What would be the best job to gain REI experience in college?

8 Replies

Hello, fellow BiggerPocketers!

Many of my posts have been about college, and for a very good reason: I want to get started with my real estate career now. 

My overall plan is to work a job my freshman year that will connect me with the local investors and agents and force me to learn the market. I aspire to purchase a property by my sophomore year through creative financing that I will live in and share with tenants (probably college buddies). 

For now, though, I need to find a job that I can work that can give me some solid experience within the real estate universe. So, what job can an incoming college freshman like myself that will give me experience in the world of real estate? I'm open to any and all suggestions! 

As always, thank you for all your tips and advice!

Hello Jeffrey,

(REI) covers a broad area and the market(s) only limited by your imagination and abilities. The more you know, the more you do, the more contacts you have, the more tools you have available (that you know how to use), the more accomplished you'll become. We all learn from books, audios, videos and mentors. The best teacher is always practical application, hands on. In general school will train you to learn and will introduce you to specifics. After you graduate and enter your field of choice is when your abilities will develop. Be careful not to get caught up in heading in too many directions at once. Ambition is a great thing but accomplishment is achieved with control.

If you were able to find a contractor who does rehab/alterations/renovation, a property management company, an engineering company that does home inspection, a property maintenance company and there is a place in their organization where you would fit, what you could learn would be beneficial to you as a future real estate investor. The knowledge gained would help to minimize the feeling of being overwhelmed when confronted with properties, situations and people and help you to recognize opportunities when they present themselves.      

Opportunity has a queer way of stalking the person who can recognize it and is ready to embrace it.

It is a curious quirk of human nature that some people can see opportunities, while others only see problems. When you train your mind to seek out opportunities, you will find that every day literally presents you with more opportunities than you can take advantage of. They will be all around you. Instead of your seeking opportunities, they will seek you out. Your biggest problem will be choosing the best ones. The first step in making sure you are ready to recognize opportunities when they occur is to make sure you have a clear understanding of your own core competencies. Realistically assess your strengths and weaknesses as though you were reviewing the credentials of a total stranger. Identify what areas you’re best in and those where you need improvement. Work on your weaknesses and build upon your strengths so that when you recognize opportunities you are prepared to capitalize upon them.  "Napoleon Hill"

look forward to your future


@Tom Reynolds  Wow, Tom. What a response! That was very inspiring and enlightening, thank you! 

I really like your idea of focus. I think it's completely correct. You see, I was offered a position as a desk assistant in one of the residence halls, but I got to thinking, "how will this be beneficial to my future? What will I learn? I'll learn how to provide good customer service - but I already know how to do that from working on the golf course". I figured I should try to find a job that can provide some training and experience for later in life that will be relevant. 

I also like your suggestions as to what places to work. I've had a few people suggest working with a property management company, and the more I think about it, the more this makes sense. It seems common for successful investors to believe that management is the most important aspect of being a successful investor, simply because you need to seek out a good management company from a pile of crappy ones! :-) There are two large property management companies in Missoula - I'm going to apply to both of them. 

One last note - I think REI, just like anything that involves you being your own boss - takes motivation. By reading, listening to podcasts, watching videos, scanning properties on the MLS, and using BP, I stay motivated. If I stopped doing all these things, I would drop my motivation. It's the engagement in learning that ignites that flame of inspiration and fuels the hunger to be successful and to make something of myself. If I worked a job that constantly added fuel to the fire, I think that would be invaluable.

Again, thank you so much for your response! I'll stay in touch! 

What RE focus do you wish to exercise? Buy and hold? Then I recommend working for a property management company. Fix and flip? Work for a contractor or a flipper.

@Will Barnard  I want to specialize in buy and holds. I'm looking into my local property management companies today!  

Good for you. Learning about operating costs, dealing with tenants, and dealing with service providers is key for when you operate for yourself.

@Jeffrey Lester

Get a job in the school Off Campus Housing office. Focus on setting up student housing remember you don't have to own a property to control it.


@Jeffrey Lester  

You have already received some sound advice above.

   I would also recommend volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, as you learn basic home-building and functional skills that will allow you to fix basic maintenance problems that are bound to arise in the properties you will own.

   It also looks great on a resume! Not to mention, it is a good way to give back to the community.  

First , get the worst job possible so you never change your mind about perusing REI........Of course I am kidding........... Home inspection and Real estate Companies . If you can't get a job with one of them go ahead and sign up for the online classes to get you home inspection certification and use it as a source of extra income and/or get your RE license and work for an agency PT . You have a better chance of getting flexible hours with these companies and it won't cost that much if you have to take the course on your own. If you are paying for college you are already in massive debit anyway a few hundred more won't hurt. Lol

Good Luck and stick with it!


Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.