There are currently over five million people in the United States employed in “identifiable real estate fields,” meaning that they are clearly associated with real estate in some form or fashion. While most people think that real estate jobs are mainly centered around real estate investing and real estate agent and broker positions, in reality there are many options for people who have an interest, affinity, talent or experience in real estate that do not necessarily hinge directly on the buying and selling of property. With over a third of the money in the world tied up in real estate, there are many positions – including salaried ones – that are directly related to real estate.
One often overlooked real estate position is that of a real estate adviser. Just as you have a financial planner to help you with estate planning, retirement investing and budgeting and an attorney to advise you on legal matters, many real estate investors employ real estate advisers to help them identify emerging markets and opportunities in real estate. In the sector that originated the concept of “buy low and sell high,” the ability to identify areas of the market in which this investing strategy will work in the near and distant future – and the ability to predict with reasonable accuracy the time line for such investments – is nearly priceless. A good, reliable real estate adviser can charge just about whatever they wish, with salaries ranging from the 70’s and 80’s (junior real estate appraiser/adviser, VA, May 16 2011) on up into the millions.
Of course, most real estate advisers do have at least some direct real estate experience. Most have invested in real estate in the past or have existing investments that are doing well in today’s market. However, some advisers rely on their analytical ability in order to make their way in the real estate advisory sector. People who are good at analyzing statistics and identifying trends may develop an eye for spotting good target markets and investing strategies without ever personally placing their own money in a real estate investment. A history of satisfied – and now richer – clients is as persuasive in this field as your own profitable portfolio in most cases.
If you want to be involved in a real estate advisory capacity with real estate investors, you have several options. Many successful investors offer mentoring programs in which they both teach and advise or set up consulting services on a contract or freelance basis with various clients. Others actually train in college for such analytic positions and work their way up the corporate ladder. For some, banking and lending experience plays a key role in their ability to ultimately enter the advisory arena. However you opt to enter this field, remember that you are “playing” with real money. This places you at significant legal and financial risk even if you take great care to protect yourself with disclaimers and disclosures (as well you should). In the real estate advisory field, your reputation is everything. Lose the reputation for making clients money, and your days as a real estate adviser could abruptly be over.