How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Male real estate agent showing a house to a young family
Monkey Business Images/

All over the world, thousands of TV shows celebrate and glorify the art of selling real estate. From Million Dollar Listing to Homes Under the Hammer, the media has turned selling property into such a glamorous profession; it’s no wonder why more people want to join the industry.

But there’s more to real estate than showing people dazzling new homes and making a commission out of selling them. It’s a time-consuming and demanding job where only the hardest-working succeed.

So, if you think you have what it takes to last and succeed in this competitive industry, then you’ve come to the right place. To learn how you can become a great real estate agent, here are the essential steps you need to take to succeed in this career path.

1. Research the Profession

As with any job, it’s important to gather as much information as you can so that you’ll have a better understanding of what’s needed to excel and get ahead as a real estate agent. Below is an overview of the profession, from typical day-to-day duties to salary prospects.

Job Description

Real estate agents do what Tinder does for star-crossed lovers: they find the perfect match between a prospective buyer (or renter) and a seller. Buyers and sellers are equally critical, and it’s the real estate agent’s job to make sure that both sides are satisfied with the transaction. Apart from these responsibilities, a realtor’s other duties include:

  • buying, selling or renting different kinds of properties
  • attending events or community activities to meet with different sellers and potential buyers
  • keeping up to date on market conditions, prices and mortgages
  • advising clients on property investments
  • promoting properties for sale through marketing initiatives
  • facilitating negotiations between sellers and buyers
  • generating and updating lists of properties that will suit the buyers’ or clients’ needs
  • accompanying buyers to inspect and explain more about properties
  • preparing contracts, agreements and deeds for every real estate transaction
  • updating clients on their purchase
  • arrange and conducting open houses.

Essential Skills and Qualities

To excel in this field, real estate agents must possess certain characteristics that will help them stand out. Here are a few essential traits you need to get you ahead:

  • integrity – if you don’t have this, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to build or grow your own client list
  • patience – some clients have outrageous demands; you’’ have to handle these with grace and utmost patience
  • attention to detail – your clients should never know more about a property than you, which means you have to know everything there is to know about your listings
  • confidence – you’ll be dealing with a lot of colourful and strong personalities; you, therefore, need to be confident so you don’t drown in the background
  • organisational skills – you’ll be handling important documents that should always be kept safe and organised
  • presentation skills – you’ll occasionally present to clients and make reports; your presentations must be clean and memorable
  • networking skills – it’s important to know the who’s who of the real estate industry; and to do that, you have to constantly build your network
  • marketing skills – brand awareness is key to succeeding in real estate; you’re not only selling property, but you’re also selling yourself
  • communication skills – you have to convince a client to go with your advice; and to do that, you must be able to clearly explain yourself
  • sales skills – being able to rent or sell property is the name of the game, and if you can’t do that, then you simply won’t succeed
  • creative skills – real estate is a highly competitive industry; you have to come up with creative marketing initiatives to get you noticed
  • time management skills – sometimes you’ll be asked to meet with clients at odd hours; you have to be able to manage all these appointments
  • customer service skills – to have a lasting career in real estate, you have to make sure all your customers are always happy and satisfied.

Working Hours and Conditions

Real estate agents don’t follow the typical 9-to-5 schedule. Sometimes they stay in to finalise paperwork, while most days they’re out of the office to sell properties and attend open houses. They follow a flexible schedule and usually work more than 40 hours a week to further accommodate clients who can only meet them at night or during the weekends. Most real estate agents also consider driving to be a requirement, as this helps them cater to their clients’ needs better.

Salary Prospects

Most real estate agents get a bulk of their earnings from commissions, so the longer your client list, the more money you can make. If you work with an agency, they’ll most likely give you a monthly salary.

The National Careers Service puts the average salary of entry-level agents at around £15,000. Through time and effort, they can earn as much as £40,000. According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, meanwhile, real estate agents in the US earn a median salary of $47,880.

Job Outlook

Even if a large percentage of the younger workforce no longer believes in buying homes, real estate agents will still be in demand for the next few years. With a projected growth of 6% until 2026, there’s still a lot of opportunities for those who want to try their luck. However, as the economy gets better, competition will increase, and to get ahead, you must make sure that you’re well-prepared and that you have all the skills needed to stand out from the crowd.

2. Get the Qualifications

You don’t need a degree to become a real estate agent in the US, but most states have an age requirement of 18 to 19 years old. Also, due to the competitive nature of the industry, some companies prefer to hire college graduates.

If you only have a high school diploma but want to take the licensing exam, you’ll most likely be required to undergo training programmes and take state-accredited prelicensing courses. It’s worth noting that licensing requirements vary by state; to save you time and effort, make sure to check the website of the specific state you hope to work in before taking any course or programme.

Similar to in the US, there are no formal education requirements to work as a real estate agent in the UK. To improve your chances of getting hired, however, it’s best that you take a real estate training course and get a bit of work experience in your local property market. You can also have this job by finding a mentor and working under them as an apprentice.

3. Land Your First Job

The real estate industry is very competitive; to get ahead, it’s not enough to rely on your charm.

It’s always a good idea to start early and to work with an agency that can train you on the ins and outs of the business. It also doesn’t hurt to attend as many open houses as you can to get to know any potential buyers and sellers.

Another great way to get your name out without burning a hole through your budget is to start your own blog. A blog can benefit you in numerous ways:

  • you can show your marketing knowledge by sharing your tips and insights on the industry
  • you can promote your listings by including a page on your properties
  • you can market yourself better by having a testimonial page featuring your happy clients.

Not only will a blog make you stand out, but you’ll also be able to build your own network without even having to leave the four corners of your office!

4. Develop your Career

After passing your licensing exam, you can enhance your skills further by taking post-licensing courses. They might cost a bit more, but they can give you a competitive edge as an agent.

It also doesn’t hurt to join professional organisations to grow your network, such as:

Some real estate agents even go on and become brokers so that they can start their own business and train other agents.

The real estate landscape is a competitive and challenging industry, but it also provides equal opportunities for those willing to go the extra mile to reach their dreams.

Is it your dream to become a real estate agent? Tell us what inspired you to choose this career path by dropping us a line in the comments section below!