- Types of estate agent
- What do estate agents do?
- Estate agent career path
- Estate agent salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Estate agent skills
- Pros and cons of being an estate agent
- Estate agent work-life balance
- Estate agent employers
- Related jobs
Are you looking for a unique profession that poses different challenges every day? Do you enjoy exploring fascinating locations and helping people build a new life? If you are a passionate, people-oriented person with an eye for sales, then a role as an estate agent may be the career for you.
Interested in a career as an estate agent? Explore current graduate opportunities in the property sector and take your first step towards a career in this fast-paced role.
Types of estate agent
A residential sales/letting estate agent is responsible for liaising with clients and showing them properties of interest, with the intention of the properties being used as a place of residence. They are responsible for the selling, renting or management of a property or portfolio.
Much like a residential estate agent, a commercial estate agent has a portfolio of properties that they either sell, rent or manage. However, these properties have the intended use of commercial buildings. This includes but is not limited to shop fronts, warehouses and offices. Generally, these sorts of properties take a significantly longer amount of time and require a substantial amount of financial information for investors. This is due to commercial properties often being bought by businesses, which involve more parties and request more information.
Industrial sales and lettings agents focus on large-scale commercial ventures, such as factories, agricultural land and mines. This type of work is crucial for a healthy global economy as these properties act as essential locations for maintaining industrial health. The properties are often responsible for processes such as producing, storing and distribution. These types of buildings may not be as glamorous, however, they play a very important role in the overall economic picture.
What does an estate agent do?
An estate agent will value and market properties, securing the best price for their clients. An estate agent will usually specialise in a particular sector such as buying or letting and be responsible for the following:
- Estimating the market value of a property
- Represent their clients in negotiations with buyers
- Keep informed about the housing market to find relevant trends
- Marketing and promotion of different properties
- Holding open houses and discussing property benefits to prospective clients
- Liaising with mortgage brokers, solicitors and surveyors to ensure all parties are clearly informed
- Collecting references and credit checks for potential tenants of a let property
- Ensuring properties are in line with health and safety checks before a new tenant moves in
- Collecting rent payments
- Managing rented properties when it comes to concerns with tenants
Estate agent career path
Your career path as an estate agent depends on the type of field that you’re interested in. After selecting your desired area of work, here are the typical steps that you may take in an estate agent career:
Your career begins as a trainee negotiator or in an assistant sales role. In this role, you will be trained and build on your sales experience, assisting your manager on different types of properties and land to vary your skillset. You will be expected to provide a high level of customer service, with the ability to problem-solve should a difficult or stressed client contact you.
You will be expected to assist in first contact with the client, researching their needs and applying it to a selection of property choices, then following through by showing the client around a property.
Due to the nature of the role, you would need to hold a full UK driving license in order to travel to residences.
After demonstrating your skills and experience by working as a trainee negotiator, you will progress to senior sales negotiator.
At this level you will be self proficient, making high profile sales and managing a large portfolio of property. You will be confident in drawing up contracts, discussing properties with brokers and surveyors as well as managing tenants across multiple lets. You will source new business by developing relationships and assist in the collation of key statistics so you can evaluate areas for growth.
You will be responsible for teaching trainees and delegating tasks to further their education and complete client contracts in a timely manner. You will have strong communication skills and demonstrate a full understanding of the residential sales process.
Within your career as an estate agent, you may reach a point where you can become a branch manager. You will manage and lead your real estate agencies location branch, sourcing new hires, providing training and supporting your estate agent team. You will be in charge of strategic planning for your franchise and any future franchises within your area.
Alternatively, you can branch out on your own and work on a freelance basis. This path would have an initial building phase, but with your large portfolio of happy clients, you will have their recommendations to get started with and work from. Clients will benefit from their own personal broker, while you can earn significantly more due to higher commission rates and fewer outgoings.
Estate agent salaries
Your salary as an estate agent depends on the type of organisation, the type of work you do and your job level. Estate agent salaries are often supplemented by commission. Here are the salaries that you may expect when working in real estate:
- Your starting salary as a trainee estate agent is between £14,000 and £20,000 (OTE)
- As an experienced estate agent, you can earn anywhere between £25,000 to £60,000 before commission
- A high profile estate agent can be earning up to £100,000, plus commission
Qualifications and training
Your entry as an estate agent requires you to have the relevant education and skills to succeed. Here’s what you need to start your career:
A degree is not essential for this career but, as for most competitive careers, a degree can be helpful to securing a position. You may find you have an advantage if you have a degree in subjects such as property development or surveying. Equally, if you have a sales or marketing degree, these may help you cultivate the transferable skills you need.
If you do not have a degree, you may be able to start your career at an administration level working as an assistant or receptionist, then work your way up from there. Due to the complex nature of property law, it would be advised to enrol in training to get experience in retail legislation.
Estate agencies commonly have trainee opportunities that do not require any experience in the field. When applying for work experience opportunities, it is advisable to strengthen your application with any work you may have done in customer service or administration, as this is likely where your work experience will place you. Full training will be given in your placement.
You can get work experience from internships and time spent shadowing an estate agent. If you’re looking for work experience, consider an internship within the property sector.
Some real estate agencies offer apprenticeships to start as a junior estate agent. These often require a minimum of English and Maths at GCSE level, experience in customer service or sales will also benefit your application. You will shadow an estate agent throughout the process of sourcing clients, all the way through to the final sale. You will gather information about clients, maintain client databases, generate new business through sales calls and market properties.
If you’re interested in apprenticeships, try searching here for current estate agent apprenticeship opportunities in England.
Professional qualifications can help you progress as an estate agent. You don’t usually need any professional qualifications before you get to an entry-level position. Professional qualifications are for demonstrating your skills to move up the estate agent career path.
If you’re interested, consider opportunities for qualifications through the UK’s leading body for estate agency, NAEA Propertymark. Some positions may also require certification through RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).
Estate agent skills
- Communication. As an estate agent, your clients need to be able to rely on you to stay in touch throughout all stages of the buying process, as well as be able to communicate clearly any legislation or action that needs to be taken. You need to be confident in guiding prospective buyers around a property and answering questions clearly to increase the chance of a sale.
- Time management. This career path has the potential to be all in, all the time. It will be very important to learn how to delegate and manage your time while still supporting your clients throughout what can be a very stressful time. Timeliness in your responses, the sending of contracts and turning up on time to viewings will be crucial for success in this career.
- Creativity. Due to the competitive nature of this role, it will be important to stand out from every other estate agency trying to secure your client. This gives you scope to flex your creative muscles when it comes to advertising your services and property portfolio efficiently.
Pros and cons of being an estate agent
- Flexible schedule
- Unlimited income potential due to the nature of commission-based salaries
- Career mobility, once you are experienced it is reasonable to become self-employed or change into a different field of real estate.
- Helping your clients, buying a house is often a big moment in a client's life
- Varied workload
- Long, unsociable hours
- A long detailed selling process often comes with stress
- Unlikely to have repeat customers, meaning you are always looking for new clients.
- Buying and selling can often be stressful, so tensions may run high with your clients.
Estate agent work-life balance
Depending on the company’s policy, real estate agents can enjoy a flexible schedule, working in the office or from home, going where they are needed. For residential estate agents, they may find their busiest hours happen outside of the 9-5, as their clients are working their own jobs during normal hours. As a real estate agent, it is important to establish boundaries on your time, as it is possible to work around the clock due to the nature of the role.
The world of real estate is very competitive meaning if you’re not available when your clients are (often outside of work hours), someone else will be. This is often the case where a large proportion of your wage is earned by commission.
Weekend hours are expected, with most viewings taking place on weekends. The life of an estate agent often involves long hours, however, it is possible to reap high rewards for all your hard work outside of normal 9-5 days.
Estate agent employers
There are many employers looking for talented, entry-level estate agents. Here are some top companies for you to consider:
- Nuveen Real Estate
- EVORA Global
- BGC Partners
- The Property Recruitment Company
- Lucy Group