6 Tips to Getting Started in Real Estate

shutterstock_134490893 (1)Determining the right career can be difficult. Understanding your fit for any position requires that you know the essential elements of the job, and how your personality and skills match. Here are six tips that will help you get started in real estate:

1. Understand your personality Like any job, the key is to understand your suitability to the position and how passionate you are about doing it. When this aligns correctly, it can seem an easy fit even when you are working hard.  Being a real estate agent is no different, and it’s not for everyone. Some key attributes of successful real estate agents are:

  • Friendliness – You are at the forefront of customer service, so you must like being with people.
  • Punctuality – You will be required to make appointments constantly, and they are usually for a short period of time. Punctuality is a critical aspect to this job.
  • Selling skills – This is a sales position and requires expertise at rapport building, listening, identifying true customer needs, understanding and handling objections, and closing the sale.
  • Organisation and business planning – Behind the scenes is administration work, as well as all the facets of marketing, budgeting, and running a business. You may have an assistant or you may need to do this yourself, depending on the size of the agency. However, you need to understand basic facets of business management and the administration required to follow up potential leads. Be prepared to do the follow-up administration yourself.

2. Have money in the bank It is most likely you will work on commission, which means there might be no weekly salary. Be realistic with your expectations, as it is likely to take a while before sales occur. And then it could take more time before you actually get paid, as settlement can take anywhere from 4-16 weeks. You will need money in the bank to cover your own expenses until you are turning over regular sales in order to avoid added financial pressure before you start the job. On average, you can expect to earn 3-6% commission per sale. Budget how much you expect your monthly expenses will be. There will be fees to pay the broker, and car, mobile phone, advertising and marketing costs.

3. Leads, leads, leads You are only as good as your last sale, so you’ll need to keep them coming in. While some referrals may occur through the office, a significant part of the role occurs through you generating leads. You want to build your own clientele of current and prospective buyers and sellers. Be prepared to get out and network, and participating in local business and community associations can be good for this. However, to start with you should compile a list of everyone you know – friends, family, colleagues, local business owners that you frequent. You never know anyone’s situation and when they or someone they know will be ready to buy or sell.  Ideally your lead details will be set up in a database management program so you can access and update it easily. Set goals on how many new leads you want to be adding to your list each week, how often you wish to contact them and why.

4. It’s your business Selling real estate is competitive. You will need to be goal oriented and highly motivated to succeed. Determination is key. Imagine it is your own business where you set goals and create the plans to achieve them. You need marketing skills – to market yourself and the properties you sell; high communication and customer service skills; and to understand the realities of administrative needs and managing your budget and expenses.

5. Do your homework You want to join a business that is the right fit for your personality and provides a promising career. See which agents regularly have the most listings in your area; try to speak with their sales people to find out about the company, and ask about their staff turnover rates. A high churn rate is never a good sign, and staff who average 5 years or more shows stability. You may even wish to do some work-experience first before committing to this career. Spending a few days or week with an agency could work out if you are a perfect fit.

6. Time to get qualified In addition to having professional selling skills, you will need to be professionally qualified. If being in real estate sounds right for you, you will need a license. The regulations can vary state by state, so you will need to check in your local area for the exact requirements for your location. Some common areas that you will need to understand include:

  • Basic property rights.
  • Laws and limitations on property ownership.
  • Policies and insurances around Titles.
  • The processes involved with property transactions.

You should contact the state real estate associations as well as real estate agents in your area to find out their exact requirements.

For information on how to become a qualified real estate agent, take a look at the course information available through the ICI website today.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.