When we think of real estate careers, most of us think about real estate agents, the ones who help people buy and sell homes. There’s much more to it than that, of course, but a salesperson job isn’t the only career path in the ever-growing and expanding real estate industry. When you think about it, there are many people involved in the sales process, in many different capacities. So, what capacity best suits you?

Below are some of the real estate career paths you can take. We will examine what these careers entail, how much you can make, the education that is needed, how you can get started, and more. Hopefully this examination will shed some light on the careers that are available to you. Remember, there are many opportunities to join this rewarding industry!

Real Estate Salesperson

We already mentioned this career above and how it is the most prevalent, or well-known, career option in the real estate industry. Also known as real estate sales agent (in Texas), real estate sales associate (in Florida) or real estate broker (in Washington), this career is front and center in helping clients buy, sell and rent properties.

Definition

A real estate salesperson is the individual who helps their clients, either a buyer or seller, to find or sell a property. While most salespeople work with residential property, they can also be involved with commercial and other types of properties as well.

Duties

The type and scope of duties can vary widely from one day to the next as salespeople assist with the sales process and advise their clients. Here is a list of some of the duties you will perform as a real estate salesperson:

  • Build your client base for buying, selling and renting opportunities
  • Market your services via online and traditional channels
  • Assist with the entire buying/selling process
  • Show prospective clients potential homes
  • Advise clients on the best course of action
  • Negotiate home prices on behalf of the client
  • Work as a liaison between all applicable parties
  • Prepare and oversee important documents

Income Potential

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the medial annual wage for real estate agents in May 2015 was $43,370, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $110,560. Note that earning potential will vary based on geographic location and other factors, such as market conditions, hours worked per week, etc.

Education

Depending on your state, you will need to complete a specific number of pre-license education hours to qualify to sit for the state licensing exam. There are additional eligibility requirements that may need to be met. Check with your state’s real estate commission or agency for details.

How to Get Started

Do your research and find a school that meets your needs. An online education can enable you to prepare for your career on your own terms with a flexible option that works for you.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Many real estate salespeople work more than 40 hours per week, including nights and weekends
  • Salespeople can set their own schedules
  • Some choose to work part time
  • Your office can be as small as one person or a large company with many offices
  • Some people telecommute and have an office at home
  • Much of your time will be away from your desk and out in the field

Real Estate Broker

Like a real estate salesperson, a broker helps clients buy, sell and rent properties. In addition, this person manages a real estate office and has a larger scope of duties than a salesperson.

Definition

A real estate broker is a licensed professional who can manage and run his or her own real estate office. This includes handling traditional real estate agent duties, in addition to overseeing the business details of the office and managing salespeople.

Duties

As a real estate broker, your duties are the same as the ones listed above with real estate salesperson, in addition to:

  • Can work independently
  • Manage agents
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Manage lender relationships
  • Establish escrow accounts
  • Recruit new agents

Income Potential

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for real estate brokers in May 2015 was $56,860, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $166,940. Note that earning potential will vary based on geographic location and other factors, such as market conditions, hours worked per week, etc.

Education

Depending on your state, you will need to complete a specific number of pre-license education hours to qualify to sit for the state licensing exam. You will also need to meet the experience hours, and/or post-secondary education requirements based on what your state requires.

How to Get Started

Do your research and find a school that meets your needs. An online education can enable you to prepare for your career on your own terms with a flexible option that works for you.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • You can open your own office and work for yourself once you become a real estate broker
  • Many brokers work under a franchise agreement where they pay a fee to be affiliated with a widely-recognized company
  • Brokers usually have a wider network of contacts, which can help withstand fluctuations in the market

Real Estate Appraiser

Maybe you don’t want to work as a salesperson or broker, but want to be a vital part of the real estate process. As a real estate appraiser, you can work on the math side and value properties.

Definition

A real estate appraiser provides an estimation of the value of land or buildings. They can work on commercial or residential property, providing an estimate before the property is sold, rented, re-financed, and more.

Duties

The duties of a real estate appraiser can vary depending on the scope of the project, but overall as an appraiser you will

  • Make a note of a property’s characteristics
  • Consider its overall condition
  • Document the condition with photos
  • Verify that current public records on the property are accurate
  • Research comparable properties
  • Apply various methods to provide a property’s value
  • Compile findings into a written report.

Income Potential

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for real estate appraisers in May 2015 was $51,860, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $97,080. Note that earning potential will vary based on the fees paid for each real estate appraisal.

Education

The education requirements for licensed appraisers vary by state and also by type of license. Generally, you can become an appraiser trainee (not applicable in some states), licensed residential appraiser, certified residential appraiser and certified general appraiser. Please note that some states may have different names for these types of licenses.  The license level will determine the type of property you can appraise.

Typically, you will need at least 75 hours of education before you can apply as a trainee. If your state has a licensed residential appraiser option, you will likely need 30 semester hours of college-level education, 150 hours of appraiser education and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training completed over a period of no less than one year.

How to Get Started
Do your research and find a school that meets your needs. An online education can enable you to prepare for your career on your own terms with a flexible option that works for you.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Almost 1 in 4 real estate appraisers were self employed in 2015
  • A large percentage of time is spent on site doing actual appraisals, rather than in an office setting
  • Commercial real estate appraisers may spend a lot of time on one property
  • Demand for appraisal services is linked to the real estate market, with opportunities being best in areas with active markets

Mortgage Loan Originator

If selling real estate is not for you and you don’t want to appraise properties, the good news is that there are career options on the mortgage side – where you’ll still be an integral part of the buying and selling process. As a mortgage loan originator (MLO), you’ll be involved with all aspects of the loan application.

Definition

A mortgage loan originator specializes in real estate loans, with the ability to evaluate, authorize and also approve loan applications for individuals and companies based on specific loan criteria. This can include determining a property’s worth as well as if an applicant will receive a loan.

Duties

As a mortgage loan originator, your duties will include:

  • Be able to explain the differences of each type of loan
  • Generate leads and pinpoint business opportunities
  • Gather loan data from applicants
  • Complete and review loan application
  • Verify if an applicant can play back a loan
  • Utilize an underwriting process to determine each applicant’s risk
  • Ensure loan agreements are in line with state and federal regulations
  • Determine if a loan should be approved

Income Potential

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a mortgage loan originator in May 2015 was $63,430, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $130,630. Note that the payment method can vary based on the employer, with some earning straight salary or commission as well as a combination of both.

Education

Like a real estate appraiser, the education requirements of a mortgage loan originator can vary by state. To work as an MLO, you will need to complete at least 20 hours of applicable coursework (23 hours in Texas) and pass a state exam.

How to Get Started

Do your research and find a school that meets your needs. An online education can enable you to prepare for your career on your own terms with a flexible option that works for you.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Strong decision making, detail oriented, initiative and interpersonal skills are all important qualities in a mortgage loan originator
  • MLOs often work outside of the office to meet with clients
  • Some MLOs earn bonuses based on how they perform
  • Financial analyst, insurance sales agent and real estate brokers are similar occupations

Which Real Estate Career Will You Choose?

There you have it – we’ve covered four different real estate careers and the job opportunities that are available to you. With real estate perceived as a solid long-term investment, people will always want to own their own home, meaning that there will always be demand for careers that help them reach their goals. Plus, with population growth and the large millennial generation entering the housing market, the need for real estate agents, brokers, appraisers and mortgage loan originators will only continue to increase.

Which career will you choose? No matter which career you select, you can get started with 100% online education. Call (800) 617-3513 today to prepare for your new future and start down the road of your new career path. It’s closer than you think!