What Can You Do With a Real Estate License?
You’ve heard about the perks of being a real estate professional. Whether it’s the allure of becoming your own boss, the fact that many positions don't require a bachelor's degree, or the limitless earning potential, many people want to get a job in real estate. Another draw to the industry includes the wide variety of real estate career paths you can choose and the jobs you can have with a real estate license. In other words, there are career options for real estate agents beyond being a residential agent (though that's a fantastic job, too!). You may have asked: What else can you do with a real estate license?
Career Paths in Real Estate
The following is a list of 11 unique real estate career paths you can traverse once you have your real estate license.
Did You Know?
The best way to get an idea of which real estate career path would suit you is to shadow someone who has a career in real estate. That way, you can experience their day-to-day life and determine whether or not you'd like to pursue the same path.
1. Residential Real Estate Agent
This occupation is the most common role people take in the real estate industry. It’s also what most people envision when they think about careers in real estate. A real estate agent is the person who is actually out showing homes, marketing their brand, connecting people with the property they’re seeking, and selling/buying homes. When that agent makes a sale, their commission is split with their Broker (more on that below). When you get your real estate license, you can choose to become a buyer, seller, or dual agent. According to Indeed, the average national salary for a real estate agent is $92k a year as of writing.
2. Real Estate Broker
This term tends to confuse people. There are significant differences between “agents” and “Brokers,” although the terms do vary by state. Typically, when people use the terms interchangeably, they’re actually referring to an “agent” or a “Salesperson.” They’re not referring to a real estate Broker vs. an agent.
In a given brokerage firm, there are generally three types of Brokers:
- Associate Broker
- Managing Broker
- Principal Broker
The biggest difference between real estate agents and Brokers is that a real estate Broker is free to work independently. Brokers can also hire real estate agents to work for them. According to Glassdoor, the average national salary for a real estate Broker is $80k a year.
3. Commercial Real Estate Agent
Typically, there are two types of real estate agents: commercial and residential. As you likely know, residential real estate agents help people buy and sell residential properties. The day-to-day for a commercial real estate agent has a completely different focus. Commercial real estate agents deal with commercial real estate, such as a business acquiring land to build new office buildings or purchasing an existing building. As such, commercial agents have to know the trends of the commercial real estate industry for their market so there is more research involved in their work, and they tend to be more data-focused than what's required of residential agents. They also have to deal with more leases. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average commercial real estate agent salary is $65k a year.
4. Real Estate Developer
If you love to have a hand in the completion of projects from start to finish, being a real estate developer is your calling. As a real estate developer, you’re responsible for buying the land, financing the deal, and then creating or coordinating the development of that land. Real estate developers don’t only work on the construction of new properties. They can also be involved in renovation projects. Of all the real estate career paths you can take, becoming a real estate developer is the most all-encompassing. It’s the real estate career that lets you touch on just about every aspect of the industry. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a real estate developer is $74k a year.
5. Real Estate Investor
For those who have ever watched HGTV, you’re likely familiar with the concept of real estate investing and house flipping. Fair warning: Enter the investing game at your own risk. There is a high reward for flipping properties but an even higher barrier to entry. If you’ve been around the real estate block and you’re looking for a change, investing or house flipping is the real estate career for you.
Generally, there are two types of real estate investors: passive and active. A passive investor channels money into a project so it can get completed. An active investor, however, is more common. They actually flip houses and sell properties quickly. That high risk, high reward that we just mentioned? Real estate investing reigns near the top of the highest paying real estate careers in the country. According to ZipRecruiter, the average national salary for a real estate investor is close to $124k a year.
6. Property Manager
Property managers oversee and manage the daily operation of property such as apartments, malls, and business offices. That means that there are both residential and commercial property managers. Depending on the size of the property, it’s not uncommon to have multiple property managers or a property management firm on staff. They are employed by the property owner, who may not have the time or physical proximity to deal with tenants and the everyday responsibilities that come with maintaining their investment. In the course of their daily duties, the property manager generates income for the owner while also preserving the property’s value. According to ZipRecruiter, the average property manager salary is $47k a year.
7. Leasing Consultant
When a property owner needs a new tenant, a leasing agent can market the property for them and oversee the signing of leases, essentially acting as a landlord of sorts. These individuals may set up open houses and show the property to potential lessees. Leasing consultants typically receive base pay plus commission. The work for a leasing consultant begins with the advertising of the property and ends when the lease agreement is completed. If you’re into negotiating, this could be the real estate career path for you. According to ZipRecruiter, the average leasing agent salary is about $32k a year.
8. Real Estate Attorney
When a real estate purchase enters the closing phase, one of the people at the table is a real estate attorney. They are experts in the rules and regulations of real estate transactions, and some states require their presence at closing. With a real estate attorney present, the buyer or seller has someone looking out for their best interest while they sift through legal documents and sign contracts. They may also play a role in preventing mortgage fraud and ironing out legal issues related to zoning, title transfers, and restrictive covenants. According to ZipRecruiter, the average real estate attorney salary is $100k a year.
9. Real Estate Marketing Specialist
If you’re passionate about real estate but don’t want to be client-facing, this could be the real estate career path for you. A real estate marketing specialist executes the marketing plans for the agency, agent, or Broker for whom they work. They also manage the social media channels, create print and digital media content, email campaigns, and so much more. Suffice it to say that a real estate marketing specialist is extremely important in the industry. A great real estate marketing specialist can help agents and Brokers develop their unique brand. When it comes to real estate, any advantage can make a massive impact and help generate new leads - so these specialists usually have plenty of work on their plate. According to ZipRecruiter, the average real estate marketing specialist (coordinator) salary is $44k a year.
10. Home Inspector
Home inspectors play a crucial role in the purchase or sale of a property. In some instances, both the buyer and the seller will have their own inspectors. The duty of this role is exactly as it sounds: to inspect the home. Are there any potential problems the buyer should know about? What is the status of the roof? How about the water heater and/or furnace? All of these questions fall on the home inspector to answer. Needless to say, they’re thorough and detail-oriented. Whether you need a real estate license to become an inspector differs from state to state, as do the overall requirements. This is one of real estate jobs for which an apprenticeship or mentor is recommended. According to PayScale, the average home inspector salary is $49k.
11. Real Estate Loan Officer
Loan officers handle the financial side of obtaining a mortgage, essentially deciding to whom their institution will or won’t loan money. They typically work for banks, mortgage lenders, and Brokers. Loan officers may also partner with real estate agents and offices to provide financing to clients. They assist prospective buyers in sorting out loan options and completing mortgage applications, then examine the financial information to determine how risky it would be to lend the money. To become a loan officer, you must register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. According to ZipRecruiter, the average loan officer salary is $69k a year.