Careers in Real Estate

lf3871's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 30

I'm currently in my sophomore year of undergrad, and I'm interested in a career in real estate. I'm familiar with a few different career paths (development, REPE, etc.) but I'm interested to learn more about other options in real estate. What are some companies/jobs I should be looking at?

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Comments (3)

Most Helpful
Jan 6, 2019

The possibilities are endless, but I'll throw out a few off-the-wall ideas since the obvious paths are talked about all the time on this forum. A lot of the "ideal career path" really depends on your personality. For example, I'm a talented salesman but I'd hang myself if I had to sell more than a few times a year (as a general rule, I don't like interacting with people I don't know very well).

1) Consider working with a major residential homebuilder, such as Toll Brothers, NVR, or Pulte. The career paths in land acquisition and project management usually pay really well but are also prone to extremes due to the cyclical nature of residential building. Many (most?) of your small home builders (who net $300-700k per year for the principal) cut their teeth at the majors.

2) Consider real estate law. Good lawyers can make exceptional money (our attorney's rate is $800 an hour, although we retain less talented real estate lawyers for $300/hour), and the work is relatively easy compared to other legal career paths. (Of course, the lawyer doesn't keep the entire rate--he or she is splitting the fee with the company to cover overhead and to share profits).

3) My opinion has somewhat evolved on this over time. Commercial appraisal can be a good path if you know how to approach the business from the very beginning. The idea is that you start working as a bitch analyst for a Certified General Appraiser / MAI, you put your head down, get your years in, and obtain your MAI designation. From what I understand, many of the highest producing MAIs are retiring and the Millenial generation never took to the career path in proper numbers, which should leave all kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities to build your business. Good small business owners in the field net $300-500k.

4) Similar to home building, this is a lucrative but highly cyclical path--salaried project manager for a large commercial developer, such as JBG Smith. Get 7-10 years under your belt at a major firm and--assuming the economy is good--you'll be getting offers for $200-300,000 to manage development projects. There's also a good chance that you'll be laid off a number of times throughout your career, which can be tough. But you'll be getting paid quite well to do some pretty interesting work.

Jan 6, 2019

Thanks for the detailed response. For the commercial appraisal and commercial development paths, are there companies that recruit straight out of undergrad? Also, I have some experience abstracting leases for an accounting firm's advisory department and I'm not sure if that would fit into any of these career paths or not.

Jan 6, 2019