Estate agent: job description
Agency is an essential function of the property industry and involves the buying/renting and selling/leasing of property. Estate agents can specialise within a particular property market, such as commercial or residential real estate.
The job of an estate agent contains elements of marketing, selling and administration. Responsibilities of an estate agent include:
- Liaising with clients to market properties in the most appropriate manner and so as to maximise the selling value
- Handling enquiries about properties from potential buyers
- Valuing properties
- Producing reports, brochures, promotional information and other written documents
- Travelling to properties and showing people around these
- Negotiating the sale and letting of properties
- Administering and securing the disposal and acquisition of property and ensuring that it is completed legally
Estate agents can also be chartered surveyors and, as such, will have to follow the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) ethics and professional standards requirements, but will also be qualified to perform full surveys and valuations of properties. A commercial/residential/rural surveyor can specialise in agency and their role will involve working in agency’s responsibilities will incorporate many of the responsibilities of an estate agent. Not all surveyors are estate agents, however, as there are many other areas in which property surveyors can work.
Estate agents’ working days are typically fairly close to 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, but, depending on the employer, you may be required to work on weekends. Typically estate agents will receive commission based on a percentage of each sale they make on top of their salary.
- Local estate agencies, either smaller independent agencies or a local branch of a larger firm
- Property firms
There are no formal entry requirements for an estate agent, although some experience of customer service work and an interest in the local property market may be advantageous. Both school leavers and graduates will be able to apply for trainee estate agent/junior estate agent/sales negotiator roles at local estate agencies or branches of larger agencies. Having said that, although a degree is not a necessity, a BSc in a relevant subject such as building surveying, real estate or planning and property development may give you an advantage when applying.
It is possible to gain a number of professional qualifications through the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). Your employer may expect you to complete these as part of your employment. Commercial, residential or rural surveyors will be expected to progress towards becoming chartered surveyors alongside their work. The RICS’ chartership qualification process is called the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This is not a requirement for estate agents.
- Negotiation and selling skills
- Ambition, drive and charisma
- Good communication skills and the ability to maintain a positive relationship with clients and colleagues
- Strong organisation skills, as you may be dealing with more than one property at a time
- Willingness to take on responsibility, as estate agents will likely be afforded a great deal of responsibility early on
- Willingness to travel and spend time out of the office; as such, a full driving licence is typically also required
- Understanding of, and interest in, the local property market and the process of buying and selling property