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How to Pick a Career Path in Real Estate

by Dachell McSween

Going into the real estate field can lead to a variety of rewarding careers, including as a broker or property manager. Choose a real estate path that fits your education, interests and skills. For example, your career goals may lead you toward becoming an appraiser rather than a developer.

Education

There are a variety of education requirements for working in the real estate field and they vary with the position. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, reports that appraisers of commercial real estate properties must have an associate degree. However, the education requirement for a broker or sales agent is a minimum of a high school diploma. For many real estate positions, you must also become licensed by taking state exams and completing real estate courses.

Experience

Real estate employers seek applicants with experience working in the field through apprenticeships or jobs. If you want to become a broker, you must have a background assisting customers with purchasing, selling or renting properties. Employers seek out candidates for developer positions with experience acquiring land and managing a construction site. For appraiser positions, you should have experience valuing different properties. Property managers should have experience working with tenants and managing buildings.

Skills

Depending on the position, real estate professionals work long hours, especially in the evenings and weekends to meet with customers and potential clients. For positions as a broker, property manager and developer, you should have good customer service skills, especially interacting with customers from diverse backgrounds. Sales agents should have good communications skills to convince customers that they can sell or rent their properties. Many real estate positions, such as appraisers, involve a lot of research and analyzing data to evaluate properties to present to customers.

Environment

The BLS reports that real estate professionals work in diverse environments, including brokerage offices, corporate businesses, nonprofit organizations, residential and commercial buildings. If you are not interested in working for a corporation, you can work in other environments such as nonprofits or brokerage firms. According to the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business, developers are the most entrepreneurial of career paths in the real estate field. If you don't have an entrepreneurial mindset, consider working with an employer as an appraiser or property manager.

About the Author

Dachell McSween has contributed to the "New York Daily News" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She also writes for various online publications. McSween received a B.A. in journalism from Pace University and an M.S. in publishing from New York University.

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