On the face of it, real estate agents focus on managing bricks-and-mortar homes and commercial properties – a role that probably sounds like it doesn’t involve much interaction with the public. Of course, this is deceiving, because as a real estate or letting agent, most of your time will be spent working directly with other people; whether that’s speaking to sellers, dealing with photographers, meeting property surveyors or lending a hand to prospective buyers.
“Key to a career as a real estate or letting agent is being able to juggle the interests of various different parties”
It’s because of this that people skills are absolutely integral to a career in property & real estate – try selling a house, commercial property or development without talking to anyone.
Develop interpersonal and communication skills
If you don’t have a huge amount of experience interacting with lots of different people or doing so in a formal environment, why not try joining a society at university or taking an active role in running one? The debating society would be a good start!
You could also do some voluntary or charitable work in order to sharpen up your interpersonal skills and gain experience in a customer-facing role.
How good are you at selling and negotiating?
Key to a career as a real estate or letting agent is being able to juggle the interests of various different parties.
After all, you’ll be trying to help sellers flog their property for the highest possible price, while also trying to close deals with buyers who are trying to spend as little as possible.
This always involves a fair amount of toing and froing as all houses for sale and every property deal will involve some level of negotiation.
If you’ve never so much as haggled in your life, even while on holiday, don’t sweat it! There’s always room for improvement.
For instance, you could secure a placement as a sales and marketing intern or sales coordinator, or work as a sales intern, with leading companies like L’Oreal and Morgan Stanley, to acquire the first-hand experience and learn from the best.
Referencing this in an interview would be sure to impress potential employers!
Can you be commercially aware?
Few industries are as commercial as the property & real estate sector, so commercial awareness and nouns are crucial to a successful career in property.
The competing interests of buyers, sellers, and even other real estate or letting agents mean you need to manage deals, have leadership skills and know the housing market inside and out. Commercially-naive estate agents won’t last long in this competitive sector.
Come to the commercial side…
Don’t worry, if you’re just starting out you’re not expected to be a pro wheeler and dealer yet – after all, the tricks of the trade are for people in the trade.
However, you can do yourself a favor by staying current with what’s happening out there in the wider world, especially in the business and finance sectors.
Take an interest in business deals, mergers and markets and how they work. If you have a job, analyze how the business works, how it interacts with clients and customers and arranges sales.
Learn from work experience
Of course, gaining experience of working in professional environments on placements or internships can expose you to different commercial settings and will allow you to soak up knowledge and know-how from those around you, as well as giving you great examples to refer to in future interviews.