Top 11 Qualities of Successful Real Estate Agents

As a real estate agent, you do more than sell a property to a prospective client. You’re selling a hardwood floor where someone’s baby will take their first step, or you’re selling a house with a garage or basement where the next massive tech company is formed. It’s an incredible privilege to match your client with a home where their fondest memories and biggest moments will take place. 

That said, the real estate industry is highly competitive, and it takes the right kind of person to make a decent living. But it’s about more than just knowing how to sell a property. You also have to have soft skills to anticipate customer needs and manage customer expectations. Here are the top qualities you should have to excel as a real estate agent. 

1. Customer-focused

A recent report by Zendesk reveals that more than half of the customers will switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. In a market as competitive as real estate, the customer experience will dictate whether you land the sale or not. 

According to Robert L. Thompson, owner of WhatBobThinks and a successful real estate agent with over fifteen years of experience in Hampton Roads, customer service is key to unlocking a good earning potential as a real estate agent.

“I think a successful real estate agent has to have a passion for the business and a genuine enjoyment of customer service," said Thompson. "It’s not about the money. If we do our job well the money will follow.” 

2. Self-motivated

When asked about the importance of being self-motivated, Thompson had some advice for agents.

“I think that is a bit of a mix," said Thompson. "Early on when you are new you, definitely have to be super motivated. As I always say: ‘If you don’t work you don’t get paid.’ But as the years go by, you can build up a book of business and you don’t have to chase business as much. That just shows how important it is to think long-term. You want your clients to be rabid fans of you.”

3. Trustworthy 

Trust drives business, and unfortunately, the real estate industry has a less-than-desirable reputation. There are several ways agents can build trust with their clients, including: 

  • Honesty

  • Timely responses to requests 

  • Open communication 

  • Integrity in dealings with customers 

  • Providing value that goes beyond the transaction 

Clients will need to put a lot of trust in you to ensure it all gets done with their best interests in mind. Plus, there are serious legal ramifications for agents who engage in certain dishonest behaviors (like fraud). 

4. Good Listening Skills

Know your client, and you’re far more likely to match them up with their dream property. Take the time to ask your client questions about what they're looking for in a home. Listen honestly to their answers, and don't try to force your opinions when narrowing down which homes to tour or put an offer on. Ask follow-up questions to make sure you’re on the same page.

5. Hunger for Knowledge 

Continuing education is not only a regulatory requirement for estate agents — it’s also an opportunity to provide your customers with the best advice on the market. See the learning opportunities as a way to carve out an educational advantage over your competitors.

Real estate problems are problems that don’t always have a straightforward answer or textbook solution. There could be more than one way to solve the problem. The question is, will you enjoy meeting these challenges?

6. Methodical and Detail-Oriented

Property transactions can take a lot of time — especially if you’re purchasing an investment or vacation property. Judi Ribeiro, principal of Engel & Völkers Mauritius, stresses the importance of navigating processes carefully.

“Everybody understands that it's a massive investment, and we have to navigate the process with the clients professionally and carefully," said Ribeiro. "There are loads of 'fly by night' and unethical people in the business, and clients have to be very discerning.” 

7. Good Communication 

Communication is key in real estate. Whether it’s communicating the value of your services to a seller, negotiating points for a purchase contract, or lining up the closing with the lender, deals hinge on how well you communicate. And let’s not forget, today buyers and sellers expect near-instant communication.

It’s also important to have multiple communication options available to clients to increase accessibility, such as phone, email, and social media. 

8. Entrepreneurial Spirit

While there’s a lot of potential to make decent money as a real estate agent, Ribeiro and her team know the importance of keeping their sales funnel active.

“No matter how much care we take and how professional we are, deals take time and we are constantly closing and looking forward to the next deal with a pipeline to manage," Riberio said. "Many things can go wrong with funds coming from abroad and government approvals to be obtained.”

9. Tenacity 

The real estate industry is filled with challenges and obstacles that estate agents need to overcome. The average home buyer will look at ten homes before deciding to write an offer. Deals can fall through despite your best efforts. You may have to cold call 20 leads or more before finally connecting with someone who’s interested in buying or selling. Especially during economic downturns in the housing market, work can dry up.

Tenacity is an important character trait to weather these challenges. The good news is that it gets easier with time. You’ll build your network and start getting more referrals. But it will take hard work and persistence to get to that point — does that sound like you?

10. Tech-Savvy

Technology moves at a swift pace, and real estate is an industry that has always been impacted by technological advancements. The internet was a game changer for listings. Email was a revolution in sending and accessing documents. Social media has dramatically changed how agents market their business.

From e-signatures to virtual reality tools, real estate agents must be up-to-speed on the latest technology. This is especially true now that the tech-savvy Millennial generation is the largest segment of home buyers.

11. Being an Effective Networker

Networking is an effective way of building up a consistent pipeline through referrals. Other advantages of networking include upskilling yourself and building professional connections that may assist you along your career path.

There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction, but these days a lot of networking is done online. Many top real estate agents are experts at using social media to market their services, maintain personal connections, and network with others.

Hone Your Real Estate Agent Skills 

A career as an estate agent offers many advantages, such as unlimited earning potential and the opportunity to own your own agency. Kickstart your estate agent career by working through our online courses

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Updated 5/24/24

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