Is a Real Estate Degree for You?
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Real estate bachelor's degree programs focus on the basics of appraisal, property management, mortgage lending, and sales and brokerage. Although some real estate programs are classified within a liberal arts degree, most often a real estate degree is found within a college of business. Real estate students can expect to study accounting, personnel management, finance, information systems, management and marketing. A real estate bachelor's degree program helps students understand real estate market analysis, site selection, investment analysis, economics and the professional services that support real estate transactions.
Advice for Earning Your Real Estate Degree Online
It is important to remember that although having a bachelor's degree in real estate is attractive to many employers, those who want to work as brokers or agents must be licensed by passing a written examination administered by the state. The test includes questions on basic real estate transactions and the laws affecting the sale of property, topics that should be covered in a real estate bachelor's degree program.
Students obtaining a bachelor's degree in real estate will take numerous business classes. They can expect to take such courses as real estate law, market analysis, urban fiscal policy, housing and community development policy, public regulation of land use and basic statistics. Students should anticipate course work involving group projects and written assignments.
Common Career Paths
Because purchasing a home or leasing a business property is one of the most important purchases someone can make, real estate professionals play an essential role in society. Of all of the options for real estate careers, the most popular is being a broker. However, there are a variety of other jobs you can find within the industry. Below are some common career paths for those with a real estate degree:
- Real Estate Broker and Sales Agent
Real estate brokers and sales agents are the liaisons and price negotiators between buyers and sellers. Brokers and sales agents must have impeccable knowledge about the surrounding communities and the property they are selling, including tax laws and zoning information. The majority of brokers and sales agents deal with residential property, but some also work with commercial ones, such as office buildings, industrial complexes and hotels. Brokers and sales agents engage in the same line of work, except brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate business, whereas agents are typically employed by a broker. To become either of the two, you must get proper state licensure.
- Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor
The main responsibility of real estate appraisers is to give clients unbiased estimates of a particular property's value and quality. They take into consideration any environmental issues that may affect a property's worth. For example, if the property is next to a major highway, it may increase or depreciate its value. They also consider the specific architectural style of the property and whether additional renovations to it have been completed. An assessor's job is similar to that of an appraiser but focuses more on the value of an entire neighborhood for tax purposes.
Both jobs require a person to become state certified. Typically, you must be a bachelor's degree holder to apply for certification but some states allow people with associate degrees to apply. The median annual wage of real estate appraisers and assessors was $48,870 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
- Property Manager
These managers are responsible for keeping a watchful eye on all operations of properties such as apartment complexes, retail stores or assisted living facilities. In addition, property managers ensure that tenants are satisfied by providing janitorial, maintenance and security services as well as addressing any concerns. Typically, these managers make sure the property is at maximum occupancy to increase profits. They ensure rent or mortgages are paid on time, and that tenants are abiding by lease contracts. Those who wish to pursue the career may need a master's degree in real estate, business administration, accounting or finance, especially if working for a large firm. Although a degree can help you acquire the position you want, most will require extensive work experience in leasing or as an assistant.
The median annual wages of property managers was $52,510 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.