Good Responses to Common Interview Question: "Why Real Estate?"
"Why are you interested in real estate?" This seems to be a common interview question. I understand the answers would be geared to the hiring firm be it development or acquisitions and their product type.
What are your typical responses when confronted with this? Or thoughts in general.
Why Real Estate?
"Why Real Estate?" is a question you can expect in almost any interview. That means that you have the opportunity to craft a unique story that you can bring with you to an interview. However, a major mistake is not coming up with a succinct story beforehand. There are a couple components to crafting your story accordingly.
First, you need to understand the asset class and its functions. In fact, this should be where you highlight your interest in a specific asset class and tie it to the firm. After you understand the position and its function you can relate it to a personal narrative. This will allow you to be specific when answering the question "Why real estate?". Tell a personal story and relate it to your interest in said real estate finance job. Additionally, you should try to work a bit of pathos into your story(see @tengleha example below).
"Why Real Estate?" Interview Answers
The following quotes are answers from verified industry professionals. These answers illustrate the structure summarized above.
My dad is in construction and does a lot of site work for development projects around (major city). My Grandfather was an agent for the (suburban) area. I've always thought they were interesting careers, but I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger and better. The idea of buying/owning/selling a building as a tangible investment opportunity always intrigued me. When I'm in a city it's interesting to think of who the tenants are, what they're paying for rent, who owns the property and how they affect the value. Real estate also seems like an entrepreneurial industry, especially as you gain experience and have a strong network of professionals.
The best answers I've seen display some sort of personal connection to RE. For example, parents who developed/owned/managed, blue-collar parents who were part of the construction industry but the interviewer always wanted to be bigger and better (i.e. own/finance the buildings the construction companies build), a deep interest in architecture/design/urban planning.
Quick Real Estate Interview Answers
The following answers are specific enough to get the job done. However, these answers are common. If you chose to use them then make sure you deliver with confidence.
My answer for my current position was because our assets are tangible and affect people's lives every day. It's a pretty cool feeling going to a development site and seeing people living in and enjoying something your firm built and manages.
If you already have a good understanding of the industry, then you can craft a variation of this answer without getting personal.
I like the fact that RE is essentially a hybrid asset class with both an equity investment/capital gain component as well as a fixed income/coupon portion in the form of rents.
In conclusion, you'll want to make your answer as personalized as possible while showing knowledge of the industry, firm, or asset class.
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