Friday, 28 February 2014

The many career paths to real estate

Today’s blog post comes from Jia Jia, Employer Relations Advisor with CAPS, who is currently completing an MBA.

When you read the title above, did you immediately think of that real estate agent, smiling and wearing nice suit and holding a SOLD sign, on the advertisement that was posted in your neighborhood? That’s what I imagined. But I’ve learned to think differently, thanks to the real estate class that was offered by the School of Business at University of Alberta. You don’t have to be a licensed real estate agent to have a successful career in the industry. Don’t take me wrong. Being an agent can be very lucrative and it offers a ton of autonomy, so it can be a great career option. But there is so much more.

A search by industry cluster on the ALIS website resulted in over 50 career profiles directly and indirectly related to real estate. You could become a lawyer who specializes in real estate and property law. You could become a web designer who works for a real estate developer. Or, you could become a financial analyst who works in commercial real estate lending for a major bank. Let’s take a look at a few different career profiles to get a more complete view of what this industry offers.

Appraisers provide professional valuation services to a range of clients including government, corporations, investors, developers, individual home owners, and so on. Appraisers usually provide a written report on the market value of a certain property their clients. These reports are used as the basis for mortgage loans, for setting the sale prices, for tax purposes, etc.

I’ve always been interested in the real estate industry, and becoming an appraiser seems to be a more straight forward path among other appraiser needs to have strong analytical thinking skills and well-rounded knowledge about the industry…depending on who you work with, this career offers great flexibility in terms of time management. The work itself is challenging and involves a good balance of office and field work…I also learned that a growing number of employers are looking to hire appraisers in the next few years, so the demand is high.

Qin Mei, part time student, Post Graduate Certificate in Real Property Valuation-AACI Fast Track Education Program, UBC

Real estate brokers/agents are mediators who charge a fee to facilitate a real estate transaction between seller and buyer. The real estate agents that we often see are those who work in the residential market. There are also brokers and agents who work in the commercial market (for retail, office, industrial properties, etc.) and many of them even work on deals across borders.

Developers purchase property and improve its use by building, developing, or redeveloping. Developers work closely with government to obtain permits for their projects. They work with banks to get financing and construction companies to build or renovate. And they work with marketing professionals and brokers who help them lease or sell newly developed properties. Developers are the people who are in charge of the entire process of development from beginning to end.

Depends on the discipline of real estate you are in, if you are an appraiser numbers are important, if you are a developer or broker as I am, sales skills and integrity are important, being able to do the numbers helps.
Stephen Knight, President, Sitings Realty Ltd

Property managers make sure everything runs its course for the property. Asset managers are at a higher level of management concerning real estate assets, which may involve lease negotiation, purchase or development of new properties, sale or disposition of old properties, etc. Asset managers often manage properties on a larger scale and often work for corporations that have their own real estate properties.

Real estate finance and investment professionals work for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, governments, and even stock exchange market players, to provide financial analysis on real estate related transactions or investments.

If you are interested in finding your career path in this vibrant and fast-paced industry, you will be happy to hear that it is growing. According to Government of Alberta’s Industry Profile, employment in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing industry accounted for 4.8% of total employment in Alberta in 2012 and is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.9% from 2011 to 2015.

Alberta’s real estate industry has been doing well for the past 10 years and will likely continue this trend for another 10 years. 2008 was a very difficult time in the business world around the globe. Alberta, due to its resource based economy and a world-wide demand for oil, hardly missed a step. The future looks bright.

Bill Winter, VP Commercial Development & Leasing, DELCON Development Group Ltd

There are also many real estate jobs with non-real estate companies. Almost every large corporation needs some real estate expertise. A search of “real estate jobs” on LinkedIn brought up over 400 results from a wide range of companies including big names like Rogers, Bell, Canadian Tire, Sun Life Financial, RBC, ScotiaBank, Tim Hortons, etc. So if you have the right skills and the passion, now is the right time and Alberta is the right place to launch your real estate career. May the future be the brightest for you!


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