Practical Guide on how to become an Estate Agent

Posted under Estate Agents Business

In this article, we’re going to look at how to become an estate agent. Estate Agency is an ancient profession. For as long as people have owned or rented property, there has been a role for someone to support the buyers and the sellers. The process of buying or selling a property can be both fraught and complex. Although it’s always been possible to bypass the skills of an estate agent, it’s rarely advisable. Those brave souls who attempt that route very often come unstuck and finish up using an estate agent anyway – causing themselves unnecessary delays and expenses.

Let's move on to practical steps you should take on your journey to become a successful Estate Agent.


Table of Contents

  1. Start networking with other Estate Agents
  2. Research Estate Agent roles
  3. Look into degrees, courses, and apprenticeships for Estate Agents
  4. Research the best location to be an Estate Agent
  5. Determine your Strengths and Weaknesses
  6. Create a winning Estate Agent CV
  7. Create a 'Becoming an Estate Agent' strategy document
  8. Getting those first clients
  9. FAQs by aspiring Estate Agents

Guide to becoming an Estate Agent in the UK

1. Start networking with other Estate Agents

Networking is the process of building relationships with other estate agents in order to exchange information and referral business. The aim is to build long-term relationships that are beneficial to both parties involved. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking important to career success.

If you start networking at the beginning by following prominent groups, topics, and figures within the industry, you will gain valuable insights, develop knowledge quicker and build relationships with key figures. These relationships you build can help you with obtaining clients further on down the road.

There are many networking groups for estate agents that meet regularly, both in-person and online. These groups provide an opportunity for agents to get to know one another and build relationships. Spend an evening researching conferences or events that are suitable for people wanting to begin their career as an estate agent. A good starting point is typing into Google 'conferences for estate agents, or, 'events for estate agents', and Google will display all relevant events that have been published with them.

Another good place to network is on discussion or forum websites such as Reddit or Quora, or by joining groups on Facebook or Twitter. Start your networking off with some of our recommendations below:

Key groups and topics to follow on social media

Reddit

Quora

Facebook

Twitter

Property/Estate Agent influencers to follow on Social Media

2. Research Estate Agent roles

Ask yourself 'What type of Estate Agent do I want to be?'. If you know then great, but if you are unsure, then you need to carry out thorough research into the various types of Estate Agents there are.

Estate Agents typically specialises in one of the following:

  • residential sales
  • residential lettings
  • commercial sales
  • commercial lettings
  • rural estate.

Carry out thorough research into each of these Estate Agent types to find out which one best suits you and where you are based. Things you may consider when researching each type:

  • What does it actually mean to be this type of Estate Agent?
  • What are the typical roles and responsibilities?
  • What is the typical salary?
  • What are the typical hours?
  • Is certain experience required?
  • Are certain degrees, certificates or training required?
  • Who are the typical clients?

Finding the answers to these questions will help you determine what type of Estate Agent you would prefer to be.

Tip: Enter each type of Estate Agent into Google followed by 'estate agent job' e.g. 'residential sales estate agent job'. This will show you all jobs being advertised and will provide you with the bulk of information you need to know about that specific role.

3. Look into degrees, courses, and apprenticeships for Estate Agents

Do you need qualifications to start a career as an Estate Agent?

No. Becoming an estate agent in the United Kingdom is straightforward. Unlike many countries, you don’t need to be from any particular educational background or have a licence to become an estate agent.

Though you may not need any qualifications, they can help you stand out from the others. There are steps you can take to give yourself a better chance of success.

So what can you obtain that will help you gain experience and stand out from the competition?

Get a degree in estate and property management

Give yourself a head start by getting a degree in estate and property management. Although you don’t have to have a degree to become an estate agent, attending university will give you the necessary kudos to impress future clients. Other types of degrees can help. Examples include business administration, planning, finance, or the law. According to What Uni, for property management degrees alone, there are currently 25 universities offering 53 courses, so there is plenty to pick from.

Sign-up for a certificate course program

Take a certificate course program to get specialised training in the estate agency field. These courses sometimes only take a few months. You can choose to specialise in selling or letting. You can follow these courses through organisations such as Propertymark, the INEA (Independent Network of Estate Agents), or NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents).

Certificate programs cover :

  • How to work with clients
  • The role of an estate agent
  • Property valuations
  • Sales
  • Buying
  • Financing
  • Negotiation
  • Legal requirements and expectations of agents

Get an Estate Agent apprentice/trainee role

If University is not an option, then you may prefer the method of learning whilst working and getting paid. According to Reed, you can expect to be paid in the region of £23k-£25k a year for an entry-level estate agent role.

Some prefer taking a hands-on approach to their careers, and even the big names such as Connels advertise jobs for trainee agents. Taking on this role will be greatly beneficial to your career and you can expect to:

  • be paid as you learn
  • work alongside experienced estate agents that can teach you the tricks of the trade
  • talk and/or meet buyers, sellers and landlords, improving customer service skills
  • potentially be enrolled in a programme to gain a certificate or qualification
  • receive tailored support from your mentors

4. Research the best location to be an Estate Agent

What do we mean by 'Research the best location to be an Estate Agent?'. Well, most people get the experience and skills required to be an estate agent and begin their search for clients in their local area. Before setting up shop in your local area, it may prove beneficial to look into how competitive your area is. If the ratio of estate agencies to houses on the market is high, you may face more of an uphill struggle getting your name out there, than you would where the ratio is low.

Rayner Personel conducted research using Zoopla, to find out how many average listings there are per agent, in a specific area. Below we have highlighted the most and least competitive areas to be an Estate Agent.

3 Most competitive areas according to Zoopla

RankLocationResidential Estate AgentsNumber of Properties Currently for SaleAverage listings per agent
1stAberdeen3951113
2ndCambridge711,08415
3rdEdinburgh1852,89416

3 Least competitive areas according to Zoopla

RankLocationResidential Estate AgentsNumber of Properties Currently for SaleAverage listings per agent
18thPlymouth752,94239
19thLiverpool1415,81341
20thNewport221,01246

We are wanting to highlight that starting your career as an estate agent requires clients which can be hard to find. If you are open to the idea of setting up shop in a different location, then look into areas with less competition where it will be easier to get your name out there and get those first few important clients quicker. Be sure to run a competitor analysis in the area you wish to set up. This will help highlight who you are up against, and identify opportunities to outshine them.

5. Determine your Strengths and Weaknesses

You need to be honest with yourself when it comes to estate agency. It is a very challenging and demanding career, so you need to know exactly what you are getting into. This includes knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

It is important to identify your strengths and weaknesses because it can help you learn more about yourself. Once you know your strengths, you can focus on developing them further. Similarly, once you know your weaknesses, you can work on improving them. If you know that you aren't the best at dealing with difficult clients, then make sure you have a solid strategy in place to help you improve in dealing with them.

We have put together a list of some common strengths and weaknesses new estate agents may have. You may have some that aren't listed, so be sure to list them down too.

Strengths:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good customer service skills
  • Organised
  • Passionate about property
  • Driven
  • Persistent
  • Good at networking

Weaknesses:

  • Poor communication skills
  • Poor customer service skills
  • Poor Time Management
  • No clients
  • A small sphere of influence
  • High-stress levels

What common qualities should an Estate Agent have?

If you’re to be successful as an estate agent, then certain skills and attributes are important. Clearly, you need to work hard (often working anti-social hours – weekends too). You need to be dedicated to supporting your clients. Integrity is a must. In a field with opportunities and a reputation for disreputable behaviour, you need to earn a reputation for 100% honesty and a total commitment to your client’s cause.

You’ll need to be good at building personal relations and using tact, patience, and perseverance. The house selling process can be stressful for clients. You need to have the emotional intelligence to appreciate how they’re feeling when things aren’t going smoothly. Sometimes deals fall through. You need to be able to support your clients through difficult times. Some of the core skills to possess as an Estate Agent:

Communication skills

You have to develop communication skills. These include understanding nonverbal communication – being aware of clues, like nodding, smiling, facial expressions and posture. You need to be someone who enjoys working face-to-face with a variety of personalities. You must be a good and active listener and able to respond promptly and efficiently to your clients’ calls and emails.

Business skills

To succeed in being an estate agent, you’ll also need fundamental business skills. You’ll have to learn how to negotiate and also how to develop a business plan and a marketing strategy. Being a good networker will help too – making the right connections in related sectors, such as finance, mortgages, insurance, and the law, will all help.

Marketing skills

When you start up as an estate agent, you need marketing skills. You need to develop an understanding of the role played by print advertising, as well as online estate agency portals. You also need an awareness of the role of social media platforms – how and when to make the most of the opportunities they provide. Platforms like Facebook play a valuable part in generating homeowner leads for estate agents.

6. Create a winning Estate Agent CV

Not all Estate Agents need to write a CV, as some choose to work for themselves, but writing a CV is a good opportunity to get everything you've learned about your strengths and weaknesses down on paper. Whether you use it or not, it is always good to have a document listing who you are as a professional, and what you can offer.

Standing out from potentially dozens of aspiring Estate Agent CVs can be hard, but here are some tips on creating a winning CV:

1. Start with a strong introduction

Your CV should start with a strong introduction that explains who you are and what you can offer. Be sure to mention any experience you have as an estate agent, as well as any other skills or qualifications you have.

2. Make it easy to read

Your CV should be easy to read and well-organized. Use headings and subheadings to break up the text, and make sure all of your information is easy to find.

3. Sell yourself

This is your chance to sell yourself to potential employers. Highlight your strengths and explain why you would be the perfect candidate for the job.

4. Keep it up to date

Make sure you keep your CV up to date and update it whenever you gain new experience or qualifications.

5. Use a good format

There are a number of different CV formats to choose from, so find one that best suits your skills and experience. Check out these Estate Agent CV templates for inspiration.

6. Proofread it

Make sure you proofread your CV before sending it off and correct any mistakes.

7. Ask for help

If you're not sure how to write a CV, or you need help getting started, ask a friend or family member for help. There are also many online resources available, such as templates and tips sheets. Make sure to consider your network contacts and see if you can drop them a message for any advice.

7. Create a 'Becoming an Estate Agent' strategy document

So you have conducted and documented research, and have a clear understanding of how you are going to become an estate agent. Now it is time for you to strategise and begin the real work in making it as a successful estate agent.

If possible, in a single document, compile all your findings and decision in an easy-to-follow format. This document should act as your go-to piece of information to track current and future tasks. Don't worry if you change your mind on a choice you made, as this document can evolve over time, with bits being added or removed. In the future, this document can evolve into a fully detailed business plan if you choose to start your own agency, so always keep a copy of it and update it when necessary.

A good tool to use to track tasks, projects, client relations, etc. is Monday.com The day we at Agent Extra started using it, our lives changed. Productivity and client management improved tenfold. We highly recommend at least trying out their free trial.

Every Estate Agent's strategy will vary, and some actions that are relevant for one, won't be for the other. For example, a person that has chosen to go work as a trainee for a corporate branch, won't have to worry about devising a full marketing strategy. Whereas if someone has chosen to work as an independent agent, knowing exactly how they are going to market themselves and their services is crucial.

8. Getting those first clients

One of the hard parts of being an Estate Agent is getting those first few clients. We aren't saying that after that everything is a breeze, but many Estate Agents generate new clients through referrals. In fact, 74% of clients will give you referrals, as long as they have been provided a satisfactory service.

Here are a few tactics to look into for generating your first clients:

Family and friends - Your family and friends are one of the best sources of business for estate agents. Some find it embarrassing to do so, but have casual chats and explain that you are planning to become an Estate Agent. Give them updates as you progress and provide them with either business cards or get them to follow you on social media.

Door Knocking - Some Estate Agents disagree with door-knocking tactics, but many still use it as a method for generating leads. Be prepared to visit a volume of houses in order to get just a few leads. Maybe provide an introductory offer to entice them. Always carry business cards and door hangers with you when you go door knocking

Use Lead Generation Services - Finding those clients can seem like an uphill struggle and costs time and effort. Using lead generation companies like Agent Extra can take the stress away, and help generate new leads and book motivated appointments straight into your diary. See them as a supplementary service to your own lead-generating methods.

A rewarding experience

Being an estate agent will no doubt be an exciting venture, but it won't be a small undertaking. There’s much to consider. The opportunities are vast, but the pitfalls are ever-present too. Think carefully about all the points we’ve covered. With passion, drive, integrity, and business intelligence, there will be a place for you in this richly rewarding sector.

9. FAQs by aspiring Estate Agents

What do estate agents actually do?

Estate agents sell or let properties on behalf of their clients. Many provide both services. Estate agents make money through fees and commissions. It might sound like easy money. But that’s far from the truth. The work can be hard and sometimes frustrating. Those who make a success of setting up as an estate agent do so through diligence and commitment. The hard work does bring its rewards. You get to be your own boss and, with success comes growth, with eventually the chance of developing a business that’s a valuable asset.

Do estate agents suffer from a poor image?

Over the years, often through their own making, the estate agency profession has developed a reputation for unscrupulous behaviour. This has been a case of a few bad apples letting personal greed overcome integrity. However, don’t let this dishonest image put you off. Treat it as an opportunity. When you set up as an estate agent, encompassing values of honesty and integrity will stand you in good stead. By standing out in contrast to your less scrupulous competitors, you will enhance your own reputation as well as the reputation of the sector as a whole.

Do estate agents earn good money?

Employed estate agents might earn as much as £35,000 per annum, with the average being around £27,000. Depending on the size of the firm, there are managerial roles, which can earn at least double this amount.

Of course, if you set up your own estate agency business, how much you earn depends entirely on the scale and profitability of the business. You might remain as a one-person band. Or, you could grow to become a national chain.

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