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12 Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts

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Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a great example of how financial innovation has revolutionized how individuals get exposure to certain assets — in this case, real estate properties.

Back in the day, there was no way to own a piece of a shopping mall or a residential building unless you had thousands or even millions of dollars at your disposal. 

However, REITs have democratized access to these investment opportunities by creating a legal structure that facilitates the issuance of shares at an affordable price that lay investors can buy for their portfolios easily.

This industry reportedly contributed 3.2 million full-time jobs to the United States economy in 2021, as per data from Nareit. But what kind of jobs are the most lucrative for workers looking to apply for a position at a REIT?

In this article, we share with you the best-paying jobs in the REITs industry in case you are currently on the lookout.


What Is a Real Estate Investment Trust?

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a corporation that acquires and operates various properties or that provides a service to this particular industry. They are financed by a large number of investors who get shares of the company to benefit from the income these properties generate.

In the United States, REITs were established in 1960 after President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that allowed investors to participate in real estate projects by investing in holding companies that were created for this particular purpose. 

Typically, the stock of a REIT is listed on a stock exchange and can be bought and sold in the same way as regular stock. Individuals, companies, and financial services firms use them as investment vehicles to get exposure to the real estate market without the need to purchase and manage a property.


How Do Real Estate Investment Trusts Work? 

REITs are legally established organizations that own one or many real estate properties or that provide services to this industry. Their ownership structure is typically fragmented, meaning hundreds or thousands of investors own most of the company’s shares instead of a single-family or individual. 

These organizations earn money from leasing the properties they own. For a corporation to be considered a REIT, at least 90% of its taxable income must be paid out to shareholders. These proceeds are distributed in the form of dividends.

In addition, if the value of the properties owned and operated by the REIT rises over time due to the progressive increase in the amount of income they generate or as a result of more favorable market conditions, investors may also see the price of their shares rise in the public markets.

REITs are typically classified as follows:

  • Equity REITs: This is the most common type of REIT. They issue shares to raise capital to buy real estate properties and generate income from them that they can distribute among their shareholders.
  • Mortgage REITs: They originate or buy real estate mortgages and other similar financing instruments and generate income by collecting interest payments from borrowers. The net income resulting from this activity is distributed among shareholders.
  • Public and Private REITs: The shares of these trusts are not listed in a public exchange. If they are public, it means that their securities have been registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the general public is allowed to invest in them. Meanwhile, private REITs are not listed or registered with the SEC, and their shares are typically available to accredited investors only.
How real estate investment trusts (REITs) work
Source: Ⓒ The Modest Wallet; How Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Work

Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts

In this section, we will provide more details about the responsibilities, qualifications, and prospective salaries of the most lucrative jobs in the real estate investment trust industry. 

Most of the data about salaries will be obtained from recruitment websites such as Comparably, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Salary.com, Talent.com, and Indeed. These figures should be considered referential and not actual estimates, as they may vary depending on the individual’s qualifications, the size of the REIT, market conditions, and other similar factors.

1. REIT Asset Manager

The job of a REIT Asset Manager consists of overseeing the performance of the trust’s portfolios and allocating resources to them based on an analysis of their past performance and prospects.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Oversees the performance of the properties and core operations of the trust.
  • Allocates the trust’s assets based on the best available income-generating opportunities.
  • Proposes alternatives to increase the amount of income that can be generated from the trust’s assets.
  • Ensures that the company stays competitive by keeping track of the industry’s top trends and most relevant developments.
  • Prepares and presents reports about the performance of the business to shareholders and other relevant parties.
  • Maintains a close relationship with key landlords and tenants and negotiates the terms of important deals that maximize the value the properties produce for the trust.
  • Manage the trusts’ personnel, resources, and budget.

Qualifications

  • A degree in Finance, Accounting, Business, or Real Estate is required for this position. In addition, a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is typically considered a plus or a mandatory requirement.
  • A proven track record of success in similar positions at well-established firms in the industry.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, in-depth knowledge of tools like MS Excel, MS Projects, and ERP software.
  • Soft skills: ability to establish good relationships with co-workers and clients, analytical skills, and ability to negotiate and persuade.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Asset Manager in the US may range from $42,000 to $163,000, with the national average salary standing at $102,401 per year as per data from ZipRecruiter.

Asset manager real estate | Asset manager job description 2020! | Multifamily Real Estate Positions
Source: YouTube; The role of an Asset Manager in real estate

2. REIT Portfolio Manager

A REIT Portfolio Manager is responsible for overseeing the performance of the properties he oversees, establishing the best strategies to improve their income-generation capacity, and staying up to date with the market’s top trends to make adjustments to the portfolio as needed.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Oversees a group of properties to ensure they perform as expected.
  • Provides recommendations to property managers to increase the income these assets produce or to reduce expenditures.
  • Maintains a record of how the value of the properties varies over time and makes adjustments to the rent collected on each as required to deliver the expected return on investment.
  • Create reports for the senior management about the performance and other relevant details of the properties.

Qualifications

  • A degree in Finance, Accounting, Business, or Real Estate is required for this position. In addition, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) is typically considered a plus or a mandatory requirement.
  • Five to 10 years of experience in the real estate industry.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, in-depth knowledge of tools like MS Excel and ERP software, financial projections and modeling, cash flow projections, and portfolio allocation.
  • Soft skills: ability to establish good relationships with co-workers and clients and analytical skills.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Portfolio Manager in the US may range from $51,000 to $205,000, with the national average salary standing at $103,422 per year as per data from ZipRecruiter.

3. Real Estate Project Developer

Real estate project developers plan, organize and execute the work required alongside a team of other professionals as required by the owners of the property or those who are commissioning it.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Identifying locations and land that can be used for building and developing new properties for the trust.
  • Overseeing the execution of all the required work to complete the projects.
  • Coordinating with all the departments involved in the development of a real estate project (marketing, finance, procurement, human resources, etc.) to ensure that the job is completed as expected.

Qualifications

  • A degree in civil engineering, architecture, or any other area related to the development of real estate projects.
  • A proven track record of success in developing real estate projects such as condos, apartment buildings, shopping malls, industrial parks, etc.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, real estate certifications, and project management; knowledge about project finance is also a plus.
  • Soft skills: interpersonal relationships, leadership, teamwork, and empowerment.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Real Estate Developer in the US may range from $87,500 to $150,000, with the national average salary standing at $115,000 per year as per data from Telent.com.

What is a REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER? | Real Estate for Noobs Episode 1
Source: YouTube; What do real estate developers do

4. Real Estate Attorney

An attorney specializing in the real estate industry is responsible for drafting contracts, initiating and settling legal proceedings on behalf of the individuals or companies they represent, and staying up to date with any changes to relevant regulations at the local and federal levels.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Possessing an in-depth understanding of the regulations and laws that pertain to the real estate investment trust (REITs) as an investment vehicle and as a company that develops real estate projects.
  • Establishing close relationships with federal, state, municipal, and local authorities to ensure that the company complies with all applicable laws.
  • Drafting all the legal paperwork required by the business for its day-to-day operations.
  • Representing the company in different legal proceedings.
  • Establishing a procedure to deal with delinquent tenants by using the tools and mechanisms supported by federal and local laws.

Qualifications

  • A law degree, preferably with a focus on real estate or contract law.
  • Several years of experience working for a legal firm or a company in the real estate sector.
  • Being a member of all relevant bar associations.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, oral and written communication, client service, time management.
  • Soft skills: interpersonal relationships, leadership, negotiation, teamwork.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Real Estate Attorney in the US may range from $55,870 to $460,000, with the national average salary standing at $131,851 per year as per data from Comparably.

5. REIT Analyst

A REIT Analyst assists the senior management by pitching ideas about potential acquisitions that the trust could make based on their income-generation capacity and other similar details. In addition, they could also be employed by firms in the financial industry to analyze the performance of individual REITs to determine if they are investment-worthy securities.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Analyzing the merits of every available opportunity presented by acquisition specialists and other parties to determine if they match the REIT’s minimum profitability requirements.
  • Drafting all the required projections based on the information made available by other areas of the company and using third-party research materials.
  • Building models to establish how the profitability and performance of the different projects will vary depending on how the market’s conditions and other variables fluctuate.
  • Creating pitch decks to be presented to the senior management to help them in the decision-making process.

Qualifications

  • A degree in business administration with a strong focus on financial management, investment analysis, or another similar field. A master’s in finance or a master’s in business administration (MBA) may be considered a plus or mandatory for this position.
  • One to five years of experience in a similar role at a financial services firm or another REIT.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, financial modeling, in-depth knowledge of MS Excel and ERP software, advanced mathematics, statistics, and accounting.
  • Soft skills: oral communication, problem-solving, financial literacy, critical thinking.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Analyst in the US may range from $53,000 to $136,000, with the national average salary standing at $84,515 per year as per data from Glassdoor.

Real Estate Analyst Job - What Do You Actually Do All Day?
Source: YouTube; Real Estate Analyst

6. Real Estate Acquisition Specialist

Acquisition specialists in the real estate industry are in charge of identifying the best opportunities available in the marketplace for the companies they work for. They also submit bids, negotiate the price of the properties at hand, and make sure the required paperwork is completed to complete a purchase.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Identifying potential opportunities in the real estate market that suit the REIT’s scope and reach.
  • Presenting periodical reports to the senior management that include a list of potential properties that can be acquired, financing alternatives, financial projections, and other similar information.
  • Discussing prices, settlement conditions, and other key details with the prospective sellers of the property.
  • Ensuring that the properties meet the trust’s minimum requirements in terms of quality, income-generation capacity, legality, and taxation.

Qualifications

  • A degree in areas such as business administration, finance, civil engineering, architecture, or another similar field.
  • A certification related to this activity may be considered a plus or mandatory.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, industry knowledge, real estate software.
  • Soft skills: negotiation, analytical skills, networking.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Real Estate Acquisition Specialist in the US may range from $12,000 to $150,000, with the national average salary standing at $86,159 per year as per data from ZipRecruiter.

7. Real Estate Property Appraisers

A property appraiser uses mathematical and financial tools to estimate the value of a real estate property based on a set of variables. They are typically certified to perform this kind of job, and they can be hired by financial institutions, REITs, property buyers, and real estate developers.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Determining the value of the real estate properties that the trust is looking to either buy or sell.
  • Staying up to date with the evolution of several variables affecting the value of real estate properties, such as interest rates, crime rates, population growth, etc.
  • Informing the trust about any dramatic changes in the value of the properties within its portfolio due to changes in market conditions and other similar developments.
  • Creating pitch decks and other similar reports to inform the senior management about the fair value assessment performed on a given property.

Qualifications

  • A degree in finance, business administration, or other similar fields.
  • A license to work as an appraiser in relevant states for the REIT can be considered a plus or a mandatory requirement.
  • One to three years of experience in similar positions at real estate firms.
  • Hard skills: computer skills, in-depth knowledge of MS Excel, financial projections, mathematics and statistics, taxation.
  • Soft skills: analytical, oral, and written communication.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a Real Estate Property Appraiser in the US may range from $34,964 to $114,519, with the national average salary standing at $63,278 per year as per data from Indeed.

Real Estate Appraiser Salary (2019) – Real Estate Appraiser Jobs
Source: YouTube; Real Estate Appraisers

8. REIT Accountant

REITs require accountants who specialize in the real estate market and understand the complex dynamics, reporting duties, and key regulations applicable to publicly-traded businesses.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Keeping the REIT’s financial records updated and creating periodical reports for the organization’s shareholders, senior management, regulators, and other stakeholders
  • Staying up to date with the latest changes in reporting rules from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Advising the REIT’s senior management about policies concerning the treatment of tangible assets from an accounting perspective

Qualifications

  • A degree in accounting and CPA accreditation is typically mandatory for this position.
  • Three to five years of experience in accounting jobs for publicly-listed firms, preferably
  • Hard skills: computer skills, advanced knowledge in MS Excel, QuickBooks, and other accounting software; tax regulations; SEC reporting; mathematics and statistics
  • Soft skills: analytical skills, time management, oral and written communication

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Accountant in the US may range from $44,000 to $131,000, with the national average salary standing at $78,738 per year as per data from ZipRecruiter.

9. Real Estate Property Manager

The ultimate goal of this job is to keep the property in good standing by executing the required maintenance while also proposing improvements to the property that can increase its income-generation capacity.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Ensuring the adequate performance of the property in terms of rent collection, periodical maintenance, and other similar matters.
  • Proposing alternatives to increase the income produced by the property.
  • Overseeing the property’s assigned personnel and making sure they have the resources they need to perform their jobs as expected.
  • Maintaining a positive relationship with tenants and maximizing occupancy levels by attracting new ones to the property.
  • Planning and executing small and large maintenance jobs to ensure the property continues to be attractive for existing and prospective tenants and consumers, if applicable.

Qualifications

  • A degree may not be required, but experience in the real estate market usually is.
  • A certification for managing real estate properties is typically considered a plus.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a Real Estate Property Manager in the US may range from $70,978 to $135,255, with the national average salary standing at $105,577 per year as per data from Salary.com.

10. REIT Investor Relations Manager

The Investors Relations department of a REIT has the responsibility to convey relevant information to the trust’s stakeholders by creating materials such as press releases and presentations while they are also in charge of maintaining positive communication with the media and other stakeholders to respond to their information requests.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Managing all communications between the trust and its shareholders.
  • Writing and publishing press releases and other materials that will be read by the investment public and other stakeholders.
  • Staying up to date with any changes to the regulatory environment related to financial reporting and other similar subjects.
  • Fostering positive relationships with top media outlets.
  • Keeping the REIT’s investor website adequately updated with the latest information from the company.
  • Organizing and moderating earnings calls and other similar events involving the senior management and analysts covering the firm’s stock.
  • Providing any information required by relevant stakeholders and analysts covering the firm.

Qualifications

  • A degree in finance, business administration, journalism, accounting, or other similar firms.
  • Extensive experience in public relations, marketing, and other similar areas.
  • One to three years of experience in a similar position at a publicly-traded company.
  • Hard skills: copywriting and proofreading, financial reporting, public relations.
  • Soft skills: interpersonal skills, oral and written communication.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Investor Relations Manager in the US may range from $89,283 to $179,569, with the national average salary standing at $142,701 per year as per data from Salary.com.

11. Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents capture and offer properties to the general public, including REITs, by scheduling visits and using all the available marketing channels. They are also in charge of helping the parties involved in completing the transaction and facilitating the process of obtaining financing for certain operations by relying on a network of vendors and third-party providers.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Identifying properties that can be attractive for buyers and sellers. In the case of a REIT, they can act as acquisition specialists, or they can help the trust in locating prospective buyers if they want to divest some of their assets.
  • Coordinating that the property is in good standing in terms of legal ownership, taxation, and other similar matters.
  • Connecting the buyer with third parties who may facilitate the process of obtaining financing to complete the transaction.
  • Arranging visits and inspections of the property for prospective buyers if needed.
  • Keeping all publications of the property properly updated and receiving or submitting bids on behalf of the REIT.

Qualifications

  • A degree may or may not be required.
  • A certification or the completion of a relevant real estate course is typically mandatory.
  • One to five years of experience working as a real estate agent is expected.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a Real Estate Agent in the US may range from $44,618 to $192,271, with the national average salary standing at $92,621 per year as per data from Indeed.

How Much I Made My First Year As A Real Estate Agent
Source: YouTube; Real Estate Agent

12. Real Estate Leasing Consultant

A leasing consultant is constantly on the lookout for prospective tenants who may be interested in one of the properties they have available at the moment. In the case of a REIT, they actively promote the company’s properties to potential tenants to increase their occupancy levels.

Responsibilities & Duties

  • Assisting prospective tenants in locating properties that fit their needs and budget.
  • Establishing a good relationship with top landlords in the area.
  • Scheduling visits for prospective tenants of the REIT’s properties.
  • Maintaining a good relationship with local businesses and individuals who may turn into tenants in the future.
  • Helping the legal department and property managers in negotiating and securing contract renewals.

Qualifications

  • A degree is not necessarily required for this position.
  • A certification relevant to the real estate industry or prior experience in the field is a plus or a must for some firms.
  • Hard skills: knowledge of the local real estate market.
  • Soft skills: interpersonal relationships, negotiation, networking.

Salary / Earnings Potential

The salary of a REIT Real Estate Leasing Consultant in the US may range from $12,000 to $100,000, with the national average salary standing at $51,000 per year as per data from ZipRecruiter.


FAQs on Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts

We’ve found some of the most frequently asked questions regarding real estate investment trusts’ jobs. Here are our answers:

What Is the Best Place to Find REIT Jobs?

Finding a job in a REIT is no different from doing so at any other firm. The best websites to look for open positions include LinkedIn and recruitment sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and SimplyHired.

In addition, certain REIT-specific companies, such as Nareit, can help you filter available REIT jobs.

What Is the Average Salary of a REIT Professional?

According to data from Salary.com, the average wage of a REIT Analyst ranges from $76,042 to $107,845 per year. Meanwhile, Payscale finds that the average salary in the industry is $76,000 per year, while Wall Street Oasis sets a range between $50,000 (0-year analysts) and $175,000 plus incentives (Senior Directors).

How Much Can I Make as a REIT Professional?

Depending on how many years of experience you have, the conditions of the job market, and the position you will be filling, the average salary of an employee of a REIT can range from $50,000 to over $150,000 per year plus benefits and incentives.

What Are the Requirements for Getting a REIT Job?

The qualifications of most positions within REITs are no different from those required by corporations in other industries. However, certain positions will require you to obtain a certificate.

The most popular and best-regarded certificates in the US for the real estate market include the following: 

– Certified Commercial Investment Member
– Certified Property Manager
– Real Estate Negotiation Expert
– Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager

In addition, for senior-level positions, a degree in finance, business, marketing, or accounting will be required, while some companies may require an MBA or another similar graduate degree to consider you as an eligible candidate.

Meanwhile, mid-level and entry positions may only require an undergraduate degree like a diploma or a bachelor’s.
The number of years of experience and industry-specific track record will also vary depending on the seniority of the position. For
senior-level positions, an extensive track record of success in previous jobs will probably be required.

Finally, skills such as strong computer knowledge, advanced expertise in MS Excel and other similar software, and training for certain specific ERP systems can either be considered a plus or a mandatory requirement. 

Is a Real Estate Investment Trust a Good Career?

The real estate market is one of the most stable, sizeable, and profitable in any economy, and that guarantees a certain level of stability for jobs within this industry. The average salaries offered by most positions in REITs are quite attractive compared to jobs in other sectors of the economy, although the qualifications required are not necessarily easy to fulfill.

Overall, getting a job at a REIT is not a bad place to start if you have a passion for real estate or the financial markets. In addition, many paths can lead to job positions in other similar fields such as finance, investment banking, and asset management.

What Are the Advantages of Working at a REIT?

The average salaries paid by REITs are high compared to other sectors of the economy. This alone is an advantage of working for one of these organizations. In addition, employees of a REIT can be eligible to work at firms in other corners of the financial industry, such as investment banks, financial services companies, broker-dealers, and asset management firms.


Final Thoughts

The REITs industry has been growing non-stop since the US Congress passed the laws that enabled investors to participate in these projects. Jobs in this particular field pay well and give individuals the opportunity to tap into other areas of the financial industry that can turn out to be more lucrative once they have gained enough experience at a REIT.

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