If you love people, love homes, and love selling, then a career as a real estate agent in the UK could be just what you’re looking for. Real estate agents do work long hours, and the pay can be highly variable. But, the rewards can be incredible.
Decide What You Want
Do you want to go full-time in a real estate career? Or, just part time? You don’t have to dive right in with both feet. In fact, most people don’t. A qualification in business or management studies is helpful, and if you’re looking to work with a top-end agency, you might also want qualifications in surveying, urban studies, land studies, and land management.
Getting experience in civil engineering and estate management could also lead to a better paying job with more responsibility.
Real estate agents are increasingly using the Internet as a sales platform, so being well-versed in online marketing and the Internet in general is helpful. You should also be competent using a content management system, receiving SMS updates, giving virtual tours and using digital photography to showcase the properties you’re selling.
Another thing you should think about before getting into real estate is the legislation that’s involved with the career. Government regulation is growing in this industry, so you’ll be required to liaise with other professionals like solicitors and surveyors so that you have a better understanding about the legal procedures involved in selling a home.
For example, in Scotland, a solicitor will manage most of the sale. However, in England and Wales, you’ll be required to communicate with other parties in the sale unless you’re also a qualified chartered surveyor.
Get Your Credentials
Credentials aren’t everything, but they do count for a lot. There are so many opportunities to develop your personal skills and gain additional qualifications, too. Larger firms, and especially those dealing with commercial properties and land management, will want to see you qualified for the position through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
If you’re hoping for a senior position at a brokerage firm or agency, then you’ll want more credentials.
And, supervisory positions mean that you will be overlooking others, making more money, if that’s your thing. Estate agencies have also gained a reputation for being somewhat sales-driven and are competitive environments.
Most estate agents also are commission-based, with some using a salary offset, so that you never fall below a certain minimum wage.
Another thing you’ll have to get used to are sales targets. Many agencies belie their reputation as sales-focused and are quite relaxed when it comes to sales targets and quotas.
Depending on the position you get, you may have to work locally or regionally. It might be worth approaching a few estate agencies directly and asking about your territory, what you will be responsible for marketing-wise, and how much you will be paid on commission as well as any salary or other benefits packages you’ll be entitled to.
And, while real estate agents have been the butt of many jokes, that’s changing. A career in this field commands respect and the job carries the potential for personal, as well as professional, development.
What Skills Do You Already Have?
Do you already have marketable skills in real estate? If so, what? If you have experience in land management, sales, or any other aspect of the industry, including mortgage lending, titling, insurance, or anything else, it can be really helpful when you make the transition.
Most people find it difficult to break into the business. But, having previous experience in related industries means you have contacts to help you get off the ground.
Referral business is a major method of getting new leads in the industry. And, even though many agencies do market the firm, don’t expect those marketing efforts to be the sole source of your lead generation.
What You Can Expect Paywise
One of the reasons that people go into the real estate business is because they want the opportunity to make a lot of money. The position is usually commission-based, but some agencies do offer a salary option or a salary offset – at least in the beginning.
So, to start out, you should expect £12,000 to £16,000 per year. That might not sound like much, and it isn’t, honestly. It’s a low base pay, but those rates tend to climb as you become more experienced. After you’ve put in a few years and built up a clientele, expect your pay to climb to between £20,000 to £35,000.
These are typical salaried positions. On top of that, you also make commissions on each and every sale you make.
Depending on the properties you sell, and the number of sales you make in a year, your income could be substantial. It’s not uncommon for experienced agents to make between £75,000 and £100,000 or more per year.
Of course, it takes dedication, and hard work to get to these levels. But, if you ask anyone who’s made it in the industry, it’s worth it.
Joshua Barton works as a careers consultant and has worked with both adults and students giving careers advice over the years. He enjoys spending a few hours each month writing on career topics for student and work related blogs.