32 Real Estate Careers for a Fulfilling Side Hustle or Full-Time Gig

October 19th, 2020
32 Real Estate Careers for a Fulfilling Side Hustle or Full-Time Gig

Becoming an agent is one of the most popular real estate careers today, with an estimated 2 million active licenses in the U.S. However, there are plenty of other careers in real estate out there if you’re not sure that the agent’s life is right for you. Below we’ve outlined our 32 picks for the best real estate careers that could make a great part-time side hustle or full-time job. We’ve included average salaries and requirements for each position to help you understand your options.

32 Real Estate Careers + Expected Salary and Requirements

1. Residential Real Estate Agent

First up is the residential real estate agent. Though there are many specialties, residential real estate agents usually deal in single-family homes. They help to list and market the home, arrange open houses and showings, and conduct market research to help with pricing. Residential real estate agents can work on behalf of the buyer or the seller (or at times, both). They must be skilled at negotiating terms on behalf of their clients.

  • Requirements: 60–150 hours of pre-licensing courses (depending on the state) and passing the real estate licensing exam
  • Average National Salary: $73,000

2. Commercial Real Estate Agent

Commercial real estate agents are similar to residential agents, but for business properties instead of homes. Because there are much fewer commercial sales when compared to home sales, and because the deals tend to take much longer to close, this position requires more specialized training in data analysis and market research. Commission rates tend to be higher and commercial agents work more regular hours than residential.

  • Requirements: Similar to residential agents, you will need to take a certain number of hours of pre-licensing classes and then pass a licensing exam.
  • Average National Salary: $64,000

3. Landlord

Becoming a landlord can be either an active or a passive role, depending on how involved you want to be. Landlords own residential properties and lease them out to tenants to live in, making a profit off of the monthly rent. Landlords are responsible for a plethora of tasks to make sure the property stays in a fit living condition. Some landlords choose to care for the property and search for tenants themselves, while others hire agents and property managers to take care of these tasks for them.

  • Requirements: None, besides being able to afford to buy a rental property
  • Average National Salary: $73,000

4. Property Manager

As the title would imply, property managers are in charge of the day-to-day management of a property. This includes addressing any tenant concerns like maintenance requests or noise complaints, making sure the trash is removed and outdoor common areas remain clear, and keeping up-to-date on tenant-landlord laws and building codes. Some property managers work full-time caring for multiple properties, while others are responsible for just one small property as supplemental income.

  • Requirements: These vary widely by state, but most areas require property managers to complete pre-licensing courses and earn either an agent’s license or specific property management license.
  • Average National Salary: $47,000

5. Real Estate Investor

illustration of real estate investor

Real estate investment involves purchasing properties and later selling them to make a profit. This can take many forms, such as a landlord who earns rent and later sells the home to their tenant, house-flippers who purchase failing homes, repair them, and sell them for a greater profit, or simply buying a property in a high-value area and waiting until it increases even more in value before selling.

  • Requirements: The only requirement is enough capital to purchase property, but most investors also have an educational background in finance or business.
  • Average National Salary: $124,000

6. Real Estate Broker

Real estate brokers have more education and experience than agents, earning a broker’s license from the state they operate in. Brokerages employ agents and work to supervise the buying and selling process to make sure everything is conducted by the book. Brokers will typically handle the more complex parts of real estate deals on behalf of their agents.

  • Requirements: Two to three years of experience working as an agent followed by additional, broker-specific courses and passing the state broker’s exam
  • Average National Salary: $100,000

7. Real Estate Developer

Developers take a project from start to finish by purchasing the land, overseeing the building and construction of the property, and eventually selling the property to a landlord or investor. Real estate developers can work in both the commercial and residential space, and there are many levels within this field depending on if you work for yourself or a larger company.

  • Requirements: There are no specific requirements, but typically developers will earn their real estate license, have previous experience in the field as a broker or agent, and hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in finance or urban planning.
  • Average National Salary: $73,000

8. Real Estate Attorney

Attorneys who specialize in real estate will help create and review the documentation on mortgages, title transfers, purchase agreements, and more. Real estate attorneys can work in either the commercial or residential areas and may consult from their own practice or work in-house for a large firm. You’ll often see real estate attorneys attend property closings with their clients to review the final agreement.

  • Requirements: The standard route to earning a J.D. degree and passing the bar exam. Some real estate lawyers may choose to earn additional certificates or master’s degrees specializing in real estate.
  • Average National Salary: $100,000

9. Real Estate Wholesaler

Wholesalers typically work with the owners of distressed homes who don’t have the resources to fix them up. Wholesalers will make a deal with the homeowner to buy at a certain rate, then find a different buyer who is interested at a higher-than-agreed-upon price. The owner sells their home for the agreed-upon price, the new buyer gets a valuable fix and flip opportunity, and the wholesaler keeps the difference as profit.

  • Requirements: High school diploma, though it can be helpful to obtain your real estate license as well
  • Average National Salary: $79,000

10. Residential Appraiser

illustration of residential appraiser

Appraisers are hired to inspect a property and compare it to similar properties in a market to determine its value. Because they are hired as a third party, estimates are unbiased and based on market research. Residential appraisers will conduct a thorough inspection of a home or rental property before it is sold or mortgaged and put their findings into a report for the interested party, such as a lending institution.

  • Requirements: 75 hours of courses to become a trainee appraiser, then a state-specific number of hours working under a licensed appraiser, followed by or in conjunction with college courses depending on the level of appraiser you want to reach (some require Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees in specific fields)
  • Average National Salary: $63,000

11. Commercial Appraiser

Commercial appraisers do similar work to residential appraisers, but again, given the increased complexities of the commercial real estate market, the work is often more in-depth. Commercial appraisers research additional public and zoning records in addition to comparing the property within the market.

  • Requirements: The same as to become a residential appraiser, but becoming a commercial appraiser requires the highest level of appraiser license available, the Certified General Appraiser license. This requires a Bachelor’s degree, additional coursework and training hours, and passing the general appraiser exam.
  • Average National Salary: $60,000

12. Home Inspector

Not to be confused with a home appraiser, a home inspector is typically hired by a potential buyer or investor to evaluate the safety and overall quality of a home. Home inspectors will look at things like the plumbing, electrical work, sewage, heat, and any water damage to make sure the home is being represented accurately by the seller. Home inspection reports allow the potential buyer to be sure they are making a good investment.

  • Requirements: High school diploma and, depending on your state, you will need to take a required amount of pre-licensing courses and then pass the home inspector exam
  • Average National Salary: $61,000

13. Real Estate Administrative Assistant

Real estate administrative assistants usually work as the first line of contact in a broker’s office and assist the real estate agents in their day-to-day tasks. Duties for this role may include scheduling meetings with clients, helping to organize events like open houses, preparing documents, making travel plans for agents, and any number of other administrative tasks.

  • Requirements: High school diploma
  • Average National Salary: $35,000

14. Leasing Agent

Leasing agents work on behalf of landlords and property owners to find tenants to fill rental vacancies. Day-to-day duties include taking tenants on tours of the property, reaching out to likely tenants, conducting background checks and screenings, and overall making sure the tenants will be a good fit for the unit.

  • Requirements: High school diploma, and some states require leasing agents to take specific courses and pass a leasing licensing exam
  • Average National Salary: $32,000

15. Real Estate Consultant

illustration of a real estate consultant

A real estate consultant works with larger clients to determine if their potential investment would be a good idea. Though you can work as an individual consultant, many work for real estate consulting firms. The firms advise real estate developers and investors by researching regional and local trends, conducting site visits, meeting with city government, and other tasks in order to compile accurate reports and recommendations.

  • Requirements: High school education, though many in this field choose to earn a Bachelor’s in finance along with their real estate license
  • Average National Salary: $80,000

16. Real Estate Marketing Manager

Real estate marketing managers help to advertise and publicize the services of a brokerage and its agents. They will execute marketing campaigns across a wide variety of channels, including social media, email newsletters, PR, and paid ads. Depending on the size of the brokerage, they may work alone or as part of a marketing team. In addition to helping agents attract new clients, marketing managers will also help to engage current clients and keep in touch with past clients.

  • Requirements: High school education, though people in this position usually have a Bachelor’s degree in marketing
  • Average National Salary: $51,000

17. Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokers work as the middlemen between banks and people seeking a new or refinanced mortgage. The brokers will work with the homeowners to shop around for the institution that offers the best deal for them, and will handle the paperwork involved with applying for the loan. Mortgage brokers are often paid a fee by the lending institution and/or will charge a fee to the homeowners’ for their services.

  • Requirements: High school education, completion of 20 hours of pre-licensing courses, and completion of the NMLS (nationwide multistate licensing system) exam
  • Average National Salary: $77,000

18. Mortgage Credit Analyst

Credit analysts are employed by the lending institution, such as banks and credit card companies, to assess whether or not the loan applicant will be able to repay the loan. Mortgage credit analysts deal specifically with people seeking a new or refinanced mortgage. The analyst will look at the applicant’s credit history and make a recommendation to the lending institution on whether or not they should be approved for the loan.

  • Requirements: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or business
  • Average National Salary: $62,000

19. Mortgage Loan Officer

Mortgage loan officers work for lending institutions by assisting potential borrowers with the application process. They’ll walk applicants through the options offered by the lender and help them fill out the necessary paperwork. Mortgage loan officers are different from mortgage brokers in that they only work for one lender, while brokers help borrowers shop around to many different lenders.

  • Requirements: 20 hours of pre-licensing courses and completion of the SAFE MLO test. Many mortgage loan officers also have Bachelor’s degrees in finance.
  • Average National Salary: $74,000

20. Commercial Leasing Manager

illustration of a commercial leasing manager

Commercial leasing managers work for real estate investment firms or property management companies by finding and reviewing lease applications for available properties. Commercial leasing managers will conduct market research to make sure properties are priced accurately, and will also handle the paperwork and process for negotiating lease agreements.

  • Requirements: High school diploma and real estate license
  • Average National Salary: $65,000

21. Foreclosure Specialist

Foreclosure specialists are in charge of managing everything about the foreclosure process for a home. They will work with homeowners to adjust mortgage rates to avoid foreclosure, or, if this isn’t possible, they will oversee the process of transferring ownership including preparing documents, meeting with lawyers, obtaining title records, and making sure everything is in compliance with local, state, and federal laws.

  • Requirements: High school diploma, and many also have Bachelor’s degrees in finance or legal fields and/or prior experience in the real estate industry
  • Average National Salary: $42,000

22. Corporate Real Estate Manager

Corporate real estate managers are hired to work on behalf of companies with major real estate presences. For example, corporate real estate managers could work with companies that have hundreds of warehouses and distribution centers or companies that employ thousands of workers in one huge building. Corporate real estate managers will work to find these types of companies new spaces and maintain relationships with building owners and management.

  • Requirements: Previous experience in the real estate industry, and many in the corporate real estate world also have Bachelor’s degrees in business administration or finance
  • Average National Salary: $79,000

23. Community Development Manager

Community development managers work alongside local government to address the structural needs of an area in order to best meet the needs of the local population. Community development managers will identify construction projects that would benefit the community and that work within the city’s budget, make sure zoning laws and regulations are up to date, meet with engineers and architects to oversee construction, and many other development tasks.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, community development, or a related field
  • Average National Salary: $53,000

24. Escrow Officer

Escrow officers are usually appointed by the mortgage officer as an unbiased third-party that helps make sure the mortgage transaction is carried out correctly when buying a home. Escrow officers work on behalf of both the buyer and the seller to make sure that all documentation is accurate and that the terms of the deal work for both sides.

  • Requirements: Pass the state licensing exam and obtain specialized certifications
  • Average National Salary: $55,000

25. Compliance Specialist

illustration of a compliance specialist

Compliance specialists or officers in the real estate industry will often work for development firms. Compliance specialists make sure that everything the company does is in compliance with all outside legal requirements in addition to any internal policies. When working on a new development, the compliance specialist will help to ensure that the company is taking all legal precautions with worker’s rights, zoning laws, local regulations, and more.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business management, or economics
  • Average National Salary: $52,000

26. Land Administration Manager

Land administration managers handle the documentation and communication when it comes to disseminating land contracts. If a customer wants to buy a piece of land from a company for their own development purposes, the land administration manager will help oversee that process and serve as a liaison between both parties.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in finance, urban planning, civil engineering, or related fields along with state certification
  • Average National Salary: $86,000

27. Retail Real Estate Manager

Retail real estate managers oversee the leasing, selling, and purchasing of retail property including individual storefronts or larger spaces like shopping malls. The retail real estate manager acts as the point of communication between the building owner or landlord and any potential buyers or tenants. They also help ensure that the property is being maintained and works to resolve any disputes between the landlords and tenants.

  • Requirements: Retail is a type of commercial real estate, so the requirements are similar. Agents or managers will need to take a certain number of hours of pre-licensing courses and then pass the state licensing exam.
  • Average National Salary: $72,000

28. Title Examiner

Title examiners, also known as title searchers, usually work for insurance companies and/or brokerages. When these companies are preparing to help with the buying or selling of a home, the title examiner first needs to determine that the home can be legally sold, or that it possesses a “clear” title. They ensure this by searching through legal records and documents at banks, government agencies, previous real estate companies, and more to make sure the home is not in foreclosure.

  • Requirements: High school diploma, and many choose to embark on some sort of legal training, such as a paralegal certification
  • Average National Salary: $44,000

29. Zoning Manager

Zoning managers typically work for a real estate development company to help acquire new sites for development. They’ll help oversee the leasing, selling, or purchasing of the property to make sure the development will be within local zoning laws. Zoning managers will often work closely with local zoning administrators when getting permission to begin a new development.

  • Requirements: High school diploma, although many companies prefer to see a Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, civil engineering, or a related field
  • Average National Salary: $70,000

30. Real Estate Executive

Like executives in any field, real estate executives work at the C-suite level to direct an organization's overall operations. They’ll make decisions about new acquisitions, sales, leasing policies, site locations, loan policies, and objectives for the company as a whole.

  • Requirements: At least a Bachelor’s degree in business administration or finance, though a Master’s degree may be preferred. Executives will also have their real estate license along with 10+ years of experience in the field.
  • Average National Salary: $290,000

31. Relocation Director

Relocation directors work for a company’s corporate real estate division, and help to manage the moving process to a company’s new location, such as a new headquarters or office branch. The relocation director will oversee the budget, planning, and coordination with movers, transportation companies, and real estate agents to ensure the process goes smoothly for the employees who are moving.

  • Requirements: High school diploma, although a Bachelor’s degree in logistics may be preferred. For relocation directors working for international companies, speaking multiple languages may also be helpful.
  • Average National Salary: $93,000

32. Lease Administrator

Lease administrators work for property management or commercial real estate companies with a large portfolio of properties. The lease administrator will organize the documents related to the leasing of these properties by making sure everything is up to date and accurate for both new and existing agreements. Lease administrators will enter this data into the company database and also help keep track of tenant payments and expenses.

  • Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting
  • Average National Salary: $55,000

If you’re excited to get started on your real estate careers research, remember that RentSpree has the tools available to make your journey in this field that much easier. We help real estate professionals with the problems that matter most, finding and vetting the best applicants for their properties. Take a look at our online rental application and tenant screening services to learn more.

All salaries in this article sourced from ZipRecruiter.