The real estate profession offers a wide range of career opportunities. As a real estate professional, you can help people buy and sell property, whether homes, farmland, commercial or industrial property. You can also be involved in property management, land development, mortgage banking, urban planning, and real estate appraisal.
Most people begin as sales people in a brokerage firm. Other possibilities include office assistant, licensed agent assistant or rental agent, assistant in a department of a large real estate organization, or in the mortgage division of a bank or lending institution.
If you’re interested in a career at the Canadian Real Estate Association, please visit our Careers page.
Educational & Licensing Requirements
Provincial regulators establish the educational and licensing requirements for careers in the real estate industry. Generally, you’ll first be required to meet a minimum educational level. You may also have to undergo a period of supervised practical training – sometimes called “articling” – before you can be registered as a real estate professional. Licensing requirements vary across Canada, but all provinces and territories require prospective salespeople and brokers to pass a written exam.
Colleges and universities now offer a variety of real estate or related courses. At many of these colleges, students can specialize in a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree in real estate. Some universities offer graduate level courses. Contact the university or college of your choice for course information and directories.
Continuing education is also required in many provinces, and available in others so that real estate professionals stay up to date about current developments in their profession and industry.
Once a person is licensed through a province, they can then become a member of a local Board and CREA and therefore become a REALTOR®.
Helping people buy and sell homes is one of the most important and basic services a real estate agent performs. Agents are experts in the process of buying and selling property, financing options, and relocation services. The REALTOR’s® expertise helps facilitate the transaction, saving clients time and money and avoiding problems.
Commercial real estate
Commercial brokers specialize in income-producing properties, such as apartment and office buildings, retail stores and warehouses, shopping centers and industrial parks. Commercial brokers need in-depth knowledge of the property market, local economic trends, current income tax regulations and purchasing arrangements that give the buyer a greater return on investment. Commercial brokers may also help arrange financing.
Real estate appraisers
Real estate appraisers determine the value of properties. Appraisers need to know acceptable principles of appraisal and related information. They need to have practical experience, technical education, good judgment and some knowledge of mathematics, accounting and economics.
Property managers maintain properties in order to produce the highest possible financial return over the longest period of time. They are responsible for protecting the owner’s investment. Managed commercial properties are likely to be office buildings and shopping centers. Residential properties might include apartment buildings, developments, or condominiums.
Developers turn land into profitable, marketable developments of all kinds. Site selection is the first decision developers must make. Developers analyze all costs and arrange the financing. Then they contract for the physical structures and supervise construction. Finally, developers promote the finished project to either sell or lease buildings or portions of the development.
If you’re interested in the financial aspect of real estate, banks or mortgage lenders, developers, and investment funds offer a variety of career opportunities. You’ll need to develop expertise in tax law, financial regulations, and accounting and business practices. In residential real estate, the professional must know financing or mortgage options; in commercial situations these professionals will also be asked about income opportunities and productive uses of different kinds of properties.
Some urban planners also have a real estate license. They work with local governments and other civic groups to plan the growth of their city or town. Not many career guidelines exist for urban planning, but broad general experience is important.