uses design techniques to make a home appealing to buyers. Unlike decorators, a home stager helps buyers envision living in the space.
A home stager puts a property in the best light. Here are some of their duties:
- Finds the best arrangement for furniture and lighting
- Decorates the space to draw attention and make the room inviting
- Advises the property owner on cleaning tasks
How to become a home stager: Some home stagers have experience in the real estate field, but experience is not required. Search for training programs in your area to become a home stager.
How to Choose the Right Real Estate Career Path
Figuring out what you want to be when you grow up can be difficult for many, regardless of age. If you are leaning toward a real estate career, here is some guidance on selecting a career.
Assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you have repair or construction experience? Fixing and flipping homes might be a career – or a side gig – to consider. If you have a knack for design, consider a staging career. But don’t overlook the idea of becoming a real estate agent. Real estate agents enjoy working with people, are detail-oriented, and are great communicators.
Research the requirements and qualifications needed for each career path.
Most states have specific licensing guidelines for becoming a real estate agent, broker, and appraiser. Make sure you understand your state’s requirements, which may include coursework, experience, a background check, and an exam.
Compare the pros and cons of different real estate career paths.
There are pros and cons to each of these real estate careers. For example, real estate agents have flexible schedules and unlimited income potential. Some people in the real estate field earn a set salary for their work. Some real estate professionals can work independently, while others work as part of a team. What do you want out of your career?
Choose a niche or specialty.
Narrow your focus further by choosing a niche or specialty within your industry. Some real estate agents focus on warehouses or industrial buildings, while others are more interested in the luxury market. You may become a property manager for office buildings or residential units. These choices are all based on your personal preferences and skill sets.
Plan your career growth and development.
What do you want to be doing five or ten years from now? Consider that question as you choose a real estate career.
Gold Coast Schools is an excellent source for all your real estate career-related questions. Gold Coast Schools offers pre-licensing courses for real estate agents and brokers and continuing education classes that will keep you current in your field. In addition, McKissock Learning offers training courses related to real estate, including home inspection classes.
Many of these career paths outlined in this article begin by getting your real estate license. Learn more about the Florida real estate licensing process by reaching out to Gold Coast Schools today.