Real Estate Professions

Real estate professionals do more than sell houses.  Learn about some of the potential career opportunities for individuals who earn a graduate degree in real estate or real estate management.


Someone who works in real estate appraisal uses data to determine the value of a property. Appraisers compare the price of a to similar properties that are nearby and have sold recently. The "formula" for estimating the value includes comparison of size--number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage--location, maintenance or common charges, if any, etc. When working for a buyer, an appraiser's job is essentially to tell the buyer whether or not he/she is paying a fair price.

Leasing Agent

A leasing agent works for one or more landlords. Leasing agents earn commission for finding tenants. They oversee the execution of a lease and collection of security deposits. A leasing agent doesn't necessarily need real estate experience, but he/she does need to know about the properties they are commissioned to lease. 

Mortgage Broker

A mortgage broker is a loan provider who serves as a liaison between borrowers and lenders.  Mortage brokers do not the loan money to the borrowers from their personal or corporate accounts. A broker might pursue potential career opportunities in a firm or endeavor to manage their own company. He/she earns commission by bringing borrowers and lenders together. In general, the buyer pays the broker's commission, usually in the form of closing costs or sometimes loan points.

Mortgage Originator

A mortgage originator is essentially a mortgage broker. He/sheworks to complete mortgage transactions by helping the borrower through the process of obtaining a loan. A mortgage originator could be a mortgage broker or mortgage banker. He/she represents the original lender, and in no way supplies any money to the borrower.

Project Manager

A project manager is the person responsible for ultimately finishing a real estate project. Steps leading up to this include; figuring out the goal of the project, creating a budget, putting together a timeline, managing subcontractors, ensuring quality, and many other critical elements. Often, a project manager is representing a client and therefore needs not only to ensure the project's timeliness but work to the specifications of the client who is, of course, paying.

Property Management

A property manager acts as an intermediary between a landlord and the tenant(s). Property manager duties vary but can include addressing maintenance issues, collecting rent, and handling requests that would normally go to a landlord or management company--rent decreases, heat/hot water issues, noise complaints, etc.

Real Estate Advisory and Consulting

Real estate consultants fill in where real estate agents may not. This can mean helping customers with property tax disputes, dealing with insurance companies, and working with real estate appraisers.

Real Estate Developer

The ultimate goal of a real estate developer is to make a profit on a property. To do so, developers buy either an existing property or land on which to build. With the purchase of many existing properties, developers either completely gut renovate the building(s) or tear it/them down and start anew. The profit-making comes into play once the new or severely renovated property is finished, and the developer can then either sell or rent the units for significantly more money than they were commanding before, if they were at all occupied.

Real Estate Finance

Entry-level employees, usually referred to as analysts, spend the bulk of their time doing acquisition valuation work. They’ll also do financial modeling for proposed deals. Additionally, they help write deal memos that are presented to the investor committee, which ultimately makes the decision on whether or not the group will invest in the deal. At some companies, analysts have a lot of contact with deal partners and will interact with the operators, attorneys and investors involved in the deal.

Residential Agent/Broker

A real estate agent/broker works for both sellers and buyers. On the selling side, the broker's goal is to sell the house for the greatest possible amount. When a property is being rented out, the broker works for the landlord or management company, trying to command the highest rent possible. With rental properties, tenants may or may not have to pay the broker's commission, which varies from place to place. By the same token, when tenants looking for a rental seek out a broker, the broker is acting on their behalf and will therefore try and negotiate the lowest rent possible. The same is true when buyers use the services of a broker.

Title Officer/Closer

He/she coordinates the closing of real estate transactions. A title officer is responsible for putting money into an escrowaccount reviewing all closing documents and preparing closing statements, running closing meetings, reviewing and making sure that both the buyer and the seller understand the terms of transaction.

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