Career Resource Guide for Women in Real Estate
Studies show that as of May 2018, 63% of Realtors were female. Although Realtors are just one of the many types of careers under real estate, and with the employed population being primarily female, you might think that the rest of the real estate industry was full of equal opportunities. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
The same study mentions that women have been in the real estate industry since the late 1700s, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that they became brokers and agents. Despite the longevity of their career, women still face a constant battle for equality with their male coworkers.
One of the most common struggles — just as with most industries — is the wage gap. In real estate, women make on average 10% less than their male counterparts and take home 56% less in commissions and bonuses.
Women can still be empowered to take on a career in real estate, and throughout the rest of this article, you will find information on how you can get started.
Advantages for Women in Real Estate
Other than striving for equal pay and transparency in real estate, other benefits of women joining the industry include:
- Creating numerous social networking opportunities for both personal friendships and professional relationships with locals
- Fast-paced work life
- Flexible schedule
- Manageable work/life balance
Studies also show that women in real estate tend to have a higher job satisfaction rate than their male counterparts.
Real Estate Career Options
One of the many benefits of obtaining a career in real estate is knowing that there are many job titles to choose from. Having over 10 different careers to choose from can help ensure you get a job that best suits you. Let’s take a closer look at the different job titles found in real estate:
- Commercial Leasing Manager
- Commercial Real Estate Agent
- Foreclosure Specialist
- Leasing Consultant
- Mortgage Broker
- Property Managers
- Real Estate Investors
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps individuals buy and sell homes. They act as a middleman between the buyers, sellers, brokers, and more. Most real estate agents make a living based on commission and are rarely paid hourly or salary rates. Because of this, real estate agents have to sell a certain number of homes a month to make ends meet. The number of homes varies based on the agent.
The tasks of a real estate agent include:
- Answering phone calls and emails
- Scheduling showings
- Maintaining property listings
- Researching industry trends
- Staying up-to-date with real estate best practices
- Maintaining a blog and/or website
- Creating and delivering official documents
Being a real estate agent requires an individual to be exceptional at multitasking. Other skills an individual should possess if they desire to be a real estate agent include:
- Ability to negotiate
- Active listening
Real estate agents should also have a great understanding of the local area. This can help them tailor their services to their clients' needs.
Real estate appraisers, also known as "assessors," are responsible for researching the market and estimating the value of a property that is to be sold and/or purchased. Real estate appraisers will monitor various characteristics of the home — like the condition of the interior, exterior, appliances, and yard — to accurately value the property.
Common skills ideal in an appraiser include:
- Analytical thinking
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Math and business
- Organizing and time management
- Understanding of appraisal methodology
Appraisals are a must during the house-buying process. Therefore, a career as an appraiser will always be a relevant choice.
A real estate broker (also a real estate agent) is an individual who can work independently or hire a team of agents. There are three different types of real estate brokers:
- Associate broker
- Managing broker
- Principal/designated broker
A broker must also possess the same skills and characteristics as a real estate agent. However, they should also have a knack for management. This skill will help them run their real estate brokerage firm with confidence.
Commercial Leasing Manager
A commercial leasing manager is responsible for supervising operations for commercial real estate. A few of the primary responsibilities as a commercial leasing manager include:
- Assessing properties
- Completing and filing paperwork
- Conducting background checks
- Hiring and training employees
- Negotiating leasing agreements
- Researching prospective renters
Commercial leasing managers must also have excellent communication skills. This is because they talk to numerous people throughout the day — whether it be a tenant or other commercial leasing managers.
Commercial Real Estate Agent
Similar to a standard real estate agent, a commercial real estate agent helps buyers and sellers to purchase and sell a property. However, one of the main differences between the two is that commercial real estate agents focus on selling commercial properties (buildings, farmland, businesses, retail property, etc.) — whereas standard agents sell homes.
It is up to a real estate developer to plan, fund, and fulfill real estate building projects. While the developers themselves aren’t the ones doing the manual labor, they’re still responsible for overseeing the projects, ensuring they go smoothly.
Some of the tasks of a real estate developer are:
- Architecture and designing
- Ensuring buildings are up to code
- Researching industry trends
- Meeting with contractors, investors, and other developers
- Scoping out potential property sites
This is a role that has numerous responsibilities. Because of this, real estate brokers must have a keen eye for detail.
Just as it may sound, a foreclosure specialist oversees the foreclosure process for real estate properties. It is up to the foreclosure specialist to prepare documents gathered throughout the foreclosure process. Other tasks of a foreclosure specialist include:
- Communicating with vendors
- Ensuring all deadlines are met on time
- Meeting with other professionals in the industry, like mortgage holders and brokers.
Other duties of a foreclosure specialist include helping homeowners restructure their loans and helping them to avoid home foreclosure.
A leasing consultant is an individual who works on behalf of a rental property and is in charge of aiding current and future tenants with all aspects of renting a property. It is up to the leasing consultant to help tenants with everything from responding to tenant applications and requests to maintaining lease agreements and terms. Essentially, leasing consultants are there to ensure all tenants are abiding by the rules stated in the lease.
A mortgage broker is an individual who acts as the middleman between borrowers and lenders. One of their primary roles is to help the two parties agree on which property is feasible for the borrower.
An important distinction between a mortgage broker and a mortgage banker is that mortgage brokers do not use their own funds, but mortgage bankers do.
A property manager is an individual who is in charge of maintaining the daily operations of a rental. Property managers are also responsible for ensuring the tenant of the property is abiding by the lease, as well as maintaining the home. Property managers are often hired by property owners who are unable to maintain the property themselves.
They are also often in charge of following up with maintenance requests and making sure they’re completed. Because property managers deal with tenants daily, they must be patient and have great communication skills, as well as the ability to problem solve promptly.
Real Estate Investors
A real estate investor is someone who invests in various types of properties and uses the real estate for profit. A career as an investor can be lucrative as a primary source of income. Investors may choose various types of property options like rentals, historical buildings, house flipping, and vacation homes. However, investors don't need to be licensed real estate agents, or even directly buy and sell property to make money as a real estate investor. Wholesaling is a viable option that requires little capital to get started. And REITs (real estate investment trusts) and real estate stocks offer easy investment options for those just looking to get into real estate investing.
Those who wish to become real estate investors would also benefit by having an educational background in sales and/or business.
Paying for a Real Estate Degree and Training
Just as with most careers that have specific education and license requirements, paying for a degree in real estate can be costly. Earning a Bachelor’s degree in real estate can cost between $32,000 and $60,000.
Listed below are resources women in real estate can apply for to help pay for their studies.
Grants and Scholarships for Women in Real Estate
Here is a list of a few scholarships for women in real estate:
- Association of Women Contractors Scholarship
- CREW Network College Scholarship
- DOC&R Scholarship
- Mildred C. Hanson SIOR Memorial Scholarship
- NYU Women In Real Estate (WIRE) Scholarship
- Supporting Women of Real Estate Grant
Students are encouraged to research each scholarship before applying to ensure they meet the eligibility requirements. Students are also encouraged to apply for any scholarship they qualify for and if able to.
Real Estate Exams, Certifications, and Licensing
Most sales careers within real estate require an individual to obtain a certification and/or license of some kind. However, the ones that don’t, like becoming a real estate investor, can be self-taught.
Before applying, applicants are encouraged to research licensing requirements local to their area. Let’s take a look at the various exams and other requirements needed to obtain these professional documents.
Similar to prerequisites, pre-licensing courses are courses applicants will need to take before taking the courses needed to obtain a license. This entails attending various lectures, programs, and online courses to learn everything there is to know about real estate.
Applicants will want to be sure to enroll in an accredited real estate program. Pre-licensing courses cost around $350.
State Licensing Exams for Real Estate Agents
Again, each state will have its specific requirements on which exams applicants must take. However, most exams can cost between $100 and $300 to take. These exams are taken on the computer and consist of primarily multiple-choice questions.
Reach out to your local instructors to find out more about how and when to schedule an exam.
Real Estate License Application
Once you have completed and passed the required exam(s), you will then need to apply for and submit the necessary documents to receive your real estate license. This can cost upwards of $400, but prices will vary based on location. Once these steps have been completed, your license, along with other documents sent in upon request, will be mailed back to you.
Real Estate Education and Training Resources for Women
Whether you’re obtaining a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in real estate, pursuing a license, or want to get started as an investor and begin your journey there, this list of resources women can benefit you throughout your education and training.
- Exam Scholar Real Estate Exam Prep: Exam Scholar is a real estate exam prep course that individuals can sign up for at a cost of $39. They’ll have six-month access to numerous exam prep courses and more.
- National Association of Realtors (NAR): NAR is an online resource that provides those in the real estate industry with numerous forms of educational material including news, courses, webinars, and more.
- PropStream Academy: An online platform that gives users access to various courses that teach terminology, basic strategies, and step-by-step lessons on how to make the most out of PropStream and begin a career investing in real estate. Users can get a free 7-day trial before investing in the platform to ensure it is right for them.
- PropStream Real Estate Glossary Guide: A glossary full of terms frequently used in the real estate industry, equally relevant to aspiring agents as well as investors.
Visiting your local bookstore to find reading materials on real estate is also a great way to educate yourself on the industry.
Tips for Finding a Diverse Brokerage Firm
When finding a brokerage firm to work for, it is crucial to find one that promotes diversity and equal opportunities. Don’t be afraid to interview local firms to see which ones align with your commission standards and work ethic.
You can ask questions like the ones below to help vet possible firms:
- “Who has priority over high-value properties?”
- “Do you provide the same educational resources for both male and female agents?”
- “Do you offer FMLA for both men and women?”
- “In what ways do you promote diversity in your firm?”
It may be an uncomfortable feeling asking potential employers about their policies. However, doing so can help save you the hassle and gender discrimination in the long run.
Real Estate Networking and Professional Organizations for Women
Networking is crucial for any real estate agent and their success. Listed below are a few networking opportunities for women in real estate:
- CRE Internships
- Empowering Women in Real Estate
- Ladies of Real Estate
- Real Estate Network Empowering Women (RENEW)
- WIRE Women In Real Estate
- Women In Real Estate Symposium
- Women’s Real Estate Investors Network
- Women’s Real Estate Network (WREN)
Regardless of which opportunity you choose, networking can make a positive impact on your career.
General Real Estate Resources
Here are additional resources aside from the many listed above that women in real estate can utilize to help advance their careers, learn more investing opportunities and strategies, or build confidence to discover the ideal way to become involved with real estate.
No matter what career or investment pathway you choose within the real estate world, utilizing the above guide can help you along the way. Whether it provides you with educational resources or networking opportunities, following this guide can help you feel more confident as a woman in real estate.