Career Opportunities in Real Estate in 2015

Finding a way to support yourself financially in Ukiah can be tough, especially without a college degree, but if you have the right personality and work ethic, a career in real estate might be just what you’re looking for. Jobs range from sales agent to property manager to loan officer, and more. They all require a real estate license, but little additional schooling.

To be a successful Realtor, you must be interested in meeting and working with people. It also helps to be a self-starter, because being a Realtor isn’t like having a regular office job where people notice (or care) if you show up during regular business hours. You must be disciplined enough to prioritize and schedule all your own activities.

As a Realtor, you’ll work on behalf of your clients to find homes, invest money, sell homes, borrow money, and lots of details in between. Since a Realtor works on commission, your financial success depends on your ability to solve problems and help clients meet their goals, so it’s best if your work is accurate, thorough, and timely.

Realtors can specialize in several areas: residential, commercial, industrial, ranches/land, agricultural properties, or new development. Each area has laws and practices associated with them, from zoning to water rights. As a practical matter, you may want to consider whether you’re the outdoor type. If you’re selling ranches, for example, some properties may not be easy to access. Plan on owning a four-wheel drive vehicle and a pair of hiking boots. If you want to sell agricultural property in Mendocino County, understanding soil and terrain, and how they affect different types of grape varietals, comes in handy. If you want to work with a developer to subdivide land and build spec houses to sell, you better be good at details and willing to work with bureaucracy at all levels, completing forms, coordinating inspections and reports, and more.

In real estate sales, you can work very little and make $5,000 a year or you can work a whole bunch and make $250,000 a year. Depending on the market, your income is largely up to you. Remember, as an agent you are self-employed, and therefore 100 percent responsible for your financial success.

If working on commission or being available during non-traditional business hours doesn’t fit your lifestyle, property management might work for you. Many of the same traits as a sales agent are important (e.g., working with people, solving problems), but property management has more security and regular hours. You may not earn as much, but for some, the security you gain is a worthwhile trade.

A property manager takes care of real estate for a property owner, including all the details of renting the home or space to qualified tenants and coordinating care of the properties if something breaks or needs maintenance. A property management position comes with a salary and often includes benefits like health insurance, paid time off and a retirement plan. Be aware, property managers are expected to be in the office, so there’s less flexibility than for a Realtor.

If you are detail oriented and like solving problems, but prefer to work with numbers and a computer, being a loan officer could work for you. Some loan officers work for banks or loan brokerages to lend money; others are self-employed. Either way, some of your salary may be based on a commission. If you are a go-getter, then you’re likely to earn a higher income.

Realty World is currently hiring secretarial help, and other real estate companies may be as well. Starting as a receptionist can provide you with an insider’s view of the industry to see if you may want to pursue a career in real estate.

If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or visit www.realtyworldselzer.com. If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.