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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Career in Real Estate




According to realtors, India will need 300 million homes in the next five years. To meet this staggering demand, the real estate sector is expected to harness the talent and skills of myriad professionals. 

   The demand for talented and qualified individuals to power the burgeoning real estate industry has increased. “The Indian real estate sector is maturing from the short-sprint mindset and is gearing up for the long distance stakes of sustainable real estate development,” says Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, real estate money management and services firm. 
   Aniruddha Joshi, executive director, Hirco Group, concurs, “The real estate sector is diversifying beyond the basic bricks and mortar. Demand for real estate in growing segments like retail, hospitality, healthcare, biotech, ITES, etc, is driving the sector. Similarly, SEZs (Special Economic Zones), townships, and IT parks have generated demand for skills beyond just the traditional fields of architecture, and civil and electrical engineering, to specialised knowledge on infrastructure and urban planning. People with specialisations in environmental aspects are also sought after as developers and consumers become increasingly aware of ‘green’ issues.” 


Hari Nagashwaran, executive vice chairman, Hallmark Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, reveals, “Every Tier-I city is attracting huge investments for gated communities, IT parks and huge malls, which are replacing conventional shopping areas. In southern India alone, construction projects to the tune of five billion dollars are in different stages of planning.” 
   Oscar Concessao, a renowned architect, based in Chennai, offers, “The global real estate consulting group Knight Frank has ranked India fifth on the list of 30 emerging retail markets and has predicted an impressive 20% growth rate for the organised retail segment by 2010.” 


With the real estate sector getting organised, there is a demand for people from varied fields. The need for youth with basic administration skills and knowledge of HR, finance, marketing and sales is tremendous, since foreign investors are now targeting India. This negates the myth that careers in real estate revolve around opportunities for engineers and architects. “A career in the real estate sector can be pursued after the basic architectural or town planning degree. The choice depends on one’s interests, talents and opportunities,”says Professor A G Krishna Menon, conservation consultant, and head, Department of Architecture and Planning, GGSIPU, Delhi. 


The following are career options in the real estate sector. Their validity as professions are not related to the state of the property market: 

Residential real estate broker: 

A broker dealing in residential properties may represent either the buyer or the seller. 

Commercial real estate broker: 

Such a broker sells hotels, office space and similar commercial real estate properties. He/ she may concentrate solely on retail office space, mall space, industrial space or hospitality space. He is involved in extensive market analysis, since commercial real estate is a preferred investment sector. 

Real estate appraiser: 

Such people determine the fair market value of a home for sale. They assess the value of properties on behalf of an appraisal firm, a bank or even major private investors. They are involved in refinancing, as well. 

Property manager: 

Such a person is usually part of a professional property management firm and looks after the investment of property owners. He handles customers and manages lease and rent deals. Good negotiation and people skills are de rigueur in this line. 

Real estate consultant: 

Such a person has extensive inside knowledge of the real estate market and advises property investors on the best investment options. His main focus is to locate properties that will appreciate in value. 

Construction and development: 

Such people are at the very nexus of the property market, and help create saleable properties either as independent operators or as part of existing development companies. 

Real estate investor: 

Such an entrepreneur invests in property himself. No qualification other than a considerable financial base and intricate knowledge of the market is required. 


This is for banking/ sales-oriented aspirants. Opportunities are huge, on par with global standards. 

Urban planners: 

Urban and regional planners develop longand short-term plans for the use of land and the growth and revitalisation of urban, suburban, and rural communities and the region in which they are located. 

Marketing managers: 

There are many new opportunities here for candidates from the banking/ FMCG/ retail sector. 

Supply-chain distributors: 

This is a very specialised field, which along with logistics, could attract talent from the IT sector. 

Architects and interior designers: 

“Architecture is a highly competitive and multidisciplinary profession, which involves a variety of tasks. This is a field, which covers myriad disciplines, including spatial design, aesthetics, safety management, money management and material management. 


   “There is great demand for architects in the country.There are 140 schools of architecture here, producing around 4000 architects a year, but this is not enough to meet the increasing demand for architects in the country,”says Prof Menon. 


   The scope for interior designers in the country is also great. “Though India doesn’t boast of premier interior designing schools, there are quite a few. Moreover, several designers have simply learnt on the job. Being an architect requires a specialised educational background. An architect can also double up as an interior designer with a little creativity and a sense of aesthetics,”affirms Vikram Phadke, a Chennai-based interior designer. 


   Concessao asserts, “Students with an academic background in physics and maths at the 10+2 level are better suited to study architecture at the graduate level. Ideally one can pursue an undergraduate degree in India to study Indian architecture, the climate, vernacular architecture, local building materials and construction techniques and then pursue a postgraduate degree in the US, UK, Europe or Australia.” 


Creativity and hard work are essential for any field, and the real estate sector is no different. Anurag Mathur, joint managing director, Cushman and Wakefield, a global real estate solutions firm, says, “The segment has various levels of skill requirements — some that are imparted by universities and some that are learnt on-the-job. For example, architects, engineers and urban planners would need to be technically qualified. Similarly, funds prefer employees with a finance background, and marketing requires some experience and/ or a degree. In certain cases like brokerage,we do not have educational programmes that train students and the learning is more experience driven.” 


   “Staying up to date with government regulations, the industry scenario, investment trends, price movements and demand-supply scenario is essential,” avers V Nagarajan, a property consultant and industry watcher. Remuneration matches standards in any other industry. “Fresh graduates can expect to start from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per month. However, conditions vary for different organisations and locations,” says Prof Menon. The pay packet is based purely on the talent of an individual architect, his work experience, multi-tasking skills and his ability to generate revenue for his architectural firm.




Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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