What Is a Real Estate Consultant?

A real estate consultant, also known as a real estate advisor, provides advice to clients—commercial real estate investors, lenders, or property developers—to help them make financial decisions about real estate transactions. These real estate professionals, who work independently or for consulting firms, primarily focus on cost-effective asset management within the real estate market. However, the specific nature of their role depends on the client.

A real estate consultant may research potential real estate development and perform market analysis to determine the risks and benefits for prospective buyers or business owners. Some real estate consultants work with residential real estate clients to assess the viability of a real estate investment. In all cases, the real estate consultant helps determine their client’s needs, researches investment and real estate industry trends, then provides them with a cost-effective plan of attack.

4 Types of Real Estate Consulting

There are several different types of real estate consulting. Among them are:

  1. Consulting services: Real estate consultants working with consulting firms provide various related services to clients like investors, financial lenders, and business owners. Among the tasks they handle are portfolio services, leasing advice, due diligence, and market research.
  2. Investors: Portfolio evaluation, investment analysis, valuation, appraisals—these are among the many tasks that real estate consultants do for individuals seeking investment opportunities in real estate. They may also provide marketing and contract negotiation.
  3. Property development: Real estate consultants who work with property development lend their insight into real estate market trends to determine the best way for developers to create a commercially viable property that also stands out. Intense research into the development sites and market analysis inform their insights.
  4. Residential: While real estate consultants typically work with commercial property, they occasionally offer their services to prospective homebuyers. Using their research and analysis, they can help clients decide whether or not to buy a particular property based on their needs.

How to Become a Real Estate Consultant

There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a real estate consultant. However, if you plan to work for a firm, they may require an advanced degree and a real estate license. Here are a few steps you should take to ensure success in this career field:

  1. Choose your specialty. There are multiple types of consulting that fall under the real estate umbrella: property development, consulting services, residential, and investors. Research and determine your area of interest, so that you have a concrete direction to pursue.
  2. Get a real estate license. While it is not a requirement for the job, passing a state licensing exam to obtain a real estate license is a great way to ensure success in the field. In order to offer valuable advice to your clients, you’ll need to have a deep understanding of the housing market, know industry-specific terminology, and how to value property.
  3. Get an associate broker’s license. Obtaining an associate broker’s license will allow you to work as a real estate consultant and a sales agent so that you can offer both services to clients. If you’re working independently, having the ability to pivot to sales will be beneficial when your consulting business is slow. Learn about becoming a real estate agent.
  4. Consider a special designation. While getting a certificate with the International Association of Real Estate Consultants or obtaining membership into the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are not requirements for a real estate consultant, they can be beneficial. NAR asks members to adhere to standards of practice and a code of ethics and provides member support, benefits, and a network of fellow realtors and consultants.

What Are the Differences Between a Real Estate Consultant and a Realtor?

The primary difference between a real estate consultant and a realtor is the ability to sell properties. A realtor can be a real estate listing agent, which is essentially a real estate salesperson who assists a homeowner in selling a home, for which they receive a commission of the final price. They may split this commission with the real estate broker who oversees the realty agency or brokerage with which they are affiliated.

Realtors can also be buyer’s agents who connect prospective buyers with local real estate or commercial property for sale and manage selling the home. A real estate consultant, by comparison, is not involved in the selling process and receives no commission for their work; they instead provide advice and financial information for their clients.

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