Having a career in real estate has two of the best perks:
- You can be your own boss, and
- You get to earn big
But you’re probably asking:
“Out of all the careers in real estate, which one is right fit for me?”
You’ve come to the right place!
While the real estate industry could get pretty tiring and time-consuming, they’re golden opportunities for you to hit that annual six-figure income.
And that’s what we’re going to look at today.
This article will show you 20 of the highest-paying careers in real estate you can pursue.
Want to know a little secret?
You don’t even need a bachelor’s degree for most of them.
Are you ready for a deep dive?
20 Highest-Paying Careers in Real Estate 2023
Here are the 20 highest-paying careers in real estate!
- Real Estate Agent
- Property Manager
- Real Estate Manager
- Corporate Real Estate Manager
- Commercial Real Estate Agent
- Real Estate Investor
- Home Inspector
- Escrow Officer
- Real Estate Developer
- Real Estate Wholesaler
- Real Estate Attorney
- Real Estate Counselor
- Mortgage Broker
- Leasing Agent
- New Home Sales Consultant
- Real Estate Appraiser
- Compliance Specialist
- Real Estate Assistant
- Foreclosure Specialist
- Real Estate Director
Let’s take a look at each of them one by one!
1. Real Estate Agent
US average annual salary: $106,000
One of the easiest (and best!) ways to get into the real estate industry is to start by becoming a real estate agent.
Real Estate Agents are licensed professionals who help people buy and sell their properties, whether that’s commercial, residential, or corporate.
You’ll either be working with buyers or sellers and earning a commission from the final sale.
This means the higher the sale price, the higher the commission you’ll be getting.
Indeed.com pegs the average annual salary of a Real Estate Agent at $106,000.
And like with other careers in real estate, this amount could go up depending on the property you’re managing, the market, or the state you’re located at.
For example, in Dallas, Texas, the average annual salary is at $110,633.
Duties of a Real Estate Agent
- Perform real estate market analysis
- Network to find property buyers and sellers
- Organize transactions between buyers and sellers
- Negotiate terms and leases and draft contracts
- Help clients file paperwork
Read more about how to become a Real Estate Agent here!
2. Property Manager
US average annual salary: $45,664
Property Managers are responsible for maintaining their client’s property and making sure they get the best financial returns over a long period of time.
Although only a high school diploma or equivalent is required to pursue this career, a degree in Business or Accounting would be an edge.
Property Managers would have to be great, organized problem-solvers so they’re able to juggle multiple deals.
They are also expected to have great communication and customer service skills since their main duty is to look for potential tenants.
According to Indeed, the average earnings of a Property Manager in the United States is $45,664 but other reports say it could go up to $120,750 depending on the state.
Credit to: Indeed
As for the highest paying cities (annual average) for Property Managers, there’s Los Angeles ($50,616), Chicago ($49,601), and Atlanta ($48,058).
Credit to: Indeed
Regardless of what the national average is, this only means one thing: focusing on a real estate career as a Property Manager is quite a lucrative path.
Duties of a Property Manager
- Look for potential renters; organize open house events to encourage them
- Maintain the property and handle maintenance requests
- Take care of the finances including setting budgets and collecting rent
- Take care of the leasing and contracts
3. Real Estate Manager
US average annual salary: $53,951
Real Estate Managers are those in charge of everything that has to do with their client’s private estate.
That includes maintenance, development, overseeing its finances, etc.
Doesn’t that sound like a Property Manager’s duties?
Yes, both real estate careers might have similarities but they also have key differences.
Real Estate Managers are responsible for buying and selling a client’s property on behalf of the owner.
Property Managers, on the other hand, are focused on leasing and maintaining a client’s property and making sure it grows as part of their investment.
Another distinction between the two is found in how much they could earn.
Real Estate Managers could potentially earn more with its US average annual salary of $53,951.
That number could even go as high as six digits depending on a number of factors.
According to Indeed, San Jose, California has the highest annual average for Real Estate Managers clocking at $62,847.
Duties of a Real Estate Manager
- Manage the purchase or selling of properties in behalf of owners
- Prepare financial statements and assist owners with financial tasks (tax, insurance, etc.)
- Draft contracts and manage various other legal documents
- Maintain the property
- Monitor day-to-day operations of a property
4. Corporate Real Estate Manager
US average annual salary: $81,946
If being just a Property Manager or a Real Estate Manager is too confusing for you, you can narrow it down for a better focus.
For example, become a Corporate Real Estate Manager.
You’ll be focusing solely on managing the real estate properties of large companies and growing them in value.
Since you’ll potentially be dealing with big-ticket companies here, having a degree in real estate or related courses will help a lot.
Companies won’t simply hand information about their properties to an inexperienced estate manager!
If you think you lack experience, you can always start as a Property Manager and work your way up from there.
A career as Corporate Real Estate Manager is quite lucrative.
It has an average annual salary of $81,946 but depending on the company you’ll work for, your earnings could easily break into six digits.
As for the highest paying cities annually, Atkinson, Nebraska ($105,726), Frankston, Texas ($102,384), and Barnstable Town, Massachusetts ($99,593) tops ZipRecruiter’s 2023 list.
Duties of a Corporate Real Estate Manager
- Develop a plan to oversee a company’s portfolio of properties
- Manage acquisition, negotiation, and strategies
- Manage multiple projects
- Increase the properties’ value
- Meet the company’s goals
5. Commercial Real Estate Agent
US average annual salary: $55,575
If you want to narrow your expertise down, you can try a career as a Commercial Real Estate Agent.
Instead of helping people look for houses and homes, they help businesses buy and sell properties.
These properties range from office buildings, shopping centers, apartment complexes, and more.
Because they work with large companies, Commercial Real Estate Agents are paid handsomely.
Indeed’s data find that the average annual salary in the US is at $55,575 with San Antonio, Texas being the highest paid city at $54,106.
Salary.com even says that the salary range could go up to $116,787 annually.
If you’re an agent who works hard to find more leads and close more deals, that six-digit figure is a possibility.
Duties of a Commercial Real Estate Agent
- Network to find potential clients to buy, sell, or rent their properties
- Perform real estate market analysis
- Develop a management plan to operate the company’s properties
- Negotiate terms and leases and draft contracts
- Oversee finances
6. Real Estate Investor
US average annual salary: $119,731
Another lucrative career in real estate is becoming a Real Estate Investor.
Investors carefully look for projects and properties they can invest their capital in and eventually profit from.
Real Estate Investors can work alone or with a network of other investors.
It’s a job that involves buying and selling properties, negotiating expenses, collecting rent, and even strategizing to increase a property’s value.
If you want to be a Real Estate Investor, you’d have to have knowledge of when a property is a good investment.
This is why although this career path (like most real estate careers) might only require a high school diploma or an equivalent, having a master’s degree in real estate is a huge advantage.
You need advanced education and lots of experience to know how the real estate market works.
But all the studying will pay off when you realize the national salary average for this job is at $119,731.
According to ZipRecruiter, New York ($134,494), New Hampshire ($127,292), and Vermont ($124,389) are the top three cities in the US with six-digit average annual salaries for Real Estate Investors.
Duties of a Real Estate Investor
- Analyze and understand how the real estate market works
- Look for properties worth investing in
- Be well-versed in real estate strategies including being able to assess and minimize risks
- Increase a property’s value
7. Home Inspector
US average annual salary: $60,825
Home Inspector is another great career in real estate.
Like their title says, these guys inspect or assess a home or property to check if it’s habitable.
But it’s not a simple knocking on walls to check if they’re hollow and are, therefore, termite-infested — it takes a lot to be a Home Inspector.
They examine the structure of a house, look for any potential issues, see if it’s up to building codes, and just basically do a deep dive on the property.
Afterward, they estimate costs and hand in written reports of their findings.
Home Inspectors get paid handsomely with an average annual salary of $60,825.
That even varies from state to state.
For example, Indeed found that the top three highest paying cities for Home Inspectors include Atlanta ($64,013), Baltimore ($63,819), and Houston ($62,222).
Duties of a Home Inspector
- Assess whether homes and properties adhere to building codes and are safe to inhabit
- Examine everything from cracks in the foundation to plumbing systems and air conditioning units
- Notify owners of repairs needed and file an inspection report for review
8. Escrow Officer
US average annual salary: $58,477
Escrow Officers (or Loan Officers) take care of processing and finalizing real estate deals.
They make sure all the legal documents are ready and all requirements are met.
Aside from focusing on paperwork, Escrow Officers also work as a negotiator between both buyers and sellers.
So if you’re planning on being one, you have to work on your communication and customer service skills.
An Escrow Officer’s salary comes from their commission which largely varies from state to state.
ZipRecruiter found that New York ($68,811), California ($66,890), and Idaho ($66,591) are the top three states with the highest annual average salary.
This proves that location is definitely something you should consider if you’re looking for a career in real estate.
Duties of an Escrow Officer
- Process papers and documents containing titles, tax documents, and financial agreements
- Explain the process of purchasing homes to home buyers
- Be an intermediary between buyers and sellers
- Make sure buyers and sellers meet financial obligations
9. Real Estate Developer
US average annual salary: $79,725
If other real estate careers only need high school diplomas to get a license, Real Estate Developers need a little more than that.
These folks are the ones with degrees in real estate, urban planning, architecture, engineering, and the like.
That’s because they are tasked with building and improving real estate properties from start to finish.
Real Estate Developers also need to have extensive knowledge of the real estate market to identify cities where new developments are profitable.
The current national average salary for Real Estate Developers is $79,725.
ZipRecruiter places Atkinson, Nebraska ($105,913), Lake Marcel-Stillwater, Washington ($92,870), and New York City (92,727) as three of the highest paying cities for Real Estate Developers.
Considering that this is a sustainable career (people will always need buildings and houses, right?), it’s definitely worth pursuing.
Duties of a Real Estate Developer
- Plan and coordinate building construction to make sure deadlines and budgets are met
- Hire and work with a team of architects, contractors, engineers, lawyers, etc.
- Be knowledgeable in the real estate market, construction techniques, zoning laws, financing options, environmental regulations, etc.
- Negotiate terms and leases with buyers and tenants
10. Real Estate Wholesaler
US average annual salary: (The sky’s the limit!)
Want to make quick money in real estate?
Being a Real Estate Wholesaler might do the trick.
This short-term business strategy is all about working smart, not working hard!
Wholesalers act as transactional middlemen between a property owner looking to sell their property ASAP and an interested investor.
Wholesalers will go in, assess the property, and offer the seller a contract.
Once they find an investor, they will assign them the property and the contract at a higher but reasonable price.
Here’s a great video explaining how Real Estate Wholesale works:
Don’t confuse wholesale real estate with house flipping!
House flippers have to buy the property and pay for renovation costs before being able to sell it while wholesalers just have to take note of the property’s renovation costs and show the new owners the potential profit they can get from it.
How do wholesalers earn?
They earn from the “wholesale fee” or the difference in price between the seller’s price and the amount agreed upon with the investor.
This is why there’s no estimated annual salary since wholesalers get to name the price they want and the number of deals they want to close.
The sky’s the limit!
You can learn more about Real Estate Wholesale and how to become a wholesaler here.
Duties of a Real Estate Wholesaler
- Scout for distressed properties where owners are motivated to sell
- Contact sellers and negotiate terms
- Build a network of investors interested in buying properties
11. Real Estate Attorney
US average annual salary: $138,119
Interested in real estate and law?
Being a Real Estate Attorney combines both in a challenging but fulfilling career.
They could do anything from reviewing real estate contracts to defending tenants or property owners in court when their rights are violated.
But fair warning, becoming a Real Estate Attorney isn’t easy.
You’d need to first go through an extensive education experience — earning a Bachelor’s degree, earning a Juris Doctor degree, passing the bar exam, and more.
That could take up to a decade to finish!
However, as you can see, with the impressive national average salary, the return on investment is worth it.
You’ll be reaping the benefits in the form of a six-digit annual earning once you start working.
And if you focus on specific jobs too, such as Commercial Real Estate Attorney, you could get an average annual salary as high as $138,119.
Duties of a Real Estate Attorney
- Do a thorough review of real estate contracts and agreements
- Help clients understand terms and assist in closing deals
- Prepare real estate contracts, deeds, titles, as well as lawsuits
12. Real Estate Counselor
US average annual salary: $73,170
People go to Real Estate Counselors or consultants when they need professional advice about purchasing or developing their property.
These people must be experts in all things real estate since they’ll be using that knowledge for every consultation.
This would be a great role after you’ve had years in the real estate industry and are looking for a career that’s more laid back.
Or it might be a side gig to your other real estate endeavors.
But make no mistake, Real Estate Counselors must also be great strategists and problem solvers.
Since their job is crucial, consultants are required to have a real estate license and a Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) designation on top of that.
They also have to study continuing education programs so they’re always up to date with the industry.
As for salary, Real Estate Counselors are paid well.
ZipRecruiter even found that some states like Hawaii ($78,286), Massachusetts ($78,161), and Connecticut ($77,656) pay better than other states.
Duties of a Real Estate Counselor
- Give professional real estate advice to property owners, developers, builders, investors, etc.
- Maintain expertise in the industry through continuing education courses
- Focus on their client’s needs and help them solve property problems
13. Mortgage Broker
US average annual salary: $91,171
If you’re any good at handling finances, you will thrive as a Mortgage Broker.
Mortgage Brokers are the transactional middlemen between buyers — their clients — and potential money lenders.
They analyze their client’s financial capacities and expertly match them with a good loan deal so they get to buy the real estate of their dreams.
It’s a Mortgage Broker’s job to know all the financial details from start to finish and make sure everything is going smoothly.
And just like with most careers in real estate, Mortgage Brokers also earn through commissions.
They typically get a 1%-3% commission from the loan value which, depending on the number of deals, can land them with a $91,171 average annual salary.
Check out Indeed’s quick guide of highest paying cities for Mortgage Brokers:
Duties of a Mortgage Broker
- Connects borrowers to lenders that are the perfect fit for their financial capacities
- Supervise all transactions from start to finish
- Maintain a network of lenders and a database of great deals
14. Leasing Agent
US average annual salary: $34,057
A Leasing Agent’s main goal is to find the perfect property for their tenant and vice versa.
They usually skip the traditional 9-to-5 desk job and instead work round the clock to make sure they get the job done.
And once they match a tenant with a property, the Leasing Agent will have to see everything through to the end.
They help the tenant process leasing documents and instruct them about moving in.
Leasing Agents have to be great interpersonal communicators since they will act as a bridge between the property owner and the tenant.
They will also have to talk to a lot of people face-to-face if they want to secure more than one deal at a time.
Although the national average salary is at $34,057, Leasing Agents in some cities have been found to earn more.
Check out the top 10 highest paying cities for leasing agent jobs:
Duties of a Leasing Agent
- Connect potential tenants to properties they would want to rent through great marketing programs or strategies
- Provide tours on the properties for potential clients
- Take care of lease terms, applications, and renewals
15. New Home Sales Consultant
US average annual salary: $64,889
Here’s another real estate career that will never run out of clients — New Home Sales Consultant.
There were 6.9 million homes sold in the US in 2021 and it’s predicted that in 2023 that will be 7 million.
Imagine how many of these homes were brought by buyers looking for a new home!
A New Home Sales Consultant’s main job is to show potential tenants inside newly-constructed homes.
They have to give tours inside the model home and be familiar with the housing plan and structure.
New Home Sales Consultants are usually employed by property developers so they could get paid a base salary plus commission.
Here are the highest paying cities for New Home Sales Consultants:
Duties of a Mortgage Broker
- Find potential tenants and get them to rent out a property
- Hold house viewings and be knowledgeable about every feature of the property
- Assist tenants with various paperwork and move-in to the new home
16. Real Estate Appraiser
US average annual salary: $58,850
A Real Estate Appraiser’s job is to determine the value of a property before it gets approved for a mortgage or sold.
The appraiser uses their professional expertise to establish fair market values of commercial or residential real estate.
Their findings give the owner an idea of their property’s insurance value, rental value, investment value, and more.
Before you become an appraiser, you need an appraiser’s license and complete 75 hours of a state-approved course.
READ: How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser – A Step-by-Step Guide
Real Estate Appraisers are paid good money for their expertise.
According to Indeed, they get an average annual salary of $58,850.
Here are cities where you can earn more as a Real Estate Appraiser:
Duties of a Real Estate Appraiser
- Evaluate a property before it’s sold, mortgaged, rented, developed, or insured.
- Expertly evaluate a property’s worth by doing a comparative market analysis
- Communicate with property owners and interview clients
17. Compliance Specialist
US average annual salary: $54,529
Based on the job title, it’s safe to assume that a Compliance Specialist is there to, well, make sure everyone complies.
Compliance Specialists are experts when it comes to local regulations so if you want to be one, you have to brush up on the law.
Their primary duty is to make sure that companies conduct legal developments and transactions.
And when a company is suspected of violating regulations, Compliance Specialists can conduct an official audit for the investigation.
When it comes to salaries, this job certainly pays well.
ZipRecruiter even finds that Green River, Wyoming has an annual salary of $67,057 for its Compliance Specialists.
Duties of a Compliance Specialist
- Be knowledgeable on compliance policies, local regulations, and legal requirements for real estate transactions
- Advise clients about possible risks based on their assessment
18. Real Estate Assistant
US average annual salary: $41,447
Who says being an assistant would just earn you peanuts?
A Real Estate Assistant currently has a national average salary of $41,447.
They carry out administrative duties to support agents and brokers.
This typically means a Real Estate Assistant’s day is filled with filing documents, answering emails and phone calls, and helping with whatever the agents need.
Why be a Real Estate Assistant?
You don’t need a real estate license, first of all.
Second, if you ever want to join the industry, starting from the ground up is a great idea to start learning everything.
And being an assistant is already a foot in the door.
Duties of a Real Estate Assistant
- Provide admin support for agents and brokers: answer phones and emails, schedule meetings, etc.
- Maintain a client database and establish a good rapport with them
- Keep an eye on deadlines to make sure timelines are met for projects
19. Foreclosure Specialist
US average annual salary: $42,430
If there are those who manage new homes and properties, there are also those who manage ones that are about to close.
Foreclosure Specialists monitor the entire foreclosure process of a property and make sure it complies with regulations.
Their services can also go the other way around and help interested buyers to purchase a foreclosed property.
Foreclosure Specialists get paid an average of $42,430 to do their job.
Some even earn more depending on which state they have a real estate license in.
Duties of a Foreclosure Specialist
- Make sure foreclosure process meets federal, state, and local regulations
- Review and prepare foreclosure documents for processing
- Help resolve discrepancies or assist property owners in getting restructuring loans
20. Real Estate Director
US average annual salary: $122,999
Real Estate Directors are in charge of purchasing new real estate for huge companies.
They study the company’s development portfolio and then set out to find potential properties to acquire and develop.
Since these are huge tasks that involve a lot of the company’s assets, Real Estate Director is actually a senior management position.
Not everyone can be a Real Estate Director.
The requirements include a degree in real estate, engineering, business, or finance, and about a decade’s worth of experience in the field to back it up.
But the good news is, rookies can set their sights on this position and climb the ranks until they get there.
And peep that eye-bulging annual salary!
Here are the highest paying cities for Real Estate Directors:
Duties of a Real Estate Director
- Manage a company’s real estate portfolio and diversify it
- Prepare comprehensive real estate market analyses, cash flow projections, and detailed budgets
- Increase the value of company properties
And there you have it!
That’s 20 of the highest-paying careers in real estate.
Which one are you thinking of pursuing?
As we said earlier, careers in real estate would require a lot of time and effort.
You have to spend hours studying to get a license and probably spend a few more years getting the hang of being in the industry.
But once you figure things out — especially which career path you want to take — it’s all smooth sailing from there.
It also doesn’t hurt that these jobs pay extremely well, which makes for an awesome return on investment for all your efforts!
Let us know in the comments below which real estate career is your favorite one!