When it comes to buying a home, it is not as simple as grabbing one off the shelf, dropping it in front of a register, paying, and being on your merry way with your new purchase. Buying and selling a home involves agreeing upon a fair price, securing home owner's insurance, ensuring the home is safe and sound, and filling out documents for title, taxes, and more. Many people are involved in this transaction, including:
- Real estate brokers and sales agents: work with buyers to help them find a new home and with sellers to help them sell a home.
- Real estate appraisers and assessors: estimate the value of property.
- Real estate inspectors: examine real estate to ensure the building is safe and complies with building codes, ordinances, and zoning regulations.
Real Estate Career Training
The career training you choose will depend on which area of real estate you want to pursue. To become a real estate agent in the United States, you will need to be licensed and pass a written test. While a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement, many real estate firms are hiring those with college degrees. This is because real estate transactions have become more complex, requiring agents to be familiar with tax laws, local zoning, home financing, and title searches. Real estate brokers do similar work, but they are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses.
More than 1,000 education institutions offer real estate agent courses, with most offering associate's or bachelor's degrees in real estate. Some offer master's degrees. Many of these degree programs are available online, allowing students to maintain their current schedule while studying for a real estate degree or diploma.
Training requirements for business program in real estate appraisers vary by state, and at times, by the value or type of property. To become licensed, beginning in 2008, appraisers have to earn at least a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in credit hours. Appraisers commonly earn their bachelor's degrees in economics, finance, or real estate, but the training courses specific to real estate appraisal are usually not part of these degree programs. Those courses can be taken at community colleges or through online degree programs.
Employers of construction and building inspectors often seek those who have taken courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, drafting, and mathematics. These courses can be completed through online education programs, or through local community colleges.
Real Estate Career Prospects
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), real estate brokers and agents should experience an 11 percent growth in jobs from 2006 to 2016. Median 2007 salaries were $40,600 for real estate agents and $58,860 for real estate brokers. For real estate appraisers, the BLS expects a 17 percent growth from 2006 to 2016. Their 2007 median salary was $46,130. Construction and building inspectors, including real estate inspectors, are expected to grow by 18 percent from 2006 to 2016, and their 2007 median earnings were $48,330.