How to become a real estate agent | 2023
If you're friendly, outgoing, social, love to network, and enjoy sales, a career in real estate might be just the thing you're looking for. For some, real estate is a stepping-stone to a corporate career in property or financial services. For others, it's a rewarding industry that offers flexible working hours, opportunities for self-employment, an ever-changing work space, and a great work-life balance.
Maybe you've worked in sales before, or maybe you're a capable property manager who wants to expand their horizons? Maybe you've worked for a real estate agency before and you like the idea of becoming a real estate professional?
But how can you launch your career in the real estate industry? How do you get a real estate license? What real estate courses should you do? We've put together this handy guide to answer some of those questions and provide an easy-to-understand pathway to a successful career in real estate. Here are our 5 easy steps to becoming a real estate agent...
1. Learn the basics
To be a real estate agent you need to have a basic understanding of the residential property market in your area (ideally, your state) and have a sense of the sort of vendors and potential buyers that exist in that market. Some people become interested in real estate because they have bought and sold property themselves. Others have attended open houses to see some of the property for sale in their area.
It can help to have some understanding of sales techniques and the process of closing a deal. Anyone who has worked in retail, or commercial sales, or even a general customer service role will likely have enough basic skills to get started. During the first few stages of your real estate career you'll likely be working for a licensed estate agent or licensee who will help you to develop the skills you need to sell property.
If you have a background in property management you'll likely have a good understanding of how real estate works, how a real estate agency works, and what the property market is like in your area. Leveraging that knowledge and learning from the real estate agents you work with is a great start.
In some states you can be employed as an Assistant Real Estate Agent while you complete your Certificate IV or Diploma qualifications. Normally that means getting a Certificate of Registration (or the equivalent in your state) and then enrolling in a relevant qualification. Working as an Assistant Agent is a great opportunity to learn about the real estate laws in your state. It can also give you an opportunity to establish yourself in a local market and start generating some name recognition among potential vendors and buyers (see Step 4).
2. Get qualified
The qualifications and licenses you need vary from state to state and it's a good idea to check on the licensing requirements in your state before committing to a particular course of study. Many state-specific industry associations and professional organisations (like the Real Estate Institute of Queensland) have their own training programs, but many registered training organisations (RTOs) - like TAFE - offer relevant courses.
In most states to qualify for a real estate agent licence you need to complete course CPP41419 Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice. It may also be possible to qualify for a real estate license by completing the higher-level CPP51119 Diploma of Property (Agency Management). Some states then require you to complete a licensing exam, while others consider the assessments you completed as part of your course enough to qualify for a real estate licence.
Real estate qualifications will provide you with a good grounding across all of the different areas of professional practice. You'll learn about ethical practices, real estate trust accounts, real estate sales techniques, and the contract provisions associated with the sale of property. You will also learn about other real estate services like tenancy agreements, managing property for lease, property analysis and the appraisal of property, commercial property sales, and other aspects of agency practice.
Because of the strict legal requirements associated with real estate in Australia, all compulsory units of competency must be completed in order to secure your certification and become a real estate agent.
3. Stay up to date
It used to be the case that you could just become a real estate agent and your certifications and licenses would remain valid indefinitely. That led to a range of problems as legislative requirements were updated without agents being aware of new rules. Making a real estate purchase is a huge decision for most people and so the ethical requirements associated with real estate sales need to reflect best practice.
To manage those concerns, many consumer affairs and fair trading departments around Australia introduced ongoing professional development requirements. In many states now, continued professional development (CPD) is compulsory. In NSW, for example, agents are expected to complete a certain number of training modules each year. These are often delivered by the same registered training providers that offer certification. The Real Estate Institute of NSW offers Compulsory CPD training courses to agents in that state and there are similar courses available from providers in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia.
Generally, meeting the study requirements of CPD isn't too onerous and it's mostly about making sure you understand the current requirements of property management, and the current requirements of property sales. Many agencies include CPD programs in their annual strategic business plan and make alignment with industry best practice a core component of their service offering to vendors and buyers.
4. Build a brand
Real estate is about selling property. But in the early days of your career it's also about selling yourself. You want to meet with as many potential vendors and prospective buyers as you can. That means managing open houses, visiting streets in your area in person to find people who are looking to sell, making phone calls, and securing agreement from vendors to list property for sale.
If you decide to focus on a particular type of property like commercial property or agricultural property it can help to attend events where the vendors of those properties are likely to be. Local chambers of commerce or agricultural shows are a great opportunity to engage with people in your area, introduce yourself, and let people know you're available to represent them.
As you develop your brand in your local area you'll have opportunities to do the "usual" real estate agent things like advertising your services using your name and image, and include your name and phone number on property advertising.
Real estate attracts all kinds of people with a wide range of motivations. You need to stand out from the crowd and establish a rapport with those who are going to trust you to sell their property. A gimmick, specialisation or unique advertising material all have potential, but don't underestimate the value of excellent customer service.
5. Generate referrals
Ultimately, success in real estate is about results. The more you sell and the more results you deliver for your vendors, the more those vendors will be inclined to tell their friends and family members that you're the go-to real estate agent in your area. Referrals are incredibly valuable and so your vendor relationships are incredibly valuable.
Strong vendor and buyer relationships generate trust. For vendors, that means those people are more likely to come back to you when they want to sell another property, or just to get advice about market conditions. For buyers, an existing relationship means they are more likely to consider you when they decide to sell the property they bought from your vendor a few years earlier.
And yes, we mean years. Real estate can be a fast-moving industry with exciting deal-making and tense negotiations. You might see the same buyer a few times in the weeks or months they are looking for a property. But once you've completed a real estate transaction, you're unlikely to hear from either party for a while. Referrals can take months or years to become an effective source of business. But once they start, they are invaluable.
Okay, let's go...
Unlike other industries, there aren't a wide range of different real estate career pathways. While that can seem limiting at first, having simple entry requirements and a few clear steps to get started make real estate a great career option.
BorisDoes has a wide range of services to help you establish your career in real estate, provide support to your vendors and buyers, and complete sales. From cleaners to handyman services to creative specialists to produce marketing materials, we have the Taskers and tradies you need to help you on your real estate journey.
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