Dreaming of fat commissions and mega deals? Take a reality check

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Dreaming of fat commissions and mega deals? Take a reality check

With the mushrooming of developers and construction projects, introduction of new formats, international practices, role of private equities and expansion of multinational firms, the real estate industry in India is seeing a spurt in growth. The development of infrastructure, government regulations and infusion of  foreign direct investment (FDI) have also supported the expansion of the real estate sector.

There is an increasing demand for professionals across all segments in this sector. The sector promises opportunities for developers, architects, professional real estate consultants, vaastu experts and contractors.

Although the sector looks unorganised in terms of remuneration and profile offerings, dominant players operating under big banners are bringing in credibility.

The number of players operating as residential agents is massive, but it is difficult to find trusted advisors for commercial properties. There is a huge demand for consultants in this segment.

The economic slowdown may have affected the business of commercial real estate consultants, but those who did play the role of business saviours to corporate houses, by defining strategies to curtail real estate expenses, are highly valued.

New opportunities

With the entry of multinational companies, outsourcing business and expansion of Indian companies, a property consultant’s role is particularly valued. One of the thrills for a real estate consultant is the constant learning he/ she derives from fast changing market trends, launch of new projects, change in government reforms, introduction of new formats, and changing client requirements.

Unlike other industries like FMCG, banking or insurance, a real estate consultant may not achieve sales closure every day. In some unique instances, the gestation period may run over months or even a year. But go-getters, who  have a patient and meticulous approach to their work, are sure to enjoy success.

When you work as a consultant in commercial properties, you will find yourself interacting with facility managers and senior managers from various industries.

Marketing commercial properties is a lot different from marketing residential prop-erties because the purpose of purchase and use is different.

Advisors need to understand different types of industries and determine variables such as transportation, proximity to source of raw materials, water and power, labour availability and local building, zoning and tax laws.

Basic knowledge on vaastu and interiors also helps the advisor/ consultant give the client value for money.

Need for certification

Although the real estate sector is seeing a boom in India, the country lacks specialised academic courses and institutes. In the absence of exclusive courses, people have always learnt on the job. There are few standard guidelines or practices which may define the processes.

There is an urgent need for institutes on real estate education. Finding faculty may prove to be a challenge because professionals operating in the industry have learnt their skills over a period of time.

Getting hired

There are two main routes to real estate consulting. One goes directly from campus (undergrad and MBA, primarily) to entry-level positions (research/market analyst, business development). The other leads from industry to mid-level positions from specific industries (banking, insurance, retail, and financial services) and functions (marketing or client relation associates). It’s a high-paying, high-profile field that offers candidates the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility and learn a great deal. After working for 2-3 years with reputed developers, many people shift from project marketing to real-time consultancy.

Professional companies, operating in the commercial market, look for individuals with a proven sales record, impeccable organisational skills and good grooming.

Where to work

Getting hired by a reputed consultant may be a challenge for freshers. However, a year or two in any marketing job and sound academic qualifications can get you an entry-level position. In consultancy, you can earn big money, but a large part of the remuneration is sales driven. The more you sell, the more you earn.

Working with a reputed realtor can help you learn the ropes. Moreover, opportunities which a reputed consultant can provide you, in terms of client set, expertise, leadership, goodwill, brand image, network, and diversified services, are hard to get in a smaller setup.

Tempted by commissions earned through big transactions, those who work for a few years with a professional consultancy firm may want to start their own venture. Beware! In most cases, start-ups feel the heat of the business in just 2-3 years of establishment.
Real estate transactions are not retail sales where you earn money every day. They involve huge financial investments and such deals don’t happen overnight.

Employment with a reputed realtor gives you the security of income every month along with annual incentives based on sales achieved.

Besides, while choosing a consultant in commercial real estate, clients seek a trusted firm with a long-term presence and good staff strength. Being a speculative market, real estate is a high-risk, high- profit sector, where some risks may be short-term ones but sometimes the downside can run into years. In such circumstances, the bigger companies sustain their expenditure on the strength of their previous performance and reserves. Bigger organisations have the capacity to take sustain long-term challenges.

If you are keen on a career in this field, it is important to carefully check the company’s past record, client portfolio and geographical reach before you sign up.

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