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We find that if you want to be a leader in the real estate industry then it is not good enough to be good, or even extremely good, at only one thing. Real estate differs from some other industries because success depends on so many skills.

As Avis Devine of GREG notes in a recent New York Times article: “Real estate has a huge range of careers … Students can pursue development, real estate law, appraisal, property management and real estate finance, for example. A lot of people have no idea that these are even career options.” Even a medium sized project touches on so many different issues that few people can claim expertise on all of them and the leader needs to understand how each bit fits into a larger puzzle. We think that our program offers that kind of foundation.  Our tagline says “Facilitating Professionalism in the Real Estate Industry”.

The previous posting offered advice from some senior executives in the real estate industry to new students. This posting offers advice from mid-level managers to the next generation of potential leaders.

John Tzortzis, Laurentian Bank (Toronto)

  • There are many diverse careers in the Real Estate Sector. As early as possible, students should be encouraged to join a local real estate board or trade association. Take full advantage of the school’s resources (e.g. visit the career centre long before you apply for a job). I would challenge the new students to gain some practical exposure to the field to assist in their future career choices.

(Hint: we invite guest speakers because they know more than they talk about and they like to talk with students. Participating in REHSA events either in the audience or in the organization is another useful tip.)

Reade Wolansky, Laurentian Bank (Calgary)

  • Be a leader and make decisions. If you can make a decision you will rise above your peers even if you make a bad call. Wrong decisions allow for learning.
  • Arrive to the office early and savor the quiet hours before the late risers enter panic mode.
  • Don’t be afraid to be challenged or challenge someone, but be informed and considerate of the facts.
  • Have confidence in your abilities but surround yourself with people smarter than you.

It seems appropriate to close with advice from a group which is better known outside of North America than inside: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). At their Toronto meeting in May, they talked a lot about the challenges of dealing with people having different traditions. One of the themes that I heard repeated by the more senior representatives, and one of the reasons why they are so widely respected, can be summarized as

Anybody who thinks of themselves as a “professional” must accept the constant need to upgrade. Even if you were great (when you were certified long ago), that base of knowledge would not be sufficient to become qualified now. A professional also needs to learn how to learn in order to keep up to date. Leaders are learning so much that they can teach others.