Real Estate: It’s More Than You Think

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Most people think “Realtor” when they consider a career in real estate. It’s true that Realtors are usually front and center and get most of the attention. But there are many other job opportunities available in real estate that don’t necessarily require sales skills.

As a plus, they offer a stable salary and path of advancement. These include real estate appraisers, inspectors, lawyers and finance specialists, with various job titles within each of the categories. Most often, these careers are split into residential (a single family dwelling) and commercial (offices, apartment buildings, warehouses, etc.) specialties since the two often require different processes.

Once a house or a building is built, it must be inspected by a real estate inspector to be sure it meets the building codes. An inspector provides a professional opinion and documentation from both a visual and operational testing of the property’s systems to determine its current condition. Most buyers will back out of a real estate contract if this report is too damaging.

The bankers step in to provide financing, which is a way to purchase the property unless it’s a cash deal. Before a loan is issued, there are all kinds of real estate specialists lined up to complete the process. First is the appraiser, who plays a key role in the process of valuing, selling and buying properties. Their duties include preparing appraisal reports, keeping up to date on the local real estate market and handling additional responsibilities as needed. The appraiser may prepare reports on a property’s value, inspect and photograph the property and work on legal descriptions, often dealing with multiple properties. Next is the loan underwriter, who will make sure the buyer is able to pay for the loan before granting approval for it. This person will either approve or deny a mortgage application.

Other careers involved with real estate mortgage financing include loan document coordinator, loan document closer, loan processor, retail loan specialist, mortgage collection manager, mortgage advisor, mortgage consultants, mortgage coordinator, mortgage credit analyst, title coordinator, title examiner and marketing coordinator. Real estate lawyers draw up the legal documents involved in a sale and handle any disputes that may arise.

Then there are foreclosure specialists who facilitate the process by which homes and commercial properties are reclaimed by banks and other lending institutions due to non-payment of mortgages. They may assist the homeowner, lender or new purchaser in the procedures or provide help to all three parties. Real estate companies and banks often employ foreclosure specialists.
One fairly new career in real estate is a real estate consultant, who typically provides advice and information that help residential, commercial and investment clients make smart buying or selling decisions. They don’t necessarily act as the sales agent but can certainly prevent problems from cropping up later.

For real estate investors who don’t want to deal with managing their own property, there are professional property managers, who oversee the owner’s property. The owner pays the property manager to handle day-to-day management tasks. Property managers are commonly used to manage a variety of real properties, such as apartments, homes and commercial buildings. Laws governing property management vary by state. Property management is especially beneficial to owners of more than one property and owners who live far away from their properties.

Another service to investors who own commercial rental properties occurs through a lease administrator, who provides a financial analysis for property management and lease administration by collecting valuation data on property and rental rates in the market. The administrator is responsible for managing occupancy charges and keeping the lease expenses, or revenues, within targeted rates. She has to ensure that all lease-related transactions, such as rent, property insurance and common area charges are properly recorded.

As you can see, it takes a multitude of people working in and around the real estate industry to support the commercial and residential sales agents. Within a real estate agent’s office alone, there are closing coordinators, realty specialists, real estate clerks, real estate analysts and sales assistants.

Even though the general public usually hears about hefty Realtor commissions on large property sales, some salaries within the above-mentioned careers reach well into the six-figure range. For example, a commercial leasing manager’s median annual salary is $105,300, according to the latest data. A land administration manager, who manages the proper receiving, recording, documentation and dissemination of all land agreements and land contracts, pulls in a salary from $140,000 to $175,000. A retail real estate manager’s salary typically hovers around $120,000 annually.

In conclusion, if you’re interested and passionate about real estate but don’t feel you’re cut out for the sales end of the industry, consider entering another side through mortgage brokerage, loan underwriting, analysis or investment, insurance, inspections, property management or appraisals. ■

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