Top 10 CRE Career Paths to Choose From

So, you’ve decided a career in commercial real estate is just what you need to find fulfillment in your work. Good for you! But there are so many CRE career paths to choose from. Which one is for you?

Commercial Real Estate

When most people hear “commercial real estate,” they immediately conjure up images of a real estate agent posting a “for sale” sign in a yard somewhere. When they finally wrap their minds around the commercial aspect, they still tend to think in terms of either brokers or developers.

But the truth is, if you want to get into commercial real estate, you have virtually endless options to make that happen. So, before you go out and start polishing up your resume and branding yourself for that perfect CRE dream job, let’s take a step back.

Just what direction should you go? What are your options?

10 CRE Career Paths

While there are literally dozens of CRE career paths, most of them fall into a handful of categories or basic fields. Some of these may fall within your goals for your career, whereas others might simply be a bad fit for your personality type.

Before deciding on a specific field to enter, be sure to take personal inventory and weigh the pros and cons of a career in commercial real estate. Then, hone in on that part of CRE that especially inspires and fascinates you. From here, you’re prepared to dive into the varied and rich paths that make up this special industry. While this list is not comprehensive, here are 10 of the top choices for CRE careers.

1. Brokerage This is probably the most well known of the CRE career paths. There are exciting opportunities to be directly involved as intermediary between both sides of transactions. Brokers sometimes also provide other services, like investment banking, research asset management, property management, and more.

2. Property Management

Generally speaking, commercial properties require rather sophisticated management services. In this field, you may carry out services like tenant relations, maintenance, budgeting and other tasks related to managing a high-value commercial asset.

3. Construction and Development

While two separate paths, construction and development professionals tend to work closely together. Entitling parcels and managing the process of building new CRE assets can be invigorating for the creative and visionary types (development) or project and process-oriented types (construction).

4. Acquisitions

Acquisition professionals manage the sourcing, analyzing, and closing tasks for acquiring new properties, whether underperforming or performing. These are properties that produce cash flows for the company acquiring them.

5. Asset Management

Those responsible for asset management focus on strategy and oversee execution of the financial, operational, and marketing aspects of commercial real estate.

6. Leasing

If an investor/developer chooses to have an in-house leasing team, the leasing individuals will have day-to-day negotiation and lease creation/oversight responsibilities for the company and coordinating strategic efforts to develop prospective tenant relationships, which could also be done alongside an external broker.

7. Accounting

Accountants will run day-to-day management of the company’s accounting operations, including financial reports, accounting records, cash flow projections, loan draws, budget analysis, and budget reforecasting.

8. Architecture and Design

While not often in-house, architect and designers will plan and design and facilitate the execution of new buildings, expansions, renovations, or interior build-outs.

9. Valuation/Appraisal

Within the various CRE career paths, there is a distinct need for valuation professionals who appraise properties for reporting purposes, as well as loan applications, strategic estimations, and more.

10. Other

Most of the disciplines above are most commonly seen on the investor/developer or owner/operator sides of the business, but you can take your career in a myriad of other directions as well, including capital markets, investor relations, lending and portfolio management for governmental entities, academia, banks or on the corporate real estate side.

While there are other CRE career paths to follow, this list represents the most common fields. And each of these paths may vary based on geography, asset class, and other factors. By carefully considering all factors, your career in commercial real estate can be profitable and fulfilling.


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