Best paying real estate careers to look into?


I am a current junior at Cornell University's Hotel School getting a real estate minor. My original plan was to go into investment banking but that fell apart, so now I am looking into careers within real estate. 

I know I sound like a clueless chump asking this question, but that is because I am one right now. I want to go into a real estate career that offers similar IB pay/career growth opportunities (considering hours worked), but I am not sure where to even start looking. It seems like development, acquisitions, and anything real estate can not compare to IB from what I have found on this website. 

What are the most lucrative real estate careers and openings I should be looking at right now?

Real Estate Modeling Course

  • Real-life RE Modeling Tests from actual Interviews
  • Various asset classes including multi-family, commercial and more
  • Huge discount - until more tests and cases added

Comments (29)

Aug 30, 2021 - 11:45pm

Dude look into private debt. Its my second year in and my hours are like 30-40 a week, and i make 70k base and 70-110% bonus on top of that. There are some big private debt shops that have these same hours and pay, I would say the only thing is you have to be in production. Im a production analyst (which is the most interesting part imo anyways)

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Aug 31, 2021 - 9:31am


I want to go into a real estate career that offers similar IB pay/career growth opportunities (considering hours worked), but I am not sure where to even start looking. It seems like development, acquisitions, and anything real estate can not compare to IB from what I have found on this website. 

You're right.  If you want a career with banking hours, opportunities, and pay, the answer is easy!  Investment banking.

Real estate is a different path.  It's not the same.  The reasons you get paid well in banking are unique to banking.  What it sounds like you're asking is you want the same pay, fewer hours, better long term prospects, and to work in a more interesting field.  

Aug 31, 2021 - 9:59am
  1. Do you actually want to do real estate or is it just "the next finance-esque career path on your list after IB"
  2. If the answer to 1 is genuinely yes, then the best paying career path in real estate is one that you excel at and are interested in, because you'll be better at it, work harder at it, and find more success as a result in it. There are tons of ways to make money in real estate, but each option isn't ideal for each person. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 3
Aug 31, 2021 - 10:08am

No no, there must be some guaranteed way to make a million dollars a year by age 27 without having to do too much work or take too much risk!

After all, look at everyone's Net Worth goals - how are we all supposed to be worth 8 figures by age 35 if we're not being showered with money?

Aug 31, 2021 - 11:26am

If you don't find real estate interesting I would not jump into it as a career.  The entry level pay on average is less than banking and you would still be working a lot. Maybe not 80-100 weeks but its a deal oriented business and pays dividends the longer you stay in the game.  If you want to do banking why not just try and do that and not back into something.  

Aug 31, 2021 - 11:37am

I don't think you'll make IB pay in RE outside of working with similar companies in similar roles just with the RE tag. Eastdil or MF REPE may pay IB wages, but if you are struggling to get into IB it'll be the same thing. If you are actually interested in RE you can get into acquisitions, development, IS, debt/lending, etc., but analyst pay will be a  lot lower than IB

Pay in RE takes 4-5 years to ramp up, but the upside comes pretty quickly in all of these roles through carry, building your book (in IS), etc. The problem you'll have is no fun if you aren't interested at all in RE. From my own experience I went from tech (banking) -> MBA -> REPE and I like my job way more than I did before, but I had also researched and had done many many calls with friends in the industry before pursuing.

Most Helpful
Aug 31, 2021 - 12:43pm

My experience is of course anecdotal, so please take it with a grain of salt.

My team when working in banking was great, very supportive, and honestly just a great atmosphere, but I was with a regional bank and analyst roles within banking are not fulfilling at all. The times I had to work at  2am felt like trying to finish work to go home rather than accomplish anything. Our deals that we worked on were interesting, but I wasn't really a fan of the clients I was working with on a regular basis. My pay was subpar, but my hours were also not as bad as most. The biggest reason I decided on doing my MBA was that I didn't want to work 70+ hours in PE and I had no real trajectory upwards at the bank aside from moving. At the time I just got married and we were hoping to buy a home, so we did not want to move.

My role at the moment is with a firm that is more of a startup (Founders are actually from the tech industry so it has more of a tech environment). I am fully remote forever, and autonomy is encouraged. My CIO who I report to is the only other person on the transactions team so my role encompasses essentially every facet of the business. I am regularly leading capital raises with investors, DD, and sourcing deals with brokers, and my access to learning the industry is great. My pay is pretty meh ($75K base + $35K bonus + carry), but I am working in a non-Chicago Midwestern suburb, so my COL is very low. Though it's only me and the CIO working on deals, we are buying office buildings that are $50M - $100M+, and our investors are global institutions, so I feel like I got very lucky in finding a gig without very much experience in RE, and with the only person above me being in a very high role. While my comp is lower than market, I receive carry that bumps my pay potentially more so in line with market, but that is of course performance defendant. I am hoping by end of next year I will be a Sr. Associate/Director (not sure on how titles will work moving up) which would be much higher trajectory than in my previous role.

  • Business School in CorpFin
Sep 3, 2021 - 3:45am

Thanks for your reply.

I understand the culture and hours are way better in your new position but don't you feel less stimulated because you're working on office buildings ?

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Aug 31, 2021 - 2:28pm

Try to get an internship at a REPE fund and leverage it into a full time job. I was also a hotelie and bypassed IB for REPE out of school. Very competitive but doable with great GPA/athletics etc. Would also recommend trying to go to a place that does more than just hospitality real estate because that can get boring quickly IMO. Hotelies fo lyfe!!!!!

Aug 31, 2021 - 3:44pm

Sit commodi odit aliquam accusamus distinctio minus iusto. Aliquam fuga placeat consequatur quo accusantium sint. Laboriosam odio impedit recusandae nam at cum. Placeat error aut omnis aspernatur et iste voluptates eveniet. Esse ipsam enim omnis harum perferendis provident. Recusandae tenetur consequatur placeat delectus.

Aug 31, 2021 - 4:51pm

Velit est aperiam ex porro at. Repellat dolorem vel corporis beatae. Tempore laborum dicta dolores et placeat. Et quo doloremque optio ut in. Laboriosam omnis ducimus ipsam et rerum quia. Beatae voluptas in non. Et suscipit amet adipisci nobis.

Nam reiciendis cumque illo libero vero illo. Earum qui ea incidunt ex iste.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (39) $363
  • Associates (220) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (134) $154
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (103) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (485) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (377) $82