The Only Guide to Real Estate Asset Management Careers in 2019

Real estate and its investment is a valuable asset.

Real estate could be an individual buying a plot of land or a corporation investing in office buildings. Or, it could be a speculator buying undervalued homes, renovating and selling the same at an appreciation. A lot of tax and legal consequences and real estate operational factors are involved, which is where the importance of real estate asset management services becomes paramount.

In the last couple of decades, the need for real estate asset managers and portfolio builders has increased due to various factors such as economic and market trends. This growth opened the demand for professional and skilled real estate managers, handling estate needs in varying capacities.

If you’re interested in real estate and investments, pursuing a career in the real estate asset management field will be a good option. Keeping this in mind, FinanceWalk has created a complete real estate asset management guide, taking you through its various factors:

Roles and responsibilities, getting a job, salary potential, companies and education.

Let’s begin.

Real Estate Asset Management Definition

The demand for real estate asset management, also known as asset management or property management is unique to every country and multiple economic and investment essentials solidified its importance over the decades as a valuable profession.

Within real estate asset management, the tasks of operations, administration, maintenance, financial oversights and marketing are involved to achieve the objectives of the property owner. 

Real Estate Asset Management Job Description

There is no fixity to the job description. It entirely depends on the position, organisation and the nature of real estate assets.

Irrespective of the job requirements, the main objectives are to monitor property performance and maximize property revenue for the clients.

Tasks include developing property performance reports, government rules and regulations compliance, incorporating and revising lease terms and so on.

As someone working in the real estate asset management industry, adapting to emerging technology, economic trends and shifting demographics is a given job essential.

Real estate asset management jobs are broadly classifiable into these five categories:

1) Site Manager 

The tasks of a site manager involve handling the day-to-day operations of the properties.

The manager is assigned condominiums, residential properties, apartments and homeowners’ associations to manage. The person forms the access medium between property manager / owner and tenants. Typically, the site manager is accountable for:

  • handling technical problems
  • maintaining physical plants
  • routine inspections and repairs
  • marketing vacant properties and negotiating terms
  • tenant relations and complaint resolutions
  • maintaining transparent communications
  • maintaining accurate accounts
  • analyse financial performance
  • handling site staff, like leasing agents and maintenance personnel

2) Property Manager

The person is entrusted with the task of managing one or more properties.

The nature of work is supervisory for residential buildings or to handle commercial buildings that don’t have site managers.

The manager serves as a liaison between property owner and site personnel, handling both tangible and intangible assets, designing property management plans and community image building.

The property manager has to create valuable properties through net operating income improvement which happens by minimizing operational expenses and optimizing rentals.

3) Regional Manager

Also referred to as a supervisor or a portfolio manager, a regional manager is entrusted with multiple properties over an expansive geographical area, and includes either residential or commercial properties, or both.

The regional manager is completely accountable for property performance and has to be in-charge of training, recruitment and development of personnel.

The job profile of a regional manager includes:

  • extensive travel
  • auditing financial activities
  • monitoring properties
  • conducting market analysis
  • manage team
  • offer rental rate recommendations
  • analyse revenue and form property portfolio

4) Asset Manager

The asset manager recognizes the property as an ‘investment’ and as such, any decision taken for the property impacts its financial performance.

Often the asset manager functions as the representative of the property owner and is entrusted with the task of retaining third-party management companies and supervising them.

In this space, all the activities necessary to enhance the value of property portfolio is undertaken, such as defining performance goals, operational functions and caretaker goals.

There is no fixed job description of an asset manager; it evolves constantly and varies from one professional setting to the next. The asset manager remains mindful of changing marketing conditions and related economic factors that can impact the property valuation.

5) Management Executive

The responsibility of management executive rests more on handling the real estate management company than on overseeing property management, though it is a subsidiary responsibility.

The role varies depending on the size of the real estate management company – its opportunities, management team, executive ownership, talent pool and other factors.

The management executive is often the CEO, handling the entrepreneurship part of the organisation.

The executive remains abreast of market developments and analyses its impact on the vested properties, optimize available resources, plan company operations, enforce company policies, develop business infrastructure and platform, grow the organisational structure and overall, grow the business.

The responsibilities between these five categories often overlap due to the similarity between roles and responsibilities and organisation size.

Real Estate Asset Management Jobs – Who Will Hire You?

As an emerging and profitable sector, real estate asset management jobs exist around the world.

Job availability and growth prospects depend on a lot of factors but to begin with, the first question is: “who will hire you?” In other words, which sectors are going to hire someone who is interested or experienced real estate asset management, and in varying degrees.

Below is a list of real estate asset management staff seekers.

1) Real Estate Companies

But, of course! Full-fledged real estate companies offer a complete range of real estate management services to a selected clientele, the choice depending much on income bracket.

2) Property Management Firms

They are similar to real estate companies but functions more like a ‘boutique’ firm involved in offering real estate management services to both institutional owners and individuals in exchange for a fee. The fee is usually a percentage of the total value of the property under management.

3) Real Estate Development Companies

These are typically those companies who are involved both in the development and management of their developed real estate properties. Development involves prospecting, renovating, building and restoration.

4) Commercial Banks

Commercial banks hire real estate asset management staff to handle their varied real estate portfolios, that is, properties owned by the bank and those held in trust with the bank.

5) Real Estate Investment Trusts

The REIT functions as a group to secure the investments of the property investors. Real estate asset managers are hired to manage the REIT properties.

They also have to use financial knowledge to help property owners assess the value of their properties and enhance their portfolio.

6) Corporations

Many corporations have a separate real estate department to manage their investments, whether company owned or owned by their clients.

They hire in-house real estate asset manager to conduct various businesses like devising best uses for corporate properties, restoring properties, selling and leasing them.

7) Government Agencies

Government housing and development departments retain real estate asset managers in their staff to handle commercial, state housing, local housing and other real estate related government agencies.

8) Insurance Companies

Insurance companies often invest in real estate and it is a main component of their investment portfolios.

They hire real estate managers to handle the portfolios and to offer high-scale portfolio management services to pension fund owners and institutional investors.

9) Mortgage Brokerage Firms

Mortgage brokerage firms employ real estate asset managers to provide management services for marketing to investors and their financial management.

10) Religious & Charitable Organisations

These organisations often deal in no-cost or low-cost housing schemes and as such, they require real estate managers who are interested in social services and management.

Real Estate Asset Management Education 

How do you become a part of the real estate asset management industry? What kind of educational and professional qualifications are needed? We will discuss them here.

Sometimes people just stumble into a real estate asset management career after years spent in investment banking or private equity.

A lot depends on industry contacts and networking but if you’re someone who wants to be an intrinsic part of the industry from the beginning, you need to acquire adequate professional and educational qualifications.

The real estate management is a complicated and complex field. If we talk about United States, the last three decades have seen many real estate management specific professional qualifications come up and pursued by many.

Earlier, real estate management was something learned “on the job” but now employers seek specialization, preferably with a degree in real estate.

It is tough to find educational institutions offering property management degrees. Otherwise, opting for a bachelor’s and/or masters degree in finance or business administration can provide meaningful base for the real estate management industry.

Some courses which you can think about could be management courses for developing strong management skills, finance courses for developing analytical knowledge and knowing basic accounting principles, business courses for organisational and critical thinking skills, communication courses for learning effective and strong oral and written communication skills, business law courses to understand legalities and of course, real estate courses or real estate law for specific knowledge of the industry. 

Real Estate Asset Management Career Path 

Once you’re armed educationally, how do you go about beginning a career path in real estate asset management?

The first step is:

To sign up for an internship with a reputed real estate organisation. You’ll get a first-hand experience of how working in the industry will turn out.

As an intern, there are chances to learn skills and gain experience, and begin with professional networking experience, which will prove to be beneficial in years to come.

As an intern, you have excellent opportunities to learn from experienced managers, learn various aspects of the job and have fun too! Successful internship often converts into full-time job offers.

How to get internship opportunities? Depending on the educational institution you’re enrolled with, internship opportunities are often arranged from their side. You can also find internships searching on job portals and professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Quora.

While doing internship, sign up for an informational interview.

An informational interview is a strategy where interview is conducted with the sole purpose to learn more about a company or an industry.

In this case, your informational industry will be with a real estate asset manager and the objective will be to get actionable insights into the experience and knowledge required to succeed in this field, and the person will also help with various career paths and options.

An informational interview is similar to gathering “intelligence” and understanding whether real estate management is really the right career for you or not!

The informational interview will help you prepare for the ‘real’ interview, get information about job openings and help build a professional network.

Along with experimenting with informational interview, practice job shadowing too.

Job shadowing is an activity spanning a day or two where you explore career options by ‘shadowing’ a real estate asset manager.

It’s like being an assistant for a day or two and experiencing how the real estate management works happen, and not only this, you also get the chance to pose a lot of career and job related questions to the manager.

These three activities will clear a lot of doubts and queries. Getting listed with Industry Associations and gaining real estate licensing is what remains.

Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a globally renowned organisation offering certification training to real estate staff, in varying degrees. Some of them are:

  • Real Property Administrator (RPA)
  • Systems Maintenance Administrator (SMA)
  • Facilities Management Administrator (FMA)
  • Certified Property Manager (CPM)
  • Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)
  • Accredited Management Organisation (AMO)
  • Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM)
  • Accredited Community Manager (ACM)
  • Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)
  • National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP)
  • Master Property Manager (MPM)
  • Professional Housing Consultant (PHC)
  • Residential Management Professional (RMP)
  • Certified Support Specialist (CSS)
  • Association Management Specialist (AMS)
  • Large Scale Manager (LSM)
  • Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM)
  • Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA)

Depending on the country laws and regulations, you need to have accredited real estate licensing to function, either as an employee or an independent contractor. Further, each industry has some kind of associations. Find out what that is in your country and get listed.

Real Estate Asset Management – Getting a Job

At this stage, experiences from internships, job shadowing and/or informational interviews have informed you to a certain extent what entails as a real estate asset manager, and association listings and licensing gives added credibility. Armed with both these experiences, you can move ahead and search for real estate jobs in any of the ten organisations listed previously. Always try to build a strong professional network for better work opportunities.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demands for real estate asset managers will grow at 12% between 2012 and 2022.

In other words, there are a lot of opportunities. In the US alone, there will be 322,300 openings by 2022. So, how can you get that desirable job?

1) A Killer Resume

Most aspirants get wrong in the basic step – an error-free, typo-free, impact-oriented informative resume.

Tailor the resume to the job opening.

Append the resume with a covering letter and use it to highlight your personality and enthusiasm towards real estate industry. Talk about achievements and accomplishments (if any). The resume and cover letter should reflect integrity.

2) Social Media Search

Your next real estate job could very well be lurking in someone’s social media update!

Employers are increasingly showing inclination towards social media hiring.

LinkedIn, Quora and Facebook are popular destinations.

Some ways to target employers on social media are:

  • be active on the company pages
  • enquire about positions directly
  • talk to the designated admins
  • shadow their employment listings
  • participate on the company blogs

The idea is to show your interest, clearly and succinctly.

3) Use Online Job Boards

Online job boards make searching simple and effective due to their filtering capacities. Use of online job boards will enable you to:

  • research the employers thoroughly as the listings are often accompanied by company profiles
  • networking through IM’s and news groups
  • get access to latest industry information
  • know about career trends and other essentials
  • gain access to multiple jobs at one time
  • share resume with multiple companies instantly

Find relevant job boards and become their active member.

4) Real Estate Clubs

Since networking is a major component of career growth, becoming a part of active real estate clubs will be immensely beneficial.

Become part of real estate clubs and communities, and network with them. A lot of job openings will come from there.

Real Estate Asset Management Salary 

Being a performance-oriented industry, there is no fixed salary bar which we can refer.

Real estate asset managers who show continuous performance, excellence and high service level often earn more than their counterparts.

As we discussed previously, the job prospects are high and wide and thus, the real estate asset management salary depends on position, employer, credentials, education, experience and location. 

Usually, companies offer additional benefits like healthcare plans, flexible timing, education and training, housing allowances and other perks. 

Industrial Real Estate Compensation 

Below is the data collected by a survey done in 2014 by CEL & Associates, Inc and CEL Compensation Advisors, LLC for industrial real estate sector.

Industrial real estate compensation

Residential Real Estate Compensation 

You can compare the above by a similar survey done for residential real estate sector.

Real Estate Residential salary

There is a significant difference. But, let this not change your focus from residential real estate management to industrial real estate asset management. The choice is ultimately yours and again, this data is only limited to the US. Find out similar compensation data applicable for your country and then decide. 

Closing Note 

Since real estate is a prime investment proposition, the demand for real estate asset management will never go out of vogue. It is a good career to pursue.

The Only Guide to Real Estate Asset Management Careers in [year] 1
The Only Guide to Real Estate Asset Management Careers in [year] 2
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