The real estate industry is changing dramatically, and agents and brokers will likely see their professions taking a very different shape in coming years. This highlights the need for professionals in this field to stay ahead of the trends and find sustainable ways to contribute value.
Pursuing a master’s degree in real estate rather than simply a real estate license can better prepare professionals with the strong, varied skill set that they may need to succeed as the real estate industry continues to change and evolve. A real estate license gives people the legal means to operate in this profession, but does little to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to stay competitive as the industry evolves. Pursuing a degree provides a wealth of benefits, as explained below.
Real estate professionals looking for a fresh way to approach their career paths will learn about the following:
- The benefits of a master’s degree over a real estate license.
- Key skills one can pursue in a master’s degree program.
- Real estate professions available to those with an advanced degree.
Key Benefits of a Master’s in Real Estate Management
A real estate license can help one obtain an entry-level job as a real estate agent, but many of these positions are expected to become obsolete in coming years. Homebuyers can browse listings independently online. Automated lockboxes allow prospective buyers to tour homes unaccompanied, while virtual reality offers a lifelike look at the home from a distance.
The real estate industry is thriving and offers many career opportunities. However, many of these require the expertise that comes with a master’s degree. Pursuing a master’s in real estate management can help students hone several key skills.
Enhanced Business Knowledge
A master’s in real estate management goes beyond the confines of the real estate industry and explores business management as a whole. This includes everything from evaluating financial trends to honing leadership skills. A master’s degree can help you gain a broader perspective of how real estate investments and decisions impact things like retail sales or residential development within a demographic group.
Understanding of the Global Market
With a real estate license, one will likely maintain a local focus. A master’s degree takes real estate topics and addresses them on a global scale. Even those who do not go on to work in a position that has such a broad scope can benefit from this knowledge. Learning how to better evaluate the global market can help clue in professionals to coming local trends.
Strategic Thinking Skills for Real Estate Practices
Strategic thinking skills help students address known issues in a fresh manner. Master’s degree courses call on these types of skills regularly, encouraging students to think outside the box. With a focus on real estate management, these skills might help one to develop creative solutions to help professionals keep pace with the evolution of the industry.
Strengthened Research Skills
Many upper-level real estate jobs require strong research skills. These professionals must know what information to gather and how to properly analyze it so they can make informed decisions regarding purchases, development, and sales in the real estate industry. Pursuing a master’s degree provides many opportunities to enhance one’s skill set in this area.
Valuable Career Opportunities for Master’s Degree Graduates
With a master’s degree in real estate management, job seekers can expand their horizons and pursue positions that are typically reserved for those with a strong educational background. A real estate license leaves professionals somewhat limited in their opportunities. With an advanced degree, there are many enticing career opportunities to explore.
Real Estate Analyst
Real estate analysts focus on the financial aspects of real estate investments. This type of professional offers a thorough financial analysis to clients to assist them in making wise and profitable purchases of property and land. As a real estate analyst, one’s responsibilities include the following tasks:
- Follow and analyze market trends, using both internal and external sources of information to develop a well-rounded assessment.
- Produce market performance assessment (MPA) reports regularly with a customized market rating model to help clients efficiently assess and compare properties on the market.
- Assess economic conditions within one or more geographic markets and key demographic areas, producing detailed reports to assist clients in understanding the current market and likely trends.
- Evaluate clients’ credit situations and offer personalized financial advice on the best way to proceed in the current market.
- Negotiate contracts and coordinate loans as needed when closing real estate sales.
- Participate as a management professional in a real estate firm, providing supervision to others in the organization.
Although a degree isn’t typically required for an entry-level position as a property manager, a master’s degree is preferred for upper-level positions in commercial management and contract management. In these jobs, a property manager might have to do the following:
- Oversee maintenance and housekeeping on the property, creating and implementing preventive maintenance programs and regular housekeeping schedules to ensure the property is in good condition.
- Review leases, assessments, real estate tax bills, and other critical documents.
- Collect rent and other payments from tenants and make the appropriate mortgage, promissory note, and ground lease payments in a timely manner.
- Evaluate and execute service contracts for providers that work on the property, determining if and when it’s time to consider an alternative contractor.
- Analyze the effective rent per square foot, tenant productivity, and compatibility of tenants’ establishments with the market position for a commercial property.
Real Estate Asset Manager
Real estate asset managers work on behalf of investors and businesses. Asset managers assist their clients with long-term financial planning and help them with the purchase, development, and sale of real estate properties that are used as investments. In this position, it’s important to have a well-rounded understanding of the real estate industry and current market trends, so one can make effective recommendations regarding each purchase or sale. In this profession, one would do the following:
- Evaluate property values and taxes against the predicted population growth, traffic volume, and other key factors impacting a property.
- Identify profitable sites and properties and make recommendations on the best improvements for these.
- Negotiate contracts to lease, sell, or buy properties on behalf of the client.
- Review existing property holdings to identify those that are no longer profitable as well as those that may become more profitable with the right investment in development.
- Follow and evaluate changing opportunities in the real estate market.
- Maintain an up-to-date and in-depth knowledge of financing opportunities and capital markets.
Real Estate Business Development Manager
A real estate business development manager must have an in-depth understanding of both real estate and business. In this position, one combines key aspects of both to further the business agenda of a company by identifying, purchasing, and overseeing the real estate that the company maintains. This position may exist in many different industries and might range from purchasing residential properties to identifying sites for new retail locations. This type of real estate professional must do the following:
- Identify profitable business opportunities in the real estate industry, such as properties that are well-positioned for a retail establishment or located in a coveted residential area.
- Maintain a comprehensive knowledge of the company’s industry and any developing trends therein.
- Offer market analysis, data analysis, research, and other reports to upper management to assist in making strategic business decisions.
- Create a sales action plan that merges the company’s objectives with valuable real estate opportunities.
- Maintain relationships with key contacts for prospective sales opportunities.
Public Policy Analyst
A public policy analyst is responsible for collecting and evaluating data that will help drive the development of new policies and procedures. In the real estate industry, this might include legislation regarding fiscal policies, housing policies, and other key business policies. A master’s degree is nearly always required for a job in this area. A public policy analyst would do the following:
- Collect and evaluate statistical data regarding key issues using focus groups, surveys, and cost-benefit analyses.
- Distinguish the most pressing matters facing the real estate industry and determine the most effective resolution to pursue for such matters.
- Anticipate challenges and prepare the appropriate responses to these.
- Identify the underlying cause of problematic issues in the industry to further determine the best course of action in overcoming these issues with the use of effective public policies.
With an advanced degree in real estate, professionals can position themselves for a better chance of success in a variety of occupations. Consider pursuing the Master of Science in Management – Real Estate Management online degree from New England College. It offers deeper insights into the state of the real estate industry to help students explore a broader range of opportunities as this field changes and expands.