All about a career as a real estate broker

  • Real estate brokers help buyers find and purchase the homes of their dreams.
    Real estate brokers help buyers find and purchase the homes of their dreams.

    All about a career as a real estate broker

    If you’re passionate about all areas of real estate — from the buying to the selling process — you might consider a career as a real estate broker. It takes more than determination and a sales personality to become a broker. You may benefit from enrolling in an advanced degree program to prepare for this career. Even though you typically only need a bachelor’s degree to become a broker, a master’s degree will set you apart from the competition when attracting clients.

    The day-to-day of a real estate broker

    As a real estate broker, you will work with the public on a regular basis. This means you should have strong people skills, as your personality will be a large selling point in your sales. You will also find this career to be particularly rewarding if you’re interested in helping people. You may work with first-time buyers or experienced home sellers alike; no matter their expertise, there’s always some information you can provide to help them get the best deals.

    Many states do not require buyers and sellers to work with a real estate broker. Regardless, a majority of people choose to work with brokers, as these professionals have the best insight regarding real estate market trends, current mortgage rates and tips on negotiating a good sale.

    Real estate brokers wear multiple hats on a daily basis, assisting with the buying and selling processes in plenty of ways. Here are the major duties of a real estate broker:

    • Taking buyers to view different properties
    • Offering advice on prices and market conditions
    • Holding open houses
    • Working with buyers to compromise on a fair purchase price
    • Communicating between buyers and sellers during the negotiation process
    • Developing contracts, agreements and home deeds

    The difference between real estate brokers and sales agents

    While reading the job duties of a real estate broker, you might have thought, “Isn’t this also what real estate agents do?” You certainly aren’t wrong. These two roles are similar in goals and duties, but there is one major difference between agents and brokers: licensing requirements. Real estate brokers need to obtain an additional license — aside from the typical real estate license — which allows them to run their own businesses rather than selling real estate under a larger practice.

    Both brokers and agents are required to renew their state license every two to four years. This oftentimes requires both professionals to enroll in classes and take part in training sessions. However, the pursuit of an advanced degree that is approved by your state’s real estate licensing commission can help with the renewal process.

    How to become a real estate broker

    You can’t become a real estate broker immediately. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that brokers typically need one to three years of experience as a licensed real estate agent in order to get their broker’s license. Different states have various requirements on how to become a broker, but most of them prefer their brokers to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, pursuing a master’s degree can improve your sales potential exponentially.

    There are plenty of advanced degree programs that can help you begin your path to becoming a real estate broker. Master’s degrees in finance, Business Administration, Economics and Law provide potential brokers with relevant information they will use on a regular basis.

    Real estate broker salary and job outlooks

    Real estate brokers typically earn a majority of their wages on commission, so the BLS reports regarding income are somewhat mixed. In addition, many brokers work on a part-time basis while they work a separate salaried job. For both full- and part-time brokers, the BLS estimated a median annual wage of $56,730. It’s important to note that experience level is a significant determinant of earnings, as brokers with more experience in the industry typically have a larger book of clients. This is reflected in the BLS’s top 10 percent of real estate brokers’ earnings, with a median of over $151,000.

    The need for real estate agents and brokers is expected to rise as the millennial generation enters the housing market. The BLS predicted a rise of approximately 6 percent through 2026. However, cities that are expected to rise in popularity with rentals and residential property sales are the areas that will likely introduce the largest influx of new agents and brokers.

    What you can learn from an advanced degree in real estate

    There are two major types of advanced degrees that appeal to prospective real estate brokers: A Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in real estate. The best real estate graduate programs for you depend on your education and career goals. A MSRE is typically the best choice for individuals who want to study real estate at an in-depth level and from the perspective of a real estate professional. However, a MBA is a smart choice for students who want to take all-encompassing business courses with classmates in a variety of industries.

    The MSRE at the University of Florida requires students to complete the following practical real estate courses:

    • Real Estate Appraisal
    • Investment Property Analysis
    • Real Estate Market and Transaction Analysis
    • Real Estate Case Studies
    • Real Estate Research and Technology

    Here are a sample of some of the courses you may take when you enroll in an MBA with a concentration in real estate, as exemplified by Northwestern University‘s program:

    • Real Estate Finance and Investments
    • Real Estate Entrepreneurship
    • Legal Issues in Real Estate
    • Urban Economic Development and Real Estate Market Analysis
    • Public Economy for Business Leaders: State and Local Policy

    If you would like to advance your scope of knowledge in the area of real estate, consider the pursuit of a graduate degree in a relevant field. There are plenty of advanced degree programs that can stimulate your understanding of the real estate market while providing you with the business expertise you need to become a proficient real estate professional.

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