Breaking into REPE/development from appraisal

Wondering what exit opps would be available with 1-2 years in appraisal with an MSF w/ RE focus from a decent university would land me? Assume that the appraisal gig would have good flow with good properties (MF, office, retail). Would REPE and development be in the question or would I need to do a stint in DSF or IS before going the REPE/dev route? I'm highly considering going the appraisal route to learn the industry while I complete a masters program. Thanks for the input!

edit - Still curious about appraisal, but what about an analyst position on a good tenant/landlord rep team with a top brokerage firm? Would that be better experience?


I'm looking at similar options out of undergrad. From what I've gathered it seems to me the plan is to get your foot in the door doing appraisal, tenant/landlord, investment sales, cap mkts, whatever for 2-5 years then look at graduate schools. Seem's you're ahead and currently enrolled in a MSF program? I'd suggest at this point to try and make as many connections as as you can from the program. From there you can look in development by reaching out to said contacts, using the alumni from the program, etc. I think it's more about tailoring your experience at wherever you start, along with your graduate education to land a place at a shop. What MSF program is it?


If possible would you consider taking a few years after undergrad to work and take the GMAT, apply to top 20, top 10 programs for MBA. Have you considered that? Because for me, I want to be in development and I was told to try and get a top MSRED program. I also wanted to be in NYC, but if you want to be in a big city competing for jobs think about what these kids are applying with. You have all the ivy's MBA/MSRED programs with the same if not more work experience. Just a thought, I don't know about the University of Houston program and I'm not saying it's bad, but in terms of competition unless you have a family member that works somewhere or another close connection I think it's going to be hard. I was originally going to forgo grad school, but after talking to multiple developers and two people working in the industry 3/4 have a grad degree and the 1/4 is working at a company his family started.


I don't know anything about the Texas market so if that seem's like it isn't necessary than it might not be. Ok then do that, NYC I would assume is a lot different than Texas. Good luck with that. Where are you looking right now in terms of places for those jobs (appraisal, investment sales, etc).

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Nah personally I wouldn't. My opinion could change but from my research that does not seem necessary for the Texas market. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me, but I think but what matters most is a combination of good work experience and networking, plus the MSF from UH would help. I don't think a top 20 MSRED/MBA is completely necessary (in my case I'd only consider getting in from UT/A&M). But you're looking to work in NYC and it's probably a lot different than Texas. Most of the bios I've read from people in development/repe firms out here are from UT/A&M and a lot of them only have their bachelors.

A top MBA wouldn't hurt you (Hines would certainly appreciate it) but I agree that it isn't necessary

Commercial Real Estate Developer

If you would, I'd suggest considering A&M's MRE program. It's 1.5 years long, with an internship during the summer. You would learn about the whole enchilada of real estate and gain exposure to everything from Development, banking, appraisal, etc. Plus the key benefit is the real estate network you gain access to, it is very strong, especially in Texas. We have a yearly conference in Texas and thats popular. We even have an retired professor who gets emails from former grads all around the various RE industries and passes them to everyone. All the job insights I found have been from that network.


Cody, if you want to do real estate in Houston, go do A&Ms MSRE. One of the best real estate programs in Texas. They place in top firms across the state, the program is relatively easy to get into, and you’re close to Houston. The program is 18 months with an internship so you’ll have an opportunity to get some better [than appraisal] experience prior to graduation and would most likely be able to get a Development or PE job out of the gate if you get a decent internship, and network while in school. The A&M re alumni network is very strong in Texas.


Very similar background. MSF from private university in the Dallas area (take a wild guess) and currently working for a top 5 RE firm in Dallas (think JLL, CB, Cushman and their little brothers) in their valuations group. I spent 2 years interning and working for a different valuations shop in a different industry before I knew I wanted to do real estate. I took this job understanding that I wouldn't necessarily be doing it for life (like yourself), but because I knew that I could touch and understand every single piece of real estate out there. I did not know what product type I wanted to do, and still don't, this will change for everyone over time. My subjective opinion is that this is a fine route, as long as you can be versatile and ready to pivot at a moment's notice. It is likely that you will have to start networking for job #2 on day 1 of job #1 to grant yourself this type of flexibility.

Other posts are 100% correct in their assertion that Texas real estate operates much differently than say RE in New York or even LA/San Fran. A lot of folks would value a very intense analyst program, or even a last name, over an MBA. My short advice would be to network with as many people as humanly possible. In the "job hunt" phase I would have coffee/lunch/beer with at least 2 people per day regardless of hierarchy and something will pop. I would say that most folks in Dallas/Houston have to meet with at least 35 people to get their foot in the door, 50 to have a serious interview, and 75-100 to get a job. I know guys from 2009 where these numbers are closer to double or triple.

Also, go ahead and buy yourself a bulk package of stationary and block off 30 minutes per day to write thank you notes for every interview/meeting you have - this goes further than any GPA or accreditation.

**I speak in hyperbole a reason, in Texas it doesn't matter how "smart" you are on paper but if you're gritty and unashamed enough to get your foot in the door you will get a job. **


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