15 Non-Traditional Real Estate Careers

Non traditional real estate careers image

Someone asked me recently what are some non-traditional real estate careers. So, I figured I’d compose a list of 15 different, non-traditional career paths in real estate.

Hopefully, by reading this list, you’ll discover some things you can do in real estate that you might not be aware of.

#1: Real Estate Appraiser

A real estate appraiser is somebody that is hired to determine the market value of a property. A real estate appraiser is crucial to the real estate business, and becoming one can be somewhat tricky.

Real estate appraisers take a lot of things into consideration and must be well versed in the local market. That means that real estate appraisers generally need a lot of experience in real estate.

You can learn more about real estate appraisal here: Real Estate Appraisal

#2: Property Manager

A property manager is a person that manages a property that is owned by another person. Property managers are hired to deal with renters, contracts, leases, property repairs/maintenance, and  more. Many real estate agents use property management to bolster their standard commission. Property managers can manage anything from a house in the suburbs or a warehouse downtown.

It’s worth noting, many states require property managers to have an active real estate license.

You can learn more about property managers here: How to Become a Property Manager

#3: Real Estate Investor

The word “real estate investor” is a very broad term, which generally means that you invest in real estate. Obviously, to become a real estate investor, you need the capital to get started.

If you do have some funds ready to go, then investing in real estate is not that hard. In fact, there are ways that you can get started on your computer right now. For example, those interested in investing in real estate could look at a real estate investment trust, otherwise known as a REIT. These are companies that gain funding from investors such as yourself and then use those investments to make more money and payout a dividend.

The more active side of this is to buy real estate and then rent them out to tenants. This type of investing is a lot more hands-on but can be very profitable. Many people save up money for a down payment on a home and then use the rent they charge to pay off that loan. Once the loan is paid off, then you can use the rent on that home to pay off another property’s rent and so on. Some refer to this process as snowballing.

There is a lot of money to be made here, but it takes a fair amount of money to get started. If you do have the money, though, it is a great business to be in!

#4: House Flipper

Flipping houses has gotten a bad reputation. A lot of people think of it as a “get rich quick” scheme because it seems like a way to prey on desperate people. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

People that flip houses have the task of taking a property that is getting old and undesirable and turning it into something new. The idea here is the same reason that we recycle. A lot of houses need some simple fixes to be more valuable, and your job is to find those houses and then sell them for a profit.

The difficulty here is finding these houses, and then having the funding to purchase and renovate them. Many want-to-be flippers never get past their first property, but in reality, the first few properties are going to be the hardest. Once you figure out your specialties, you will be able to pick out properties much easier. Like any career, you need to stick to it.

It is a good idea to get a real estate license if you intend on flipping houses. Why? Because otherwise, a real estate agent is going to be taking part of your profits every time you buy or sell a home.

Getting your real estate license really is the best way to go.

You can learn more about house flipping and its strong connections to real estate here: Should You Get a Real Estate License to Flip Houses?

#5: Foreclosure Specialist

A foreclosure specialist usually is employed by a lender(usually a bank) to take care of foreclosures.

This entails typically diving deep into financial statements and then writing up all the paperwork to document the foreclosure. Foreclosure is a scary process for homeowners, but foreclosure specialists help them through it and even provide solutions to them. Sometimes they can provide evidence that the homeowner is eligible to restructure the loan.

Banks are looking for people that can protect their interests and deal with emotional clients at the same time. That means you need people skills and excellent problem-solving capability.

Generally, becoming a foreclosure specialist requires some secondary education, but it can be worth it.

#6: Real Estate Developer

The term “Real Estate Developer” is another broad term. Although a house flipper is technically a real estate developer, there is so much more to the industry then flipping houses.

A real estate developer is going to purchase and sell properties for a profit just like a house flipper; however, the improvements they make are a lot bigger than renovations and additions. A real estate developer is likely to bulldoze property in order to build something more significant. This is great for people that are into construction but want to formulate their own projects.

Being a real estate developer means that you are a small business owner, and it comes with a large amount of risk, but with substantial risks come large rewards. The average annual pay for a Real Estate Developer in the United States is $73,377 a year.

#7: Real Estate Consultant

Real estate consultants are hired by companies to keep track of their assets contained in real estate. These people generally need to have a lot of experience in the real estate field. Many real estate consultants work with several different companies and give advice and guidance so that these companies’ assets are taken care of.

Real estate consultants get deep into the corporate side of real estate, and it can be challenging to establish yourself at this level of the profession. If you can get in, though, then you are in a fantastic position. The average annual pay for a Real Estate Consultant in the United States is $73,629 a year.

#8: Real Estate Inspector

Many people confuse a real estate inspector with a real estate appraiser. Although they are very similar, they are two distinct professions.

A real estate appraiser measures the market value of a home, while a real estate inspector evaluates the current state of the home. An inspector will examine an extensive list of things, including the plumbing, electrical, roof, foundation, and more.

The job of the real estate inspector is to look for anything wrong with the property. Inspectors create a massive report of the property. Sometimes they will even give an estimate on how much longer things can go without being replaced. The real estate appraiser takes this information typically into account when they are creating the appraisal.

Anybody can hire a real estate inspector, but generally, they are hired by banks.

#9: Real Estate Attorney

Becoming an attorney is rather difficult, but if you are interested in both the law as well as real estate, this is a great option.

Real estate attorneys are generally employed by landlords and large companies to ensure that they are covered legally. Things like housing court and lawsuits are common for real estate attorneys. They oversee all sorts of real estate transactions, and can frequently be essential in negotiations.

They deal with all sorts of problems and issues that can arise when somebody is buying, selling, developing, or building a property. Real estate attorneys are the way that large companies cover themselves legally.

In terms of education, you need to be prepared to go to law school and pass the Bar exam.

This career path can be hard at the beginning, but it can pay off with a huge paycheck. The average annual pay for a Real Estate Attorney in the United States is $118,000 a year.

#10: Real Estate Wholesaler

A real estate wholesaler is similar to a house flipper like we discussed earlier.

The goal of a real estate wholesaler is to pay very close attention to the market and purchase distressed properties. They get these homes under contract and then sell that contract to a buyer for a profit. Unlike a developer or flipper, there is no intention of improving the property.

Although this sounds like easy money, this line of work presents its own set of problems. The majority of which is how hard it is to find a distressed property. The reason that wholesalers can make a profit is that they are better at finding these properties than a typical agent or home buyer. The hard part is getting to these properties before anybody else notices the value.

The people selling these properties are motivated to sell the property quickly and will be doing all they can to spread the word that they want to sell. Your job is to find and buy these properties first. It takes a powerful instinct for property value and could go very wrong.

The worst thing you could do as a real estate wholesaler is pulling the trigger on a property that is undervalued compared to what you think. That would lead to you losing money on each transaction instead of making money.

Generally, it is a good idea to get a real estate license when entering into this profession. It is not 100% necessary to get one, but if you don’t have a license, then a real estate agent is going to be cutting into your profits.

#11: Leasing Manager

A leasing manager is the person that handles are the paperwork associated with the leasing of multiple apartments. This position is usually taken care of by the property manager in smaller properties, but when it comes to more significant properties, it requires its own designated position.

A leasing manager must be organized and dedicated to the process. Managers will need to handle hundreds of contracts. The leasing process can get complicated, so the person holding this position needs to be an expert at it.

Leasing agents need to get a certification with the National Apartment Association and have a strong understanding of fair housing laws and OSHA requirements.

#12: Recruiter

Real estate is a competitive field; this is especially true at the brokerage level.

One of the most significant limiting factors for real estate brokers is the number of agents that they have under them. The more agents brokers have, the more money they generally make, which creates a strong demand for recruiters.

Many brokerages spend a lot of money on recruiting, and that is where the recruiter comes in. The recruiter’s job is to get as many agents to sign onto the brokerage as possible. The recruiter might be an agent that already works for the broker, or they could be a third party.

If you intend to become a recruiter, there isn’t any required education. It is a great idea to get your real estate license anyway so that you can have some experience in the field.

#13: Title Officer

Many home buyers are not even aware that these people exist, but they are essential to the home buying process. A title officer will look into the home to see if the history is clean.

If some things in the properties past raise red flags, the title officer can recommend that title insurance be purchased, which will safeguard the property owner in the case that there is a title claim against the owner.

In terms of education, typically nothing past a high school diploma is required. The average annual pay for a Title Officer in the United States is $53,153 a year.

#14: Real Estate Office Manager

A real estate office manager oversees the behind the scenes business aspects of a real estate business. Typically they handle customer service tasks, collaborating with real estate agents, as well as paperwork, advertising, and more.

In a large real estate office, managers may have an administrative assistant to handle the typically clerical tasks while the manager handles more prominent activities. In a smaller office, however, the duties are combined.

Real estate managers typically are ex-agents or people who plan on becoming an agent. Nine times out of ten office managers end up becoming agents once they see how fulfilling the career is.

#15: Government Work

There are tons of jobs within the world of real estate that involve the government. Personally, I think the coolest is working for your state’s real estate commission or governing authority. Real estate commissions are in charge of protecting consumers as well as educating real estate agents.

The position is typically called a commissioner or board member. Being a board member means you vote on real estate related issues for your state. You also are in charge of enforcing real estate laws for your state.

Typically this requires many years of real estate experience and a brokers license, but there a few exceptions. Some states actually prefer candidates to have zero real estate experience so they can remain neutral in the voting process.

If you are lucky enough to land a position working for your state’s real estate commission, you can expect lots of perks, including relatively high pay. Typically “commissioners” or “board members” are highly respected in the real estate community.

The Bottom Line

The real estate industry is massive, and if you are interested in it, you can make lots of money being a part of it. Hopefully, this article shed some light on some non-traditional real estate careers; if you are interested in getting your real estate license, here is a full guide on how you can.

Author:
Zackary Smigel is a real estate professional with a love for teaching, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. He's had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in real estate and has spent years learning how to become a successful agent.