Just like a college degree, your real estate license opens up the door to plenty of opportunities. You can choose the obvious path—being a real estate agent—or you can select one of the dozens of other careers that require licensure or in-depth knowledge of the real estate industry.
The best jobs for people with a real estate license include a residential real estate agent, appraiser, property manager, commercial real estate agent, and referral agent. Other viable real estate career paths include investor, foreclosure specialist, broker, personal assistant, and home inspector.
Once you finally get your real estate license, you’ll immediately wonder, “Where do I go from here?” Keep reading to learn about ten jobs you can secure (and excel at) with a real estate license to your name.
Residential Real Estate Agent
When you imagine a real estate agent, you’re likely thinking about a residential real estate agent.
These agents work directly with buyers and sellers of single-family homes (including individual units for apartments, townhouses, and condos) and residential structures with up to four units.
If you’re getting your real estate license, this is likely the reason why.
As a residential real estate agent, you’ll be working on behalf of members of the public—either homeowners looking to sell their current houses or those looking to buy a home. Your brokerage may also offer rental certification to allow you to handle rental properties on either the buyer or seller end of the transaction (think leasing an apartment or renting a summer home).
In this role, you adopt a fiduciary relationship, meaning you’re contractually bound to keep your clients’ data private while also doing what’s in their best interest.
Job responsibilities for residential real estate agents include:
- Generating leads and maintaining client contact information
- Advertising and marketing your listings and services
- Scheduling showings (for buyers)
- Hosting open houses (for sellers)
- Presenting offers and negotiating on your client’s behalf
- Completing legal paperwork (purchase agreements, buyer agreements, deed, and more)
- Informing your clients about market trends and home values
Real Estate Appraiser
If you’re willing to take additional coursework, precisely 75 hours worth of classes, you can pair your real estate license with an appraisal license and become a real estate appraiser.
As a real estate appraiser, you’ll take your extensive knowledge of the market trends and current home values and use this data to “appraise” homes. That means you’re responsible for determining how much a property or home is worth given the property’s current state—dependent on features like swimming pools, finished basements, and property sizes.
Appraisal services are essential in the functioning and success of the entire real estate industry.
When you take on this role, you’ll be sent out to a property by a mortgage lender looking to approve a loan, not the homeowner. You’ll visit the property, note the property’s condition and improvements made since the last appraisal, and calculate how much the home is worth by comparing these features to comps in the local geographical area.
Job responsibilities for real estate appraisers include:
- Having in-depth market on market trends and property values
- Performing comprehensive walkthroughs and inspecting home features
- Verifying data against past-held records
- Collecting pertinent data about sales and home values
- Notating any changes in the property since the previous appraisal
In the video below, you’ll see an in-depth glimpse into the world of real estate appraising, including the job responsibilities and perks of the career path:
In the majority of U.S. states, you’ll need either a real estate salesperson’s or broker’s license to attain the title of “property manager.”
This job title puts you at the helm of a property with several units, like an apartment complex, and assumes responsibility for all tenants and units on the property. This is not the same thing as a landlord, which would imply that you own the property yourself. Property managers simply take over the management aspect of property ownership on behalf of a landlord.
As a property manager, you have the most critical role and responsibilities on the property. That includes tasks like approving new tenants to fill vacancies, managing repairs and property upkeep services, unit tours for prospective renters, and collecting monthly rent. You’ll perform all of these duties under your own direction and make choices in the best interest of your landlord.
Job responsibilities for property managers include:
- Handling new tenants, writing up new leases, and scheduling evictions
- Scheduling unit and property repairs and maintenance
- Conducting unit viewings and advertising openings
- Keeping track of the property budget, profits, and expenditures
- Juggling the financial aspect of multi-unit properties, such as rent and fees
Commercial Real Estate Agent
Many brokerages and real estate companies won’t freely advertise that the real estate license you earned also permits you to handle commercial transactions.
A commercial real estate agent helps with the purchasing, selling, and renting of commercial properties—that is, buildings and properties used primarily for business endeavors, office workspace, or multi-unit structures (4+ units). This includes everything from hotels and entire apartment complexes to industrial warehouses and large office spaces.
Commercial real estate agents follow many of the same practices as their residential counterparts, with a few obvious exceptions.
The key differences between the two industries are commission sizes (commercial is far larger), difficulty in getting listings (residential is easier), and property focal points (emphasizing square footage rather than bedrooms and bathrooms).
It’s also worth pointing out that, given that commercial properties are often valued at millions of dollars apiece, it’s much harder to get a commercial client if you haven’t spent much time as an agent or haven’t worked with many clients just yet.
Job responsibilities for commercial real estate agents include:
- Aid in the sale and purchase of large commercial spaces
- Generate leads and clients (typically landlords and business owners)
- Assist your clients with negotiations to get a good price
- Filing and completing legal paperwork and agreements
- Marketing and advertising your services and listings
Real Estate Referral Agent
One of the glaring misconceptions in the real estate industry is that the only role agents take on is acting on behalf of buyers or sellers. This doesn’t take into consideration referral agents.
A real estate referral agent maintains an active real estate license but takes a step back from working directly with clients.
Instead of representing clients on your own, you’ll find or accept leads and end your relationship there. You can then send them through your brokerage’s referral system so that another agent can work with them. When a sale is brokered, and the agent you referred to earns any commission, you’ll take home a portion of it.
It’s also possible to act as a referral agent while still capturing your own listings and buyers. Taking on a referral agent’s role may be appropriate if you have a client well out of your geographical area or if you don’t specialize in a particular property type a client is seeking.
Job responsibilities for real estate referral agents include:
- Sending referrals through the company’s referral system
- Marketing your services and willingness to connect clients to excellent agents
- Understanding agents with particular niches or geographical expertise
- Establishing high-quality leads looking to buy or sell immediately
- Ensuring leads are pre-qualified or pre-approved ahead of time
Real Estate Investor
When money is no object, you want a quick payday, and your current real estate license gives you hands-on access to the MLS, the title of “real estate investor” may be the job for you.
A real estate investor is a de-facto businessman that thrives best in a booming real estate market. In this role, you’ll buy decrepit properties or homes at a discount, dedicate money toward repairs and renovations, and then list these newly-overhauled homes on the market. Your profit is the difference between the sale price, initial property price, and renovations.
However, many people misunderstand the job of real estate investors.
To be successful in this career path, you need to have an incredible knowledge of the industry to gauge which properties are worth investing in and can turn a decent profit. It’s also useful to have contractors on-call for quick renovations and a real estate license to increase your profit—rid yourself of those 5% commission fees by listing and selling the property yourself.
Job responsibilities for real estate investors include:
- Finding properties that could turn you a profit with repairs
- Understanding the market trends and costs of renovations
- Knowing how to flip a house at a low price
- Having near-unlimited funds for property fees and expenditures
- Turning sub-par homes into turn-key properties
With nothing more than a real estate license, a career option worth considering is the title of “foreclosure specialist,” an area of the real estate industry many agents don’t dare approach.
A foreclosure specialist is a real estate agent or professional with extensive expertise in foreclosures or bank-owned properties.
While in this role, you may work on behalf of a homeowner at risk of foreclosure. In these cases, you’ll gather paperwork and collect market data to determine what your client’s financial options are—pursuing a short sale, refinancing the mortgage, or filing for bankruptcy.
In this position, your goal is to help a homeowner maintain ownership of their property despite falling behind on their mortgage.
You can also take on this job role from another perspective—ensuring that lenders pursuing foreclosure on a property are crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s. As a foreclosure specialist, you’ll ensure the foreclosure process is moving ahead, collect signatures and paperwork as necessary, and ease the mind of property owners being foreclosed upon.
Job responsibilities for foreclosure specialists include:
- Collecting, sending, and receiving legal paperwork and data
- Understanding all aspects of the foreclosure process (town, county, state, federal)
- Helping homeowners maintain ownership in whatever means necessary
- Meeting deadlines and staying on track
- Rifling through financial documents looking for crucial client information
Real Estate Broker
After one to three years of success in the real estate industry, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your salesperson license into a broker license. Required training typically involves hundreds of hours of coursework in a broker pre-licensing course as well.
A real estate broker can also work with buyers and sellers just like your average real estate agent, but you can also manage your own brokerage and work for yourself in this role.
While acting as a real estate agent, you’ll establish your own office and attain the supervisor’s role for all agents you sign on. That means you’ll be responsible for training new agents, ensuring they’re following local and federal real estate laws, negotiating commission splits with your agents, and help to manage listings within your office.
Though you can manage your own buyers and sellers in this role, maintaining order and the behind-the-scenes aspect of your office will likely consume most of your time.
Job responsibilities for real estate brokers include:
- Generating leads and working one-on-one with clients
- Assisting agents in your office with training, fundamentals, and paperwork
- Marketing and advertising your service and the services of your entire brokerage
- Hosting sales meetings and educational courses for your agents
- Completing the appropriate legal paperwork for a smooth process
- Negotiating deals on behalf of buyers and sellers
Real Estate Agent Personal Assistant
One step removed from the role of a real estate agent is the job of a real estate agent personal assistant. You don’t need a license for this job title, but not having one limits your abilities.
This career allows you to get your feet wet in the industry, but at a distance.
A real estate agent personal assistant serves as the “right-hand man” for a real estate agent, real estate broker, or a real estate team. You’ll take on virtually every task except negotiating deals and representing the client. That means you’re responsible for everything from lead generation and client follow-up to designing marketing materials and completing paperwork.
This role is quite similar to a secretary or administrative assistant position.
Those who do best in this career path have a great interest in real estate and the industry’s future but aren’t yet ready to pursue clients and sales on their own. Many personal assistants go on to partner with the agent they work under or sprout their own careers with the knowledge and strategies they absorb in this role.
Job responsibilities for real estate agent personal assistants include:
- Reaching out to clients and leads (following up and scheduling appointments)
- Hosting open houses on behalf of your agent
- Arranging showings for buyers in place of your agent
- Keeping track of marketing materials and client contact information
- Creating listing information for the MLS
- Completing the initial steps of buyer and seller paperwork
Take a look at the following video, which walks you through a “day in the life” of the average real estate agent personal assistant:
Consider combining the content you learned when completing your pre-licensing and home inspector training programs to become a licensed home inspector. It may also be possible to wear both hats—a real estate agent and a home inspector—simultaneously on the clock.
A home inspector plays a pivotal role in the smooth sale and purchase of property, as the home inspector’s findings can throw a monkey wrench into the home’s sale. In this position, you’ll visit homes pending sale to look for property adherence to general safety recommendations on the exterior and interior of a home.
But your job as an inspector goes a tad farther than “pass/fail” as many people assume.
You have to understand a wide range of topics regarding residential structures—electrical, plumbing, construction, roofing, HVAC, and more. That means having a keen eye and recognizing any detail that’s out of place (like a minor leak), documenting the potential safety issues currently present in the property, and recommend repairs to make it habitable.
Your report’s results will play a crucial role in the successful sale of a property and the negotiation processes currently underway. Just understand that it may be inappropriate to adopt the home inspector’s role while acting as a buyer’s or seller’s agent on a property.
Job responsibilities for home inspectors include:
- Knowing what makes a property safe or dangerous
- Documenting infractions, defects, and necessary repairs to improve safety
- Understanding the principles of HVAC, roofing, plumbing, electric, and more
- Having a firm grasp of construction concepts and mechanics
Your opportunities are essentially endless once you earn your real estate license. But just because you’ve completed pre-licensing and aced your real estate exam, that doesn’t mean the careers listed above will be “easy” by any means.
Each real estate-related career requires job-specific training and immense practice working with clients, agents, brokers, and members of the public.
It’s also crucial to remember that you’ll need a current and active real estate license for many of these paths. That means you’ll have to pursue adequate continuing education credits within each renewal period to keep your license form lapsing in your state.