If you’re looking for a job as, or recruiting for, a real estate controller, you may be wondering what makes this role different from other controllers.

Real estate controllers are responsible for overseeing and managing the financial operations of real estate business.

Specifically, they provide important financial data to decision makers in real estate organizations and ensure that all transactions take place in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards. 


Real estate controllers support and manage the financial well-being of the real estate company and investments. They play a critical role in real estate development and management, helping to ensure that real estate projects remain financially sound and deliver returns on investment. The controller’s work can contribute significantly toward an organization’s success. 

In addition to daily financial operations, Real estate controllers help ensure long-term financial security and stability by ensuring the company follows all regulations, managing risk and reducing tax liability, preparing financial statements, reconciling accounts, developing budgets, and more. 


This role differs from traditional controller roles by having an additional focus on real estate industry compliance and regulations. This requires real estate controllers to have a thorough understanding of industry standards, laws, and regulations in order to ensure the company is operating within the proper guidelines. 


Clients looking for controller candidates should seek professionals who have the necessary skills for real estate operations as well as a solid foundation in accounting principles and processes. 

Key skills that real estate controllers should possess include: 

  • In-depth understanding of real estate industry standards, laws and regulations. These include real estate taxation, real property investment trust law and real estate finance law, as well as US federal, state and local real estate laws.
  • Knowledgeable about the different types of real estate investments and development such as residential properties, office buildings, shopping centers and industrial properties.
  • Possess strong problem-solving capabilities and be able to think critically when approaching real estate financial issues.
  • Deep understanding of financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting, accounting principles and processes, auditing and risk management, real estate market trends, and financial reporting.
  • BONUS: Cross-functional experience from other industries can be beneficial to real estate controller roles as it provides real estate controllers with a broader view of the real estate industry.  


  • Financial analysis involves using various methods to assess real estate investments in order to determine their viability.  
  • Budgeting and forecasting involve creating plans for future real estate activities based on current and historical trends.  
  • Accounting principles and processes include setting up real estate accounting systems, preparing financial statements, reconciling accounts, developing budgets, and more.  
  • Auditing and risk management involve assessing real estate investments to identify potential risks associated with making an investment as well as evaluating whether the real estate company is following applicable regulations.  


Real estate controllers play an essential role in real estate operations. They must possess strong financial and accounting skills as well as comprehensive real estate industry knowledge to ensure that the company is operating within applicable laws and regulations. The ideal real estate controller candidate should also have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, strong organizational abilities, and the ability to analyze real estate market trends. With this combination of skills, real estate companies can ensure that their investments are profitable and effective.