A career in real estate offers many things – flexibility, unlimited income potential, and variety. Variety comes in the form of several areas of specialization involving selling and non-selling options.
You can match your career in real estate with your personal preferences, interests, individuality, and income expectations. The selling options include residential resale, new home sales, condominium sales, rural and agricultural sales, recreational sales, and commercial sales and leasing. The non-selling options include property management, property appraisal, and mortgage financing.
Following is a brief description of each specialty.
The most popular type of real estate sales is residential resale, the listing and selling of existing homes. Residential resale involves extensive work with consumers and, as such, irregular hours since most activities (e.g., open houses, offer presentations, showings) are dictated by the availability of buyers and sellers. Most registrants entering the profession begin in this area.
New Home Sales
New home sales are selling exclusive products for one or more builders/developers. Registrants will need extensive technical knowledge about house construction, models and options, and available upgrades.
Unlike resale homes, registrants have little direct involvement with listings or offer presentations. Typically, builders/developers establish fixed hours of floor duty for model homes, with registrants on site to provide information, answer questions, and qualify buyers.
Condominium refers to a system of land ownership where each individual owner holds title to a specific unit and owns a share of common property, referred to as common elements. Condominium sales involve the listing and selling of condominiums, including ‘niche’ markets such as waterfront condominiums and downtown lofts. Registrants will need knowledge about legislative requirements (e.g., Condominium Act, 1998) and unique ownership factors.
Rural and Agricultural Sales
Rural and agricultural sales involve the sale of farmland for farming purposes and for redevelopment and hobby/recreational uses. Registrants will need knowledge of official plans, zoning bylaws, and different types of rural business operations. They will also need to understand the rural economy of the area they serve, and unique local customs and practices.
Recreational sales involve the listing and selling of recreational properties such as seasonal waterfront cottages and year-round winterized homes. Registrants will need knowledge of rural/recreational planning, municipal regulations, environmental legislation, and other restrictions governing these types of properties. For example, statutory requirements regarding the installation of wells and septic systems, and permits to construct waterfront wharfs, docks, and boathouses.
Commercial Sales and Leasing
Commercial sales and leasing involve the selling and leasing of retail, office, and industrial properties. This is a challenging area because of the complexity of the transactions involving millions of dollars, lengthy negotiations, and long closing dates. Registrants will need a lot of technical knowledge and an understanding of investment calculations.
Sub-speciality fields: [source: Real Estate Encyclopedia, Canadian Edition, October 2005]
- Industrial land – sale of industrial-zoned land to users, builders, or investors
- Retail/office land – sale of appropriately zoned building lots to users, builders, or investors
- Residential land – sale of residential subdivision land to developers or builders
- Design build – retail, office, or industrial users requiring custom facilities
- Office leasing – leasing of medium and major office projects
- Residential investment – sale of apartment projects to investors
- Retail/office investment – sale of retail plazas or office projects to investors
- Business brokerage – sale of ongoing businesses with or without real estate assets
Various organizations offer programs and designations relating to this field (e.g., the CCIM Institute and the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®).
Property management involves maintaining and servicing properties. Property managers act as administrators for the owners and assume all executive functions. Typical duties of property managers include:
- keeping the property leased
- collecting income
- paying expenses
- maintaining the physical integrity or soundness of the property
This specialized branch of the real estate profession involves extensive contact with members of the public. Registrants will need better than average people skills as property managers will be called upon to settle tenant disputes and negotiate contracts.
- Residential – apartment buildings, condominiums, co-operatives, public housing
- Office – office buildings, medical buildings
- Retail – shopping centres, strip retail malls
- Industrial – factories, warehouses
- Mixed use complexes – office/retail, retail/residential
Property managers can obtain the Certified Property Managers (CPM) designation through the Real Estate Institute of Canada.
Property appraisal involves estimating the value of property, and the value usually sought is the property’s market value. This is a complex field; physical, political, economic, and social factors affect the value of any parcel of real estate.
Registrants will need a solid knowledge of mathematics since appraisal techniques rely on sophisticated formulae. For example, the most common appraisal approach for residential property involves researching and analyzing market data on previous sales of similar properties to arrive at a conclusion concerning the value of the subject property.
Unlike sales, appraisers have relatively set work hours.
This field requires additional education. Real estate appraisers hold the designations AACI, P. App (Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute), and CRA (Canadian Residential Appraiser), awarded by the Appraisal Institute of Canada. The designations mean that the member has met the highest professional industry standards in Canada.
Mortgage financing involves helping buyers and sellers secure satisfactory financial packages for residential and commercial transactions. Registrants will need to understand the legal, conceptual, and mathematical information related to mortgage financing.
Registrants specializing in this field:
- provide up-to-date information on policies and requirements
- assist borrowers by arranging financing to suit specific needs
- complete documentation, as required, to assist the borrower and lender in the financing process
- negotiate directly with parties in setting up specific financial packages
- provide appraisal referrals and assistance for lenders, as may be required
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario regulates this area, and additional licensing is required.
We will feature each of these specialities in upcoming blogs.