Real Estate Paralegal Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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A real estate paralegal's median annual salary is around $48,000. Is it worth the training requirements? See real job duties, and get the truth about your career outlook to find out if becoming a real estate paralegal is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Real Estate Paralegal

A career as a real estate paralegal is a steadily growing career than can be exciting for someone who is interested in real estate law. Consider the pros and cons in the table below to learn more about this career.

PROS of Becoming a Real Estate Paralegal
A job growth of 17% projected between 2012 and 2022*
Job allows you to gain an understanding of real estate law*
Average mean annual wage ($51,840 as of May 2014)*
Requires only an associate degree for entry-level positions*

CONS of Becoming a Real Estate Paralegal
May require working long hours or overtime*
Tedious research work might not appeal to everyone*
Entry-level work may focus only on clerical duties*
Law firms might prefer to hire only those with experience*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

A real estate paralegal is a legal assistant specializing in real estate law. In this position, you might draw up real estate documents, do research on property details, investigate information for cases and research laws. You might also handle case files, keeping them organized and putting them into the computer system. If the lawyer you are working with is going to court, you might help him or her to prepare. Duties are likely to vary between small and large law firms.

Ethics are important in this field with the attorney-client privilege being one of the most important ethical rules. This confidentiality agreement extends to the legal staff, including the paralegal, working on any case. You'll be expected to keep all information private and not discuss your work with anyone besides the lawyer in charge and the client.

Job Growth and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a faster than average job growth (17%) for paralegals from 2012-2022. Law firms are expected to remain the largest employer. Corporations can also offer good job prospects as companies seek to reduce legal costs. There is expected to be strong competition for jobs, but specialty areas, such as real estate, are expected to have a larger need for paralegals.

The BLS noted that paralegals working in large firms will usually earn more than those working in smaller firms. The same applies to those working in larger cities versus those in smaller cities. PayScale.com reported that most paralegals earned between $30,000 and over $65,000 in July 2015.

Career Skills and Requirements

The typical education required for paralegals is an associate degree in paralegal studies. However, if you already have a bachelor's degree, then you can earn a certificate in paralegal studies to qualify for a job. You might also qualify to work as a paralegal without earning a certificate if an employer offers on-the-job training.

Employers often prefer to hire applicants who have experience in a legal or office setting. For work in real estate, employers might prefer you to have experience as a realtor or in a real estate-related field. Skills employers could want you to have include:

  • Experience working with computers
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Research skills
  • Ability to work under pressure

Job Postings from Real Employers

In job postings found in March 2012, employers were looking for real estate paralegals who could work in residential and/or commercial real estate. Some employers preferred paralegal certification.

  • A real estate company in Florida was seeking someone with two years of experience in commercial real estate and strong computer skills.
  • A law firm in New York wanted someone who could draw up closing documents and commit to meeting deadlines.
  • A Florida law firm was looking for a paralegal who could create HUD documents and had 3-5 years of experience.
  • A self-storage company in California wanted to hire someone with a clear understanding of real estate procedures and the ability to use the Internet for research.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Certification in this field is usually voluntary; employers might prefer it but don't typically require it. You can find certification options through various professional organizations, such as the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI), the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA). The AAPI certification results in the American Alliance Certified Paralegal. The NALA offers the Certified Paralegal designation. The NFPA offers the PACE-Registered Paralegal designation. Certification is also available through the NALS. The NALS offers the Professional Paralegal designation.

Other Careers to Consider

If you aren't interested in having to seek postsecondary training, then you may find becoming a paralegal is not for you. If you find research interesting, but don't want to be stuck in an office all day, then you might consider becoming an insurance investigator. If you still want to work in the legal field, but the idea of intensive research seems too dull, then consider working as a legal secretary.

Claims Adjuster, Appraisers, Examiners and Investigators

You only need a high school diploma for most jobs in this field. Your main duty is to investigate claims made to insurance companies for legitimacy. You might have to travel as you do research and interview people associated with the claim. The job growth isn't as good as for paralegals with only a three percent growth projected from 2010-2020.

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries often have some of the same duties as a paralegal. However, you probably won't have as much overtime, and you won't likely do a lot of research. Your job duties will mostly be clerical in nature. You also only need a high school diploma to qualify for a job as a secretary. The predicted job growth is comparable to that of a paralegal at 12% from 2010-2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • Master: Criminal Justice
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Legal Support and Services
      • BS in Legal Support and Services - Paralegal
      • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
      • Bachelor: Criminal Justice
    Associate's
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
    Certificate
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Legal Studies
      • B.A. - Criminal Justice
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Paralegal
      • Associate of Arts - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice Intelligence & Crime Analysis
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Legal Studies
    Associate's
      • A.S. in Criminal Justice
      • A.S. in Legal Studies
    Certificate
      • Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Criminal Justice - Bachelor
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Penn Foster Career School

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma: Legal Secretary
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor - Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master: Legal Studies
  • BS in Legal Support and Services
  • AAS in Legal Support and Services
  • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal

Which subject are you interested in?

Keiser University

  • B.A. - Legal Studies
  • B.A. - Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts - Paralegal
  • Associate of Arts - Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Criminal Justice Intelligence & Crime Analysis

What is your highest level of education completed?

Post University

  • B.S. in Legal Studies
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)

Education Level:

Baker College Online

  • Criminal Justice - Bachelor

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster Career School

  • Career Diploma: Legal Secretary

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

What is your highest level of education?