Like many other careers, the real estate industry is a competitive one. Getting your license means you can legally work as a real estate agent, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.
There are, however, specific real estate agent skills that can help you to stand apart from the millions of other agents in the country. You have to make well-informed decisions, surround yourself with the right people, and work well with others to be successful at selling real estate. If that sounds like your goal, 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
If you’re wondering how to succeed as a real estate agent, there a few things you can do to help with that. 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.
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.
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.
I can see it now. You’ve got a motivated buyer client who tells you he’s trying to move into his dream home as soon as possible. You’ve shown them house after house after house, to no avail! Sometimes, that’s just how the chips will fall in your work as a real estate agent. Whether it’s because your client is getting cold feet and won’t admit it, or maybe there really is just a dealbreaker with the homes you show them. Whatever the case may be, having patience with your clients is crucial to closing your deals.
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.
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. Local Knowledge
You might already know that knowing your market is crucial to being a successful real estate agent, but it’s worth an honorable mention! It’s important to stay on top of things like who your competitors are, new builds happening in the area, as well as quickly developing communities, and the people who live there. Part of this might mean getting comfortable with introducing yourself to lots of new people, which brings me to the next item on our list…
Being able to communicate with people 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."
8. Time Management
Working as a real estate agent means you’re an independent contractor, which essentially means you’re your own boss! You can choose the days and time you work and make your own schedule that works for you. While this may sound like a dream, it’s crucial to ensure you’re managing your time efficiently. Staying organized can help you make sure your appointments are always scheduled with enough time in between to always be on time, stay aware of important deadlines, and be flexible with your clients to respond within a certain timeframe.
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.
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, but fair, when it comes to negotiating deals.
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. Negotiating skills 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
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