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Parents often ask this question when their son or daughter is checking us out for a university education. (Or, worse, they never ask the question because they think that the answer is obvious).

Misperception: building residential houses or, mostly, helping others to buy homes (i.e. “real estate salesperson”, “real estate broker”, “Realtor(r)”).  The misperception may exist because, in Canada, there are more than 100,000 real estate agents (according to the Canadian Real Estate Association) and that is the most visible part of the real estate industry.

The truth is that the industry is not just about residential property.  For investment purposes, the “four food groups” are: commercial, industrial, retail, and multi-residential (e.g. apartments, condominiums, time-share apartments, cooperatives).  The real estate industry is part of the “FIRE” sector (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate).  The Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Industry has more than 44,000 identifiable employers and contributes about $170 billion in value added annually.

The truth is that many jobs with many different job titles require an expertise in real estate, including (in alphabetic order):

  • appraiser,
  • architect,
  • builder,
  • consultant,
  • developer,
  • franchisors and franchisees,
  • investment analyst,
  • market analyst,
  • mortgage broker,
  • property manager,
  • real estate agent (commercial)
  • retailer,
  • risk manager,
  • underwriter,
  • urban planner,
  • wholesaler,

and many others.

Many types of organizations need people with these skills, including

and many others.

If you look at the list of courses for the B.Comm. (Real Estate and Housing) major at the University of Guelph, it is obvious that we cover the broad range of the industry.  Our students attract attention from many employers in many industries and come back from their co-op placements with stories which add insight to what happens in the classroom.

If you really want to know what is happening in this industry today, beyond real estate agency, check out the Who’s Who (2012 is the latest I could find) and look at http://renx.ca.