What Is a Real Estate Consultant? Definition, Types, Agents vs Consultants [2024]

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real estate consultant

Real estate is an extremely broad field. Based on your educational qualifications and interest, you can foray into areas such as market research, sales, marketing, accounting, taxation, etc. You may also start your own brokerage or a real estate agency and provide multifarious services to clients. Apart from the above-mentioned professions, real estate consulting is another interesting domain for you to explore. But have you thought that what it takes to become an efficient Real Estate Consultant?

Here is a comprehensive guide that will provide you with all the details on how you can kickstart your career as a consultant in the real estate sector.

Who is a Real Estate Consultant?

Adept with the industry specificities, a Real Estate Consultant is a professional who assists clients in their decision-making process pertaining to different real estate assets. This includes, but is not limited to, hotels and resorts, retail and commercial spaces, family homes, educational institutes, and real estate investment trusts. From settling financial issues to addressing legal requirements, the consultants offer an array of additional services based on the client’s requirements.

More generally speaking they help a buyer from the beginning and till the end of the deal cycle, using their know-how and knowledge of the market.

Real Estate Agents vs Consultants

With so many designations for real estate professionals, it is easy to use the titles interchangeably. However, there are some major differences between real estate agents and consultants. These differences have been tabulated below.

Real Estate AgentReal Estate Consultant
An agent primarily deals with the sale and purchase of propertiesA consultant identifies a client’s objectives and proposes solutions for it
An agent earns profits from the properties soldA consultant is paid for providing services to clients for different real estate assets
Motivation-Financial incentives plus customer satisfactionMotivation-client satisfaction
In India, real estate agents have to get themselves registered with the concerned states’ real estate regulatory authority to facilitate transactions. This has been made mandatory since the enactment of the RERA act.Consultants usually work with management or consultancy firms; hence, they don’t have to get themselves registered.

Skills and Responsibilities of a Real Estate Consultant

A Real Estate Consultant must have strong negotiation and analytical abilities coupled with excellent communication skills. Additionally, the consultant must also have a stronghold over the real estate laws and should be able to provide superior customer services pre- and post-closing the deal. Here are the tasks for which the professional must take responsibility:

  • Identifying clients’ goals, concerns, preferences, and financial requirements.  
  • Conducting detailed market research and making the clients familiar with new or existing opportunities.
  • Negotiating with real estate agents on behalf of clients.
  • Preparing a comprehensive plan on mergers, acquisitions, and disinvestments.
  • Liaising with the legal team to prepare sales and purchase documents.
  • Rendering advice on finance-related issues such as cash and capital management and providing valuation and advisory services to clients.
  • Generating new business opportunities by following up on leads, cold-calling, and presenting services to potential investors or clients.

Note: The roles and responsibilities of a real estate consultant will vary from one company to another. For example, Earnest and Young provides tax, assurance as well as advisory services to their clients. On the contrary, Colliers International covers various activities like project management, property search and valuation, etc.

Additionally, with the growing importance of digital marketing in the real estate sector, there are companies or startups like Propacity, which provide marketing and advertisement services to builders and agents.

How to Become a Real Estate Consultant in India?

An undergraduate degree coupled with professional competencies plays a pivotal role in starting your career as a Real Estate Consultant. Furthermore, you need to stay abreast of legislation, news, schemes, and policies related to the industry. Only then will you be able to deliver apt solutions to challenges which cloud the real estate and construction management sector. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you embark on a path to become an efficient consultant.

STEP 1: Pursue an Undergraduate Course

The first step in becoming a real estate consultant is to pursue an undergraduate degree. This can range from Finance and Tax, Business Administration to Real Estate and Infrastructure Management, Financial Analysis, or a related domain. You can also consider pursuing technical courses like Bachelor of Engineering/Technology in Civil Engineering or BArch.

An efficient consultant follows a multidisciplinary approach to devising a perfect strategy for clients. By pursuing any one of the above courses, you will gain immense knowledge on general practices followed in business management, residential or commercial real estate marketing. Apart from this, you will also learn about entrepreneurship, financial accounting, environment and operations management, and much more.

STEP 2: Gain Work Experience

Upon graduation, you can either join a real estate company or can work as an agent with a brokerage firm. While the latter will help you familiarise yourself with the nuances of the industry at the ground level, the former will help you in identifying the area you want to gain expertise in. The specialization can range from real estate market research and land acquisition to marketing and financial accounting. After gaining 2-3 years of work experience, you can even start your consultancy firm.

Note: The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) or the RERA act has streamlined different processes that constitute a part of the real estate sector, including the registration process of agents. So, if you want to gain some experience as an agent, you need to get yourself registered with the concerned state’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority.

STEP 3: Enroll in a Post Graduate Course

Pursuing a postgraduate course is not a necessity to become a real estate consultant. However, if you want to work at leading consultancy firms, then a professional degree like an MBA in Real Estate Management/Sales and Marketing or Post Graduate Diplomas will open new avenues for you. It also allows you to specialize in a particular niche, such as sales and marketing, land acquisitions, project management, regulatory process, market research and analysis, etc.

How can you Help Clients as a Real Estate Consultant?

Real estate is a broad field. To build a career in this domain as a consultant, you need to formulate innovative business models, harness the power of digital real estate, acquaint yourself with macro-and micro-management trends, focus on risk management, and cater to other needs of a client. All services are provided keeping one goal in mind—Customer-satisfaction.

Hence, based on your knowledge, expertise, and interest, you can choose to work as a Real Estate Consultant in any one of the following areas:

What does a real estate consultant do?
1. Real Estate Development and Construction

You will be required to formulate a strategy that can maximize ROIs and provide sustainable revenue sources for large-scale development projects. You will also need to focus on minimizing risks and optimizing capital costs while accelerating project delivery.

2. Smart Cities and Buildings

As a Real Estate Consultant, you can address issues pertaining to energy-efficient properties and their related operating costs. You may also guide clients on how IoT technology can add value to the construction and real estate sectors.

3. Taxation

If you are a Finance or Economics graduate or are a certified Chartered Accountant, then providing tax-related consultancy services can be an interesting option for you to consider. Tax planning and compliance, financial modelling for mergers and acquisitions, cost segregation analysis, and planning capital investments are some of the areas of concern which you will get to work on.

4. Project Management

From real estate branding and risk management to planning budgets and ensuring compliance, real estate projects can be overly complicated. This is where a Real Estate Consultant can render a wide range of services. Cost and asset optimisation, cost estimate review, sales and marketing, vendor management, etc. aresome of the services.

5. Corporate Finance

Another interesting area for you to work as a real estate consultant in corporate finance. You can help clients by evaluating and predicting their financial performance, devising strategies to increase investor confidence, providing a road map for identifying the right projects, formulating a capital allocation plan, and much more.  

6. Digital Real Estate

As we all know, digital technology has transformed real estate. Hence, it has become important to leverage the power of advanced analytics and data science to take strategic and operational decisions. As a consultant, you can also help businesses incorporate PropTech in their strategies.

7. Real Estate Investment Trusts

In comparison to the global market, REITs and InvITs are at nascent stages in India. Hence, the need for a Real Estate Consultant who can provide guidance throughout the project cycle has become the need of the hour. So, if you want to foray into this new yet one of the most transformative sub-sectors of the real estate and infrastructure industry, then you have ample consulting services to provide. This includes tax structuring and compliance, real estate laws, regulatory advice, risk and operational management, etc.

Types of Real estate Consultants

For Investors: These consultants help people investing in real estate. They look at the numbers – prices, supply/demand, how marketable the property is. 

Their analysis tells the investor if it’s a good deal and how much money they could potentially make. Investors rely heavily on consultants to be their eyes and ears in the market. A skilled consultant can spot overlooked opportunities and identify hidden risks the average buyer might miss. 

They pore over data, tour properties, and leverage their deep industry knowledge to advise if an investment is likely to pay off or be a money pit.

For Developers: Consultants are key for residential or commercial development projects from start to finish. They scout locations, study if a project is viable, and see what the competition is doing. 

Developers need their expertise on what buyers actually want so they can create properties people will love. These consultants stay ahead of the curve on housing trends, lifestyle preferences, amenity demands and more. 

They guide developers to design communities and buildings that maximize desirability and future valuation. Without their market insights, developers could build something buyers just don’t want.

For Home Builders: Consultants guide builders through the whole construction process. Their market knowledge helps builders understand trends, follow regulations, and make smart decisions to ensure a profitable project. 

They assist with site selection, feasibility analysis, permitting, and more. Their value continues through construction, ensuring the final product meets quality standards and buyer expectations. Builders avoid costly mistakes by heeding consultants’ experienced advice.

For Developers: In addition to upfront project consulting, these experts also collaborate long-term with developers. Their insights into buyer preferences help shape the property designs and features to be highly desirable.  They continue advising on marketing, pricing, staging, and more to drive sales and maximize profits

Prominent Real estate consultants in India

These are some of most well known Real Estate consultants in India:

  • Agarwal Estates –  Well Known for their trust in the real estate service market in India.
  • Artha – Reputed  for its talented pools of human resources  providing them sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Balaaji Realtors – Offers a wide range of services including real estate consulting, home loans, legal advisory, property insurance, and interior designing.
  •  Catalyst Consulting – Aims to provide world-class services with credibility, transparency, and client focus and satisfaction.
  • CBRE India – A global leader in real estate services, offering successful assignments and solutions to clients across various industries

As a Real Estate Consultant, you will get to handle a lot of responsibilities and work directly with senior executives of different companies early in your career. Moreover, with different types of real estate projects to handle, you will gain immense exposure and knowledge. This will eventually help you grow manifolds in your career.   

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