Real estate is so much more than listing and selling existing residential properties, although residential resale is the most popular career path for REALTORS®, especially new graduates.
A career in real estate affords many opportunities. In addition to a flexible work schedule and being your own boss, career options abound. Selling options include new homes sales, condominium sales, rural and agricultural sales, recreational sales, and commercial sales and leasing. Non-selling options include property management, property appraisal, and mortgage financing. Some of these options may require additional education. As a student, your task will be to match your career aspirations with your personal preferences, interest, and income expectations. And, even you start your career in residential resales, consider the many other options available to you. Following is a brief description of each.
As noted, this is the most popular type of real estate sales. You will work the most closely with consumers (i.e., clients and, to a lesser extent, customers) and will experience irregular work hours since most activities (e.g., open houses, offer presentations, showings) are dictated by the availability of buyers and sellers.
New Home Sales
With new home sales, you will sell exclusive products for one or more builders/developers. As such, you will need extensive technical knowledge about house construction, models and options, and available upgrades. Builders/developers establish fixed hours of floor duty for model homes, and you will be onsite to provide information, answer questions, and qualify buyers. Unlike residential resales, you will have little direct involvement with listings or offer presentations.
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. The owners of the condominium units also own an undivided interest in the common elements, which may include hallways, elevators, parking structures/lots, recreational facilities, and/or landscaped areas.
You will list and sell condominiums, including ‘niche’ markets such as waterfront and downtown lofts. You will need knowledge of legislative requirements (e.g., Condominium Act, 1998) and unique ownership factors.
Rural and Agricultural Sales
Rural and agricultural sales involve selling farmland for farming purposes, and for redevelopment and hobby/recreational uses. You will need knowledge of official plans, zoning bylaws, and different types of rural business operations. You will also need to understand the rural economy of the area you 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. You will need knowledge of rural/recreational planning, municipal regulations, environmental legislation, and other restrictions governing these types of properties (e.g., 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 selling and leasing 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. You will need extensive technical knowledge and an understanding of investment calculations.
- 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 is maintaining and servicing properties. Property managers act as administrators for the owners and assume all executive functions. As a property manager, you will:
- keep the property leased
- collect income
- pay expenses
- maintain the physical integrity or soundness of the property
This specialized branch of the real estate profession involves extensive contact with members of the public. You will need excellent people skills as property managers are often 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 is 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.
You 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.
You will also need additional education.
Mortgage financing is helping buyers and sellers secure satisfactory financial packages for residential and commercial transactions. You will need to understand the legal, conceptual, and mathematical information related to mortgage financing.
In this field, you will:
- provide up-to-date information on policies and requirements
- help borrowers by arranging financing to suit specific needs
- complete documentation, as required, to help borrowers and lenders in the financing process
- negotiate directly with parties in setting up specific financial packages
- provide appraisal referrals and assistance for lenders, as required
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario regulates this area, and additional licensing is required.
Ontario Real Estate Association (2005). Real estate encyclopedia, Canadian edition. Don Mills, Ontario: Acronamic Learning Systems Inc.
OREA Real Estate College (2016). Your career in real estate: A student handbook. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1V9bxuW.