Jaguar Realty Creates Unique Path to Real Estate Careers

Posted on January 10, 2020
Alice Jackson

Students in the Mitchell College of Business at the University of South Alabama will soon gain on-the-job experience in real estate by working at Jaguar Realty. The real estate agency is believed to be the first to be owned by an institution of higher learning.

“This gives the University a chance to do something new, and to my knowledge this has never been done where the agency is owned by the university from the top down,” said Dr. Reid Cummings, associate professor of finance and real estate, and director of MCOB’s Center for Real Estate and Economic Development.

Jaguar Realty will begin operation in the 2020 fall semester. To participate, students must first finish the two required pre-license education courses offered by the Mitchell College. Upon completion, students can then sit for the Alabama Real Estate Commission’s salesperson license exam.

“Students selecting this path, and who choose real estate as their academic concentration, will be given a scholarship to help offset some of the various costs incurred when starting in the real estate profession,” Cummings said. “Realtor dues, multiple listing service fees, errors and omissions insurance and other startup costs, while not astronomical, can be a deterrent for some and would almost certainly be difficult to manage for many college students.”

Once licensed, the idea is essentially to embed South students in participating area real estate companies so they can shadow an agent or two and learn on the job, Cummings explained. “The incentive for agencies to work with us is that students bring potential clients to them. I also think there is a need for companies to look to the future. Nationally, the average age of real estate agents is 53, so the question is where that next group of people is coming from who will be agents 20 years and more from now.”

According to Cummings, a real estate license will make the student marketable in a variety of related real estate businesses. “When people think about the real estate business, typically their first thought is about brokerage, yet there are so many more avenues to consider,” he said. “Property management, resort operations, asset and portfolio administration, leasing, development, appraisal, mortgage lending, and title insurance are just some examples of how truly expansive the real estate space is. There are just so many directions a student can choose to go with the kind of experience they will gain as a Jaguar Realty agent.”

Jaguar Realty won’t be competing with area real estate companies. Instead, agents in real estate companies that partner with Jaguar Realty will take South students with them as they show property and handle paperwork for sales, and then closings. The student will always be accompanied by an experienced agent acting as a mentor.

“Hopefully, our students will earn their licenses early and have the opportunity to work for one or two years in the business before earning their degrees,” Cummings added. “Think about what they will gain along the way; experience, knowledge, relationships. How can you even begin to put a value on that?”

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