According to a recent report by the Office of National Statistics, close to 100,000 people enter the real estate business each year. While the law does recommend an eligibility bar, the idea hasn’t been put to practice. There are no legal requirements to clear before you enter the business. If you find this hard to believe, you should look at the BBC research on the subject. The exposé has a BBC crew with zero knowledge of the business opening a real estate agency that they call Cheatem & Ripoff, and spending no more than £143 in the process.
Britain, the nation of real estate agents
Part of the reason why the real estate business is so popular is that real estate prices are at an all-time high now. If you succeed in making a sale, the commission nicely pads your bank account in a way most regular jobs never would.
It’s important to know, though, that with as many people entering the business, there are many leaving it, too. The country only has about 600,000 real estate agents at work in any given year. If you don’t want to be one of those leaving the business, you need to be ambitious and hungry for success, and also better prepared than anyone else. Just because the law doesn’t set an eligibility bar doesn’t mean that you should go in with little preparation.
Get a degree
Unless you plan to start your own storefront down the street, you’ll need to look for employment at an existing real estate agency. To actually be attractive as a candidate, you’ll need to show them a relevant degree on your resume. It could certainly be helpful as a demonstration of your commitment to go in with a B.Sc in Planning and Real Estate. A degree in finance, economics or business administration could be just as competitive, however.
You degree is only the start. According to Bridgfords, the reputed real estate chain (visit Bridgfords.co.uk today) depending on the part of the country that you are in, you could need to liaise with different professionals in the process of making a sale. Solicitors manage the biggest part of any sale in Scotland, and Qualified Chartered Surveyors play an important part in property sales in England and Wales. You’ll need ongoing education to keep up.
Gain computer skills
While the real estate trade may at one time have been entirely about networking and the ability to make a great sales pitch, today, it’s all turned virtual. From advertising to making contact with interested parties and making the sale, social media sales outreach, virtual tours (real-time drone tours are a recent development) and content management systems are vital.
Look to the National Association of Estate Agents
While there is no legal requirement for qualifications to enter the real estate business, the NAEA and its sister organization, the NFoPP Awarding Body, offer widely recognized accreditations and certifications. Qualifications such as the Level 3 and Level 4 Technical Awards in Sale of Residential Property are highly useful. These are accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which is important.
To begin, though, is real estate the right fit?
Real estate is one of the most competitive areas of sales. With large sums of money at stake, competition tends to be intense. While real estate brokerage houses do treat their agents well, you do need to be on your toes to survive in the trade.
One of the best ways to determine that you are a good fit for the job would be to shadow a working real estate agent. You’ll find that real estate is a high stress environment where you need to bring multiple skill sets to the job, being very good at all of them. By turns, you will need to be a lawyer, a business manager, a negotiator, an analyst and a friend. If you can see yourself effortlessly switching hats and working at the top of your form on demand, you should find yourself a mentor, and start the process of learning. If this is a career that you could be very good at, you shouldn’t waste any time.
Linda Cooper is a student working towards her own degree of Bachelor of Science in Real Estate. Bit of a mouthful she knows! Linda enjoys sharing her experiences with others and often writes articles for the student newspaper, more recently branching out into the world wide web!