What is a Master of Real Estate Degree?
A Master of Real Estate is geared toward helping real estate agents take the next step in their career, or just increase the efficiency of their current practices. This degree combines studying the economy, property value, location, finance, some architecture and urban planning to give real estate agents a more complete understanding of their craft and product, and help them make more money in the real estate market. This is a degree sought by those who wish to move up in the corporate world of real estate or work as a real estate developer. The Master of Real Estate degree is relatively new, and may be quite different at different colleges or universities.
Graduate school for real estate attracts a lot of students with bachelor’s degrees in business, because the skillsets involved in operating a business and selling real estate are complementary. Opportunities will be available for those with a Master of Real Estate in the next decade. These positions will revolve around strategic planning for real estate investors and home owners who are looking for long term homes. There are now some MBA programs that have an emphasis on real estate for this very purpose. Remember you do not need a Master of Real Estate to sell commercial or residential real estate or appraise property, but people with master’s degrees tend to make more money than those without. There are many different career paths one can take with a Master of Real Estate degree.
Primary Duties of a Real Estate Agent
Selling real estate involves a lot of networking with people, preparing properties, and researching the factors that influence property value in a particular area. Being a real estate agent is not a 9-5 desk job. The schedule is determined by the needs of clients, and the amount of work that a real estate agent does can directly affect his or her income, which comes in the form of commissions and fees per property sold. Some of the daily duties of a real estate agent might include:
- Showing Houses: This is the bread and butter of the real estate business. Showing houses to potential buyers, and explaining to them all the reasons that a house is a good investment, is how real estate agents make money. Knowing a neighborhood, and how different features (e.g. yard, garage, kitchen size) influence house value over time is key when trying to sell to a buy that is on the fence.
- Negotiating Sales: There are negotiations in every aspect of a real estate agent’s responsibilities, from making yourself the best candidate to represent a property, to nailing down the sale price and commission percentage. Being a good negotiator is the only way to make a living in real estate.
- Market Research: Finding new clients. Finding out which neighborhoods are hot right now. Plugging into all the available data about the housing market. These are the activities that make a real estate agent tick. If you like learning about a city’s ins and outs so you know how to make money dealing property there, then real estate might be the path for you.
Careers Related to Real Estate
You don’t need a master’s degree to sell real estate, so if you’re going back to school, there’s some likelihood you’re looking for a change of pace in your career. Listed below are a few jobs that people who are interested in real estate might also be interested in, and getting a master’s degree can get you a step closer to qualifying for these positions
This position involves developing properties for commercial or residential use. Most developers stick to one or the other. You may be in charge of developing a subdivision, a shopping strip or a downtown high rise. An extended background in architecture is also needed for this. Some may get their undergrad degree in architecture, gain work experience and then go back to school for a Master of Real Estate. A Master of Real Estate is beneficial as a developer because you’re able to assess the land you’re working with and gauge the market properly, giving you an edge when negotiating deals and choosing jobs to take on.
A developer has many responsibilities, which can include finding the right land for a project or making a project work on a designated piece of land. You should also be able to delegate responsibilities so a project goes as smoothly as possible and your client is happy with the work.
A city planner plans the layout for a city and any government-owned property within that city. A city planner also works on existing cities and how they can be improved, such as making facilities go green or implementing new techniques to save water, energy or other resources. City planners also work with draft zoning and play a hand in where roads are developed. This position is slated to grow a little under 20% through 2018. This is a difficult job to get, as most city planners stay in their position for a long time, but with the baby boomer generation, many will be retiring at relatively the same time. Most of these jobs will revolve around green building and public projects, such as libraries and parks. You may have an undergrad degree in city, urban or regional planning before obtaining your Master of Real Estate to snag a position as a city planner. The vast majority of city planners do have a master’s degree of some type. 66% of city planners are employed by the government.
City planning works with computers and technology in a major way, so it’s important you’re well-versed in these areas. Knowing how to use drafting software and generate spreadsheets and mathematical models will be beneficial.
Real Estate Director
In this position, you analyze property for a company or individual. These may be investment properties or potential places of business for the company or individual. This is a natural career step for those who have a background brokering deals and selling and buying real estate. You may have a bachelor’s degree in real estate or have a real estate license with a bachelor’s degree in business or finance.
This is not a booming market, but it is set to grow by 8% through the next decade. Many companies will be more careful about where they are investing their money for new places and areas of business. It is the same for individuals who buy and sell residential real estate for profit. In many cases you work for yourself, which means you must be disciplined, organized and have exceptional people skills to network and build a healthy roster of clients. Clients will need you to work according their own schedules much of the time and this may be outside of normal work hours and include weekends and holidays. This position also requires you to be comfortable with researching areas you aren’t familiar with to give your client the best assessment of a property. It also requires driving to meet clients, visiting properties with clients and doing extensive research on an area you may not be familiar with. In 2008, the average salary for property, real estate, and community association managers was $46,130.
Researching Colleges and Universities for Real Estate Degrees
Real estate brokers and sales agents have to be licensed in the U.S., which means passing a test given by an accredited testing agency. Before going back to school for a Master of Real Estate, it is important to know the requirements for becoming licensed, and to ensure that the school you pick will prepare you to earn and maintain a license. A Master of Real Estate can give you the knowledge of laws and tactics involved in real estate, but knowing your own personality traits and playing to your strengths are also crucial in this field. That said, statistics show that someone with a master’s degree will have higher overall earnings than someone without, so getting a Master of Real Estate from an accredited school could be your ticket to a better paycheck. The schools listed below are all accredited, online institutions that can help you earn a degree quickly so you can get back to earning money as soon as possible.