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How to Become an Estate Agent

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Estate Agent Changing Career Career

The sale of a house is largely thought to be one of the most stressful undertakings during a person's life. A good estate agent can make all the difference to how smoothly a sale goes, as well as negotiating an excellent price for the seller or buyer.

Working as an estate agent be an incredibly varied job, with lots of travelling during the day as well as a proportion of office-based work. The working environment is often busy and can at times be stressful. However, the diversity of skills associated with working as estate agent could be suited to many people looking for a job that requires them to tackle each day on the hoof.

Being an estate agent employs many different skills, including sales valuations and negotiations skills, organisation and administration skills, as well as proficiency in marketing and promotional activities.

Changing Career

You don't necessarily need a degree to start work as an estate agent. A confident, outgoing personality as well as enthusiasm, drive and a head for numbers might be the very qualities that could land you the job. However, as with many positions, some relevant experience or an appropriate degree can put you that bit ahead of other candidates for the same role.

A Qualification In Business Or Management Studies would be beneficial, and for the more top-end agencies or senior positions qualifications in surveying, urban studies, land studies and land management (particularly for rural estate and land management agencies), structural and civil engineering or estate management could lead to better paying jobs with more responsibility.

You should also take into consideration that estate agents are increasingly using the internet as sales platform. Being more than competent in using CMS (content management systems), SMS updates, virtual tours and digital photography will be regarded as very attractive attributes in terms of employability. Although you may receive training in this area on the job, having the IT skills beforehand will definitely be of great benefit.

Another consideration you should make if thinking about changing career to become an estate agent is the legislation that is involved in the job. There have been increases in the amounts of regulation and legislation involved in the sale of a home, and as an estate agent you will also be required to liaise with other professionals such as solicitors and surveyors, and acquire an understanding of certain legal procedures and aspects of the law.

In Scotland a solicitor will manage the majority of the sale, however, in England and Wales, unless the estate agent is a qualified chartered surveyor, there will be a lot of communication with other parties, so your Organisational And Communication Skills must be excellent.

Career Development

There are many opportunities to develop your personal skills and gain extra qualifications while working as an estate agent. Larger firms and those that deal with land management and commercial properties will be particularly keen for their employees to gain qualifications accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

A more senior position will also mean supervising other agency employees, and particularly with the larger city-based agencies, promotion will most likely result in being responsible for an increasingly important and large portfolio of clients.

As well as the opportunity to gain promotion, many agencies will employ a commission or bonus payment scheme. Estate agencies have gained a reputation of being somewhat sales-driven and competitive environments. However, while there are sales targets, many agencies belie their reputation and in terms of a work environment, can be more relaxed than expected.

There are many routes into estate agency work – graduate schemes are usually set aside for the larger firms. Depending on the vacant position, smaller residential estate agencies tend to advertise locally for candidates with the relevant experience or qualifications. If you are really keen to change career and become an estate agent, it might be worth approaching an estate agency directly and making enquiries. Alternatively, signing up with a recruitment agency is always an option, as some estate agencies do use recruitment agents to source candidates.

Although estate agents have in previous years been the butt of many a joke, it seems that the profession is shaking off this perception. A career as an estate agency sales negotiator is gaining recognition and respect, and the job carries with it the potential scope for development and mobility within a relatively stable industry.

Identifying Your Skills

Many skills you already have can be useful when changing careers. For help and guidance, read our article How To Identify Your Transferable Job Skills.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer service roles and consider myself as an individual who can communicate effectively to a high standard. I have also experience in sales and target driven roles which I acquired over the years since I first started working. I have and always loved the conversation side of retail and going the extra mile for a customer. Now that I have finished my degree, I don't want a desk job in the office which may mean not being to be outgoing and really want to do something which I use my skills and knowledge in. I have a degree in engineering but I feel as though it's going to waste and I did it because I did not want to leave a job unfinished. Now I am working in a call centre for a travel agent, which I assist with complaints from people having experienced bad holidays and bookings cancelled, and answering the phones all day. I admit that it can be good with occasional phone calls but I find it just too much and tiring also the late start (11-8) which really kills me. I wonder if I meet the criteria of an estate agent, I surely think I've crossed off some boxes. Please let me know.
Ez1 - 14-Oct-17 @ 8:18 PM
Lee - Your Question:
Hi I am 32 and I am currently looking for a new career change I have always had an interest for real estate but have no idea where to start, any help would be much appreciated

Our Response:
From the article: "There are many routes into estate agency work – graduate schemes are usually set aside for the larger firms. Depending on the vacant position, smaller residential estate agencies tend to advertise locally for candidates with the relevant experience or qualifications. If you are really keen to change career and become an estate agent, it might be worth approaching an estate agency directly and making enquiries. Alternatively, signing up with a recruitment agency is always an option, as some estate agencies do use recruitment agents to source candidates.2
ACareerChange - 22-Aug-17 @ 11:15 AM
Hi i am 32 and i am currently looking for a new career change i have always had an interest for real estate but have no idea where to start, any help would be much appreciated
Lee - 19-Aug-17 @ 5:35 PM
Ez1 - Your Question:
Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer service roles and consider myself as an individual who can communicate effectively to a high standard. I have also experience in sales and target driven roles which I acquired over the years since I first started working. I have and always loved the conversation side of retail and going the extra mile for a customer. Now that I have finished my degree, I don't want a desk job in the office which may mean not being to be outgoing and really want to do something which I use my skills and knowledge in. I have a degree in engineering but I feel as though it's going to waste and I did it because I did not want to leave a job unfinished. Now I am working in a call centre for a travel agent, which I assist with complaints from people having experienced bad holidays and bookings cancelled, and answering the phones all day. I admit that it can be good with occasional phone calls but I find it just too much and tiring also the late start (11-8) which really kills me. I wonder if I meet the criteria of an estate agent, I surely think I've crossed off some boxes. Please let me know.

Our Response:
There are no specific qualifications to become an estate agent, your customer facing and sales skills plus your technical aptitude will stand you in good stead!
ACareerChange - 11-Aug-17 @ 12:13 PM
Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer service roles and consider myself as an individual who can communicate effectively to a high standard. I have also experience in sales and target driven roles which I acquired over the years since I first started working. I have and always loved the conversation side of retail and going the extra mile for a customer. Now that I have finished my degree, I don't want a desk job in the office which may mean not being to be outgoing and really want to do something which I use my skills and knowledge in. I have a degree in engineering but I feel as though it's going to waste and I did it because I did not want to leave a job unfinished. Now I am working in a call centre for a travel agent, which I assist with complaints from people having experienced bad holidays and bookings cancelled, and answering the phones all day. I admit that it can be good with occasional phone calls but I find it just too much and tiring also the late start (11-8) which really kills me. I wonder if I meet the criteria of an estate agent, I surely think I've crossed off some boxes. Please let me know.
Ez1 - 10-Aug-17 @ 9:36 PM
Matt - Your Question:
Hi, I'm currently living in Australia and have been involved in real estate sales and marketing, project management and business development. I am a licensed agent here, however I'm looking to return back to UK with the hope of gaining employment with a company like Knight Frank, CBRE, Savills etc. I notice that job titles (solicitor, lawyers.) for estate agents are very different however the responsibilities are not that different when perusing the job descriptions. What licensing or certification is required to enter the real estate find on both a sales and leasing level (residential and commercial).I have University masters certificates in business, project management and property economics but feel the need to familiarise myself with UK standard practice.

Our Response:
It varies depending on the level of work and the type of estate agency. Many estate agents working on the marketing/business management side have worked their way up (from scratch), with miniminal qualifications while others have started at a higher level with business, management, marketing qualifications. There are also basic City and Guilds Qualifications in Property Services. Some organisations require specific property knowledge and will ask for surveying qualifications/membership of RICS etc. The easiest thing way to find out would be look at some job adverts online for some of the company types that you mentioned.
ACareerChange - 13-Jun-17 @ 10:32 AM
Hi, I'm currently living in Australia and have been involved in real estate sales and marketing, project management and business development. I am a licensed agent here, however I'm looking to return back to UK with the hope of gaining employment with a company like Knight Frank, CBRE, Savills etc.... I notice that job titles (solicitor, lawyers...) for estate agents are very different however the responsibilities are not that different when perusing the job descriptions. What licensing or certification is required to enter the real estate find on both a sales and leasing level (residential and commercial). I have University masters certificates in business, project management and property economics but feel the need to familiarise myself with UK standard practice.
Matt - 10-Jun-17 @ 8:23 AM
Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer service roles and consider myself as an individual who can communicate effectively to a high standard. I have also experience in sales and target driven roles which I acquired over the years since I first started working. I have and always loved the conversation side of retail and going the extra mile for a customer. Now that I have finished my degree, I don't want a desk job in the office which may mean not being to be outgoing and really want to do something which I use my skills and knowledge in. I have a degree in engineering but I feel as though it's going to waste and I did it because I did not want to leave a job unfinished. Now I am working in a call centre for a travel agent, which I assist with complaints from people having experienced bad holidays and bookings cancelled, and answering the phones all day. I admit that it can be good with occasional phone calls but I find it just too much and tiring also the late start (11-8) which really kills me. I wonder if I meet the criteria of an estate agent, I surely think I've crossed off some boxes. Please let me know.
Ez1 - 7-Jun-17 @ 10:39 PM
Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer service roles and consider myself as an individual who can communicate effectively to a high standard. I have also experience in sales and target driven roles which I acquired over the years since I first started working. I have and always loved the conversation side of retail and going the extra mile for a customer. Now that I have finished my degree, I don't want a desk job in the office which may mean not being to be outgoing and really want to do something which I use my skills and knowledge in. I have a degree in engineering but I feel as though it's going to waste and I did it because I did not want to leave a job unfinished. Now I am working in a call centre for a travel agent, which I assist with complaints from people having experienced bad holidays and bookings cancelled, and answering the phones all day. I admit that it can be good with occasional phone calls but I find it just too much and tiring also the late start (11-8) which really kills me. I wonder if I meet the criteria of an estate agent, I surely think I've crossed off some boxes. Please let me know.
Ez1 - 31-May-17 @ 11:29 PM
Hi, I have just finished a degree in Manufacturing and production engineering, but I've always done retail jobs in customer service roles and consider myself as an individual who can communicate effectively to a high standard. I have also experience in sales and target driven roles which I acquired over the years since I first started working. I have and always loved the conversation side of retail and going the extra mile for a customer. Now that I have finished my degree, I don't want a desk job in the office which may mean not being to be outgoing and really want to do something which I use my skills and knowledge in. I have a degree in engineering but I feel as though it's going to waste and I did it because I did not want to leave a job unfinished. Now I am working in a call centre for a travel agent, which I assist with complaints from people having experienced bad holidays and bookings cancelled, and answering the phones all day. I admit that it can be good with occasional phone calls but I find it just too much and tiring also the late start (11-8) which really kills me. I wonder if I meet the criteria of an estate agent, I surely think I've crossed off some boxes. Please let me know.
Ez1 - 13-May-17 @ 10:21 PM
rh74 - Your Question:
Hi there. I'm looking at a possible career change from Project Management to Estate Agency. Having recently helped a friend relocate, I realised how much I enjoyed viewing properties, speaking to owners and explaining to my friend some of the pros and cons of the property. I believe that my communication skills and ability to manage workloads, as well as previous experience in landlord insurance, would be a fit for this profession but I'm worried the pay drop would be excessive and I also wonder about the hours.I'm not averse to hard work or long hours but I wonder if you could tell me what is typical.Thanks!

Our Response:
The pay and hours will vary depending on where you choose to operate. If you live in an area where lots of properties come to the mark on a frequent basis, you'll be busy and may have to work weekends to fit with clients' schedules. If you eventually find yourself managing/owning your own estate agency, then the pay drop will not be significant (in fact it could increase) especially if you sell a lot of high value properties.
ACareerChange - 9-May-17 @ 10:39 AM
Hi there.I'm looking at a possible career change from Project Management to Estate Agency.Having recently helped a friend relocate, I realised how much I enjoyed viewing properties, speaking to owners and explaining to my friend some of the pros and cons of the property. I believe that my communication skills and ability to manage workloads, as well as previous experience in landlord insurance, would be a fit for this profession but I'm worried the pay drop would be excessive and I also wonder about the hours. I'm not averse to hard work or long hours but I wonder if you could tell me what is typical. Thanks!
rh74 - 7-May-17 @ 2:26 PM
Kay - Your Question:
Hi, Was just wondering what A levels I should take, as I am 17 and want to be a real estate agent in the future, followed by what uni course also??

Our Response:
This depends on whether you simply want to work in or own/run an estate agency, or whether you want to be more involved on the surveying side etc. If the former, just choose A levels which would get you a place on a business or marketing related degree, proficiency in English and maths is a obviously a pre-requisite. If you want to become a commercial property surveyor, you may need to focus onmore on sciences, design and technolody etc
ACareerChange - 22-Mar-17 @ 11:37 AM
Hi, Was just wondering what A levels I should take, as I am 17 and want to be a real estate agent in the future, followed by what uni course also??
Kay - 19-Mar-17 @ 2:30 PM
I'm interested in set up real estate agency as my own business in U.K, but I don't have any qualification related to real estate agency in UK, I only had 3years related experience in Hong Kong, would you pls suggest me how can I start to set up estate agency?May I know the procedure?Mainly I focused on Chinese Customer because I can speak English , mandarin & Cantonese, any recommendations pls?Thx a lot!
SC - 24-Jan-17 @ 4:00 AM
I'm state agency in Brazil and i left U.K tree years ago. I was live in U.K for 16 years. I never done state agency job and i like to return and guet licence in U.K. wat is the short way to be done .
GIO - 22-Jan-17 @ 12:25 AM
Hello there I am a 62 year old female who has relocated here from South Africa. I have over 30 years experience in the real estate industry, mostly as principal of my own business. What would I have to do to become an agent in UK? I am fully up to date with all necessary qualifications in SA.
Sharzi - 29-Jul-16 @ 8:38 AM
Hi there, I am planning to start my career as a (Mandarin speaking) real estate agent. I have my Bachelor Degree in Architecture(City Planning) from China which had been compared by UKNARIC. And also I have been working successfully as a mandarin speaking sales consultant for a luxury fashion brand. So, I do have the on target sale experience and the architecture background. Also I am very interested in the property market. I have the passion for sales with excellent communication and customer service skills both in English and Chinese Mandarin. I have full driving license and have my own car. I am very keen to find the right way to get into the real estate agent career. Are there any other essential skills or qualifications needed to get into this area? If I need any further education to get into this area, please let me know. I will be very happy to take more professional courses to support me to become a real estate agent. Thank you very much for your help.
Jinny - 25-Jul-16 @ 5:56 PM
I am a qualified real estate agent in South Africa, and have been in the industry for over 6 years now with a good success rate. I am thinking about returning to the UK (I am a British citizen) and wanted to find out if I could use my qualifications over there to find a job in the same industry.
Fiona - 22-Jun-16 @ 9:16 PM
Stevie - Your Question:
I'm 42 no qualifications I'm a store man in college in Cambridge I have 3 small kids could it be possible to send me the relevant information about becoming an estate agent as I've no time to go to college is there an online course I could take to start me off I've always been interested in property but think at 42 it's too late to start please a little help would go a long way.

Our Response:
There are various courses and qualifications available such as NVQ in property management and surveying etc. You may be able to undertake this at evening classes. Try colleges in your area.
ACareerChange - 18-Mar-16 @ 11:38 AM
I'm 42 no qualifications I'm a store man in college in Cambridge I have 3 small kids could it be possible to send me the relevant information about becoming an estate agent as I've no time to go to college is there an online course I could take to start me off I've always been interested in property but think at 42 it's too late to start please a little help would go a long way.
Stevie - 16-Mar-16 @ 4:29 PM
Hello How can I become a estate agent please
Chan - 9-Mar-16 @ 12:46 PM
Nicki21 - Your Question:
Hi, I’m still in high school but I would like to move to London and become a real estate agent as soon as I can. I have done some research already but I didn’t quite understand if there are any chances of finding a job without going to university? I thought I might be able to take courses who prepare people for this job and then start working in an agency. If it’s possible I would do both at the same time, maybe work in the agency without selling flats myself, just helping out with the paperwork. I don’t know whether this is possible, but I thought it might be beneficial to get to know some people who already work as estate agent. If anyone knows where I can find more information about courses for beginners, agencies who are looking for people like me who are just getting started or any other useful tips, I would be very thankful if you could send me some links :)

Our Response:
Please read the section entitled "Changing Career" in the article - you don't necessarily need a degree to start working in an estate agent's office.
ACareerChange - 22-Feb-16 @ 2:42 PM
Hi, I’m still in high school but I would like to move to London and become a real estate agent as soon as I can. I have done some research already but I didn’t quite understand if there are any chances of finding a job without going to university? I thought I might be able to take courses who prepare people for this job and then start working in an agency. If it’s possible I would do both at the same time, maybe work in the agency without selling flats myself, just helping out with the paperwork. I don’t know whether this is possible, but I thought it might be beneficial to get to know some people who already work as estate agent. If anyone knows where I can find more information about courses for beginners, agencies who are looking for people like me who are just getting started or any other useful tips, I would be very thankful if you could send me some links :)
Nicki21 - 20-Feb-16 @ 12:28 AM
I've worked in retail for 6 years, in which, during that time I have worked in many different job roles and got myself into the management team. I have been thinking for a while now for a change of scene and really like the idea of starting again in estate agency. However, I have no real qualifications behind me and it seems harder than I thought to get into. Any recommendations?
FrazerAC - 14-Jul-15 @ 9:54 PM
Someone wrote on this block and said?(How about recommending they actually qualify as an Estate Agent by obtaining the Level 3 Technical Award in Residential Sales by the NAEA? Rather than continuing the trend of persuading anyone to have a go and giving the industry a bad name by them employing any old muppet to flog houses! It is no wonder people distrust agents (although employers are to blame too) when you have uneducated numpties selling houses who have absolutely no idea what the Estate Agents Act of 1979 is, as it was before they were born! Learn the trade, get qualified and then be better than everyone else! You'll go alot further. Estate Agent - 30-Nov-12 @ 9:14 PM). I would ask "WHAT SECTION OF THE ACT ARE YOU REFERRING TO". The other issues are if estate agents want those who are thinking to go into this line of Business mabe its them that needs to lobby this change in parliament and get the changes made and a standard implemented.
Ben - 4-Jul-15 @ 11:47 AM
Having worked in HR and the marketing department for a number of years, and having a Master of Business Administration (MBA), I'm wondering what is the best way to proceed with a career change as an estate agent in terms of the necessary certifications and licenses. Additionally, being based currently in Scotland but potentially moving back to England in a few years, does it mean that I would need to get re-certified again?
Mvc - 21-Jun-15 @ 11:37 PM
Having recently returned to England after living Africa for all my working career. I would like to make a career change as I approach the later stages of my working life. The thought of being an Estate Agent has intrigued me for a number of years, however I do not know the best way to move forward is this choice. Do I do some courses beforehand to obtain some relevant qualifications, if so what would be the best preliminary courses to take or do I try and gain practical experience within an agency?
Dave - 12-May-15 @ 4:10 PM
I'm mid way through doing my A-levels and I'm interested in becoming an estate agent but I have no idea how to start this. Could you give me any advice as to where I can begin?
georgia - 5-May-15 @ 9:08 PM
@Aid. There aren't many apprenticeships available in Estate agents but it's worth enquiring around some of your local ones in case. You can start with a simple administrative role in anestate agency, but if you want to be a chartred surveyor, you'd need to consider subjects like geography; science; mathematics; urban and land studies; languages; economics and the social sciences.
ACareerChange - 5-May-15 @ 12:03 PM
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