10 Skills of Successful Real Estate Agents

Becoming a successful real estate agent doesn’t automatically happen the moment you get your license. A license just means you can legally work as a real estate agent - it doesn’t guarantee success. 

A lot of different things contribute to real estate success. You have to make well-informed decisions, surround yourself with the right people and improve certain skills to be successful at selling real estate. If your goal is to experience real estate success, here are the things you’ve got to do and the skills you’ve got to have to make it happen.

What’s Needed to Succeed in Real Estate

There are certain skills that make it easier to succeed in real estate, but there are also a few essential things that are absolutely necessary to launch a successful career. Unlike many professions, you don't need an advanced degree to become a successful real estate agent, but you do need a strong work ethic and support system.

Starting a career as a real estate agent is basically on par with opening a small microbusiness with one employee - you. Any business owner will tell you that establishing yourself takes a lot of effort at the beginning. Don’t be surprised if you work over 40 hours a week to begin with without getting very much pay. It’s the grunt work that has to be put in to lay the foundation for your success.

You’ll also need the support of other people in order to fast-track success. Employing brokers, career mentors and professional peers can help you avoid mistakes, better understand the industry and get through the trying times. Having this kind of support separates the most successful real estate agents from the ones that don’t make it more than a few years in the business.

One thing you can do to set yourself up for success is choosing a brokerage that emphasizes education. Some brokerages even have mentorship programs for new agents that want to jump-start their career. 

10 Skills That Help Real Estate Agents Excel

To be truly successful as a real estate agent, you'll need to have at least a few of the following skills that help you develop a strong network and connect with clients.

1. Empathy

Successful real estate agents must be able to understand a buyer or seller's concerns, which is where empathy comes into the picture. Being able to empathize is one of the most effective skills to have in any sales position because it helps you identify with your client’s needs. Empathetic agents connect emotionally and are able to reassure their clients during stressful negotiations.

2. Reliability

When you're trying to buy or sell a house, there’s a lot of uncertainty. Your real estate agent should be a reliable constant that keeps things from getting chaotic. Successful real estate agents get that and make themselves available to answer questions as soon as possible. This is not a job where you can postpone conversations and let calls go unanswered. You must be there for your clients when they need you.

3. Clear Communication

Clear communication is a great skill to have in any job, especially sales. Successful real estate agents know they have to initiate contact to keep lines of communication open. They have to clearly communicate their value when they go on listing appointments. Agents must also explain complex processes to people that are completely new to buying and selling real estate.

Corrine Ricciardi, a real estate broker with Compass Point Real Estate in Blue Hill, Maine, explains that "clear, open and frequent communication is an essential skill in any successful agent/client relationship."

4. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to take in diverse information and make sound conclusions. As a real estate agent you’ll be taking in a lot of information from various sources. You'll need to exercise critical thinking when setting listing prices, negotiating deals and showing properties to clients.

5. Trustworthiness

People rely on their real estate agent in a variety of ways while making the biggest financial decision of their lives. That requires a high level of trust. Unfortunately, a recent national survey found that only 11 percent of respondents actually trust their real estate agent. 

That makes real estate one of the least trusted professions, but it also gives you a chance to shine. Being totally transparent is a quick and easy way to prove you’re a trustworthy real estate agent that puts your clients first.

6. Honesty

This goes hand-in-hand with being trustworthy. As tempting as it can be to sugarcoat things and tell clients what they want to hear, real estate agents need to be 100% honest with clients about all aspects of the market. Honesty is the best possible way to establish trust, and it’s the only way your clients can make a fully informed housing decision. 

7. Integrity

In addition to honesty, you also need to have integrity to establish a good reputation in your local community. Integrity is doing the things you say you will do — every single time. It also means doing the right thing, even if it’s not the most beneficial thing for you. Successful real estate agents follow through on their commitments, becoming valued resources for their clients for years to come.

8. Pragmatism

Buyers and sellers can be pretty unrealistic. They overestimate the value of their upgrades. They want to find a home under market value in the city's best school district. They think it’s possible to close in less than 30 days on an FHA loan. 

As a successful real estate agent, you need to be able to bring your clients back to earth and help them develop realistic expectations. If not, their expectations won’t be met and they’ll be left questioning your judgement.

9. Flexibility

Real estate is a balance between meeting a series of deadlines and waiting for clients to make decisions. It can be stressful for an agent who doesn't have the skill of flexibility. You need to be able to "roll with the punches” because a real estate agent’s workday is never the same. And even though you create your own work schedule, when and what you’re doing largely depends on the schedules of other people. 

Knowing when to be flexible can also help you through the negotiating process. You’ve got to find ways to give a little and take a little until you come to a win-win agreement.

10. Toughness

One of the most important things you'll do as an agent is negotiate contracts. Your clients are depending on you to close the deal and get them a favorable offer. To do that successfully, you'll need to be tough. 

You can’t give in the instant there’s a counter. You can’t blindly accept what’s offered or accept terms you know aren’t the best for your client just to get the deal done. Toughness gives you the ability to stand up for your clients and demand they get a fair deal no matter what side of the transaction they’re on. 

Your Journey to Becoming a Successful Real Estate Agent Starts Here

Do you think you have what it takes to succeed in the real estate industry? Aceable is here to help you thrive. Our affordable online real estate classes are endorsed by top industry agents and approved by individual state licensing boards. 

Sign up for a real estate course today for a successful start to the career of a lifetime.

This article was updated on 6/28/2021.

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Kayla Zamora

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