Urvi Vora studied event management and even took up a job with a media company.
But less than two years later, she quit her demanding job to join Narains Corp Property Consultants & Realtors. Today, her friends say she is a "rich lady".
"I had no background in the industry," said the 23-year-old associate consultant who has a degree in event management. "But I have realised it is a brilliant career opportunity." Understandably. She works in an industry where 20-somethings can draw six-figure salaries and commissions that can run into seven figures.
Brokers are now consultants. They do not work out of home. They work in swank, corporate-style offices of global property consultants.
They are not fly-by-night operators. They are armed with engineering or management degrees and are here to stay.
"It is not a walk-in and walk-out industry any more. Motorbike-borne brokers are gone," said Atul Nayak, professor, Akruti Citygold Institute of Infrastructure Management.
It is difficult to walk in and out of an industry that is growing at 30 per cent every year and offers freshly graduated civil engineers and management graduates six figure salaries. With foreign direct investment in the industry expected to touch $15 billion in the next four years, the real estate industry is opening up job opportunities by the lakhs. Repealing of the Urban Land Ceiling Act, which throws open more space for construction, has given it an added boost.
"The real estate sector is expected to grow to $50 billion from $12 billion," said Suresh Malkani, dean, Indian Institute of Real Estate, which conducts online courses. "There is huge demand for personnel in areas like property management, real estate finance, valuation, insurance, taxation, landscaping, marketing and information technology."
So you could be a consultant who advises buyers and sellers or specialise in handling the money that flows in and out of these transactions. With the retail boom and opening up of the aviation sector, management of malls and airports is also big business.
The boom has also meant more competition for independent brokers. "A lot of chartered accountants and management graduates are getting into this business," said Gaurav Ahuja, a 25-year-old who has taken over his father's 30-year-old real estate brokerage business. "But our work needs to be more organised. There should be formal training for people interested in this field."
Chetan D Narain, chief executive officer, Narains Corp Property Consultants & Realtors, said: "Real estate sales, especially the brokerage segment, is most rewarding in the long run. It is the only career opportunity where efforts versus rewards has a correlation and more so if you get to earn commission incentives on sales with the firm."
Narain added that with sales commission, the income can be three, four or five times the annual salary.
Though earnings in the industry are attractive, there is a dearth of people. According to a survey conducted by Akruti Citygold Institute of Infrastructure Management, the estimated manpower requirement in the real estate industry, including construction, technical and management aspects, in 2008-2009 will be 20.21 lakh. And the figure is expected to cross 30 lakh by 2012.