Real Estate Finance


About Real Estate Finance

The goal of the real estate concentration is to prepare undergraduate students for careers as professionals in real estate and related industries. As of January 2020, according to Zillow, the total value of every home in the U.S. is $33.6 trillion, which is significantly higher than the annual U.S. GDP of $20.5 trillion. The real estate profession is a multi-disciplinary: it requires knowledge of architecture, construction, law, finance, marketing, property management, and urban dynamics. Students need to be goal-oriented, persevering, self-motivated, and possess an entrepreneurial spirit. They must be creative and able to research, analyze, negotiate, and pay attention to details. The real estate concentration is composed of a carefully curated set of required and elective courses, leading to a hands-on, balanced and interdisciplinary approach.

RE Finance

*If you are on the 19-20 or 20-21 catalogs and wish to find a substitution for BUS 435, please see chart at the bottom of the page for allowable substitutions.

**Not sure which catalog you are on? Please go to your PolyProfile from the “Academics” tab of your Cal Poly portal and scroll down to “Career Program Plans”. Your Catalog year will be listed under this section.

Senior Project Options

A good real estate professional needs to wear several hats. For example, the professional needs to know how to talk to Architects and General Contractors. The professional also needs to know the zoning and permitting processes. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the professional needs to know about the finance aspect of the project. Unfortunately, talking to Architects is quite different than talking to General Contractors. They both use different jargon and they both have different “cultures”. Similarly, city planners are different than real estate financiers. As a result a working knowledge of all aspects of real estate development is pivotal.
To get a better understanding of various aspects of real estate, OCOB students participate is various real-estate “competitions”. Four examples of competitions are:

  1. Bank of America Real Estate Competition: An example of a report from project is here and an accompanying video is here.
  2. NAHB Competition: This competition is primarily through the construction management department.
  3. Villanova real estate competition: The details about the competition are here. If you intend to pursue, make sure that the dates are amenable to your schedule. An example of a winning project can be viewed here.
  4. ARGUS competition: The details about the competition can be found here.

These four competitions require different time commitments and take place at various times of the year. Also, note that participation in these four competitions is neither guaranteed nor exclusive. For instance, USC organizes a competition and Cal Poly has never participated. Similarly, Urban Land Institute organizes several competitions and Cal Poly has never participated. Therefore, as mentioned before, talk to Professor Patel before planning.

Read about a student’s experience with one of the competitions:
“Participating in the Mulroy Real Estate challenge was one of the best choices I’ve made throughout my college career. Participating in this competition not only fostered valuable relationships with my peers and real estate professionals, but increased my understanding of Real Estate precipitously. Now that I’m employed by Marcus and Millichap; the #1 commercial real estate investment sales brokerage in North America, I feel fully equipped to tackle underwriting projects because of my participation in this competition. To be blunt, if real estate is an industry you want to go into, you would be foolish to not seek out and participate in one of these competitions.”

The second type of Senior Project consists of two parts. The first pay concerns Real Estate License; the second part concerns ARGUS Certification. Details for the Real Estate Exam are here. Note that an official CA license is not required. After you pass the three modules, email the pictures of completion certificates to Professor Patel. For the ARGUS certification, email kmayfield@argussoftware.com and ask for a student discount.

Recommended Minors

With a career in Real Estate, you will frequently work with architects, project managers, city planners, etc. That is, real estate is cross-collaborative and one needs to be jack of all trades to be successful. Consequently, the additional knowledge via a minor is recommended.

All Real Estate Finance Concentration students should:

Allowable Substitutions for Concentration

Course Allowed Substitution
BUS 434 None
BUS 439 None
ECON 434 Contact Professor Patel
BUS 435 ECON 339, ECON 395, STAT 330, STAT 331, or any finance elective. 

You can initiate the BUS 435 substitution here. 

*These are acceptable substitutions but are mostly used in special cases, such as when students need the substitution in order to graduate on time.