Real estate is a term used to describe the property, buildings or land owned by individuals or businesses. It is the most significant investment many people can make, and its value typically appreciates over time. It is the leading indicator of an economy’s health and also a vital contributor to millions of jobs in home improvement, lending, insurance and business.

Residential: The most common form of real estate, residential real estate is typically purchased to meet the housing needs of families or groups of individuals. It is made up of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums.

Commercial: The second largest category of real estate, commercial property is generally purchased to generate income through the sale of products or services. It includes office buildings, retail stores, gas stations, hospitals, hotels, parking lots and more. Also read

Industrial: Similar to commercial property, industrial property is usually purchased with the intent of turning a profit. It can be used for manufacturing, research and development, transportation, warehousing or storage of goods.

Vacant land: One of the least expensive forms of real estate, vacant land is often purchased to build on in the future and has minimal maintenance costs. It can be bought for rights to natural resources or as a long-term investment strategy.

Raw land: Unlike most other types of property, raw land is undeveloped and is not leased or occupied by a business. Purchasing raw land is a long-term investing strategy that requires substantial capital and knowledge of zoning regulations, flood plains and other aspects of real estate.

Principal/designated broker: A person who supervises other licensed real estate agents, a principal/designated broker is responsible for complying with state and national real estate laws. They are usually paid a percentage of the commissions they earn on sales, although some firms pay their brokers an annual base salary.

Associate broker: A broker associate, sometimes called a real estate salesperson or affiliate broker, is supervised by a principal/designated broker and is paid on commissions earned on residential sales. They may be paid to represent a landlord or to find tenants.

New housing starts: The number of construction projects that break ground is a key indicator of an economic outlook. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) tracks this data and reports on “new home starts.”

Real estate professionals can specialize in any one of these fields or can work in any area of the industry. They are typically licensed to help individuals, businesses and investors buy or sell real estate properties.

They may also be licensed to provide advice and support to other real estate professionals, such as attorneys and mortgage brokers. They may also be hired as property managers, leasing and marketing specialists, property inspectors, or appraisal experts.

Whether you are a buyer or seller, real estate is an important part of the economy and has been a leading driver of growth for more than a century. Buying or selling real estate can be a rewarding and lucrative career for anyone with the proper skills.