Real estate agents are a rare breed indeed. Marketing and selling properties is not an easy task. This type of work requires individuals to have innate qualities and characteristics that set them apart from the crowd in order to survive in a very competitive business and get ahead. You need to have an independent nature as you will be working alone most of time. This requires determination and the ability to plan and prioritize your work. Having an intuitive knowledge and understanding of how the real estate industry works will give you an edge. There are definite benefits and perks to learning how to become a real estate agent, including the potential for an unlimited income so you can enjoy all that life has to offer.
The Perks of Working as a Real Estate Agent – Benefits and Bonuses
Many are drawn to the real estate industry due to the prospect for a six-figure and above income. The perks and bonuses of being a real estate agent particularly appeal to those who like to be in charge and work solo.
A flexible lifestyle along with the opportunity to travel when showing properties adds a sense of adventure and spontaneity to one’s day. Some additional rewards that attract professionals to the field of real estate include the following benefits:
The Need for Real Estate Will Always Exist
Ongoing trends and developments will always have an impact on the business world particular in relation to the changing levels of supply and demand. Although the real estate market may slow somewhat when the economy is bad, the need for real estate agents will never completely go away.
Due to the variety of rental properties, there will always be the opportunity to expand into other areas. This is one industry that can survive even when the economy bottoms out. Conditions eventually improve and the real estate market makes a comeback and then flourishes once more.
There are Opportunities to Network with Others in the Profession
Connecting with other professionals within the field of real estate provides opportunities to network and make new business contacts. Real estate agents that have their own business and work independently also enjoy the social aspects and camaraderie of getting to meet others that share their passion for the industry.
Networking is particularly important for real estate agents that are just starting out. Reaching out to other professionals that have more experience is also beneficial for learning more about the real estate industry and gaining helpful support and guidance.
The Option of Working Independently and Having More Control is Attractive
Real estate agents and Realtors® may have their own business or work for independent agencies that specialize in marketing and selling a variety of properties. Even those employed by a real estate agency will have the perk of maintaining a more flexible schedule than that of a typical 9-5 work office setting.
Some real estate agents telecommute from their own homes with only the occasional need to visit their agency offices to check in. The benefit of going solo and working independently is a good choice for those real estate agents that want complete control and would prefer not work for someone else.
A Real Estate Agent’s Mobile Lifestyle Provides Flexibility to Relocate
Real estate agents have the benefit of being able to easily relocate to other regions. If the market for one particular area of real estate is slow but others are booming, the potential is there to keep working and still bring in the income.
Those that may have limited obligations with no family can go just about anywhere their heart desires. If better opportunities exist in large cities, beach-side communities, or in mountaintop resorts, being a real estate agent provides you with the flexibility to stay mobile and choose your next destination.
Behind the Scenes Responsibilities of a Real Estate Agent
There are a variety of duties and tasks that go into the day of being a real estate agent. Promotional efforts include marketing listings and properties by making them visible to potential buyers. When a property of any type is ready to be listed, the real estate agent will strategically place yard signs and then post the listing in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Advertisements to further market the property are created and then promoted through other forms of media such as brochures, newspapers and magazines.
Once the word is out and the public sees that a property is available, real estate agents will need to attract potential buyers. This is accomplished in a variety of ways that includes posting information and updates on your agency’s website and blog. If you are an independent sales agent, work solo, and have your own business, you should have your own unique website so you can connect with potential clients and market your listings.
Moving forward, the next task that real estate agents need to take care of is to install secure lockboxes at the sites of their advertised property listings. Potential buyers love open houses as it a low-pressure way to view advertised properties that they may be interested in purchasing. Interested clients will contact you to arrange showings, which will naturally progress to negotiating prices and closing a deal. Additional duties include onsite inspections, title searches, and providing necessary information to lenders.
Typical Work Environment and Work Schedule
Those that are employed by a real estate agency will have the luxury of a business office with all the amenities. Your typical office environment will usually come fully furnished with your own work station plus access to provided equipment such as computers, printers, and telephones. Depending on the size of the agency you work for, you may be provided with employee benefits such as health insurance plus vacation days, sick pay, and other perks.
Your employer may let you telecommute and work within the comfort of your own home office — with the understanding that you will need to make occasional visits to your primary office for meetings and other events. Although real estate agency offices have regular business hours, their sales agents will have more flexible schedules. A typical work schedule for a real estate agent that works for a company could include meeting with potential clients during the evening hours and showing properties on the weekends.
Real estate agents that have their own business can set their own schedules. Going this route shares some of the same elements as being employed by an agency. Solo real estate agents will still need to remain open to having to meet with clients at the end of the day and scheduling a showing of a particular property during the weekend. It is also common for independent real estate agents to sometimes put in hours during the holidays.
Essential Qualities of a Good Real Estate Agent
When a potential client will be spending a lot of hard-earned money and making a long-term investment in a home or property, they want and expect their real estate agent to be not only informative and helpful, but to also be honest and trustworthy. Home buyers and sellers do not like haggling along with high-pressure schemes to maneuver them into making a purchase.
To increase your chances for future clients and additional referrals for new business, you must be professional with a friendly personality to get ahead. Prompt and efficient service with a smile is also greatly appreciated. Key characteristics that are indispensable for succeeding as a real estate agent include the following essential qualities:
Have Strong Communication Skills
A primary aspect of your job as a real estate agent will be to interact with your clients. This may take place over the phone, via email, and through texted messages as well as in person. Having solid interpersonal skills is an absolute must. Whether your job involves representing a seller or buyer, both involve business transactions that require you to be able to effectively communicate with other people.
Be an Attentive and Patient Listener
Being a good listener and allowing others to express themselves is essential to becoming a successful real estate agent. Even though sales and commissions are an important aspect of the real estate industry, being pushy and forceful will not win you points. If you maintain a friendly yet professional approach when dealing with customers, the return investment will be referrals for additional business.
Have the Ability to Negotiate and Persuade
Negotiation and the art of selling are essential skills for success in the real estate industry. If approached with the needs of all parties in mind, the manner in which you persuade potential buyers and sellers will benefit you in many ways. If you get into the negative practice of haggling, future potential business prospects may decline as clients go elsewhere and seek out other real estate agents to represent them.
Be Skilled with Social Media and the Web
Real estate agents need to be computer savvy and skilled at navigating the Internet. MLS listings are now posted on the web, providing potential clients with details about available properties along with images. Social media networking tools such as LinkedIn and Facebook provide alternative ways to promote and market listings and to connect with potential clients.
What Types of Properties Do Real Estate Agents Sell?
The market for real estate includes a wide range of property types. Selections are just not limited to residential housing or commercial buildings. The variety is so extensive, which in itself is an added perk as you are not limited to just representing one particular type of unit. This can be a blessing in disguise when the market is slow. Depending on where you live, options include, but are not limited to, the following property types:
- Commercial properties including vacant buildings
- Office buildings
- Hotels and motels
- Industrial complexes
- Gasoline service stations
- Bank buildings
- Investment properties
- Manufactured homes
- Modular homes
- Residential homes
- Shopping centers
- Time share properties
- Vacation homes
- Vacant land and building lots
Real Estate Agents and Areas of Specialization
Choosing to focus on one or more areas of specialization is one option available for real estate agents to consider exploring. Many professionals in this industry opt for the choice of being both a buyer’s agent as well as a seller’s agent as it provides the opportunity for additional business and higher profits.
Some working within the industry may decide to primarily deal with residential properties whereas other real estate agents want the potential added income that can come from representing commercial properties. Property managers and land specialists provide additional pathways to consider.
Preparation for Becoming a Real Estate Agent
Working in the field of real estate does not require a college degree but the industry is regulated and has strict standards so preparation for entry into the field includes becoming licensed. Guidelines and requirements to obtain a license will differ within each state but essentials include that all individuals be at least 18 years of age, take several industry courses, and to have successfully passed the provided exam. Additional provisions may include having to submit to a background check.
There are a variety of ways in which you can prepare for your real estate license. Options include enrolling in courses at your local community college or university. Some educational institutions offer online, web-based instruction for those that have busy schedules and need a more flexible format in which to learn. Regardless of which method you choose, make sure that the school is accredited and authorized to instruct students.
Future Growth Opportunities for Real Estate Agents
Predicting future opportunities within the real estate industry is a little more difficult than some other fields. The supply and demand for properties is essentially controlled by the state of the economy. When the market is slow due to a downturn in the economy, some types of properties will not go as quickly and may sit for a time before a potential buyer comes along. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a slower than average growth rate for real estate agents at about 3 percent during the period of 2014 to 2024.
There will always be the need for some types of properties, even during the slow periods when some areas of the market may not be moving as fast. Real estate agents that take a more flexible approach to the industry can easily make the switch to another specialization. Another option is to focus on different types of properties in order to stay active and ahead of the competition while still bringing in an income. From a positive standpoint, there are always opportunities waiting to be had and profits to be made.