What does a real estate investment analyst do?

by Corben Grant on 17 Mar 2022

The world of investing can be complicated enough for an individual investor, but when it comes to large real estate companies with massive portfolios, the level of complexity grows and the stakes can be even higher. There are entire organizations whose sole purpose is to make money through real estate investments so, naturally, they need to employ experts to help make the most of their opportunities.

Beyond just making money and remaining profitable, these companies also often have many shareholders who expect to know how their money is being used and what their returns will be. In these cases, it's crucial to have an expert well-versed in the world of real estate investments to help make sense of the real estate market, make decisions on what will have the best results, and make sure everything is performing as well as it can.

This job is covered by a specialized position known as a real estate investment analyst. Real estate analysts are experts trained in understanding real estate investments and markets. Beyond working for real estate companies, they may also find work with real estate boards, banks, and other financial institutions to help them understand the state of investments and the market. These analysts play a critical role in determining the direction of an investment portfolio and are possess some of the most in-depth knowledge on the world of real estate.

Becoming a real estate investment analyst can offer you the opportunity to work with many different organizations, as well as a decent amount of income. However, it can also be a demanding role, requiring years of education and daily challenges. If you are considering hiring a real estate analyst or are interested in becoming one yourself, this article will cover all the basics that you need to know.

What is a real estate investment analyst?

Real estate investment analysts are experts in examining and interpreting real estate markets, market conditions, and trends. With their deep knowledge of real estate, these analysts can help to make informed investment decisions. Their expertise can be used in a number of different ways such as financial analysis, acquisitions, marketing, leasing and more.

Who hires real estate analysts?

Real estate analysts can find a job in a number of different organizations such as property development groups, investment firms, asset management firms, banks, and more. There are also roles for real estate analysts in government agencies, real estate boards, and research groups, who may not necessarily work in real estate investments but who need to have a finger on the pulse of the real estate market.

Essentially, any business that works in the real estate industry or owns real estate properties can find a use for a real estate analyst. In fact, even companies that don't explicitly work in real estate but have extensive real estate holdings such as large franchised corporations may find a real estate analyst useful.

In addition, real estate analysts may work independently and accept investors as clients in need of their skills. A number of analysts may also work together to form their own firm that is hired to consult for other organizations.

With so many groups invested in the world of real estate, there is demand that will likely steadily continue for skilled real estate analysts for years to come.

What do real estate analysts do?

Real estate analysts possess a very specialized skill set that allows them to understand the complexities of markets and investments and use this understanding to help make business decisions. These specialty skills usually require a high level of education to attain.

Real estate analyst duties can vary and they can perform a number of functions within an organization. Some will be experts on local markets and the economic factors that drive them. Others may focus on research and will work with market and financial data to compile reports and create financial models. Others will work with internal departments handling acquisitions, sales, and marketing, to help make sure their efforts are in line with what the market demands.

Because of the wide range of roles a real estate analyst can play in the world of real estate finance, they may find themselves working on very different tasks on a day-to-day basis. Others may specialize and become experts on specific aspects of being an analyst, such as becoming an expert on a specific market or a specific property type.

How much money do they make?

Real estate analysts take a long path to get into their positions. Generally, they will need at least a university degree in something like economics and may even need further job training for their day-to-day tasks. These positions will also often take many years to attain. Furthermore, the decisions that real estate analysts make can have a huge impact on the success of the business they work for. As a result, analysts are highly valued in their organizations and tend to fetch a high level of pay.

According to the government of Canada's job bank, the average salary for an investment analyst in Canada can be upwards of $70,000 a year. On the highest-end, this salary can go beyond $140,000 yearly. This can be a very well-paid position, though the overall salary you take home will depend on where you work, who you work for, and your years of experience in the field.

Overall, due to the important and specialized nature of their work, real estate investment analysts can make a good amount of money, however, the financial, educational, and time investments to attain these positions are also high.

How can I become a real estate analyst?

Becoming a real estate analyst will take a lot of commitment, though it can be well worth it in the end.

In terms of education, a real estate analyst will need at minimum a bachelor's degree in a related topic. Fields for your degree could include economics, finance, business administration or statistics among others. A bachelor's degree will take at least four years in a traditional university and then a couple more years for a master's, so it may take a while before you can get started in this job.

For higher-up positions in larger institutions, you may even need education as high as a doctorate. This will add additional time and financial requirements to your education.

As far as special career certifications, there may be provincial regulations that apply to your job as a real estate analyst, though there are no standard certifications at the national level. 

However, there are some other things that will come in handy for your job. For example, while universities tend to cover topics from a broad theoretical position, there is still a lot to learn from everyday experience in the field and it may take many years before you are truly an expert in the complex world of real estate. This truly is the kind of role where you will be continuously learning from the day you begin to the day you retire.

Who makes a good real estate analyst?

Being a real estate investment analyst (and being a good one) will take a lot of commitment and knowledge. In order to succeed in this position, there are also some traits that the ideal candidate should exemplify. This section can be useful for individuals interested in this role to determine what may be required of them and it can be helpful for those looking to hire an analyst to know what they should be looking out for in candidates.

For one, they will need to have an understanding of many different aspects of the real estate world. This includes knowledge of local market trends, both historical and current, as well as things like property types, financing, different investment avenues and more. Not only must they be knowledgeable on these topics, but they should also have a passionate interest, as much of your day-to-day life will be spent deep within these topics.

Furthermore, to be a real estate analyst you will need certain intellectual skills. In particular, an ideal candidate will be capable of various types of mathematics that will come in handy for many aspects of the job. You should also be skilled in collecting and analyzing data and statistics.

These skills are crucial to the daily work of a real estate analyst and you will be expected to be highly competent in these areas. Naturally, some of these skills will be taught through your education, but you will be challenged each day to maintain and utilize these skills.

You should also possess technical skills, especially in the modern age, business is becoming increasingly integrated on the technical side. 

Finally, a good analyst may also find themselves in need of strong business skills. They may work with many others who don’t have the experience they do in their field. It will be crucial that you are able to not only understand your work yourself but also be able to communicate it to others in ways that they can best understand. This will be important as analysts may find themselves making regular reports or presentations on findings.

Finally, on a personal level, a great analyst needs to be curious and dynamic in their job. Not only can the tasks of an analyst vary from day to day and across their career, but the market itself can change drastically and quickly change the ways that decisions need to be made. Someone who is ready to roll with the punches and quickly adapt will succeed best in this role.

Conclusion

Real estate analysts can be a major resource for any company with a stake in the real estate business. They can play a number of roles and handle various tasks and are most suited to help understand the real estate market in order to help investments perform as well as possible. Thanks to their high level of knowledge and specialized skill set, real estate analysts are an in-demand job, and though there may be much involved in attaining such a role, there can also be significant financial and career rewards for doing so.

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