As a real estate agent, you either help buy or sell commercial or residential properties. You may work as part of a team with other agents or brokers in a brokerage; thus, you can expect tough competition. If you understand numbers and like the idea of helping people find a place to live or a space to set up their company or small business, you could be well-suited to this job. Keep reading if you want to learn how to create a good resume for a real estate job.
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Job duties of a real estate agent
Real estate agents help people buy or sell properties. However, the scope of work changes depending on the property itself and the chores assigned to you. It can be an apartment, a building complex or something as grand as private islands or luxury homes. You can be a listing agent, help your client to sell, or a buyer’s agent, where you find potential buyers for your client.
Check out some of the primary duties required for this job.
Generating leads through networking and existing databases.
Contributing to successful conversions using phone calls, appointments and other means of follow-up with potential clients.
Preparing and filing paperwork such as leases, contracts and real estate agreements with state agencies.
Preparing marketing materials such as newsletters, flyers and other promotional aids, including websites and social media.
Researching to find and compare property value.
Planning property showings through listings and presentations, staging a property for open houses and setting up appointments with clients and other brokers.
Determining the financial ability of clients and proposing solutions to help them buy or sell a property for the right price.
Negotiating mortgages and other financial and legal matters.
Scheduling appraisals and inspections.
Engaging with lenders, escrow companies and appraisers.
Real estate agents median salary
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay is $51,220. The projected growth of real estate agents over the next 10 years is 4%. While it is slower than the average for all occupations, a surge is expected due to an increase in remote work and the need for larger homes. As a real estate agent usually works with a broker on a contract basis, there are often no wages. Instead, they earn a commission on each sale.
Top skills for real estate agents
Real estate agents spend most of their time traveling and meeting new and prospective clients, such as investor buyers or first-timers. Each comes with an extra level of knowledge or experience in property hunting. As their agent, it is your job to gain their trust and guide them to a reasonable and financially appropriate purchase.
- Good listening skills: As an agent, each successful conversion will involve many discussions, negotiation and relationship building, so good communication is a must.
- Zeal to constantly evolve: With a constantly changing market, your ability to adapt to chaos is necessary. This is where technology comes in as a powerful tool to meet your goals. A tech-savvy agent will be able to upload and administer their available inventory while also cutting costs by using a cloud server.
- Networking: Networking is another essential skill for survival. A significant part of your work is getting leads on available properties to sell. Everyone you come across is a potential buyer or seller. Even your peers can prove to be good potential buyers.
- Observant: Being knowledgeable about your property area can assure your success. You should be familiar with laws, such as zonal or bylaws, and have a fair idea about nearby schools, buses and subway routes. Many factors, such as mortgage rates, can fluctuate, and you should always be aware of them.
- Uphold Integrity: As a real estate agent, you should have a high ethical standard. For every real estate contract, both the agent and the client should sign an honest disclosure. When selling/buying a property, you should always put your client’s interests first. Fair practices such as not taking overpriced listings, sharing listed properties irrespective of commission and maintaining a professional relationship with other agents are some of the practices that are valuable and increase your client’s trust in you.
Real estate agent education and certifications
As a real estate agent, you can specialize in either residential or commercial real estate. Whichever field you choose, you are required to take state-accredited pre-licensing courses. However, you can also receive certifications in your area from highly regarded organizations.
LicensureReal estate agents must pass their state’s licensing exam to practice. Each state has its requirements for obtaining a license. However, the procedure is standard across the field. Some educational licensing institutions, such as the Real Estate Express and Kaplan, offer online pre-licensing courses to prepare you for these exams better.
Begin by finding out what your state’s licensing requirement is through their real estate commission's website. Alternatively, ARELLO maintains a statewide directory of licensing authorities, which you can look up as well. Once you have cleared your pre-licensing and licensing exams, you must work through a broker before you can break off on your own.
DegreeWhile a high school diploma is enough to work as a real estate agent, legal complexities have made employers give college graduates preferential status. A bachelor’s degree in finance, administration or law from universities such as San Diego University and Cornell University could go a long way as you begin your career in real estate.
CertificationsA real estate designation adds value to your real estate license by certifying you as an expert. It is an excellent investment because it gives you credibility while it expands. Your network with like-minded professionals. Most of these designations are conferred by associations and management organizations that have legacy standing in the industry.
Universities and colleges: The advantage of completing a degree is that you will gain knowledge in many other areas such as marketing, mortgages and interest rate models. The Virginia Polytechnic Institute offers a degree in real estate, while other state universities offer majors from different disciplines such as finance and law. Meanwhile, San Diego University offers both majors and minors in real estate. Subjects include accounting, macroeconomics, financing residential real estate and principles of real estate.
Member associations: Depending on the kind of agent you are, there are many certified designations you can apply to. You should get a Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation if you cater to servicing seller clients. The Real Estate Business Institute (REBI) confers this to real estate practitioners and is recognized by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
For real estate professionals handling commercial & residential properties, the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) is for you. If certified, you would be regarded as an expert in commercial investment real estate. The designation is valid for real estate professionals and asset management, banking, property management and other fields.
The Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) is another respected designation for experienced and leading real estate agents. The credentials of CRE vouch for your integrity and professionalism and distinguish you as a real estate agent of unbiased decision making. The application criteria require you to have at least 10 years of experience in a real estate-related profession.
For-profit educational companies: There are a good number of courses provided by companies like Skillshare and Udemy. Masterclass has training modules, audio libraries and coaching programs with a diverse course offering.
Real estate agent resume-writing tip
We are thrilled that you have made it so far. But there is more that you should aim for! Let’s help you with some practical resume writing tips for getting shortlisted for your next big job:
- Lead cultivation and conversions: Let's agree that you are being hired to sell or buy. Nothing can impress your interviewers than the leads you have converted. Do not shy away from sharing your small or large feats. You specifically highlight the number of transactions or sales done on a yearly or quarterly basis, either in the number sold or the overall value of the properties. You may also use a substantial percentage to show the value and revenue addition done by you.
- Summarize rather than define: When you are taking a career path involving sales, defining your career objective does not add value to your resume. Instead, summarizing your professional journey so far will add foresight to your resume. Therefore, prepare a professional summary that includes your tenure. For example, lead with something like Resourceful professional with 15 years of experience. You should also have a specific sub-industry to cater to, such as commercial or residential, making it easier for your employer to know your specialties.
- The other essentials: The reason behind those successful numbers you just put in your resume is vital for your success. Customer commitment and focus are additional pillars on which your success is built.
What things should I consider while finding real estate brokerage?
The first thing you should do is make up your mind about the area you want to work in as a real estate agent. You can visit brokerages in the area, speak with staff, and analyze office space. The next thing you should do is a background check of brokerages. You can review their ratings online, search their history, specialization and market coverage. The next step is interviewing brokers or owners. Find out about the commission rate and other terms of employment, such as what it means to be an independent contractor for that company.
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
The main difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker is that the former cannot work without the latter. While a real estate agent has its license, that alone does not allow an agent to sell or buy. A real estate agent has to be sponsored by a broker. A broker, on the other hand, can start selling and buying on his own. However, they have additional training and licensing requirements than that of an agent. While an agent is paid through a set commission, a broker may earn a commission from their deals directly or from an agent. However, unlike real estate agents, they do not split their commission.