A successful real estate team requires a wide variety of people with different expertise and backgrounds. People with diverse skills can discover a great career in real estate. There is not one single career path that predicts success in this industry. For example, there are real estate companies that have their own general contracting firm which makes them capable of developing the project cost effectively while managing the project in house. This means that people with construction, civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering are involved in real estate companies. On the other side, on a development team there are architects, interior designers, financial analysts, data analysts and marketing specialists. Real estate companies either self-manage their own assets or hire a third-party management company to provide services that meet the owner’s goals and objectives. Broadly, these job functions fall into the following categories: finance/accounting; talent development/human resources; legal/risk management/safety; sales/marketing and communication.
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Often-overlooked as it relates to a real estate career is that of finance. Commercial real estate finance and residential real estate finance are the main categories from which to choose. Commercial real estate finance usually involves financing for multi-family homes, shopping centers, industrial and office properties. Residential real estate finance, on the other hand, involves financing for private/individual homes. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the real estate finance industry currently employs over 280,000 individuals across the United States. Companies in which real estate finance professionals work include mortgage brokers, mortgage companies, life insurance companies, commercial banks, and thrifts. The commercial mortgage industry also includes professionals such as portfolio lenders, issuers, Investors, high yield debt and investment, and servicers.
Finding, motivating and retaining top talent has become essential in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Real estate firms continue to elevate the importance of “getting the right people in the right spots at the right time.” The role of human resources and talent development is essential. Motivating, rewarding and retaining outstanding talent has become one of real estate CEOs’ top priorities (No. 4 of the top 12). Nearly 60 percent of public and 38 percent of private real estate firms surveyed in the 2015 NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Compensation Survey (conducted by CEL & Associates, Inc.) are now developing formal talent management plans, which may include new recruitment techniques, core competency hiring practices, a robust onboarding process, mentorship, a comprehensive training program, career development, performance scorecards, employee recognition, updated compensation practices and year-round team-building activities. As real estate firms look to the future, it will be important to remember that nothing in the real estate industry gets done — value is not created, nor is success achieved — without great talent. The need to upgrade capabilities in order to remain competitive will mandate a more robust talent management plan. It will also require an empowered human resources director to “get it done.” Planning for and attending to one’s team of talented professionals will be a team initiative. Without talent, success will be an elusive goal.
The increasing complexity of real estate development, acquisition, ownership, and management puts real estate companies and investors in need of legal services. Some law firms (or lawyers) provide real estate advice as part of an array of client services. From the negotiations on buying or selling a property or a portfolio of properties, to devising the terms of sales or lease contracts, representing the developer before public agencies, interpreting zoning and building codes, litigating and much more. Risk management is a critical component of real estate property management. Part of risk management is managing the documentation and record keeping. Real estate is a very transaction intensive business. Transactions can range in size and complexity. The fact that a transaction is smaller doesn't make those transactions less important and it doesn't reduce the risk involved in doing them. As a property manager, you're contracting with an owner to market and rent their property, collect the rents and remit them to the owner, and to manage the property, from maintenance to tenant rules enforcement. In doing this, you're transacting with owners, tenants, repair companies, advertising media, contractors and others. Each and every one of these transactions introduces some risk into the business. It's not necessarily a lot of risk in each case, but it is cumulative. Part of mitigating risk is providing a safe and healthy environment for the workers. Work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are costly to everyone. A safe and healthy work environment pays, in more ways than one. At $170 billion a year nationwide, the direct and indirect costs of work injuries and illnesses equal those of cancer, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Many companies have a key person in this role that serves as Chief Safety Officer. Work injuries and illnesses can affect every aspect of life for workers and their families. These are only financial costs. There's no way to know the value of the quality of life lost to injuries and illnesses. A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business. Plus, protecting workers is the right thing to do. The cost of injury prevention is far less than the cost of an injury. A safe and healthy workplace attracts and retains quality employees. It's an asset to a community, operates more efficiently and enjoys a healthy bottom line. The business and the workers thrive in a safe, healthy, respectful and caring environment. The Safety Officer establishes programs and implementation procedures to ensure safety at all costs.
Real estate is a people business and the way you communicate has a big impact on your success. There is another adage that is equally popular in real estate: “nothing happens until a sale is made,” which is why communication, sales and marketing are paramount in the real estate industry. Real estate companies hire individuals with these skills to work on a variety of projects that can range from marketing and leasing on a single asset or for multiple properties and portfolios. Corporate communications are essential to investor relations, property management, talent development as well as to the tenants that occupy these buildings. Depending on the size of the company, there may be an entire team devoted to corporate communications and marketing or one individual that serves as a liaison between the real estate company and a third-party marketing or public relations firm. As head of the marketing department, the director oversees all communications, public relations and promotional activities selected to support the brand and marketing strategy. This includes design, production and distribution of print materials such as brochures, ads and direct response plus radio and television spots needed for broadcast campaigns. In line with the need to keep the brand in front of the target audience, the marketing director manages press relations, speaking engagements, special events and community outreach activities. Website maintenance, social media participation and trade show exhibitions represent additional tasks required of a marketing department. The marketing director typically supervises a staff of professionals and serves as an internal consultant to any business units within the corporation. Staying informed about marketing trends and monitoring industry changes helps marketing directors maintain their firm's competitiveness. As keeper of the brand, the director often attends client presentations and helps prepare request for proposals (RFPs), used to attract new business. Successful marketing directors in the real estate industry juggle multiple projects at once in a fast-paced work environment, and often under several supervisors. Well organized with strong customer-service, writing and presentation skills, real estate marketing directors have technical proficiency in a variety of software programs, including those integral to desktop publishing and website maintenance. An ability to lead the marketing team and work with vendors, round out the skills necessary for the position.
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