A List of Real Estate Job Titles

Jobs are available in sales, administration, and in related fields

Realtor with sale sign
••• David Sacks / Getty Images

A career in real estate career combines elements of human interaction, sales, a service ethic, geography, and economics. Compensation is usually good and sometimes it can even be excellent. Pay is often based on commission for some positions, so the more properties you sell—especially high-priced properties—the more money you'll make.

But real estate involves more than just agents and brokers. Many other real estate positions are available, and several paths exist into real estate work. Most consumers are unaware of the distinctions between these roles and they use some titles interchangeably, even though the legal requirements behind them differ. 

The Real Estate Agent

These terms "agent" and "broker" are often used interchangeably when, in fact, the difference is rather significant.

Agents can be either buyers' agents or listing agents. As the terms imply, the former represents those who want to buy property and the latter assists those who want to sell. Anyone who sells real estate on behalf of the owner or assists a client in purchasing property is a real estate agent. 

There are two levels of licensing in real estate. You must first take a training course, pass a test, and receive a license to practice as an agent under the supervision of a broker. State requirements for licenses vary.

A Real Estate Broker

Becoming a real estate broker requires a second level of licensure after becoming licensed as and working as an agent for a period of time. Further study and a more stringent test are required.

Many states impose certain educational requirements that must be met before sitting for the broker exam, although a college degree isn't typically necessary. A high school diploma is, however, and having a college degree can help with getting a job. 

Associate brokers are those who are licensed as brokers themselves but nonetheless work under the supervision of another broker. Managing brokers manage their own real estate offices. They're sometimes referred to as brokers-in-charge.

REALTORs

“REALTOR” is a legally protected phrase owned by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). It doesn't refer to a separate level of licensure, but rather it designates that the individual is a member of NAR.

Members must meet high professional and ethical standards set by the association. There are approximately 1 million REALTORs in the U.S. Many brokerages require that their agents be members.

Other Positions in a Real Estate Office

Real estate clerks don't need licenses, although they do need relevant experience. They maintain records and handle paperwork and other administrative duties for real estate brokerages.

Office managers oversee a brokerage's day-to-day operations, not unlike in other industries. They deal with everything from maintenance and ordering supplies to scheduling and bookkeeping.

Other Common Real Estate Jobs

Many positions in other fields are necessary to the sale of real estate.

  • After a building is built or renovated, an inspector comes in to ensure that the building is up to code. Some inspectors specialize in residential houses, while others specialize in commercial and other types of buildings. Home Inspectors provide professional opinions and documentation of a home, determined by a visual evaluation in addition to operational testing of the home’s elements and components to determine its current condition.
  • Because most real estate properties are not bought with cash, bankers have processes for deciding whether to issue loans to buyers. That process begins with an appraisal—a professional estimation of the financial value of the property.
  • Real estate appraisers sometimes also set values for property tax purposes, for setting compensation levels in cases of seizure by eminent domain, and they might assist in negotiations between buyers and sellers and renters and owners. Appraisers must be either certified or licensed, and several levels of licensure exist.
  • A loan professional takes over on the bank side of the equation after the appraiser performs his job, while any of several types of mortgage professionals will help the buyer negotiate the process. Mortgage consultants, or loan officers, advise borrowers on choosing the best mortgage and they assist in helping them fill out loan applications. They make their money through commissions on the loans.
  • Loan underwriters make sure that buyers are able to repay their mortgages before granting approval for loans. The underwriter will either approve, suspend, or turn down a mortgage application.
  • Licensed closing agents or closing coordinators ensure that the financial transaction is accomplished properly.
  • Real estate lawyers make sure all legal agreements involved in the sale are properly drawn up, and they handle any disputes about ownership.
  • Real estate consultants and real estate analysts help potential buyers understand how to invest in real estate in order to get a good financial return.
  • Real estate managers, sometimes referred to as property managers, manage properties belonging to investors. They deal with hands-on operations and are additionally responsible for maintaining the property's value and income. They're typically paid a percentage of the rents they generate and collect.
  • Foreclosure specialists facilitate the process when a home or property is reclaimed by a bank due to non-payment on a mortgage. They might help the homeowner, the lender, the new buyer, or all three with procedures, but foreclosure specialists usually work with banks and real estate companies.