5 Real Estate Careers That Can Set You Up for Financial Security

If you’re tired of your current occupation and are looking for something new, getting involved in real estate can be a lucrative decision.

You’re not limited to being an agent or broker, you know. Some people don’t want to start a new career in a competitive field where over two million people currently work!

So, if the idea of real estate intrigues you, but you don’t know what job suits you, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we take a look at five real estate careers that run the gamut of the industry. Whether you want to work on the front lines or the back end, you’ll find something that’s the perfect fit.

Which Real Estate Careers Suit You?

Before we get started, you should know that location matters. Of course, this is true when buying or selling real estate, but it’s also something to consider when choosing a real estate career.

Over the past couple of years, places like Seattle have seen an incredible boom. On the other hand, Detroit ranks 63rd among large cities for buying or selling real estate.

This means that if you’re a foreclosure officer in a down market, you may find more success than in one that’s doing well like Denver or Nashville. Take our recommendations into consideration, but also research your local market.

1. Real Estate Agent and Broker

Let’s start off with the careers that everyone thinks of when they hear “real estate careers.” Becoming a real estate agent is definitely exciting for many people.

You get your foot into the door in real estate and can work at your current job while you get your feet wet.

Agents do make decent money — the average salary is $48,000. And despite what you’ve heard, you don’t have to wait forever to get paid. Agents can qualify for a real estate commission advance in many cases, so you’re not waiting around forever to get paid.

But, being an agent does take some time and a lot of commitment. You’re also working for someone else.

That person is a broker. The broker is the person whose license is on the line if any trouble arises from a real estate deal.

They also handle most of the marketing for the brokerage when it comes to listings. That’s why you see so many social media ads posted by real estate agents and brokers.

They do make more money for their trouble, though. The average real estate broker makes around $70,000 per year. In places like New York, this figure can double.

2. Appraiser

Like most real estate fields, there are two different sectors: residential and commercial. They’re on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to salary, too.

A residential appraiser uses market reports, municipal taxes, and other tools to provide the written value of a home. The median salary is about $50,000.

A commercial appraiser takes more into consideration and needs to be more in depth. They have to look at future projections of the area as well as any new commercial construction planned. As such, they get paid around $94,000 a year.

3. Property Manager

Property managers save owners times and money. They work to find the best tenants for a property then maintain them once they’re occupied.

If you choose this career, you’ll market the properties online, in various publications, and on social media. Like agents, property managers use paid ads on social media platforms to find ideal tenants.

In general, residential and commercial property managers perform the same functions. They just do it for different clientele.

A private owner who’s out of state may hire a manager or management firm to handle their rentals. For them, the investment is well worth it.

They have someone entrusted to handle all the marketing, screening, and maintenance. They can stay on the other side of the country without having to travel back and forth.

Commercial property managers tend to oversee large complexes like office parks and apartments. Because they’re handling more properties and tenants, they get paid a good deal more.

Residential property managers make close to $56,000 on average. Their commercial counterparts are closer to $92,000.

If you’re considering this avenue, take into account that this can be a stressful career. Along with scheduling maintenance and upkeep, you’re also responsible for rent collection and evictions.

4. Loan Officer and Manager

If you’re keen on the business and financial side of things, becoming a loan officer is right up your alley.

There are different levels of this career. As such, the pay can vary by the tens of thousands.

For example, a starting level mortgage loan officer makes about $40,000. A senior loan officer is closer to $70,000.

Loan officers have extensive knowledge of the different loan products the institution provides. They also know the ins and outs of the requirements to get the loans.

A loan processor is a step above an officer. After the officer gathers the buyer’s paperwork and application, the processor organizes it, reviews it, and prepares it for underwriting. In a way, they’re quality control for mortgage companies.

A Level I processor makes about $35,000 on average, while a processing manager can make upwards of $87,000.

Commercial loan officers make much more to start. They perform the same duties as a mortgage loan officer, save the fact they’re dealing with commercial loans, not mortgages. This could be investment loans, equipment loans, development loans and so on.

The starting salary for a commercial loan officer is around $75,000 in the U.S.

5. Investor

Investing in real estate can be lucrative — if you do it right. That means that you’ll have to know the current market and its projections. Real estate investing can happen in different ways.

Flipping houses — where you buy a house in disrepair to fix up and resell — can make you good money in the long run. But, you can also buy a cheap house, renovate it, and rent it out for passive income.

You can also invest in commercial property, but you’d likely need a partner in this kind of venture. If you like the idea of passive income, but don’t have a lot of start-up capital, consider a REIT.

This is a real estate investment trust. It works like a mutual fund for real estate. Your money pools together with other investors and you each get a share of the profits.

It’s difficult to put an exact figure on how much you can make. While some investors make well into the millions, others lose money. Knowing what you’re getting into is of the utmost importance when it comes to investing.

Which Will You Decide?

Considering one of the many real estate careers out there can seem overwhelming. There are plenty of different avenues to take, depending on your interests and skills.

But if you want a career in real estate — go for it! With some education, training, and hard work, you can be on your way to financial freedom.

Whichever career you decide, make sure you check out our tips for starting a successful real estate business, so you start off — and stay — on track.

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