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Real Estate:
Job Options

Residential Real Estate Agent/Broker
Real estate agents and brokers are usually independent sales professionals who contract their services to real estate brokers in exchanges for a commission-sharing agreement (normally six percent). There are over 400,000 real estate brokers and agents in the United States. To become a broker you must be at least 18 years old, a high school graduate and have passed a written test on property laws and real estate transactions. Most states also require 30-90 hours of classroom training. You can visit the National Association of Realtor's web page at http://www.realtor.org/ to find out more about this career area.

Commercial Real Estate Sales
Commercial property brokerage offices use sales associates who market office buildings, hotels and many other types of commercial real estate for brokers. Commercial real estate sales people usually specialize in a particular property type such as apartments, retail, office, hospitality, shopping centers and industrial plants. Most of the large commercial brokerage companies in the United States provide a great deal of local market data and research in order to be able to service a cadre of sophisticated clients who are making multi-million dollar investment decisions. Several trade organizations represent the various commercial real estate subspecialties including the American Industrial Real Estate Association, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. Additionally, the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute (CIREI), through its education program, has been conferring the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation since 1969.

Real Estate Appraisal
Real estate appraisers provide unbiased estimates of a property's value and quality. Appraisers usually work for banks or for appraiser firms and will normally value properties by finding comparable sales in an area or by es timating the discounted value of cash flows expected from a property. This profession is less cyclical than real estate brokerage because appraisers are required when homes are refinanced-a time historically when the real estate market has been slow.  You can learn more about this area from the Appraisal Foundation.

Property Management
Leading real estate owners require professional property managers. Managers are responsible for negotiating leases, ensuring that tenants are satisfied, that rent is paid and that rents reflect market conditions. The career of property manager requires good interpersonal and analytical skills and a fair amount of negotiating prowess. This job is personally rewarding and allows you to really learn the real estate markets should you wish to embark in business on your own. The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is the trade association representing property managers. Their training programs include the Certified Property Manager (CPM) and Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) designations.

Real Estate Advisory
Institutional investors are purchasing real estate more and more. But real estate is not like a stock or bond that you can buy and put in a vault. Real estate advisors help investors care for property and, more importantly, se lect property in the first place by suggesting areas and property types that are likely to experience price appreciation in the future. This job is fun and one that you can get into after getting experience in investing or property management. People who are good with statistics and excel at client contact do well in this job.

Investment Banking
Many investment banks have groups dedicated to real estate, particularly the repackaging of mortgages into residential mortgage-backed securities (MBS), collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). Big players include Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. Other popular areas include the REIT stock, bond and preferred stock origination business, lodging investment banking, principal investing in real estate and synthetic lease origination. If you have an interest in both real estate and investment banking, why not go for both areas at once?

Development and Construction
Are you willing to work hard and take risks to develop new properties? Then a career in real estate development may be for you. You can enter this business working for another developer, moving up to construction manager, or you can strike out on your own, starting with some smaller transactions. Good developers are results-oriented and know how to get work on time which involves managing labor, establishing time estimates, getting appropriate equipment operators and construction crews.

Real Estate Entrepreneur
Real estate is one of the last bastions of the free-enterprising entrepreneur who buys properties in hope that they will rise in value because of improvement in market conditions or renovations. Since WWII some of the wealthiest persons in the world have been real estate entrepreneurs. To make it in this career you need to be savvy, hard-working, willing to take risks and fortunate. Remember, their are others who would also like to become wealthy in real estate who will be bidding on the same deals and properties that you will. It is important, then, to think carefully of how you can succeed in this market through better wits, a superior management approach or a unique niche strategy.
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