Is the Indian real estate sector the right place to make a serious career in now? Compared to more developed countries, the Indian real estate sector still lacks sophistication and transparency.
By Sameer Khanna, Head - Human Resources, Jones Lang Lasalle India
Is the Indian real estate sector the right place to make a serious career in now? Compared to more developed countries, the Indian real estate sector still lacks sophistication and transparency. However, it continues to be in the limelight of domestic and international investments. This has naturally brought on the need for better, more capable human resources.
Though real estate is not nuclear science, there is a fair degree of complexity involved. As in any other business, real estate businesses operate either on:
- The basis of knee-jerk reactions to currently existing market trends and opportunities
- A learned understanding of the market, anticipation of emerging possibilities and with provisions for market integrity over the long term
The first method is reactive and often opportunistic. The latter is based on information rather than gut-feelings, and results in assured growth rather than short-term gains via calculated risks. There is increased emphasis on the latter approach today - therefore, there is definitely scope for making a career as a real estate professional.
Real Estate Courses
The scenario is changing fast and there is a lot of professionalism coming in because of the arrival of major international players. Developers are cleaning up their acts and introducing best practices and higher transparency now, thanks to evolving market dynamics. People equipped with the right know-how, training and professionalism are in high demand, and are paid correspondingly.
There are a number of real estate courses that aim to equip their students with some requisite knowledge, thereby giving them an edge. However, academic learning needs to be backed by hands-on, practical experience in order to reap fruits. A real estate course is at best a means to an end, but certainly not an end in itself.
The emergence of Indian real estate as a new academic focus is, of course, heartening. Equipping students with a basic understanding of the real estate market is as valid as instructing them on stock market dynamics - knowledge of either field can open up various career possibilities and attract youthful progressiveness into the sector. Also, the real estate professionals of the future are responsible for bringing about some badly-needed regulatory frameworks in the sector, and for catalyzing a higher degree of transparency.
The fact that they now have opportunities for being academically prepared for this is nothing but positive. That said - should one choose to attend such a course, checking its accreditation and verifying that the courses are officially recognized is extremely important.
In the final analysis, no learning is ever wasted. At the very least, even rudimentary real estate courses can whet the appetite of our youth to acquire experience and proficiency in this exciting, dynamic sector. Here, as in every other business field, the instructed youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.
The following are some of career options available in the real estate sector:
- Residential real estate broker - A broker dealing in residential properties may represent either the buyer or the seller.
- Commercial real estate broker - Such a broker sells hotels, office space and similar commercial real estate properties. He/she may concentrate solely on retail office space, mall space, industrial space or hospitality space. He/she is involved in extensive market analysis, since commercial real estate is a preferred investment sector.
- Real estate appraiser - Such people determine the fair market value of a home for sale. They assess the value of properties on behalf of an appraisal firm, a bank or even major private investors. They are involved in refinancing, too.
- Property manager - Such a person usually is part of a professional property management firm and looks after the investment of the property owners. He handles customers and manages lease and rent deals. Good negotiation and people skills are de rigueur in this line.
- Facilities manager - Facilities management as a concept has just begun emerging as the best possible route of maximize profitability and reduce overhears in large real estate projects such as residential townships, office buildings and malls. There is still a severe dearth of adequately trained facilities management personnel. Professional property and asset management companies such as Jones Lang LaSalle train their operatives on the ground.
- Real estate investment consultant - Such a person has extensive inside knowledge of the real estate market and advises property investors on the best investment options. His main focus is to locate properties that will appreciate in value.
- Project development experts - Such people are at the very nexus of the property market, and help create saleable properties. They advise developers on all aspects of the project, from the blueprint stage of final deployment.