If you are looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, then being an estate agent might be perfect for you. As an estate agent, you will have the opportunity to work in close contact with people, take care of their properties and help them make important decisions that could really change their lives.
If you are reading this article, the chances are that you are either thinking about becoming an estate agent or you have already decided to take the plunge. But how to become an estate agent in the UK? And is it worth all the hard work?
In this article, we will answer these important questions and more.
What is an estate agent?
To put it simply, an estate agent is a person who helps others buy and sell houses. They are the crucial link between people searching for a new property to purchase, and those who are looking to sell one. Being an estate agent is not an easy job; it requires a lot of hard work, knowledge of the markets, and top-notch sales and people skills. Becoming an accomplished estate agent takes years of experience, but if you put in the hard work and dedication, there are some serious rewards.
Why are estate agents important?
Estate agents play a huge role in the UK property market. They help buyers find their dream home, and they also help sellers make money on an investment. Property purchases can be incredibly complex, without estate agents, it would be very difficult for most people to sell or buy a home without getting ripped off. Rogue builders and unscrupulous property developers love nothing better than to take advantage of inexperienced people with little knowledge of the industry and so an estate agent really can be a godsend.
What are the main benefits of being an estate agent?
While estate agents often work long hours, and the job can be very high pressure, it can also be very rewarding.
Depending on what kind of estate agents firm you work for, there may not be standard 9-5 hours; in fact, some estate agents only evening and weekend appointments, while others may only have a couple of viewings every day.
The average salary for a UK estate agent is £41,392 a year and you will also have a chance to make sizeable commissions on every sale. The standard estate agent fee in the UK is 1.42% of the selling price so there is some serious money to be made. In addition to that, many estate agent firms also offer excellent benefits such as healthcare insurance and a competitive pension.
Furthermore, you will get to meet and work with interesting people every day and make a real difference in their lives. Securing the right deal can be a huge thing for both buyer and seller so being an estate agent can be very emotionally rewarding.
How to become an estate agent: the right education & training
While many companies will accept applications from anyone (with or without experience) there is no doubt that having the right education makes finding employment as an estate agent much easier. There are several ways in which prospective employees can prepare themselves for this career path before even applying for jobs at local agencies: Getting your IAG Licence/IAEA qualifications through INEA or NAEA, applying to do an apprenticeship, joining one of the many property management courses offered in the UK, or taking an estate agent course online.
Here is what you need to know about how to become a top estate agent:
1. Get an estate and property management degree
While this is by no means a prerequisite to becoming an estate agent, a degree from an accredited UK university can have many benefits. First of all, it shows potential employers that you are willing to work hard and have the discipline to complete a university course, but more importantly, it means you will already have good knowledge and understanding of property sales and management before you start working.
During an estate and property management degree, you will learn so much about the industry, including subjects such as valuation and finance, contract law, housing policy and development. You will also gain valuable experience completing property management related projects that are designed to prepare you for your career as an estate agent.
2. Do a course through the INEA or NAEA
Alternatively, you may want to take a course through one of the industry’s leading bodies. Both the INEA (Independent Network of Estate Agents) and the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents)offer courses in all aspects of the estate agency process, from valuing properties to sales and marketing, law and contract management.
While these courses are not always required by employers they do give you a very good grounding for your career as an estate agent. You will also meet like-minded people who share your passion for property which can be invaluable when it comes to job hunting and industry networking.
After completing one of these training programmes, many graduates go on to work at top companies such as Savills or Knight Frank so taking part in an INEA or NAEA course is definitely something that could help open doors.
3. Do an apprenticeship at an estate agents firm
Another educational option is to find an estate agents firm that is willing to take you on as an apprentice to oversee your training and help you gain the experience and knowledge you need. Whether you are looking for full-time employment or just want to get some extra money while studying, this can be an excellent way of getting your foot in the door.
An apprenticeship with a leading agency will not only look great on your CV but can also give you much better access to job vacancies, especially if you are up against a graduate recruit. Starting as an apprentice at one estate agent company can also give you a headstart when it comes to networking which makes finding work easier if you don’t stay on at your original firm.
4. Find estate agent vacancies
Of course, the best way to get into estate agency is by finding a firm that has a vacancy to match your skills. While this may seem like a fairly daunting task it can actually be very easy with all of the job websites available today. If you know exactly what kind of position you are looking for (such as residential sales in London) then simply browsing through listings on popular websites such as Monster or Reed will make sure that only jobs relevant to your search appear when applying for vacancies.
You should also seek out estate agents directly and send them your CV along with a covering letter highlighting why you think they need someone like yourself at their company. This approach takes more time but if done right can lead straight to interviews which means getting closer to landing yourself your dream job.
Again, many estate agents are willing to train new recruits so even if you don’t have much work experience they may still make you an offer based on the skills and knowledge that you already possess. This is especially true for graduates of property management degrees who can hit the ground running at a firm where their degree will be recognised immediately by employers.
5. Write a great CV and application letter
Applying for estate agents jobs, particularly entry-level positions can be extremely competitive, so you need to make sure that your CV and cover letter really stand out from the crowd. While experienced estate agents may be able to get a job by simply applying through an agency or listing site, new agents often have a much harder time of it so you must do whatever is necessary to ensure your CV and application are as impressive as possible.
6. Develop your communication and people skills
No matter what educational path you choose it is important that you have excellent communication skills so you can sell properties effectively and engage well with clients. As an estate agent, you will spend a lot of time communicating with potential buyers and sellers and your ability to put them at ease, build trust, and sell them a vision are all vital when it comes to success.
The best estate agents have fantastic communication and people skills and are always looking at ways to improve them. After all, half of what you will be doing as an estate agent is acting as an intermediary between two parties, so being able to create bonds and trust between everyone involved in a potential transaction is crucial to success.
7. Become a master negotiator
Once you enter the world of estate agency, you will see that negotiation is one of the most important skills an agent can have. This means not only knowing how to negotiate on behalf of your clients but also being able to convince buyers and sellers alike without seeming too pushy or aggressive.
As any good estate agent knows, there are many ways to approach negotiations so it’s important to know when each method should be used as well as how much pressure needs to be applied for what type of client. Learning how to read both people and the situation takes time and experience, so don’t worry if you are not a master negotiator right off the bat. Practice your craft, learn from the other agents you meet, and you will soon start to develop your negotiating skills.
8. Develop winning sales abilities
Very few people have the budget to simply pick out their dream home and pay for it right away. Buying property is often about compromise, especially when inexperienced buyers realise their budget is not going to stretch nearly as far as they expected it to. This is why all estate agents need to be excellent salespeople. You will need to convince them why a property that doesn’t offer exactly what they are looking for is still worth buying. Ultimately, your role is to find out what the buyer is looking for, negotiate on their behalf to get them a good deal, and then help them close the sale.
Developing winning sales abilities means learning how to read people so you can tell when they are ready to make an offer or walk away from negotiations. You need to be able to know how much pressure needs applying in terms of negotiation tactics as well as holding back so that buyers don’t feel like they are being pressured into making bad decisions. As with most things in life, practice makes perfect, especially if you don’t have natural sales instincts.
9. Learn from experienced agents
One of the best ways to become a better estate agent is by simply observing your more experienced colleagues at work. Watch what they do, how they interact with clients and other professionals in the industry and see what tricks you can pick up. While estate agents can be very competitive, the other agents in your firm should be happy to answer your questions and give you advice because ultimately it will benefit the company if you do well.
10. Build long-term relationships with clients
An important thing to remember when you are working as an estate agent is that the relationship with your client never ends. Once a deal has been done and a property sold, it’s up to you whether or not this client comes back in the future – which means doing everything possible to make sure they don’t go elsewhere.
This can be tricky because you may not always see the client again so try to stay in touch even if it’s just sending a little email every now and then reminding them about other properties on sale or upcoming events such as open houses.
A career as an estate agent in the UK has so many benefits from an excellent salary to the opportunity to meet interesting clients and colleagues. Being a successful estate agent requires the right training, knowledge and experience but the rewards can be huge. Follow this in-depth guide on how to become an estate agent and you will have everything you need to succeed.