If you are passionate about buying and selling homes, you might be a good candidate for a position as a real estate broker. It doesn’t just take determination and drive to join this career. You might need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field to become a broker. An undergraduate degree in finance can teach you the fundamentals of business, accounting and economics that can prepare you for a successful career as a real estate broker.
The job duties of a real estate broker
The career of a real estate broker is ideal for individuals who want to work with the public. It’s also a good choice for those who are interested in helping people. Even though many states do not require home buyers and sellers to work with a broker, a majority opt to do so. Brokers offer buyers and sellers advice about real estate market trends, mortgage rates, and negotiation tips.
What does a real estate broker do? These professionals perform many tasks and assist with the buying and selling processes in various ways. The many duties of a real estate broker include:
- Holding open houses
- Taking prospective buyers to see different properties
- Providing clients with advice on prices and market conditions
- Working with clients to develop a competitive purchase price
- Presenting buyers’ offers to sellers
- Overseeing negotiations between the buyer and seller
- Preparing loyalty contracts, deeds, purchase agreements, and other real estate documents
The difference between brokers and sales agents
You might have heard the terms “broker” and “agent” used synonymously. Although these two job titles have very similar goals and duties, there is one major difference between a real estate broker and a real estate agent. Unlike agents, brokers’ licenses allow them to run their own businesses rather than selling real estate as part of a broker’s practice.
As a broker or agent, it’s essential that you renew your state license every two to four years. To do so, you may need to enroll in classes and participate in training sessions to reflect your professional development. You can choose from plenty of online real estate courses that are approved by your state’s real estate licensing commission.
How to become a real estate broker
You cannot become a broker immediately. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will need one to three years of experience as a licensed real estate agent to obtain your broker’s license. You will also be required to either complete a variety of formal training courses or earn a bachelor’s degree. The exact rules for how to become a broker are specific to individual states’ regulations.
Brokers’ work environments and hours
According to the BLS, 56 percent of real estate brokers are self-employed, while 39 percent work for a real estate, rental, and leasing organization. The size of workplaces in which real estate agents conduct their business range from a one-person, self-employed firm to a large-scale business with branch locations around the country. The atmosphere of their work changes on a day-to-day basis. Like employees in other professions, brokers perform a lot of their job functions at a desk, either in a traditional office or out of their own home. However, real estate brokers might spend hours at a time away from their desks, performing face-to-face business at open houses, private showings, and meetings with clients.
Some real estate brokers have the flexibility to work on a part-time basis. However, many brokers work more than 40 hours a week, often in the evening and weekend. They need to work around their clients’ schedules, though they have the freedom to perform other job duties with their own set schedule.
Real estate broker job and salary outlooks
As the millennial generation enters the housing market, the demand for real estate professionals is projected to rise 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. Typically, cities and towns that are expected to experience a rise in rentals and residential property sales are likely to require the largest number of new agents and brokers.
Real estate brokers’ earnings vary, as many work on a part-time basis. However, the BLS reports that the median annual salary for brokers is $56,730. The lowest 10 percent earn a median of approximately $24,160, while the highest 10 percent of brokers earn a median of over $151,660. Brokers earn a majority of their wages on commission, so they typically start to earn more once they gain experience.
How a degree in finance can help you become a broker
What jobs can you get with a finance degree? This degree can help brokers develop the problem-solving skills and analytical prowess necessary to succeed in the real estate business. In addition, brokers can use their understanding of marketing, operations management, and business communications to launch, promote, and run their own brokerage firms.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in finance
Even if a bachelor’s degree is not a formal requirement to become a Realtor, it can pay to consider an online Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business. This program can help you gain the fundamental knowledge of financial management that you need to become a successful broker. In addition, the Collat School of Business requires its finance students to take a course about the principles of real estate.
Becoming a profitable real estate broker starts with the right foundational knowledge. If you’d like to learn more about the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Bachelor of Science in Finance degree, get in touch with an enrollment advisor today.