T Nation

Real Estate Careers

Hello, everyone. I was hoping there would be some people on here who work in real estate, specifically real estate finance or asset management. Long story short, I’ve been attempting to get into a career in this field for a while now, but it’s obvious that it is extremely competitive. If anyone has any insight, I would truly appreciate it.

As a cursory background, I graduated from college in 2005 with a degree in finance. Since then, I’ve been doing what most would consider more of an accounting role, but it’s very analytical. I’ve joined the Urban Land Institute and attended a few of their seminars to gain exposure in the real estate market.

Obviously I can provide any more details that might be helpful. Unfortunately, I know very few contacts in the real estate field, but I truly appreciate any insight any of you has for me.

Thank you,

Revo

I’m not sure wtf you want to do. WTF is Real Estate Finance or asset managment for Real Estate? Most Real Estate businesses are small and don’t need to hire somebody to do the work for them. The only way I see you being able to do this is by joining a large company that is acquiring property but even then wtf would they want you? You have no Real Estate experience.

What is it about Real Estate that is drawing you to it? To me it just sounds like you are one of those dummies that a few years back that hopped on the Real Estate train because “EVERYONE” was making a ton of easy money. If that’s the case you are late/early to the party depending on how you want to look at the economy.

Most things in your life will depend on you being able to find things out for yourself. That being said I hate guys that may be able to help but won’t. Go to www.reiclub.com they have tons of info about real estate. I doubt it will be exactly what you are looking for but to be honest I don’t think the job you want really exists the way that you think it does.

Final Thought: Locate your local REI Club and go to the meetings. If you’re still in D.C. you should have several clubs to go to. I’ve given you your library card now get to work and do your research.

[quote]GhorigTheBeefy wrote:
I’m not sure wtf you want to do. WTF is Real Estate Finance or asset managment for Real Estate? Most Real Estate businesses are small and don’t need to hire somebody to do the work for them. The only way I see you being able to do this is by joining a large company that is acquiring property but even then wtf would they want you? You have no Real Estate experience.

What is it about Real Estate that is drawing you to it? To me it just sounds like you are one of those dummies that a few years back that hopped on the Real Estate train because “EVERYONE” was making a ton of easy money. If that’s the case you are late/early to the party depending on how you want to look at the economy.

Most things in your life will depend on you being able to find things out for yourself. That being said I hate guys that may be able to help but won’t. Go to www.reiclub.com they have tons of info about real estate. I doubt it will be exactly what you are looking for but to be honest I don’t think the job you want really exists the way that you think it does.

Final Thought: Locate your local REI Club and go to the meetings. If you’re still in D.C. you should have several clubs to go to. I’ve given you your library card now get to work and do your research.[/quote]

Thanks for the response, GTB. There are, in fact, many companies who work in real estate finance. Every bank I know, for example, both commercial and investment, has a real estate division within their company. In addition to those, there are certain companies who do nothing but real estate investment or asset management.

I’m truly not trying to have someone do the work for me. I am, however “trying to find this out for myself,” as you put it, and since I don’t have many contacts in the field, I thought I would see if anyone on here works in real estate and could provide an example of the road they took to get there. I’m just trying to use avenue I have.

To answer your question, I like real estate for the tangibility. I came out of school not knowing what I wanted to do, but knowing I wanted to work with securities some how. I took a job in a related field (my company is a personal finance company) but I’m still not getting my hands completely into what I want to do. Stocks and bonds don’t have the tangibility or transparency that real estate investment offers.

I’m looking into the REI suggestion now, and I really appreciate the time you took to write a response.

[quote]Revo09 wrote:
GhorigTheBeefy wrote:
I’m not sure wtf you want to do. WTF is Real Estate Finance or asset managment for Real Estate? Most Real Estate businesses are small and don’t need to hire somebody to do the work for them. The only way I see you being able to do this is by joining a large company that is acquiring property but even then wtf would they want you? You have no Real Estate experience.

What is it about Real Estate that is drawing you to it? To me it just sounds like you are one of those dummies that a few years back that hopped on the Real Estate train because “EVERYONE” was making a ton of easy money. If that’s the case you are late/early to the party depending on how you want to look at the economy.

Most things in your life will depend on you being able to find things out for yourself. That being said I hate guys that may be able to help but won’t. Go to www.reiclub.com they have tons of info about real estate. I doubt it will be exactly what you are looking for but to be honest I don’t think the job you want really exists the way that you think it does.

Final Thought: Locate your local REI Club and go to the meetings. If you’re still in D.C. you should have several clubs to go to. I’ve given you your library card now get to work and do your research.

Thanks for the response, GTB. There are, in fact, many companies who work in real estate finance. Every bank I know, for example, both commercial and investment, has a real estate division within their company. In addition to those, there are certain companies who do nothing but real estate investment or asset management.

I’m truly not trying to have someone do the work for me. I am, however “trying to find this out for myself,” as you put it, and since I don’t have many contacts in the field, I thought I would see if anyone on here works in real estate and could provide an example of the road they took to get there. I’m just trying to use avenue I have.

To answer your question, I like real estate for the tangibility. I came out of school not knowing what I wanted to do, but knowing I wanted to work with securities some how. I took a job in a related field (my company is a personal finance company) but I’m still not getting my hands completely into what I want to do. Stocks and bonds don’t have the tangibility or transparency that real estate investment offers.

I’m looking into the REI suggestion now, and I really appreciate the time you took to write a response. [/quote]

I’m not exactly sure what you are asking but if you are looking for a real estate finance / asset mgt. position you will probably need to start a little lower on the totem pole.

You’ll need a full understanding of how real estate works for most companies to trust you in managing their assets and finances. With real estate, the best way to prove yourself is to sell it.

You’ll learn the market from top to bottom that way and will be able to accurately tell people you can manage their finances / assets. Right now you don’t know what you are talking about and asking for people to literally trust you with their company / money. Not going to happen.

You could try a loan officer position at a large bank. The money won’t be what you are looking for; they will probably start you entry level with small personal loans but do a good job, work your way in to management’s good graces and after a year or two apply for mortgage loan position and start up the ladder that way.

Unless you are Ivy League or coming from a top ranked public business school, you are not going to graduate in to a mid-level position with a business degree. All you have done is proven to employers you can learn. Now they will teach you what they want you to know for their business and will see how you apply it all in real life.

A big mistake is to feel entitled to a position because you have a business degree, which are a dime a dozen these days.

You’ll shoot yourself in the foot by passing up the opportunities you are qualified for while chasing rainbows. If you were an engineer, and architect or something else techinical, you’d have room to spread your elbows a little. Those positions are not really “doable” for many people and are in high demand.

Most business models could be run by well trained monkeys (i’m in business myself), it’s the training and experience that are key.

If you are asking about property management, well that’s a different story. Go back for an associates degree. Work as a leasing agent, either commercial or residential, while you complete your certificate and you’ll be on your way to managing a property.

The big money in real estate is in brokering. Virtually all brokers began in sales, made enough money to buy their own properties and pay people to sell for them and do so.

You are basically looking for a banking position within the industry. Keep that perspective in mind when considering qualifications.

And keep an eye open to other industries as well, especially oil and gas right now. That industry typically pays at least 10-15% higher than others for the same positions. It is very cyclical, but finance positions in oil are pretty secure. You see tons of private, strategic info, make the important decisions and are pretty well indispensable.

In real estate, anybody can be trained to manage the books. Market knowledge is common knowledge and there is nothing binding you to the company.

Thanks for the response, FTG.

Like you pointed out, I’m more than willing to start at the bottom. In fact, I feel like it’s one of my selling points. I truly have no sense of entitlement, and if I’m coming across that way, it was never my intention.

Thank you for the advice. I’ll keep looking into lower level positions. I do have two friends who work as analysts for investment companies, but their advice is always: You just have to break in. Well, I understand that, and now I’m looking for ways to give myself an advantage to do so.

[quote]Revo09 wrote:
Thanks for the response, FTG.

Like you pointed out, I’m more than willing to start at the bottom. In fact, I feel like it’s one of my selling points. I truly have no sense of entitlement, and if I’m coming across that way, it was never my intention.

Thank you for the advice. I’ll keep looking into lower level positions. I do have two friends who work as analysts for investment companies, but their advice is always: You just have to break in. Well, I understand that, and now I’m looking for ways to give myself an advantage to do so.[/quote]

Yeah, breaking in is key. Definately don’t short change yourself. You shouldn’t be a teller selling debit cards and free checking for an extra $0.25 per hour on weeks where you meet quota of course, but entry level on the financial / loan side.

Just apply for these positions. You are in a tight spot though. Both the banking and real estate industries are holding hands waist deep in a huge, stinking cess pool of shit they both created together.

My advice would be to find an industry that is maintaining itself or growing and look for positions there.

You may be hired by a bank one day and fired the next when it goes under. Same goes for a real estate company.

Other than that look at small, local banks. They are actually faring the best and will give you relevent experience for the big guys when things turn around.

Great advice again. I’m going to look into smaller banks. At the very least, maybe I can make some contacts for when the markets turn around. I’m assuming that on top of not having a lot of relative experience, the markets are going to make it that much harder to get a job. I just want to make sure when things turn around that I’m as marketable as possible.

Thanks.

[quote]Revo09 wrote:
Great advice again. I’m going to look into smaller banks. At the very least, maybe I can make some contacts for when the markets turn around. I’m assuming that on top of not having a lot of relative experience, the markets are going to make it that much harder to get a job. I just want to make sure when things turn around that I’m as marketable as possible.

Thanks.[/quote]

Yeah, it will be tough to find a job. The markets are slow, plus you have overqualified people applying for limited positions as their own banks fail.

Don’t let it discourage you though. Where there is a will there is a way. And you could go slightly under the normal entry level pay scale for a position. Any advantage helps when there is a high level of competition.

Just an off the wall suggestion here. I don’t know if you are in a hot area and if you wanted to stay in it you’d have to travel. You might look for work as a landman in the oil and gas industry. I think your education and background may help.

There are a number of different job descriptions under the umbrella of landman. Leasing is basically sales, you convince land owners to let you drill on their land. I did about 5 months of research on title. Basically before the company drills they want to know pretty much everything that has happened to a piece of land. That includes conveyances, probate, divorces, law suits, deeds of trusts, easements/right of ways, and so on. It can be rather interesting. Another facet is curative. This is the process of curing defects in your research. Invariably property descriptions will change as you get a modern survey, a river changes course, or someone builds a highway across the property. It may be a matter of getting an affidavit from somebody or tracking down a fractional interest that was reserved in a conveyance 50 years ago and they have 3 generations of descendants scattered across the continents. I never did curative but it sounded interesting.

If the area is hot they will be hiring in droves and paying pretty well. On the other hand they can shutdown quickly. The Barnett Shale/Ft Worth area is dying down. One broker just laid off about 50 and transferred another 50 to the Shreveport area. You can make good in oil and gas but you have to be willing to travel. While they like college graduates and lawyers, several of my supervisors did not have degrees, but they made good .

I didn’t like my broker, plus I was going through some other issues. Basically I was burned out. Luckily I got out just in time. I decided to hang a shingle and open a law practice. If I was willing to go the Shreveport area, or Northern Arkansas the $ would be there.

I wish you luck.

[quote]Spike9726 wrote:
Just an off the wall suggestion here. I don’t know if you are in a hot area and if you wanted to stay in it you’d have to travel. You might look for work as a landman in the oil and gas industry. I think your education and background may help.

There are a number of different job descriptions under the umbrella of landman. Leasing is basically sales, you convince land owners to let you drill on their land. I did about 5 months of research on title.

Basically before the company drills they want to know pretty much everything that has happened to a piece of land. That includes conveyances, probate, divorces, law suits, deeds of trusts, easements/right of ways, and so on. It can be rather interesting. Another facet is curative.

This is the process of curing defects in your research. Invariably property descriptions will change as you get a modern survey, a river changes course, or someone builds a highway across the property.

It may be a matter of getting an affidavit from somebody or tracking down a fractional interest that was reserved in a conveyance 50 years ago and they have 3 generations of descendants scattered across the continents. I never did curative but it sounded interesting.

If the area is hot they will be hiring in droves and paying pretty well. On the other hand they can shutdown quickly. The Barnett Shale/Ft Worth area is dying down. One broker just laid off about 50 and transferred another 50 to the Shreveport area.

You can make good in oil and gas but you have to be willing to travel. While they like college graduates and lawyers, several of my supervisors did not have degrees, but they made good .

I didn’t like my broker, plus I was going through some other issues. Basically I was burned out. Luckily I got out just in time. I decided to hang a shingle and open a law practice. If I was willing to go the Shreveport area, or Northern Arkansas the $ would be there.

I wish you luck. [/quote]
Landwork is good work but definately finicky. I was offered a position with a broker on the Barnett Shale but turned it down. I’m glad I did now.

Land work is always at the forefront of the cyclical nature of the industry.

Wow, I never even knew such positions existed. Do you guys have any good sources where I can learn more? Are there associations or websites devoted to this trade? It might not be quite in the realm of what I want to do, but it sounds really interesting. I’ll look into “landwork” and see what materializes.

Fuck working for this small bank shit. Want to know what you should do? Get a job…get several high paying jobs and save every fucking penny you make. Then start buying properties at a steal. RE finance/asset management will mean more to you when you’re doing it yourself for yourself. The next couple years are the time to buy with the economy in the shitter.

If it turns out you don’t like running your own business at least you can put down the real world experience on your apps for future jobs.

[quote]GhorigTheBeefy wrote:
Fuck working for this small bank shit. Want to know what you should do? Get a job…get several high paying jobs and save every fucking penny you make. Then start buying properties at a steal. RE finance/asset management will mean more to you when you’re doing it yourself for yourself. The next couple years are the time to buy with the economy in the shitter.

If it turns out you don’t like running your own business at least you can put down the real world experience on your apps for future jobs.[/quote]

He’s trying to get a job. The problem is the big banks are not hiring, neither are real estate companies, which are where the high paying jobs in his field would be.

His way in is to start small and work up. It would be fantastic if he could just say “fuck it! You bitches give me a high paying job! I have no experience but I do have a degree! Double fuck it! Put me on the board and make me CEO too!” Maybe you should let him borrow your ruby red slippers to success. “There is no place like the board, There is no place like the board, There is no place like the board…”

It doesn’t work that way. Especially in those industries in this market.

Out of curiosity, how many devalued homes are you buying right now smarty pants? I’m not talking about trailers, cinder blocks or mass produced Jim Walter or whatever the fuck but solid investments truly devalued by foreclosure.

Here’s the NAPL, http://www.landman.org/ this is the National Association of Petroleum Landmen.

Here’s another organization. http://www.landmen.net/
I had an Arkansas question and emailed 3 different Ark landmen listed, each one responded.

There are also local groups, here there is the FWAPL and DAPL.

There are a number of 1-2 day classes out there, such as this one: http://landman101.com/khxc/
I went to this class and they have a resume service but I never got a call.

This is a hard business to get into. I had a hard time breaking in locally because I didn’t know anyone. Once you get the first job it’s pretty easy to network and move around, it’s just a matter of getting in.

Yes, it is cyclical, and you will have to travel. You may find yourself in a county where there is nothing of interest whatsoever above the surface. You’ll probably be hired by a broker as an independent contractor. You’ll get a daily rate plus expenses (like mileage, hotel, and a meal stipend), other expenses are tax writeoffs. There are no taxes taken out and no benefits. You’ll probably have to hire a CPA, set up a seperate business account, a business entity, and keep track of your own records. I found the training itself to be very sparse and there was a real lack of mentoring or established policy and procedure. You are somewhat on your own as to solving computer problems and keeping track of your affairs.

I don’t know this but I would think there would be some carry over into other areas because so many things touch the land. I thought the work was interesting and had I been in a better environment I might have stuck with it.

[quote]Revo09 wrote:
Wow, I never even knew such positions existed. Do you guys have any good sources where I can learn more? Are there associations or websites devoted to this trade? It might not be quite in the realm of what I want to do, but it sounds really interesting. I’ll look into “landwork” and see what materializes. [/quote]

Yeah, it is a decent field. I suspect the natural gas side of it will stay solid while oil fluctuates. That seems to be where we are headed as part of a comprehensive future energy plan.

There are tons of brokers to work for, just google them, check online job boards etc. They basically win contracts with production companies to find the oil for them. Usually they have a geology dept who determines if there is gas available and then the landman goes and finds the land mineral owners and negotiates how much they get paid in order for the client company to drill.

You will be a contractor and the starting day rate is between $200-$250. You can expect to move up to about $400 per day with experience. You usually get paid like $0.36 cents per gallon of gas and around $30 per diem for meals. Plus hotel if they put you somewhere over a week or two.

Some of the big companies have in house land departments. The pay is less but you pick up company provided benefits and retirement.