We are often asked………. What can I do after I recover from a severe illness or injury? This is especially true for dentists who either cannot practice clinically or who are severely limited in their abilities.   Among the many significant career alternatives available to dental professionals are job opportunities in the Real Estate field.  This may not be your first thought and serious consideration about transitioning into consulting and education may be your first “go to” ideas.

Exposure to the field of real estate may come early.  You may purchase a house or several homes during your career.  Even the most basic of investment tools may involve REIT- Real Estate funds.  These early experiences will likely give you some basic understanding of the investment and marketing involved in real estate transactions.   The great aspect of real estate in general is the flexibility you will have.   Selecting your own hours and work schedule is common and your earning potential is essentially limitless.   For a physically challenged dentist, working with this freedom is invaluable.   You may even be available to work a significant amount of time at home. Regaining that sense of value and relevance is very important to psychological recovery;  and transitioning into this field has unlimited potential.

Your choices involve two major options in a career in real estate.  They can be pursued individually or simultaneously.   Of course, you can always invest in real estate via the stock market and REIT/REAL ESTATE holding funds.  This route has similar risks as any stock transaction and may have different fees attached.

Your first option is to transition into sales as an agent or broker. Licensing in every state is required and you will need to pass a qualifying examination.  These preliminary requirements are necessary to protect all parties involved.  They should be quite simple for an educated dental professional who has years of formal educational experiences.  Most individuals start as an agent and work for a broker.  Your broker will provide an office and staff support.  Over time as you become more successful,  and you may want to become a broker yourself.  You already have experience running a business and dealing with staff,  this is just a different field.  Whether you choose to work in residential or commercial real estate it doesn’t matter.  You will get a commission when you list a property for sale or sell a property as its selling agent.  Expect approximately a 1-2% commission to list and a 3-4% commission when you sell a property.   Understand these will likely need to be split with you broker.  Your upfront costs will likely include licensing, a vehicle, and sharing of office overhead/advertising.   Expect to put a significant amount of miles on your car.   You need to be available to sell 24/7 to really be successful.  As with any field there is a learning curve, and it will take some time/dedication to become proficient.

Your second option is to transition into real estate investing.  This option is open to practitioners who have accumulated enough funds to purchase investment property.  You will get the highest return on your investment in this field if you manage the properties yourself.  Whether you invest in residential or commercial property, there are known risks and educating yourself in advance is absolutely required.  Flipping properties is an alternative, but definitely involves significant risk and effort.  Expect to earn approximately 4-6% after expenses for well-managed properties only.   There are volumes of detailed information on this option available and careful research will pay off.   Even those dentists with limited resources may approach this option if they are able to carefully ensure that all taxes, mortgages, and fees are paid on time and in full.

Real Estate is a wonderful opportunity for a dentist and should be on your list of potential encore careers when you retire or if you cannot practice well due to an injury or illness.  The flexibility it gives;  lets you take charge and decide how hard you want to work, where you want to work, and how much you want to make.  Few fields offer this flexibility.  Agents take pride in the services they are providing to others and have the admiration of their peers.  Real Estate is a respected profession and dentists often succeed because of the great interpersonal skills they have gained in private practice. Interacting with the public brings both joy and a renewed sense of value to one’s career.

You will not be selling used cars.  You will be selling and managing people’s homes, lives, and businesses.  A position of trust and worthy of the responsibility that your clients/tenants place on you, just like your former patients.  Seriously consider this career option, and place it on your list of encore career alternatives.  See our other posts on career options and make a good decision on your future. FIVE STEPS TO GET BACK TO WORK  You can always change your mind and this is one field you can exit or enter quickly with minimal effort.  Take the time to do your “due diligence” and you will be satisfied with your transition decision.   Please contact us if you have any question.   See our posting on the ten steps to survive disability of you are newly ill injured. TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY   As always we are there to support your recovery and transition. We are just a phone call away.





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