The real estate boom may be tough for veterans looking for their next home, but those in the real estate industry are happy with their productivity — and their profits.
There’s more to real estate than buying and selling homes – trillions of dollars more. Commercial real estate represents trillions of dollars in value and market share in the United States, and it’s a great option for veterans looking for a different career path than their military career.
What is commercial real estate?
Commercial real estate, or CRE, deals with properties used for businesses, workspaces, multi-family complexes, government buildings and more. Usually, these properties are then sublet to other businesses or organizations, and range in size from small storefronts to large malls or corporate offices. The CRE also includes hotels, office space, restaurants and health facilities.
Commercial Real Estate Jobs to Consider
1. Administration, human resources and accounting
Functional support roles in any industry, including roles in administration, human resources, and accounting, among others, are essential in CRE. These roles require skills that are also transferable from military jobs and can be performed in any industry. As a bonus, these jobs are often remote and have flexible hours, which can be very appealing to those who want to work outside of an office, whether at home or in another remote location.
2. Engineering and maintenance
The buildings and workspaces that CRE companies maintain require full-time maintenance and engineering staff. Imagine iconic skyscrapers, stadiums, large retail spaces like the Mall of America in Minnesota, and even mixed-use buildings that house offices, entertainment venues, and apartments. They require maintenance and specialized skills to maintain.
Specialized skills veterans may have learned in the military—such as aircraft or vehicle maintenance—will give them an advantage when reading schematics, learning about HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, or management of other critical systems in buildings.
3. Assessment and evaluation
The value and benefits of a particular property affect commercial property sales. Just like in residential real estate, appraisers are needed to determine the value and characteristics of the property. Commercial appraisers collect property information and reports to help banks, financiers and traders make the best possible decisions. Data collection, report writing, and working in a remote or variable location are valuable skills for evaluators, and they transfer well from areas of military intelligence. It’s also a great option for military spouses, who may be looking for a remote or transferable position as their military transitions to civilian life.
4. Property management
Another option in commercial real estate is the role of a property manager. From large office buildings to downtown office parks to luxury condominiums, a property manager and his team take care of all areas of the building, including maintenance requests, maintenance contracts, landscaping and rental contracts. It’s a quick job with room to grow into managing larger properties, making it perfect for transitioning service members who want a challenge.
5. Commercial real estate brokerage
Real estate negotiators are brokers, and it’s the perfect job for those who love a challenge and enjoy closing a deal. Brokerage teams connect clients with office space for growing organizations, secure a lease for an ownership group, or facilitate sales and purchases of new space for growing or shrinking entities. Commercial real estate brokers are the business development arm of the real estate industry. Veterans who care about risk and reward may like this job. Most of these positions are commission-based, making them one of the highest earners in the industry.
How to start
There are several programs, including internships and fellowships, that help transitioning service members with training and hands-on experience, including the Department of Defense SkillBridge Program and the foundation of the United States Chamber of Commerce Hire Our Heroes Corporate Scholarship Program.
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