Real Estate As A Career: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted October 20, 2021 by in Career

Most people wrongly assume that real estate is selling houses, and that’s it, but it is so much more. There are several different types of real estate and career paths within the industry. If you are just getting into the business, it can seem overwhelming. However, developing a better understanding of the business can help to ensure your success. Taking live mortgage continuing education will ensure you know the basics of the trade. 

Read on for your guide to real estate:

Residential Real Estate

The residential real estate market in America is huge; people will always need places to live, making it a relatively stable sector to be in, even during an economic recession. The residential market includes things like single-family homes, condominiums, co-operatives, townhouses, duplex, triplex, fourplex and mobile homes. 

Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate market is smaller than the residential market. Commercial real estate is defined as property used for business purposes like office space, retail space, apartment space with five or more units, mobile home parks, leisure and hospitality property, storage facilities, parking lots and garages, and grocery stores, gas stations and movie theatres. These spaces are not usually publicly listed; instead, commercial real estate agents work directly with the sellers, buyers, lenders, and investors. 

Industrial Real Estate

It is easy to confuse industrial real estate with commercial because they are both used for business purposes. The key difference between the two is the way that the property is used. Industrial real estate, as the name suggests, is used for industrial purposes, like manufacturing, production, research and development parks and data server centers.

The industrial market represents a niche, and it is hard to get into without the right connections. 


This is the last of the main types of real estate.  The vacant or raw land is sold to developers or to those looking to use its natural resources. It is a popular option with investors because the taxes are usually minimal. Selling land includes undeveloped raw land, recreational parcels, farms or ranches, timberland, orchards, urban developments, and subdivision lots. 

An Overview of the Real Estate Industry 

The real estate industry can be divided into several subsections. Firstly, development is the first step towards a sale. The development process involves the purchase of the raw land, any rezoning, construction, or renovation necessary for the buildings and the sale or lease of the finished product to buyers. Developers often earn a profit by adding value to the land and selling the property on for a higher price than they paid initially. There is risk involved for any developer choosing to finance a project. There are development firms that take on large scale projects, creating new products and generating inventory.

However, on the opposite end of the scale, this step also covers homeowners wishing to sell their property too, often they have been in the home for quite some time, and the improvements they have made, or the inflation within the market allows them to turn a profit. 

The next subsection is sales and marketing. Real estate agents or firms, as the case may be, often work with developers and private homeowners to sell the buildings or units. The individual or the firm then earns a commission from the sale, which is often, but not always, a percentage of the sales value. They are also responsible for creating the marketing materials used to sell the property. Firms often focus on new units, whereas individual real estate agents often facilitate the sale of homes between private citizens. 

These firms or individual real estate agents often work under brokers. A real estate brokerage employs real estate agents who then, as mentioned above, facilitate the transactions between buyers and sellers. The job of a brokerage is to oversee those transactions and make sure that everything adheres to the local laws and legislation. They oversee all work done under them, and often, the agents are expected to pay a fee for this privilege. 

Next up, property management. These firms help real estate owners to rent out the units within their apartment buildings or complexes. Their job is to show the units, collect the rent, perform repairs and generally manage the tenants. They are typically paid with a percentage of the rent, which means that most property owners raise the rent of their units to accommodate this. 

Real estate lending plays a major role in the industry as virtually all properties or developments need help to finance their projects or procure a sale. The lenders themselves may be a bank, credit union, private lender, an investor or a government institution. A lot of these developments would not go ahead without a lender, nor would private sales, as many people cannot afford to buy a home without the help of a mortgage.

Finally, an honourable mention of the other professional services used by the real estate industry is not all simply about the sale of property or land. Other professions have a hand in it too, think lawyers, accountants, interior designers, stages, and construction workers, contractors and tradespeople. Without these other professions, the real estate industry would not be able to continue. 

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

While there are a lot of different roles within the industry, one of the most popular positions is that of a real estate agent. There is no college degree required which makes it far more accessible than other roles. There are a few steps to becoming a real estate agent; firstly, you need to do your research and look into your state’s requirements. The next step towards your real estate career is a pre-licensing course. You can complete a Sydney real estate course or even an online course to get the required schooling. These schools will also have guides to help you find the right license you need for the state you want to practice in. After you have taken the course and logged the hours, you then sit the exam. After you pass, you need to activate your license, and you cannot work as a real estate agent until you do. Then it is simply a matter of finding a brokerage and deciding whether or not you want to become a member of the national association of realtors. 

Alternate Careers in Real Estate

While working as a real estate agent is arguably the most popular, if that isn’t for you, there are other options for a successful career within real estate. The most common alternate career options within the industry are as follows: financial analysis, appraisals, inspections, brokers, mortgage underwriters and real estate lawyers. Of course, the requirements for these roles will vary widely, with some needing college degrees and some needing only a high school diploma. Therefore, if you are considering one of these alternate career paths, you will need to conduct your own research into the best way to make a start and what is legally required of you. 

There is a lot of different opportunities within the real estate industry, some more lucrative than others. If you are considering making a career change or trying to get started with your career in real estate, then it is imperative that you do your research. The path that you choose will have its own requirements, working style and earning potential, so be sure to choose the one that is right for you. 

*Photos by RODNAE Productions