Kat Sonson

How to start your career in real estate asset management

Real estate asset management career path: how to start your career in real estate asset management

What is real estate asset management and what does it involve?

Real Estate Asset Managers aim to improve the rental income that is generated by a property or a portfolio of properties and increase the capital value of the property or portfolio of properties.

They do this by strategically managing the asset or portfolio of assets, undertaking value add initiatives such as surrenders and renewals (doing a deal with existing tenants who are on low rental agreements to give up their leases so that the property or floor space in multi let properties can be leased to new tenants on higher rental agreements) lease regears (re-negotiating a tenants lease terms during the course of the lease, usually at the time of a break clause) and redevelopment and refurbishment (for example adding a mezzanine floor in an office to gain a greater floor area thus increasing the amount of rent that can be charged or doing an office refit thus improving the quality of the space and therefore increasing the rental that can be charged).

In simple terms, the main role of a real estate asset manager is to invest and manage money in property, on behalf of their clients. These clients may be individuals or they could be large companies. A real estate asset manager’s goal is to help grow the financial portfolio of their clients, through carrying out careful, well-made investments in property, which is often cited as being a reliable long-term investment.

Real estate asset managers will buy and develop properties for their clients, as well as deploying strategies to enhance the value of a client’s existing properties. Property is sometimes bought and improved, to be sold at a profit. Other times, properties are bought and rented or leased out, occasionally being partitioned to maximise returns.

Asset managers offer professionalism and expertise within the subject of finance and investment. They advise clients as to which properties will keep and accrue most value, how much revenue they can expect to generate and if there are any potential risks involved with certain investments. They are also able to keep track of these assets at all times, which is especially helpful for large companies.

What are the different types of real estate?

Asset portfolios often include more than one type of property. Sometimes, different property types are targeted to diversify assets. However, having a range of property types can also be the natural result of opportunistic investment, when shrewd asset managers see a chance to make a large profit on a particular property. A portfolio could include many types of properties:

* Residential properties, including homes and apartments
* Holiday properties, usually occupied on a seasonal basis and often rented out
* Commercial properties like office buildings and apartment complexes
* Mixed-use properties with both residential and commercial tenants
* Retail properties such as shops

How can you progress in a real estate asset management career?

There are a variety of roles within real estate asset management, all of which require different levels of experience. As you gain experience, you become able to manage more assets and responsibility. Here are some the roles within the sector:

* Junior asset/property manager — ideal for graduates and those with limited experience in the field, these roles involve detailed financial analysis, tracking risks for assets, and managing lettings and renewals.

* Site manager — with responsibility for the daily operations of a residential property, apartment or group of homes, site managers liaise between the owners and the tenants.

* Regional manager — this role involves handling a whole network of properties, often across a wide geographic area and a variety of property types.

* Management executive — people in this role will typically have a number of years’ experience in the field and will handle the operations of the asset management company more than actual properties.

What qualifications are required for a career in real estate asset management?

Many asset management companies focusing on real estate will look for graduates who have completed a degree in real estate. For others, a relevant subject, such as maths, finance or business administration, will be enough, particularly as degrees in real estate are quite rare to find. These types of degrees prove analytical knowledge and will equip you with many transferable skills.

It is also possible to get into this branch of asset management if you have a degree in an unrelated field. However, this will usually require completing a substantial amount of work experience or an internship, to build up experience and show your knowledge of the sector.

Due to the statistical and numerical focus of the job, it is important to show an ability to work with numbers. If you haven’t studied a degree that involves mathematics, then an A-level in maths may be sufficient. There are also many other careers that feature the use of numbers, that could give you a head-start in real estate asset management.

Of course, showing an interest in property is also essential, while training in machine repair and equipment handling (for the hands-on aspects of property management) is very desirable.

What skills are needed to work in real estate asset management?

There are a range of skills needed to work in real estate asset management. These include:

* Strong analytical skills
* Good verbal and written communication
* Time management and multitasking skills
* Ability to work both in a team and individually
* Good organisation and an eye for detail
* High level of focus — even in a fast-paced environment
* Strong critical thinking skills

We hope this blog has been helpful if you are considering a career in real estate management. Do get in touch with the team if you would like to talk further.

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