Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Real Estate - Brokerage and Leasing

Real estate agents that represent buyers, sellers, owners or tenants must be licensed by the states in which they work. Most states require a test before issuing a sales license, or for more advanced brokers, a license is based on experience and educational requirements.

Public perception of the real estate industry is often based on images of residential sales agents because it is a highly advertised segment of the real estate industry. Residential agents represent buyers or sellers in exchange for a fee, payable when a sale is completed. This productivity-based segment requires long and uncertain hours, often resulting in a high agent dropout rate. Those that succeed can make an attractive living. People skills dominate this field. A lack of a college education has not hindered many successful residential agents. The outlook for residential brokers and agents is positive, thanks to use of internet and intranet technology in marketing to buyers and sellers. Residential brokerage firms that do not embrace technology will find themselves losing market share. Continuing education is generally required by licensing authorities in each state. Many real estate agents take advantage of programs offered by the National Association of Realtors.

Commercial brokerage requires people skills and a higher level of technical business knowledge. Most successful commercial agents need at least an undergraduate education and many have graduate degrees in business, enabling them to work with corporations, tenants, institutional buyers and sellers, domestic and foreign business entities and a host of sophisticated investment and business clientele. Most commercial agents specialize in specific property types such as industrial, office, retail, hotels, apartments, recreational or parking. Continued education is available through a variety of trade associations. Successful commercial agents can earn executive-level compensation. They must closely watch markets to anticipate economic trends affecting the real estate industry.