While real estate is not traditionally a field that requires a college degree, having one is increasingly valuable in guaranteeing a good job with a successful real estate agency. What is more, getting a real estate degree does not limit the graduate to working as an agent: he or she can apply that degree and the knowledge acquired in the program to different facets of the real estate industry.
Real Estate Agent
The standard career for someone with a real estate degree is work as a real estate agent, or Realtor. Real estate agents work with potential sellers by listing homes and with potential buyers by helping them narrow their interests, generate a list of home options that fit their preferences, and show them the homes. When the buyer decides to make an offer, Realtors prepare the paperwork for the offer and begin working with the seller’s agent to seal the deal. The standard commission for Realtors is around 5 percent of the accepted offer on the home.
Property managers handle rental properties. When a homeowner decides to rent out a property but does not want to manage the specifics of looking for renters and keeping up with property maintenance, the homeowner can use a property management agency. In some cases, real estate offices will offer property management services on the side; in other cases the property management is the sole business. Homeowners typically pay their property managers about 10 percent of the monthly rental price. In areas with high rent and constant potential for renters – often areas dominated by military bases – working in property management can be very profitable.
Working as a real estate broker is essentially a step up from working as a real estate agent. The broker is usually the boss of the real estate office and owns the office. The broker’s responsibilities are often administrative and cover the day-to-day work of supervising real estate agents and ensuring that all of the state’s requirements are met. Each state has a unique set of regulations for Realtors, and the broker is responsible for keeping up with ongoing education and making sure that the agents are properly certified. And because real estate brokers are also licensed agents, they can handle the work of listing and selling properties; some brokers also take on the larger commercial properties.
Real Estate Law
Getting a degree in real estate can be a stepping stone for a study of real estate law. While this might not sound like the most exciting element of the legal field, real estate law is complex, and real estate attorneys are necessary for ensuring that the laws is followed, particularly in challenging situations. Real estate attorneys typically review contracts and assist in sorting through problems that may arise when contract details are vague. Obviously, a real estate degree alone will not ensure a career in real estate law, but those with the real estate degree have a much better chance of understanding real estate law if they pursue the study.
A real estate degree is a versatile degree for anyone interested in entering the real estate industry. And while the degree can be a springboard to a variety of career options, it is often best for new graduates who have no experience in real estate to start at the beginning and work as Realtors. This will enable them to view the industry and get an idea of where they would like to go from there.
- Photo Credit real estate image by Andrei Merkulov from Fotolia.com
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