What is the best RE-related 9 to 5 job?

121 Replies

@Nicholas Gray I’m in the same boat as you. My advice is follow your gut, heart and curiosity as your degrees will always be there if RE doesn’t work out. You’re 24. You have the rest of your life to go back to your original career if it doesn’t work out. The worse thing to do is to do something you hate for the next 50 years and and regret that you didn’t try something else when you’re 75. By then it’s too late. As for everyone, @Nicholas Gray is asking what‘s the best 9-5 RE job. Let‘s help answer his question.
@Nicholas Gray Good for you for knowing what you want. And I'm not trying to discourage you but just throwing this out there. I have about the same engineering degrees as you, and worked in aerospace first 3 years out of school. Absolutely HATED it, wanted to do something else. I switched to oil and gas and still really enjoy it 10 years later. I am still working to get to a point with real estate where I dont need the job but more out of freedom than anything. Point is there are so many options with that degree that it's worth looking into. Sales engineering may be a thought. Again if you know what you want you should go for it but just throwing my experience out there cause it will be hard to pull in the salary that you will make as an engineer.
@Account Closed Are you saying that he should do something he dislike for the next 10,20,30,40,50 years because he has invested 6 years and hundreds of dollars on it? He’s 24 - avg lifespan would probably be in 90s in his generation. 6 years is nothing.
Great post with great advice. I'm an attorney that ask myself this same question everyday and everyday I come up with the same answer that most of these posters have stated. The best thing that we as W2 employees can do is make our W2's work for us until we can firmly and comfortably stand on our own without our current employer. I have also started other businesses (all real estate related) while employed to help me reach my goal.. To me, Real estate is a game of chess not checkers. Each move you make should be in furtherance of your ultimate goal.

One of the best 9-5 jobs you can have that is real estate related is to work for or become a civil engineer. Many real estate projects required structural engineering calcs and drawings tand you can even collect your fees up front and do this from home while also investing in real estate projects of your own and managing that while always being able to earn money from providing structural engineering services.

reaklly if you become a licensed civil engineer you can work from anywhere and get to choose your own hours while earning relatively big money you can then use to buy up real estate properties wherever you choose.

It is difficult to change job and employer at the same time. It is much easier to keep the same job but looking for another employer who could offer you later another job from within the same organization.

Hi Nocholas Gray

I want to tell you follow your gut. If you get what you are passionate about, you will be unstoppable. You will be extremely successful. For now, you can work as an agent and substitute your income. Being an agent will give you a good experience and understand the industry. While you are doing that, try to do at least one flip a year. That is the least you can do. You might even try to do 2 a year then more. If you don't have any one to partner with you in the deal, use other people's money. Use private money lenders and rehab and refinance. Do BRRRR strategy from bigger pockets.

I have learned in life in disruption. If you are willing to learn something new and grow, you can still do it. I had a PhD and MBA and have been teaching in universities. That didn't give me the kind of financial freedom I was dreaming. I became an agent. In my second year as an agent I made close to 6 figures GCI. Then I doubled it in the year after. I purchased my first investment property as well. You can do it.

I suggest considering CCIM route as well. Since you have a good number back ground you can easily differentiate yourself from the crowd. I started taking CCIM courses while I am working as an agent. Meet new people, network, read books. You will be what you want to be. This is not a mere motivation. Find purpose and get your why and take action. Quit what you don't like doing and be on the street and have time to think.

Wish you the best

Muller from MD

couple pop into my mind.

1. go to work for a very large high rise contractor and work your way up.. start your own high rise construction firm once you have enough experience. probably a decade or so.

2. big home builder / developer commercial Developer that is.

3. I like the civil engineer aspect.. build a engineering firm that you own..  friend of mine sold his for 14 million..  makes buying rentals pale in comparison when you start a business that bills out by the hour and then super size it and own it. 

4. go to work for all those analytical firms selling real estate data. 

5. Mortgage lending in the right setting can be 9 to 5 and done right very high pay.

@Thomas S. That is probably the most succinct advise I’ve heard about your day job. Thank you! I needed to hear that too. I’ve been in retail management for 18 years. I’m anxious to get going with our second property, but we’ve decide to take 12-18 months and pay down consumer debt, finish our current home remodel so we will be ready to move on, rent it out, and repeat again and start building....I’m just impatient. I’ll be 41 in a month and have two small kids I want more time with. But yeah...I just need to work and stack paper right now. So thank you for the reminder!

I think everyone is missing the question he asked.  He didn't say how can I make the same money, he said what can I do to help my real estate career.  I have a great idea for you.  GO  WORK FOR A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. You could get a job working as  a loan officer or as a loan consultant.  You are obviously good with numbers.  GO to all the local small banks and all the large banks in your area.  Or find another type o financial institution that you can work for. 

GOOD LUCK!!!

Let me know if I can help.

Originally posted by @Michele B. :

I think everyone is missing the question he asked.  He didn't say how can I make the same money, he said what can I do to help my real estate career.  I have a great idea for you.  GO  WORK FOR A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. You could get a job working as  a loan officer or as a loan consultant.  You are obviously good with numbers.  GO to all the local small banks and all the large banks in your area.  Or find another type o financial institution that you can work for. 

GOOD LUCK!!!

Let me know if I can help.

Direct quote from his original post, "Money is not everything, but salary is a factor and I wouldn't want to give up too much, if anything, of what I currently make as an engineer." That left me the impression he was looking for similar income. A loan officer makes significantly less than an engineer with their masters degree. That is the challenge is most real estate jobs will be a step back before he can move forward. 

I can't think of any "entry level RE jobs" pay near an engineer. I went from Software Engineering to RE and took quite a pay cut in the beginning. I saved up so I could handle the hit, then went part time and eventually left all together. Plus I ended up getting clients because everyone I worked with had good jobs and I was right there to ask questions to. Personally I recommend doing a slow transition and preparing yourself for the change. If you can't bare the thought of going another minute into work, then take whatever you can get I guess.

Long term I would recommend getting your home inspector license or your appraiser license (or both) starting your own gig. It may take a couple years to get all arranged, but it may utilize your skill set a little better than most positions starting out.

Good Luck 

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :
Originally posted by @Michele B.:

I think everyone is missing the question he asked.  He didn't say how can I make the same money, he said what can I do to help my real estate career.  I have a great idea for you.  GO  WORK FOR A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. You could get a job working as  a loan officer or as a loan consultant.  You are obviously good with numbers.  GO to all the local small banks and all the large banks in your area.  Or find another type o financial institution that you can work for. 

GOOD LUCK!!!

Let me know if I can help.

Direct quote from his original post, "Money is not everything, but salary is a factor and I wouldn't want to give up too much, if anything, of what I currently make as an engineer." That left me the impression he was looking for similar income. A loan officer makes significantly less than an engineer with their masters degree. That is the challenge is most real estate jobs will be a step back before he can move forward. 

 Well if you get the right job doing loans for a financial company you get a percent of the loan. I have seen commission as high as 1 % so on a million dollar loan you would make 10k...... and I have seen them make more like .5% or 5k.  Depends what you can bring in.  Find a niche and get loans for millions of dollars and you would make great money.  A 25 million dollar loan would net you 125k. That could be a great amount of money better than the engineering job.  IF you get 4 loans a month that is 500k.  Just saying. 

Hey Nicholas! PM is a great education career if your focus is to be an investor. Not the best paying career, but if you spent 2 years in a PM company while building your clients on the sales side, when the time comes to invest you should have a base knowledge of the RIGHT processes of operating an investment property. I say RIGHT processes because there are many landlords out there that go into investing blind and wonder why they have an bed bug infested unit that is going through eviction and draining them of all their cash. 

I got involved in PM by accident really, but am so glad I did.  Although you won't make great money, see the 2-3 years working for a PM as your bachelors of Real Estate Management. Good luck!!

Originally posted by @Michele B. :
Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock:
Originally posted by @Michele B.:

I think everyone is missing the question he asked.  He didn't say how can I make the same money, he said what can I do to help my real estate career.  I have a great idea for you.  GO  WORK FOR A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. You could get a job working as  a loan officer or as a loan consultant.  You are obviously good with numbers.  GO to all the local small banks and all the large banks in your area.  Or find another type o financial institution that you can work for. 

GOOD LUCK!!!

Let me know if I can help.

Direct quote from his original post, "Money is not everything, but salary is a factor and I wouldn't want to give up too much, if anything, of what I currently make as an engineer." That left me the impression he was looking for similar income. A loan officer makes significantly less than an engineer with their masters degree. That is the challenge is most real estate jobs will be a step back before he can move forward. 

 Well if you get the right job doing loans for a financial company you get a percent of the loan. I have seen commission as high as 1 % so on a million dollar loan you would make 10k...... and I have seen them make more like .5% or 5k.  Depends what you can bring in.  Find a niche and get loans for millions of dollars and you would make great money.  A 25 million dollar loan would net you 125k. That could be a great amount of money better than the engineering job.  IF you get 4 loans a month that is 500k.  Just saying. 

There are Mechanical Engineers at Apple making over $500K a year. So we agree if you find the right niche and are the best at what you do, you will make lots of money. It takes years to reach the top of a profession. Entry level salary for an Aerospace Engineer is much higher than entry level loan officer, just based on salary statistics. A loan officer would be lucky to make $50K starting out versus an Aerospace Engineer who could make $90K starting.

https://work.chron.com/much-loan-officers-commissi...

The other issue is educational requirements for loan officers will generally be finance related degrees. A realtor would probably be an easier career path with higher earning potential. Still, to make $500K as a realtor, you are going to be one of the best out there.

@Nicholas Gray @Nicole Marshall @Dustin Beam - With your back grounds it seems you are more analytical than sales.  I have a Masters in Architecture.  During my masters, I connected with a professor who was a real estate developer, architect and GC.  It was there I learned, I enjoyed putting the deals together and structuring them.  Like architecture, the art is in the structure of the deal.  

While others have been advising for you to stay for income verses wealth (only you can identify what you believe is wealth), I would encourage you to look wide verses the traditional roles - flipper, RE Broker.  There are many fields to pursue within real estate.  That being said, I have never worked 9-5!  I have been in RE for 25 years with a focus on development, design and build.  I have enjoyed it greatly, as it combines both the creativity as well as the "engineering".

@Nicholas Gray You already own rental properties. I don’t know what your debt column looks like but with the money your making as an aerospace engineer you should be able to go all in as an investor if you play your cards right. Cut your spending and save more to invest. Build up enough cash flow then invest full time.

Hey @Nicholas Gray so crazy how your story matches up with mine. I was a Civil Engineer for 5 years and always had a small inkling of a feeling every year that this wasn't the profession for me. So I quit and got my RE license and starting working for as a commercial agent in DTLA. It was definitely a great experience but I also had investments in mind and brokering deals wasn't very mentally stimulating to me. I also had some experience in property management and that just wasn't for me. The pay is relatively low for the amount of work you are required to do, but that varies and I am just speaking from my own experience. 

I started applying for anything related to real estate investments and development. It took a few months until I found something that I could see myself doing. Having an engineering background says that you're a high level thinker and you're not afraid of numbers. 

I'm now working alongside commercial investor at a private equity investment company in Malibu and loving that I have a steady income which can help with financing my next deal and that I can pick the brain of an investor who has been in the game for 40 years. 

Best of luck and happy to help if I can :) 

@Thomas S. Wow. Sure, sometimes we have to make temporary sacrifices, but to go so far as to say: “Work is not intended to be enjoyed. Go to work, shut down your mind, do your job and collect your paycheck.” Seriously? This might be the worst advice I’ve ever heard someone give on this subject... And then to discredit and degrade blue collar workers as being lowly” is unreal. And I really love that you use construction as an example. I actually work in the construction industry and know many highly educated and wealthy individuals in this field. And guess what? They love their job, get meaning from it, and are multi-millionaires.

@Nicholas Gray I understand hating your job, I have had high paying six figure jobs in IT however over the years I have jumped around from finance to IT to real estate sales and then back to IT again.  I even did quite well in real estate sales because I love marketing and deal making and working with clients.  But at the end of the day although I didn't do bad in real estate sales I still made quite a bit more in IT and found the money mattered, that's why I am back in IT pulling down a six figure salary.  

It sucks having no passion for your work, and every day that I don't shoot myself in the head is a success story.  However if you're making a big salary you can create options for yourself that many other people don't get.  That's why I stick with it for now, but I have a 5 year plan with an eventual exit.  Five years of hitting the snooze bar six times every morning to get out of bed doesn't exactly thrill me, but I will be so better off later if I stick with it for now.

If you can't take it another day, you can do what I did and that's give yourself a year to "find yourself" or whatever you want to call it like when I did real estate sales full time, maybe you can also get a W2 9-5 job as an assistant for a successful broker, i.e. scheduling showings, listings, escrows, etc.  And if things don't work out you can always fall back on your engineering career.  You're young so you can afford to take some risk and experiment.  

I am not sure if any of this helps, but I think if you're willing to take some risk like I did it's ok to give yourself permission to try something else as long as you have a fallback plan if things don't work out.   I guess is that's what I am saying - have a plan and go for it dude! 

@Nicholas Gray 

You don’t need a career in real estate to be successful in real estate investing.  What you need is the ability to borrow money to fund your investments.  If you hate your job, you should quit.  But it’s unlikely you’re going to find an entry-level career in real estate that compensates you the same as being an aerospace engineer.  Find something you enjoy (or can at least tolerate) that will provide the same borrowing power as your current job.  Personally, I’d suggest something in B2B sales.  Let real estate investing be your side hustle until it generates enough income that it doesn’t have to be.  

@Nicholas Gray well, considering you got your masters from Stanford, that means you are really smart. It really sucks you invested many years of your life and a lot of money into getting a valuable education just to let it all go that easy. If you dislike your current job that much, I’d say you can change job position. To invest in real estate, you need money. If you’re really serious about it, you can invest in the next 4-5 years to earn enough cash flow and quit your job, then dedicate to it easier but you need money to invest and getting loans is much easier if you have a high paying job. Take advantage of that, transition slowly and then get a job in something more related to RE. Also, since you’re emotional about getting out of the corporate world, don’t invest in properties that are “OK” just because you want to leave faster. Make sure the numbers are right and don’t be emotional about it despite wanting to quit badly.