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Real Estate

The Breakdown

If you’re on the lookout for a fun, fast-paced and challenging career (and major), perhaps you should look no further than real estate. While it is a competitive and tumultuous industry, real estate also holds the promise of financial reward, regular escape from the office cubicle (never overrated) and high job satisfaction. After all, what’s more gratifying than helping someone find their dream home?

As an academic discipline, real estate is often interdisciplinary combining coursework in economics, urban planning, architecture and even environmental science and sociology. Certainly, as a real estate major you’ll receive a firm foundation in business, especially as it pertains to the housing market. You will study topics like risk analysis, investment strategy and portfolio construction. Moreover, you’ll learn about the rules and regulations regarding land use and the affect that markets have on property values. To round out your education, you’ll also likely take a few classes in urban and architectural history. Those courses will give you an understanding of community development and appreciation for the aesthetics of your chosen field.

Of course, real estate requires more than book smarts. Indeed, communication is incredibly important. As you’ll soon learn, it’s imperative to be a confident and persuasive speaker. It’s also helpful to be a good listener (trust us – your clients will appreciate that) and to be detail oriented. Finally, the ability to remain calm in the face difficult locks or screaming alarms will do wonders (at least for your nerves).

Nuts and Bolts

Real estate students take classes which cover a wide variety of social and economic issues including: Critical Issues of Urban Development, Real Estate Valuation, Class, Power and Decision Making in the City, Sustainable Development, Real Estate Finance, Investments: Theory and Practice, Geographic Information Systems, Real Estate Law, Mortgage Banking, Non-Profit Housing Development and Public Regulation of Land Use.

Decisions, Decisions

Real estate majors are clearly enamored with business, buildings and the business of building. Therefore, they also sometimes consider studying accounting, business administration, economics, finance, hotel management, architecture, entrepreneurship, marketing, interior design and landscape architecture.

What's Next

A real estate major allows for a potential bevy of exciting career options. Naturally, many graduates seek employment as a traditional agent (and perhaps ultimately broker), working in the private housing market. Using their knowledge of zoning, tax laws, etc, they assist clients in finding the best property and neighborhoods for said client’s needs. Of course, they also act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, help secure financing and arrange all necessary paperwork. Beyond individual residences, those in real estate can also work for companies that buy, sell and lease both land and commercial properties. Additionally, they might set out to become a property manager. It’s also quite common for companies to hire real estate majors to scout, purchase and develop land and/or properties for commercial use. Finally, a handful of graduates score government gigs, helping to purchase land for such things as highway construction, pipeline work or oil exploration.


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Don Munce