One oft-overlooked career area in finance is real estate finance. However, because of recent changes to federal law regarding mortgages and borrowing, including the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), mortgages and real estate have become very popular topics in the financial world. For those who are interested in working with real property, job opportunities in real estate finance are plentiful.
Commercial real estate finance and residential real estate finance are the main categories from which to choose. Commercial real estate finance usually involves financing for multi-family homes, shopping centers, industrial and office properties. Residential real estate finance, on the other hand, involves financing for private/individual homes.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the real estate finance industry currently employs more than 280,000 individuals across the United States. Companies, where real estate finance professionals work, include mortgage brokers, mortgage companies, life insurance companies, commercial banks and thrifts. The commercial mortgage industry also includes professionals such as Portfolio Lenders, Issuers, Investors, High Yield Debt and Investment and Servicers. Career options for real estate finance professionals in the commercial and residential areas are explored here, so keep reading.
Portfolio Manager: This position involves supervising client accounts, as well as reviewing and approving remittances, reconciliations and other requests. This position usually requires a bachelor’s degree and five to 10 years of experience in the financial industry. Banks and mortgage companies commonly employ portfolio managers.
Commercial Real Estate Underwriter: The underwriter evaluates the creditworthiness and management capabilities of a borrower/guarantor, the real estate collateral that is intended to secure a proposed loan and the sufficiency of the loan structure for transactions/relationships. Most underwriters have a bachelor’s degree and three to five years’ experience in real estate lending or underwriting. They are employed by banks and mortgage companies.
Investor Services Associate: This professional manages the accuracy and timing of monthly payments/payoffs to be reported and remitted to multiple investors. This job requires extensive knowledge of Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. A bachelor’s degree and three to five years of experience usually are required. Real estate management companies, mortgage companies and banks commonly employ these professionals.
Commercial Property Mortgage Broker: This professional sells commercial mortgages to business owners. Usually, a bachelor’s degree is required to get this job. Real estate finance groups, mortgage companies and banks are the most likely employers for this role.
Commercial Real Estate Loan Officer: This position usually involves soliciting, underwriting, coordinating and managing a company’s commercial real estate portfolio. A bachelor’s degree and four to five years of experience are usually preferred for this job. Banks and mortgage companies usually employ these professionals.
Commercial Mortgage Loan Analyst: This position involves underwriting analysis, as well as reviewing appraisals, reports, surveys, leases and underwriting requests for commercial real estate loans. A bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in commercial real estate finance are required for this position. Mortgage companies and banks are the common employers of this professional.
Jobs in Residential Real Estate Finance
Residential Mortgage Loan Officer: This professional is responsible for originating residential loan applications by soliciting them from brokers, builders, for-sale-by-owner, and attorneys. Banks and mortgage companies typically employ them. A bachelor’s degree and one year of experience usually are required.
Residential Mortgage Originator: This position involves performing loan resolution calculations for things such as payoff, escrow analysis and outstanding foreclosure fees. Banks, mortgage companies and asset companies typically employ them. A bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in residential mortgages are required for this position.
Residential Real Estate Analyst: Evaluates residential real estate and determines a property’s fair market value. A bachelor’s degree and one year of experience in residential real estate inspections and/or market evaluations are usually necessary for this position. Banks are the top employer of residential real estate analysts.
Real Estate Loan Underwriter: This position involves performing underwriting analysis on residential mortgage loans and making decisions on such loans. A bachelor’s degree and three years of experience in underwriting and loan processing often are required. Banks and underwriting companies are the leading employers of real estate loan underwriters.
Real Estate Asset Manager: This professional usually manages, maintains, enhances and disposes of real property held in trusts and estates of a bank’s high net worth clients. Property involved could consist of a variety of assets including residential, commercial, raw land, agricultural and industrial. These professionals usually are employed by banks.
The median salary for Commercial Real Estate Lenders with more than five years of experience is $111,750, according to the 2021 Robert Half Salary Guide. The median salary for a Portfolio Manager is $121,500.