Career Profile: Real Estate Broker
Have you ever wondered how someone goes about buying or selling their house or condo? Real estate brokers are the professionals who work to assist home buyers and sellers to list their home for sale, take offers, and arrange the final sale of a house.
Real estate brokers can work either independently, or under the umbrella of a real estate brokerage firm which employs real estate agents, which is a slightly different role. A real estate broker oversees the agents working for the firm, and usually requires additional certifications for the additional responsibilities involved.
Responsibilities of a real estate broker include soliciting real estate listings from potential vendors and clients, taking care of selling-related tasks such as setting prices, listing and advertising the sale property, and conducting open houses to show the property to potential buyers. They also act on the buyer’s side, by advising clients on market trends, mortgages, prices, and legal requirements. Along with buying and selling properties, real estate brokers also assist homeowners who want to rent out their properties to make the rental arrangements.
While the residential housing market has one of the largest groups of real estate brokers, professionals in this industry can also specialize in industrial, commercial or rural real estate.
There are no specific degree requirements for working as a real estate broker, but it is a regulated profession that requires completion of a real estate training course and licensing exam in the province you wish to work in. These training courses and licensing exams are available through your provincial real estate association or council. Generally, you will get certified as a real estate agent first, and once you have gained some work experience you can take additional courses and apply to be certified as a real estate broker.
Working as a real estate broker is a great career path for people who want to be self-employed, as the hours you work can be flexible, and real estate offers high earning potential, as brokers will earn a commission on each sale they complete. However, the nature of real estate means that while your overall earning potential is high, it is often a “feast or famine” industry where you will make a sum of money at a time upon the completion of a sale, but have no other income between sales.
This means you need to be organized and dedicated to maintaining both a personal and professional budget to ensure you are able to cover your essential expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, food and medical bills, and utilities during the low-income times, and to enable you to put away money in savings during times you earn a large amount from a sale.
The average salary for real estate brokers in Canada can be around $50,000, but this amount will vary greatly depending on how many sales you complete in a year, what the value of the sale is, and what portion of the sale is paid to you as your commission.
Because of these variable earnings, many real estate brokers pursue this job as a secondary career path in addition to other full-time or part-time employment. However, this means that you will often have to work on evenings and weekends from your home or a brokerage firm office to do paperwork, show houses to prospective buyers, or meet with sellers who are only available outside of their own regular work hours.