What are the most successful and most profitable real estate careers at the moment, and which one is the right choice for you?
One of the best things about the real estate industry is the diversity it provides. It allows for many different jobs and careers to fit the personality, interests, and strengths of just about everyone. While most people think of agents and brokers when they hear about real estate, there are over a dozen real estate jobs, and not all of them are related to buying and selling properties.
Table of Contents
- Real Estate Investor
- Airbnb Host
- Real Estate Agent
- Real Estate Broker
- Real Estate Developer
- Real Estate Wholesaler
- House Flipper
- Property Manager
- Real Estate Attorney
- Home Inspector
- Real Estate Appraiser
- Leasing Agent
- Real Estate Assistant
- Real Estate Marketing Specialist
- Real Estate Consultant
- Real Estate Loan Officer
- Mortgage Broker
- PropTech Entrepreneur
If you’re thinking of becoming a real estate professional, there are various opportunities to select from. Your choice must be guided by a few basic principles, including your—
- Background and experience
- Interests and powers
- Personality and skills
- Expected level of effort and dedication
- Time availability
- Required level of income and ROI
So, before you plunge into a career in the property industry, you should do some self-evaluation to know what exactly you are looking for.
To help you, this article will show you the 19 most popular options, what each one entails, what pros and cons it brings, and what is needed to get started. We’ll also discuss how the Mashvisor real estate analysis tools can help you excel at many of these jobs.
1. Real Estate Investor
Becoming a real estate investor is arguably the most rewarding career in real estate. Real estate investors are those who buy properties or land, try to maximize their value, and then keep them in the long term (buy and hold) or sell them for a profit.
However, there’s more to this job than just conducting transactions. A good real estate investor understands when and where to buy investment properties. This requires them to have extensive knowledge of real estate market analysis to start making money. Buying blindly puts you at risk of losing your cash and investment. Other requirements for becoming a real estate investor include:
- Being comfortable with the risk involved in the career
- Having access to the best loans for investment property
- Knowing how to find the best investment properties for sale and analyze their profitability
- Knowing the different real estate investment strategies and the different types of real estate
There are amazing benefits to starting a career in real estate as an investor, and one of them is the fact that you can invest with little money. Also, you can invest in real estate passively, which means earning without having much involvement in the investment.
On top of that, a real estate investor can make serious money. While there is no set salary for this job, the average annual income of a real estate investor in the US is between $70,000 and $124,000, according to The Motley Fool.
Tips to Succeed as a Real Estate Investor
While being a property investor is one of the most profitable jobs in real estate, success is not guaranteed. You need to follow some principles and guidelines in order to triumph in this career.
Here are some tips that will help you get started as a real estate investor:
- Only go for positive cash flow opportunities. Many beginners fall into the trap of buying a negative cash flow property, believing that they can turn it around. But as a savvy investor, you have to ensure that you are getting a moneymaking (rather than a money-losing) property before purchasing.
- Educate yourself before diving in. Becoming an investor, unlike other real estate careers, does not require formal education, but you must have a basic understanding of how to analyze markets and properties to succeed. Read real estate blogs, watch real estate videos, listen to real estate podcasts, and sign up for online real estate courses. Most of these are free.
- Choose your market before you choose your property. As you might have already heard, location is the most important factor in real estate investing. Depending on your strategy, you need to conduct due diligence to find the top location for your budget and aspirations.
- Use the best real estate investment tools like the Mashvisor Market Finder. This tool helps even beginner real estate investors with no previous experience in the property industry locate the best markets for long term and short term rental investments. You can select and customize your own criteria, like listing price, ROI, and occupancy, to find the top locations for your specific needs.
To start your real estate investor career on the right footing, sign up for a 7-day free trial of Mashvisor.
Becoming a landlord is yet another excellent career choice in real estate. The difference between being a landlord and being a real estate investor is that the former manages their rental properties, while the latter might opt out of this responsibility.
To become a successful landlord, you need not only the skills of finding a good market and a good property to buy but also the skills of managing a rental property and dealing with tenants. For the first part, you have to master rental market analysis as well as rental property analysis to be able to find and close moneymaking deals.
For the second part, you have to be active, well-organized, and good with people. You need to be on top of property maintenance and upkeep, as well as rental inspections and rent collection. Moreover, as a landlord, you have to be ready to go through an eviction in case your tenant stops paying rent or breaks the lease agreement in any other way that calls for this unpleasant process.
In terms of potential earnings from a career as a landlord, according to Mashvisor’s nationwide market analysis, the average annual rental income for long term rentals is around $30,600. This covers US cities with 100+ active rentals at the end of March 2023.
Tips to Succeed as a Landlord
Being a successful landlord requires you to:
- Benefit from the best tools for finding top-performing long term rental properties for sale, like the Mashvisor investment property calculator. This online real estate investing tool provides you with instant analysis of the investment potential of both MLS listings and off-market properties available on and off the platform. You get immediate access to expected rental income and ROI.
- Develop positive management methods where you keep all aspects of caring for your property under control. This includes but is not limited to things like maintenance, repairs, taxes, insurance, rental agreements, marketing, etc.
- Be nice yet firm with your tenants. You should aim to create a positive experience for renters and ensure that your property is in top shape at all times. At the same time, tenants need to know that they are expected to pay rent on time, or they’ll face legal consequences.
3. Airbnb Host
Another one of the best real estate careers that’s similar to—yet different from—a landlord is an Airbnb host. Unlike a landlord, an Airbnb host owns and manages a property. This is usually a short term rental property that is rented out on a nightly basis. In other words, this means starting an Airbnb business.
To become an Airbnb host, you have to have a different persona from a landlord. You have to be much more dynamic and open to a lot more day-to-day work. You should be prepared for the following responsibilities:
- Constantly marketing your property on Airbnb and/or other vacation rental platforms
- Adjusting nightly pricing to reflect demand and supply in the local market
- Communicating with guests before, during, and after their stay
- Helping guests with check-ins and check-outs
- Cleaning, doing laundry, and restocking supplies daily
- Tackling urgent issues at any time of the day, any day of the week
Before you even get started with this profession, you need to find a profitable short term rental, purchase it, upgrade it, and furnish it for a comfortable stay. This entails investing more money than in a long term rental. However, the profits might also be bigger.
If you wonder how much money you can make on Airbnb, the truth of the matter is that it depends on your market, property, marketing strategy, daily rate, and occupancy rate. Mashvisor estimates that an Airbnb property across the US market generates an annual revenue of around $39,000, as of the end of March 2023. This is the average for locations with 100+ Airbnb listings.
Tips to Succeed as an Airbnb Host
To build a solid career as an Airbnb host, you need to follow these tips:
- Choose a market where non-owner-occupied short term rentals are legal and not overly regulated. The Mashvisor short term rental regulations page can help with research on this issue.
- Select a market with strong demand for vacation rentals year-long. Make sure that visitors come throughout the year and not only in the peak season. This will help boost your Airbnb occupancy rate and—consequently—your return on investment.
- Automate dynamic pricing to strike the right balance between daily rates and occupancy rates in order to maximize rental income. The Mashvisor Dynamic Pricing tool can help you set the optimal rates for each day on your calendar based on AI, machine learning algorithms, and comps data sourced right from the Airbnb website.
4. Real Estate Agent
Getting a job in real estate as an agent is one of the best and most common real estate careers. Real estate sales agents help people sell or buy properties. This means that you can be either a buyer’s agent, a seller’s agent or even a dual agent who handles both sides of the deal. You can also be a residential or commercial real estate agent.
However, before deciding in favor of this career path, you should keep in mind that the real estate agent job description is not the right fit for everyone. It requires a certain set of skills that not everyone possesses.
Most importantly, you have to be born a salesperson to be able to convince people to go for such expensive purchases and sales as a home. In addition, you have to possess exceptional people skills to be able to offer homebuyers and home-sellers all the support they need, including emotional support.
So, let’s take a look at the two main real estate agent jobs:
Residential Real Estate Agent
Residential real estate agents facilitate the homebuying process between buyers and sellers. You can be even more specialized by focusing on specific kinds of properties like single family homes, condos, luxury homes, vacation homes for sale, or foreclosures. You’ll need a license to become a residential real estate agent, and your success depends on how well you meet your client’s needs.
To ace this real estate agent career, you need to have a strategy for lead generation and lead conversion. Another requirement to succeed as an agent is having great customer service, networking, and marketing skills.
Moreover, if you become a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), you are a realtor. This is basically the same as a real estate agent, but being a member of NAR gives some extra credibility and reputation.
According to Talent.com, the average salary for real estate agents in the US market is around $97,000.
Tips to Succeed as a Residential Real Estate Agent
If you decide to specialize in working with real estate investors—rather than homeowners—this can be a great opportunity to grow your business, as investors are usually repeat clients. The good ones buy multiple properties a year. To help them speed up their investment property search and analysis, you can use the Mashvisor Property Finder.
This AI-driven tool helps agents identify the most profitable long term and short term rentals for sale in any US market based on the preferred property characteristics and budget. All you need to do is to enter the specific requirements of your investor client, and the Property Finder will show you all applicable properties, starting with those with the highest ROI on top.
In this way, you can always serve your clients with the top-performing properties.
Commercial Real Estate Agent
Commercial real estate agents are similar to residential agents, but they work in the commercial sector of the real estate industry. So, instead of houses, commercial real estate agents sell properties to businesses. These can include office spaces, industrial spaces, retail shops, hotels, and others.
This type of real estate career requires you to have analytical knowledge in business and finance. This is because commercial agents work with data like gross rent multipliers, capitalization rates, and internal rates of return.
Similar to residential real estate agents, their commercial counterparts also work on commission. So, they make a percentage of the sales price of real estate property in the transaction. This means that agents who find more leads and close more deals make more money. However, overall, commercial real estate agents tend to make more than double the salary of residential realtors.
5. Real Estate Broker
A broker and agent are two very similar types of real estate jobs. The only difference, however, is who they work for. Essentially, real estate agents sign with a brokerage. Real estate agents, therefore, work for real estate brokers. On the other hand, brokers have the option to either work independently or start their own brokerage.
Whether this real estate career would suit you will depend on your nature and skills. If you have an entrepreneurial drive and would like to run your own business, you should consider becoming a real estate broker.
How to get into real estate as a broker depends on your state’s requirements. In most cases, you must spend one to three years working as a real estate agent first before you can apply for a broker license. You may also be required to complete a training course and pass the broker licensing examination.
Based on data from Indeed.com and Salary.com, the average real estate broker is able to make around $110,000 per year, split between $68,000 as a base salary and $42,000 in commissions.
Tips to Succeed as a Real Estate Broker
To get started or give your career as a broker a boost, you can try the Mashvisor’s Mashboard. This real estate CRM platform allows you to find qualified leads, manage existing leads, add your listings for additional exposure to investors, and find property owner data. You can manage your entire real estate business from a single platform.
6. Real Estate Developer
Developing properties is yet another of the top real estate careers. Real estate developers are those who buy land and build real estate on it. This includes everything from small multi family real estate properties for families to office buildings for corporations.
A real estate developer is responsible for planning and coordinating the construction of these buildings, financing them, and bringing in a team to execute the plan. This means that real estate developers also work with architects, engineers, contractors, construction teams, leasing agents, and other professionals covering different aspects of the property.
Typically, anyone looking to become a real estate developer must have at least a four-year degree in studies such as Civil Engineering, Architecture, Urban Planning, or Business Real Estate. Moreover, you need to have a good understanding of the economy, the real estate market, planning processes, and finances.
Having skills in multitasking, interpersonal communications, and project management is also necessary to excel in this career path.
As for your real estate salary as a developer, it’ll depend on a number of things, like years of experience, the company you work for, and the type of real estate properties you build. Talent.com reports an average nationwide rate of $115,000 per year.
7. Real Estate Wholesaler
Real estate wholesaling is one of the best real estate careers for making money quickly without a long-term commitment to an investment property.
Here’s how to wholesale real estate properties step by step:
- Find a distressed property whose owners are motivated to sell quickly
- Convince the property owner to sell the property and put it under contract
- Market the property using both online and offline strategies
- Find a buyer and sell the property for profits
Unlike a house flipper—a real estate job we’ll discuss next—a real estate wholesaler does not need to implement any fixes and repairs to the property.
Nevertheless, wholesaling is not a passive source of real estate income. You need to actively search for property sellers and property buyers and tirelessly market the house until you find a good deal. There is a strict deadline by which you have to be able to find a buyer in order to make money from the deal.
The great thing about real estate wholesaling is that it allows you to get into real estate if you don’t have the financial means to go for another career path, like investing in rental properties for sale. This is one of the best career opportunities in real estate for you if you have an eye for distressed properties and strong negotiation skills. It’ll take some time, but it can reap significant rewards if done correctly.
According to ZipRecruiter, most wholesalers make between $60,000 and $102,000.
How to Succeed as a Real Estate Wholesaler
If you need some extra help when getting started, you can use the Mashvisor Mashboard to search for property owners and their contact information. Using AI, this tool helps you evaluate which owners are most likely to be selling their property in the near future. As soon as you find the most probable home sellers, you can email or call them to start the process.
8. House Flipper
Fix-and-flip is yet another popular way to get into real estate and build a career in the industry. Unlike wholesaling, this strategy entails making serious renovations to the house before selling it. Moreover, you actually need to buy and own the property in the short term while fixing and repairing it.
The process looks like this:
- Find a distressed property selling under market value
- Figure out the repairs you’ll need to make and the after-repair value (ARV)
- Negotiate a good price with the owner
- Buy the property
- Renovate the house
- Market the property, find a buyer, and sell
As a house flipper, you’ll need to have contacts within the industry, as renovating a property requires an entire team. Moreover, you need good management and coordination skills.
ZipRecruiter reports that the average income for real estate flipping is $78,000.
How to Succeed as a House Flipper
House flippers can use the Mashvisor Mashboard to search for property owners with low-value homes who are likely to sell soon. They can become a good source of properties to buy. In addition, house flippers can target probable home sellers with the properties they’ve renovated, as home sellers will probably need to replace their homes with better ones.
9. Property Manager
As mentioned, there are real estate investors who invest in rental properties passively and don’t want to manage them themselves. Instead, they hire professional property management to take care of their investment.
As a property manager, you ensure the financial and physical well-being of the real estate property and the happiness of the tenants. Some property owners would like to be somewhat involved, while others will leave all decisions and actions to you.
To become a property manager, in most US states, you need to have a broker license. You also need to have customer service skills, managerial skills, and the ability to solve problems on the go.
In addition, if you’re interested in a property management career, you’ll need a reasonable understanding of finances, marketing, facility operations, and documenting important information.
Salary.com estimates that the average real estate salary for residential property managers in the US is $71,000.
Tips to Succeed as a Property Manager
To grow your career as a property manager, you can use the Mashvisor Property Finder to help your existing clients find new long term and short term rental properties to invest in. Once they buy a new property, they will most likely entrust its management to you.
10. Real Estate Attorney
Real estate attorneys are professionals who apply their skills to the legalities behind property disputes. For example, when there’s an issue with the title, documentation, or transfers, the attorney’s job is to step in and settle the tension. Lawyers are most helpful when providing clients with guidance during the transaction process to ensure the sale is legal.
To become a real estate attorney, you need extensive education. You have to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, pass the LSAT, earn a Juris Doctor degree, and then pass the bar exam. This process could generally take six to eight years to complete. Then, you need to spend another two years of accumulating experience as a lawyer.
Becoming a real estate attorney will earn you an even more impressive salary of $160,000 per year, according to Salary.com.
11. Home Inspector
A home inspector examines real estate properties for any defects or issues that will cause problems for the buyer, seller, or agent. Inspections are a critical part of real estate sales. This is because a home inspector helps point out any faults and blemishes that might go otherwise unseen.
The requirements to become a home inspector are different in each state. Some do not require a license but need you to undergo proper training in real estate. As a home inspector, you need to be familiar with roofing, wall structure, plumbing, and electricity, to name a few. That’s why most home inspectors seek out trusted training before they jump into this type of real estate career.
Glassdoor estimates that the average base salary for a home inspector is $98,000 per year.
12. Real Estate Appraiser
An appraiser and an inspector are two distinct careers in real estate. Real estate appraisers are professionals who determine the value of properties. Becoming a real estate appraiser means you need to know how to value properties based on their characteristics and how they compare to similar properties. This means conducting a competitive market analysis.
To become a real estate appraiser, you need an appraiser’s license, which requires 75 hours of basic appraiser education and passing a state exam. Since you’ll be working in finance and economics with this career in real estate, having an educational background in these areas would be helpful.
Moreover, you have the option to work independently or with a larger enterprise to appraise commercial properties.
According to Glassdoor, the real estate salary for appraisers is $105,000 per year.
13. Leasing Agent
If becoming a leasing agent is your real estate career path of choice, then you’ll be working directly with property owners to find the perfect tenant to lease their rental properties. You’ll have the choice of working in either the residential sector (leasing to individual tenants) or the commercial sector (leasing to businesses).
Because you’ll be working with both owners and tenants, you need great interpersonal communication skills. There’s going to be a lot of face-to-face time with both, so you must know how to navigate negotiations and conversations. An additional understanding of marketing and promotion will help you excel in this type of real estate career.
You can expect to make $48,000 per year on average, according to Salary.com.
14. Real Estate Assistant
Real estate assistants provide administrative support to agents and brokers. An assistant’s job includes filing documents, answering phone calls, and posting property listings. While this real estate career doesn’t sound glamorous, assistants are an important part of any real estate operation. Realtors agree that assistants are irreplaceable and necessary to grow their business.
You don’t need a real estate license to be an assistant, but you need to have in-depth understanding of how the real estate industry works. This will help you perform your responsibilities quickly and efficiently. This is also one of the best real estate careers if you want to get hands-on experience working with an agent.
Salary.com reports an average salary of $32,000.
15. Real Estate Marketing Specialist
Those searching for a real estate career that doesn’t include interacting with buyers or sellers can consider getting a job as a real estate marketing specialist. These are professionals who execute the marketing duties for real estate agents and brokers.
Their goal is essentially to get a brand seen by the public. This includes managing social media, creating digital content, developing printed materials, writing campaign emails, and managing the overall brand. Without them, real estate businesses will have a hard time generating leads.
You will make around $55,000 per year, on average, according to Salary.com.
16. Real Estate Consultant
If you’ve worked in real estate for many years and are confident that you have sufficient knowledge of the industry, becoming a real estate consultant is your best option. Consultants are professionals who provide advice to real estate investors or companies interested in buying properties.
Their knowledge also allows them to make housing market predictions to help investors reach their goals.
You can expect to make around $65,000, according to Salary.com.
17. Real Estate Loan Officer
A real estate loan officer helps clients obtain a mortgage loan to buy a property. They collaborate with buyers to finance their purchase within their budget.
To get a job as a real estate loan officer, you must be registered with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, and in order to register, you must meet the qualifications. In addition, you must also have knowledge of finance as you’ll be helping clients navigate the financial waters of their real estate purchases.
ZipRecruiter estimates the average real estate salary for a loan officer to be $59,000.
18. Mortgage Broker
If you’re good with people and numbers, you might have a future as a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker serves as an intermediary between the lender and the borrower and doesn’t actually loan any money. Mortgage brokers are contractors who analyze mortgage loan products and advise customers on loan availability, qualification requirements, interest rates, and terms.
To join this type of real estate career, you need to:
- Undergo the pre-licensing mortgage broker training
- Pass the SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test
- Apply for a mortgage broker license
- Obtain a mortgage broker bond
- Develop a network of lenders and buyers
- Continue your education on mortgage lending
According to Salary.com, the average salary for a mortgage broker is $89,000.
19. PropTech Entrepreneur
Another relatively new real estate career is being a PropTech entrepreneur. This entails starting a software company that develops products serving the needs of various real estate professionals. You can focus on the residential or commercial real estate market.
To become a PropTech entrepreneur, you should have an education in software engineering, business administration, or other fields. The key is to build the right team that can take your product ideas to fruition, market them, and sell them.
While this job starts very actively when you’re building your startup, it has the potential to turn into a passive source of income once you’ve grown enough.
The salary can vary widely, from a few thousand dollars in the first few years to billions per year if your company grows and goes public.
Getting Started With the Best Real Estate Career
So, if you were wondering, “Is real estate a good career path?” The answer is yes, mostly for the wide diversity and the many options that it offers. In addition, depending on the job you choose, your experience, and your professionalism, you can make significantly above the average salary in the US market.
While the real estate career you will choose is a personal decision, investing in long term and short term rentals is generally a good idea for the many benefits it offers. Most importantly, you can make money both in the short term (through rental income) and the long term (through appreciation).
Another great thing about becoming a real estate investor is the range of tools you can use to help your analysis and investment. With the Mashvisor Market Finder and Property Finder, you can locate the top cities and the best properties for sale in a matter of minutes. With the paltform’s long term and short term rental property calculator, you can ensure positive cash flow and good return on investment before buying a property.
If you opt for vacation rentals, the Dynamic Pricing feature can help you optimize nightly rates for maximum Airbnb rental income as well as cap rate and cash on cash return.
To find out how Mashvisor can help you make profitable real estate investment decisions in the US market, schedule a demo with our team.