Are you a licensed real estate professional who wants to expand your professional horizons and branch out into other fields? Maybe you’re not licensed yet and considering all the options a real estate license provides. Either way, you’re in right place.
In this article, we’ll outline eight fantastic jobs you can do with your real estate license, including typical salary and the first steps to get started on each career path.
1. Residential Real Estate Agent
Median Gross Income: $54,300 per year
The most obvious (and most available) job you can get with a real estate license is as a residential real estate agent. In this role, you’ll represent buyers and sellers as they make their way through the real estate transaction process.
For buyers, this means accompanying them on showings, providing counsel and advice through the property search, selection, negotiation, and the contract process. You’ll also connect homebuyers with the necessary area professionals (like mortgage brokers, inspectors, appraisers, and more) to get them across the finish line.
For sellers, a residential real estate agent offers counsel when it comes to the estimated value of their home. You’ll also provide a listing strategy, including price, marketing, open houses, etc., and you’ll help them negotiate in the offer process—ultimately getting them across the finish line at the closing table.
In exchange for this work, residential real estate agents typically get paid a commission for every transaction they close. This is almost always a 100% commission-paid role, so don’t expect a base salary here.
Get Started: To get started as a residential real estate agent, first you need a real estate license. Check out our handy guide below to learn how you can get your license quickly. Also see our in-depth buyer’s guide to learn about the best real estate schools for 2022, 2023, and beyond.
2. Managing Real Estate Broker
Median Gross Income: $110,256 per year
A managing real estate broker wears a couple of professional hats. First, they’re responsible for the management of real estate agents. In this role, Managing Brokers offer advice to your agents, provide them with mentorship and professional development. Depending on the structure of a brokerage, they’re also be responsible for various elements of office management. The base pay for a typical real estate broker in the U.S. in 2022 was $68,256.
Additionally, real estate brokers also continue to assist their own buyer and seller clients with the purchase and sale of homes. As a real estate broker, the responsibilities to clients are identical to those of real estate agents. The typical commission income for real estate brokers in 2022 was $42,000, bringing the total typical compensation for a real estate broker (in 2022) to just over $110,000 per year.
To become a real estate broker, you do need your real estate license, but you also need a real estate broker’s license. Each state has unique requirements for a real estate broker’s license, but they generally include a certain amount of experience at the agent level, as well as some further training and professional development, in addition to passing the broker’s license exam.
Get Started: To get started as a real estate broker, check out our resources below. We explain how to get your broker’s license, the differences between an agent and a broker, and real estate broker salaries in states across the country. We also have a comprehensive guide for how to start a real estate brokerage.
3. Real Estate Investor
Median Gross Income: $97,000 per year
A real estate investor is someone who buys real estate to use to generate income or to hold and sell later as the market matures. The most popular form of real estate investment in 2022 is purchasing long-term rental properties (or single-family residences) and converting them to short-term rental properties to be listed on sites like Airbnb.
You may be thinking, “Wait, I don’t need a real estate license to be a real estate investor!”, and technically that’s true. But, if you want to make real money doing it, you should have one. Here’s why:
Every time you buy and sell real estate (using an agent or a broker), a commission is paid on that purchase or sale. If you’re the seller of the property, you’re paying this commission out of your proceeds. With a real estate license, you can represent yourself in the sale of your own properties, thereby saving you upward of 6% (the typical commission for residential real estate sales).
You can also represent yourself in the purchase of real estate, allowing you to either pocket the commission (a little extra cash is pretty handy when you’re buying a rental property), or negotiate it off the top of the sales price.
If you conduct just two real estate transactions a year at say, $300,000 each as a real estate investor, you’d be generating an extra $18,000 in savings or income, assuming typical commission rates.
Get Started: To get started as a real estate investor, check out our real estate investment guides below.
4. Continuing Education Instructor
Median Gross Income: $51,000 per year
To maintain a real estate license, agents and brokers are required to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education (CE) and professional development every year. These courses are provided by continuing education instructors.
Though the specific requirements to qualify to teach real estate continuing education differ state to state, a fairly universal requirement is an active real estate license.
To be successful here, potential continuing education instructors should enjoy teaching, have experience in writing and content development, and a background in creating on-demand content like webinars and video are also helpful.
Though most states have lots of in-person continuing education providers for Realtors, the vast majority of real estate continuing education in the U.S. is provided virtually, on-demand.
The pay structure for continuing education providers varies depending on whether you’re an instructor for an existing school or you’ve started your own content studio. If you’re working for someone else, you’ll likely get paid per course you create. If you’re running your own shop, you get paid based on the number of people who sign up to take your course.
Get Started: To get started as a continuing education instructor, you need to first decide if you’re going to start your own CE “school,” or apply to be a content creator of an existing continuing education school. Check out our CE guide below.
The 5 Best Real Estate Continuing Education Providers
5. Property Manager
Median Gross Income: $49,665 per year, $70,000+ in major cities
A property manager is a person hired by a property owner to manage the daily operations of their investment. Though there are classes of property management that don’t require a real estate license, a licensed property manager is much more desirable, in demand, and makes significantly more money.
The typical responsibilities of a licensed property manager include collecting and managing rent, ensuring that property policies conform with tenant laws and fair housing regulations, showing and leasing vacant units, and more.
A typical property manager is paid as a percentage of annual rent for the property, usually between 6% and 12%, depending on experience and services offered. This means that in a major city with buildings that have dozens of units, a property manager can easily make $100,000 a year or more.
Get Started: The first steps to getting started as a property manager is to understand what the legal requirements are for your state. We’ve partnered with Real Estate Express and McKissock Learning here— check out their handy guide to getting started as a property manager.
6. Real Estate Assistant
Median Gross Income: $40,500 per year + commission income
A licensed real estate assistant offers support to real estate agents and brokers, taking on various duties including administrative work, marketing work, client support, showings, open houses, and more. Though it is possible to work as a real estate assistant without a real estate license, the base pay is typically +/- 25% less. Why? Because there is no opportunity for commission income, and the positions are much less in demand.
Why is being a licensed assistant so superior? In order to legally offer real estate advice or direction to buyers and sellers, you need a real estate license. As a real estate assistant in a relationship-driven business, it is inevitable that you’ll get into conversations that require you to provide market insight, advice, or opinions. Without a real estate license, that isn’t possible.
Additionally, without a license, an assistant can’t legally take clients on showings, hold open houses, or be eligible for a piece of the commission from closed sales—a benefit many agents who employ licensed assistants offer. Including commission income, a licensed entry-level real estate assistant is often making upward of $55,000 per year.
Get Started: The best way to get started as a real estate assistant is to seek out the busiest, most successful solo agents or brokers in your market and pitch your services to them. These are professionals who could likely scale their business with a few more hours in the day. With a real estate license, you’ll be able to offer them a significant amount of help and the chance to build a rock-solid team.
How to Start a Rock-solid Real Estate Team
7. Real Estate Developer
Median Gross Income: Nothing at first, $200,000+ per year after gaining experience
A real estate developer is a person that oversees the people, projects, and completion of a construction project. While project management skills are the first and most important requirement to be a great real estate developer, a real estate license is a must-have for anyone who wants to do it seriously (and profitably). Here’s why:
As a real estate developer, you often begin with the acquisition of land or existing property that you can develop into a new project. Successful land acquisition requires a specific knowledge of the market, land value, and so on. Just like a real estate investor, having a real estate license enables you to do this much less expensively and with access to all the latest data provided to you by the MLS.
Additionally, when it comes time to reap the benefits of your newly developed real estate project, a real estate license allows you to sell or lease your property directly to the market without having to run through a third-party agent or broker—again fattening your profit margins and increasing your efficiency.
Real estate developers are paid based on the profit their projects produce. Thus, it is difficult to estimate a specific annual income. In rural or small communities, typical real estate developers make less than $100,000 per year. However, in major metropolitan areas, experienced real estate developers make millions (sometimes tens of millions) annually.
Get Started: To get started as a real estate developer, you need three things: money, partnerships, and a plan.
- Money, so that you can buy the land and create the development you will turn into profit later
- Partnerships, so you can execute the tasks you’re not skilled at (especially important if you don’t have a construction background)
- A plan, so that you can create a process that is efficient, effective, and profitable
This guide from Lending Tree does a great job laying out exactly what you need to get started in this space.
8. Real Estate Writer
Yes, the job of real estate writer actually exists. How do we know? Because The Close has full-time, part-time, and freelance writers who do nothing but write content all about real estate. The catch is that (at least for us) you need to have (or have had) a real estate license, plus some experience in the industry to be considered.
The professional real estate space is one with a lot of questions and not as many answers. If you’re good with words, have a real estate background, and feel like you’ve got some wisdom to share, we’d love to hear from you.
Get Started: If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a real estate writer for The Close, I want to hear from you. Drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “Future Real Estate Writer.” In the email, tell me a little bit about yourself, including your background in real estate, whether you’re looking for a full-time, part-time, or freelance position, and whether you’ve got any background in writing or content creation (don’t worry, no experience doesn’t disqualify you!).
What jobs did we miss? If you know of great careers that start with a real estate license, tell us in the comments below.