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Career Advice

How to become an estate agent

for saleAre you a highly motivated, target driven individual with a head for business and a passion for property?  If so, then becoming an estate agent could be the perfect career for you!

It’s a popular job that almost everyone will come in contact with at some point in their life, but what exactly is an estate agent and what do they do?

In a nutshell an estate agent is a person who organises the renting, selling or management of residential properties and other buildings. Sounds simple right?  Wrong!  There is a lot more to being an estate agent than simply strolling around properties pointing out charming original features. Hopefully this guide will help you better understand the sorts of tasks you would be expected to perform and how you can get your new career off to a great start.

The Duties of an estate agent

As mentioned the showing and presentation of properties forms only one small part of an estate agent’s job activities. There are a huge number of other tasks to be undertaken behind the scenes. These can include;

  • Making initial property viewings.

  • Making surveys of a property’s specifications including a room by room account of features and description of location, setting and aspect

  • Providing a well reasoned valuation of a property based on your inspection

  • General administrative tasks involved in the marketing and sales of properties

  • Showing interested buyers around properties and pointing out their features

  • Negotiating offers between potential buyers and sellers

  • Conveyancing (arranging the legalities of property sales including purchase documents, transfer of deeds etc.)

Duties of a lettings agent

Often an agency will also deal in the management of rented properties on behalf of a landlord. In this case the estate agent will be referred to as a lettings agent. Some of the duties which you will carry out in this case include;

  • Advertising available properties in printed media and on the web

  • Showing potential tenants around rental properties

  • Providing an introduction between a landlord and tenant

  • Drawing up and administration of tenancy agreements

  • Collection and holding of deposits until the end of tenancy

  • Collection of rent

  • Final inspection of property at the end of tenancy

  • Return of deposits to tenants in accordance with the final inspection

Skills and Attributes

The role of estate agent is a very people orientated one, so clearly great interpersonal skills and an ability to quickly build rapport are essential.  Some other skills and personal attributes which will be beneficial are;

  • Being highly motivated and able to work independently using your own initiative

  • The ability and desire to work in a target driven environment

  • The ability to thrive in a high pressure role, which will regularly include working to tight deadlines

  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills

  • Being comfortable working in an office environment and traveling around various properties

  • Strong skills in negotiation and sales

  • Well presented and professional at all times

  • Driving licence – Whilst this may not always be essential, most estate agents are required to travel to various locations on a daily basis, therefore a driving licence may be requested of applicants

  • Willing and able to work as a member of a team providing support to colleagues when required

  • A high level of IT literacy

  • Good organisation and time keeping skills

estate-agentQualifications and experience

As with so many great careers there is no legal minimum qualification which is required to become an estate agent although most agencies will require at the very least 5 GCSE’s including English and Maths.  As you would expect the vast majority of estate agents implement a continuous professional development plan which means their professional legitimacy and credibility is constantly improving.

There is no ‘set in stone’ career trajectory which estate agents follow, but generally you will begin within an agency as a trainee sales negotiator and complete on-the-job training and be mentored by members of staff with more experience.  At this stage, many agencies will assist you in the completion of a number of industry recognised level 3 qualifications from the National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP).  These qualifications may include; The Sale of Residential Property, Residential Letting and Property Management, Commercial Property Agency and Real Property Auctioneers.

As you gain qualifications and professional experience you will most likely wish to pursue some higher level qualifications from the (NFOPP) these could include Level 4; Residential Estate Agency, Residential Letting and Management and Commercial Property Agency.  All of these qualifications can be completed via distance learning or alternatively through a local college, but your agency will be in a position to advise you which option would be preferable.

Generally once you have secured an entry level position within an agency you will be able to work your way up the ladder – here is a path that your career could potentially follow along with the kind of salary you can expect

  1. Secretary/Administrator or trainee sales negotiator £12,000

  2. Sales or Lettings Agent £16,000 plus commission

  3. Senior sales or lettings agent £20,000 plus commission

  4. Branch manager £25,000 plus commission

  5. Area manager (if you are working for an estate agency chain) £35,000 plus commission

Once you have reached the level of branch manager within an Agency there is often a lack of opportunity for further promotion (particularly if you are working within a single site agency).  In this case you may then wish to establish your own agency or take up a senior management position within a larger estates agency business.

If you are still thinking about becoming an estate agent we hope that you have found this brief guide helpful, otherwise you might want to take a look at some of the other guides in our career directory.


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