CFA worth it for a role in Real Estate Investment?

I was wondering if the CFA will be useful to me if I want to work in Real Estate Investment – starting probably with a commercial real estate company in their asset management department, which would involve buying and holding investment properties for their income as well as possible capital appreciation. Ultimately perhaps work for some kind of REIT.

My background is that I have worked for commercial brokers in their valuation departments as well as in their research & development. This mostly involves writing feasibility reports for developers and investors. There is not a great financial component to this, or at least I was not responsible for that section.

In terms of my education I have a Master of Science in Business Management which covers all the topics of an MBA but in a single year. Also a Masters in construction management and real estate development. The latter involved taking an MBA real estate finance class.

My problem at the moment is that when I apply for jobs, companies very rightfully want to put me in the same kind of research writing roles that I’ve done in the past. It would seem to me that I need to show something extra if I want to start on the more financial orientated roles. For the valuation I don’t think we are talking hugely complex financial anaylsis. The kind of analysis expected comes down to mostly office or residential buildings laid out on excel where you can see the year-to-year income stream and then it’s a matter of getting the formulas correct and entering the appropriate assumption values. You have to fairly knowledgable with excel formulas.

I’m hoping that if I can first pass level 1 and start applying for jobs, that I will have more luck in getting started in the real estate finance side. Is this a feasible strategy or am I wasting my time?

(I’d also like to sharpen my finance analysis skills because I want to be able to evaluate potential business ventures as well as continue to manage a modest collection of investment properties. These are two things that I’d like to be able to do if I strike out on my own.

This is a rather long question, but I thought it would be better to include as much info as possible so I can get some more enlightened responses – thanks for reading and hopefully answering!)

I think the CFA will be somewhat useful. It helps expose you to different sorts of interest rate models, different ways to look at risk, or concepts that are used to explain economic issues. This would be to the extent that you haven’t already studied this, of course. Maybe you can get a CFA book and flip through the material to see if it looks worthwhile.

I don’t know how useful it will be for job seeking in your case. You probably have a better idea than me.

I doubt it will be much helpful in the job seeking case. Basically, there’s real knowledge in the CFA books about the world of finance, and any professional in finance would benefit from knowing more about this industry. But strictly in terms of getting a job, level 1 won’t do much for you

I’d be doubtful if it helped for the type of work you want. Spend your time networking and sharpen your Excel modelling skills. Good real estate modellers who have spent time in asset management/broking are rare.

CFA is more useful for manager selection, real estate equities research or real estate specialist for investment consulting. The applicable content is negligible for private equity real estate or REITS.

I think it should help you with real estate investments. Few of the anaylsts within the capial markets team at cushman have cfa charters. As Ohai, stated it will help you by having an exposure to economics concepts, different types of risks, and interest rate models.

I mean, I heard from numerous charterholders and collegaues that the cfa charter is most relevant for pension funds choosing manager and not so much portfolio management or equity research.

Plus what’s so bad in investing in yourself? It’s not like the cfa program will take up all of your life. It teaches us about economics and its theories and models.

Thanks for all the feedback - it’s very helpful - more food for thought!