Many people put great effort in their studies, ace the real estate exam, and earn a license, but not all proceed to sell houses. Trying to convince sellers to list their properties or buyers to view properties listed with a certain realtor is extremely hard. The barriers to become a realtor are very low. It usually involves attending a 2- to 3-week class followed by passing an examination that’s relatively difficult. Individuals with a high school diploma and zero felony convictions can probably acquire a license. However, building a business is harder than getting the license. Purchasing buyer leads is an expensive process with no guarantees.
What are the alternative career for real estate agents? With a license, realtors can alternatively become managing brokers, property investors, residential appraisers or commercial appraisers. They can also opt to be property managers, leasing consultants, commercial leasing managers, foreclosure specialists, property attorneys, or corporate property managers.
The property sector is much more than just marketing homes. It encompasses a broad range of job opportunities that need different skills. Are you an expat wondering about what else you can do with a realtor license? And what you can possibly earn? I’ve compiled a list of occupations you can get with a realtor license, which you may not have considered before. The opportunities have the potential to be profitable and rewarding.
Alternative Career for Real Estate Agents
- Managing Broker
Being an agent is not the same as being a broker in the property market. The terms are often used interchangeably in informal settings, but they’re not the same. Brokers are licensed property professionals who have taken further education and are qualified to manage an office with multiple agents. Becoming a property broker may be a worthwhile option for anyone who’s already in the process of attaining realtor status.
- Property Investor
One can be an active or passive property investor. An active investor is like a house flipper. Such a person purchases and flips residential properties or supports the work of another investor who’s buying property to resell. A passive investor is a person who puts money into a property project without having much involvement in its daily management. Even if one doesn’t have much money for investing, they can still become an investor through crowd-funded investing.
- Residential Appraiser
A residential appraiser gathers information on a residential property for the purpose of giving a recommendation on it’s worth. He or she can work privately, e.g., to appraise a house before it is sold or mortgaged. Or work for the government, e.g., to appraise a property to establish its value for taxation reasons.
- Commercial Appraisers
Similar to residential appraisers, commercial appraisers spend a portion of their day in the office and the other in the field assessing properties. A residential appraiser might depend more on what they learned during the licensing course. But, a commercial appraiser leans more on established appraisers to learn how to determine the worth of properties.
- Property Manager
Property managers have the responsibility of ensuring a residential or commercial property runs smoothly and is profitable for the owner. For residential properties, that may mean wearing different hats like serving as a leasing agent, repairman and interacting with tenants. Based on the size of the property and the abilities of the manager, some of the tasks may be outsourced. In such a case, the role of the property manager becomes to coordinate others and ensure the establishment is kept well.
- Leasing Consultant
The duty of a leasing consultant is to ensure a building has tenants. The job can often create a need to work during the weekends and evenings. However, it comes with a certain degree of flexibility. For those who enjoy marketing and negotiating, being a leasing consultant could be an excellent role. Leasing consultants have to get the word out about any openings or offers in their building or throw promotional events.
- Commercial Leasing Manager
A commercial leasing manager usually works in an office space or storefront. Such professionals bargain deals and transactions with businesses. They may have roles that require them to maintain a watchful eye on any changes in the marketplace.
- Foreclosure Specialist
Often employed by banks or private lenders, foreclosure specialists are responsible for the documentation and processes involved in foreclosures. They review a client’s financial statement and process a foreclosure case so the property can be resold as fast as possible. Such specialists need to have excellent organizational and time management skills.
- Property Attorney
Realtors who love to study and desire to continue furthering their degree, may want consider becoming property lawyers. Attorneys in the property industry practice in broad areas. They can advocate for a tenant’s rights or offer consul before a significant property purchase.
- Corporate Property Manager
Organizations usually have openings for somebody to join the staff and tackle the company’s property affairs. Large brands usually have to lease office space. Additionally, some firms have property holdings that they require an in-house member to manage.
Average Annual Salaries for Alternative Realtor Jobs in the US
For an expat looking to enter the United States property market, jobs in this field have the potential to bring high salaries.
- Managing Broker: $55,510
- Property Investor: $123,937
- Residential Appraiser: $53,865
- Commercial Appraiser: $100, 508
- Property Manager: $97,901
- Leasing Consultant: $30, 233
- Commercial Leasing Manager: $112,514
- Foreclosure Specialist: $43,219
- Property Attorney: $147,194
- Corporate Property Manager: $101,360
The Pros and Cons of Being a Realtor
Working as a realtor comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Read on for more details.
· Flexibility: For those who loathe the idea of working from 9-5, being a realtor is worth considering. Realtors don’t work fewer hours, but they get to organize a schedule that works for them and their clients. They have the freedom to arrange their day to attend to family or doctor’s appointments
· Unlimited earning potential: The best part of being a property agent is that one gets what they put in. That means one’s income potential is virtually limitless. Set salaries may provide certainty, but earning commissions based on individual effort provides opportunity. Realtors with robust business skills and are open to putting some time into their profession can gain plenty of dividends
· Professional mobility: Since a realtor gets to be his or her own boss, they might also be able to call their own shots. They can grow their own business and build their own brand. The property industry offers plenty of opportunities that a realtor can unlock for more success
· Looked to as the expert: Realtors know the ins and outs of their local community. They can recite neighbourhood comps and know which areas have the best-ranking schools. Moreover, they know about the finer details, e.g., whether a newly-listed mansion is in a flood zone, which may mean higher insurance. Property shoppers depend on realtors to be their trusted advisor because they are the experts
· Wear multiple hats: Property agents find themselves doing many things that might fall outside their normal roles. They may have to serve as educators, counsellors, babysitters, financial advisors or life coaches. Property purchases are usually necessitated by life changes, like marriage or divorce. Purchasing or selling a property is an emotional undertaking, so it’s the realtor job to counsel clients and guide them in the correct direction.
· Dynamic industry: When the housing market is booming, being a realtor feels like the best profession ever. A realtor may be flush with a lot of money during that time and not worry about where to source the next lead.
· Working odd hours: The flexibility of the job might also mean working when everybody else is off. Many clients have 9-5 jobs; therefore they can only sign a contract or perform a walkthrough in the evening. Also, the realtor may have to conduct weekend open house tours.
· High risk for errors: Realtors are trusted with people’s life savings. Even the slightest error can cost a client thousands of dollars. Let’s say a realtor puts in an offer on a property and then misses an inspection deadline. His or her client may be contractually obliged to purchase the home or lose their heard-earned money if they choose to walk away.
· It can be stressful: Property agents have to deal with many things. Problems may arise at last minute, and they have to think and act fast. Last-minute issues might cause clients to panic, but the agent has to maintain a cool head. They have to be the stable element that allays the fears of the clients and solves problems. It’s a stressful business; therefore if a realtor cannot solve issues without having a meltdown, then they might need to look elsewhere.
· Slow market season means less jobs: The job outlook, stock market and time of year have an impact on the property market. When the season is slow, the job begins to feel like a grind. Realtors start to chase after the same clients and face stiff competition. Being a realtor requires someone who adapts quickly to changing market trends.
All in all, being a realtor is a worthwhile profession as the pros outweigh the cons. However if the job doesn’t work out, there are many alternatives in the industry to look at.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.