An estate agent values and arranges the buying, selling or letting of any type of land or building - residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural. They are often known as sales negotiators.
You could be:
arranging for a surveyor to visit and value the property
advising on the sale price or rent, taking into account size, condition and location of the property
advising on the best method of selling: private contract, auction or tender
taking photographs of the property and preparing a written description to give to potential buyers; writing and placing newspaper and online advertisements
handling the auctioning of property
showing potential buyers or tenants around a property and negotiating rent or sale prices
discussing and negotiating legal and financial aspects with solicitors and banks
arranging for the maintenance and upkeep of a property
arranging for any surveys, home reports or energy assessments to be carried out
ensuring that properties meet legal and health and safety requirements.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Your pay usually consists of a basic pay plus a variable amount of commission. The basic starting salaries for estate agents might be around £19,000 a year, rising to between £20,000 and £22,000 a year. With experience, you could earn over £40,000 a year plus commission.
You would work from an office.
You would spend a lot of your time visiting properties.
You might have to work long hours including some evenings and weekends.
Your pay might depend partly or fully on commission.
There is no one single entry route. Personal qualities and skills are often more important than formal qualifications.
Previous sales experience would be an advantage.
A driving licence is useful and sometimes essential.
You might enter directly and then do part time study for appropriate qualifications.
Experience in customer service or sales is useful.
Look for jobs in large estate agencies with branches throughout the country, as well as smaller local firms. Local authorities employ estates officers, also known as valuation and estates officers, to manage the council’s land and property.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
a smart appearance
excellent communication and organisational skills
an interest in selling
a good knowledge of property law and the local property market
patience and powers of persuasion
good negotiating skills
the ability to meet targets
strong time management skills
You need to be able to:
work as part of a team as well as on your own
work well under pressure
make good business decisions
calculate figures accurately.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) offers several short courses in various locations.
The National Federation of Property Professionals (NFOPP) is the awarding body for the Technical Award in the Sale of Residential Property - Scotland. It is an introductory qualification ideal for those wanting to gain or improve existing knowledge relating to residential sales. This is a requirement for membership of the NAEA.
NFOPP also offer courses in residential letting and property management, commercial property handling and auctioneering.
The NAEA website has details of these awards and other short courses.
If you have a degree recognised for general practice surveying, you can complete the professional exams of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
You might become a specialist in residential, agricultural, industrial or commercial property.
You may be able to move on to estate agency management.
You might become self-employed and open your own agency.
The demand for estate agents varies with the strength of the housing market. This can vary from one area to another.