Today's Real Estate Agent Job Description: Do You Have the Skill Set?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Every year many people think about starting a career in real estate sales. It looks enticing, the freedom to create your own schedule, to be in control of how much you earn, and to have your own business. The reality though is not a pretty picture, over one third of new real estate agents leave the business in their first three years. Why do so many leave? The biggest factor is that they haven't researched the real estate business to determine if they have the required skill set to be successful. Like any career there are some skills that can help set you on a path to success.

You should know early on that real estate sales are not a "get rich quick" career. To be a top producer in real estate takes business planning, patience, people skills, and resilience in addition to many other sub sets of skills. Many potential new agents are not aware of the fact they need a financial reserve to get them through the first six to twelve months in the business to pay household and personal expenses in addition to start-up and marketing costs related to their new real estate sales business.

The number one reason why new agents fail is their lack of self-motivation, you will be an independent contractor and will determine every day what you future will be in the real estate business. While your managing broker and possibly an office mentor or coach will offer some structure and counseling, if you are not a self-starter, conscientious, disciplined, and organized you hopes for success will be diminished. These skills can be adopted if you do not have them now.

My favorite question to ask a new agent is "Why did you get into real estate sales?" Over the years I have received many responses, but the all time leader is "I love houses or architecture". While houses and architecture might look like the answer, it is not. Real estate is a business vehicle for people and their personalities to interact. Real estate is more about people than houses. People skills are the number one skill for you to be successful. People skills include building rapport, problem solving, active listening, assimilating needs and wants, and emotional resilience. Real estate is a business, not a hobby or interest. Real estate consumers expect and deserve an ethical and professional real estate experience.

Your personality will also play an important role in real estate sales. You should like or respect all kinds of people, personalities, ethnic groups, and lifestyles. If not you could find yourself in violation of federal, state and local fair housing laws. Your ability to manage the sales process from first contact with real estate clients to closing efficiently will help kick start your career by providing you with referrals from satisfied clients.

Real estate is increasingly a technology driven business. You will need to have or learn to use at a minimum a personal computer, digital camera, and e-mail and software programs to create effective marketing pieces and efficiently manage your time. The majority of real estate consumers today expect real estate agents to be able to email listings, arrange virtual tours, and have an Internet presence.