Real Estate Finance, Sales and Appraisal

Get a sneak peak at the world of real estate appraising and sales. Read about career options and potential earnings here, and find out how much education you'll need to become a real estate professional.

Are Real Estate Finance, Sales and Appraisal for Me?

Real estate agents and brokers sell, rent and manage properties, such as buildings, houses, apartments and general land holdings. In general, their duties include meeting with potential buyers and arranging for showings. They also negotiate prices and terms between buyers and sellers.

Real estate appraisers estimate the value of property. Career requirements typically include a familiarity with all aspects affecting an appraisal, so it may help to live where you work. You may also spend time researching and writing in an office, as well as on location to examine the house or piece of land being appraised.

Real estate finance workers, also referred to as loan officers, help potential borrowers apply for a loan and determine eligibility. They usually specialize in a particular type of loan and may work with large companies or single clients. Significant travel may be required to meet with clients and prepare loan agreements.

Employment and Salary Information

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of loan officers and real estate sales agents was projected to grow by an average rate nationwide between 2012 and 2022. By comparison, a slower-than-average increase in employment was expected for appraisers and assessors of real estate. As of May 2013, loan officers and real estate agents earned median annual salaries of $61,420 and $39,800, respectively. In the same month, appraisers and assessors of real estate had a median annual income of $51,030 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Real Estate Finance, Sales or Appraisal?

Educational Requirements

A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining an entry-level job in real estate; however, a college degree is increasingly becoming the industry standard. Appraisers usually have a 2-year degree, such as an associate in business management, as well as a state certification. You might also consider a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Real Estate or a specialized B.S. in Business Administration. In addition to core business courses, the curriculum might include topics in real estate principles, urban planning and economic geography.

Certifications

After you complete your degree, you might want to pursue a real estate agent certification, such as the Residential Real Property Appraiser credential. Requirements can include classroom training and a satisfactory score on an exam.

Licensing

Real estate brokers and sales agents must have a state-issued license. To qualify, you must complete 90 hours of classroom training and pass an exam. Additional requirements for brokers include prior experience in real estate. While loan officers usually receive on the job training, if you're working with home mortgages, you will also need to be licensed.

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