Move from Accounting to Real Estate - is it possible?

First off, this is my first post on WSO and I'd greatly appreciate any help you can bring to the table. I'm really confused in my career path right now and just looking for some guidance. I worked at a big-4 accounting firm for 4 years in audit and left as a senior associate. I also got my CFA at this time. I mainly audited capital markets/hedge funds there and then took a job at a small hedge fund as the Controller working directly under CFO. I've worked there approximately 4 years and I've learned mostly everything so looking for some other opportunities. I've always been interested in real estate but not having any real estate clients/experience and also being in accounting, i was wondering how difficult it would be to transition into a real estate company. My end goal would be to hopefully take part in some real estate deals and earn a percentage of the deal. Could anyone please let me know if it's possible and what I should be looking for to do with a recruiter?

Thanks,
Pete

Comments (12)

Aug 29, 2019

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and finally yes. Search function, numerous threads on this already.

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Aug 29, 2019

OP - You definitely can. Like Malta pointed out, search around the site, many have gone been through the transition and there's a lot of information available detailing how. Additionally, start networking now. CRE is a relationship business and the best opportunities are filled through referrals. I'm just a dumb commercial banker but with a finance heavy background and CFA I'd assume REPE and Development would both be potential options assuming you know/can learn how to do basic excel modeling.

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Aug 29, 2019

This happens all the time - you would be attractive to REPE but would probably start as an associate. I'd consider getting a real estate certificate from Cornell, USC, or somewhere else. Cornell's is like $3.5k and would probably you achieve what you are trying to do.

Aug 30, 2019

I spent 1.5 years at a regional accounting firm and I'm now working in asset management for a company that owns a portfolio of multi family, hotels, and retail. I also don't have any professional credentials (CFA, CPA, etc.). You can definitely make the switch. I would echo what others have said on this forum. At the end of the day, RE is a relationship business. Reach out to those you know in the business. Best of luck!

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Aug 30, 2019

thanks for the feedback! so i have an accounting background and with a CFA as it stands. Now if i get a Cornell real estate certificate from Cornell, I should be able to have a shot at a real estate company analyzing deals?

thanks

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Aug 30, 2019

You will but honestly I would just take a real estate modeling course online, there are some well known ones like REFM and BIWS and also some cheaper ones on sites like Udemy. Like Costanza mentioned above, I think you could make the transition without spending much money or time on certifications. CFA is going to be more impressive than anything and you already have that. PM me if you want and I can provide some more information

Aug 31, 2019

LIHTC

Aug 31, 2019

I made the transition. It's doable

Sep 1, 2019

what would be best role to apply for? also, did you get a commercial real estate certificate or take any courses?

thanks

Sep 7, 2019
Confused11:

what would be best role to apply for? also, did you get a commercial real estate certificate or take any courses?

thanks

Pete, I think you need a story. We all have one. If you want to be a principal (equity owner) you need to eventually set yourself apart.

For example one guy a long time ago he said he's from this area i am living, and never wants to live anywhere else. I said fine. Go become Mr This Area, show you face to all the important people. Run development, create your niche. Be uniquely you.

I don't know any other way to succeed. Eventually most times, most employers or the world doesn't give a shit about you so you find a circle of folks you create a wealth vehicle with.

I'm starting to hire a Controller / Director of Finance btw.

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Sep 2, 2019

If you're looking to earn commissions, then you will probably have a hard time in the beginning. Are you sure you want to give up your monthly salary? You also need some training and maybe you need a real estate license. That would really expand your horizons and allow you to choose the right niche. If you like to work with numbers, maybe you should look for jobs in commercial real estate or jobs like property manager, assets manager and so on.

Sep 2, 2019
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