Real estate consultants and realtors play very different roles in the housing market, though their duties and responsibilities might overlap at times. A consultant usually advises clients on building or investment activities in the market. A realtor helps clients buy or sell properties. Both professions typically require a real estate agent or broker’s license in your state. You obtain one by completing an accredited course and passing a state exam.
Real estate consulting firms provide research, analysis and advising services to clients such as construction developers, investment banks, mortgage lenders, materials producers, builders and property investors. Some consultants provide services to many types of business or investors, while others specialize in a particular type of client. As a consultant, you can either work for an established firm that already provides these services or start your own business.
As a consultant, you typically start a relationship with a new prospect by meeting with him to discuss objectives. For example, a property developer might need to learn about the viability of putting in a new strip plaza, while an investment bank may want to diversify into real estate investments. After learning of the client’s objectives, you prepare necessary research tools and set out a schedule to perform and report on research. For the property developer, your research may involve site-based visits, meetings with community officials and local real estate professionals, as well as secondary research compiling data that provide direction on broader trends in regional property development.