So you want to be an estate agent? Good news! It’s a very rewarding career that has the potential to be very lucrative. In addition, it doesn’t require you to sit behind a desk all day, gets you out meeting lots of very different people, requires few to no qualifications and provides the chance for real progression.
This is all especially true in today’s post-crash world. People will always want to buy and sell their homes, with the added bonus that even during bust periods when sales may drop, the lettings business takes the slack. This makes for a resilient industry that isn’t about to enter the doldrums any time soon.
So what next, then, for those who want to make their first steps towards becoming an estate agent? Well there are plenty of things to consider beforehand.
Think about it. A lot.
All of the above makes it easy to see just why becoming an agent is a very popular career choice indeed. This popularity does mean though that competition is rife and only the best succeed. Not only that, a sometimes fluctuating wage, potential for stress and occasional unsocial hours can combine to make it a role that’s not suited to everyone’s taste. As such, it’s worth considering the option very carefully before deciding to take the plunge once and for all.
Before writing a single word on the CV, it’s helpful to take a long hard look at all the pros and cons as outlined above. Some people thrive within this environment, earning themselves a great deal of money in the process. They can then rise up the ladder remarkably quickly, going to senior salesperson to manager and even then opening their own business.
At the other end of the spectrum, others flake under pressure and can end up losing their job for not bringing in enough sales or deals. High risk, high reward.
As a prospective agent you will need to give all this your full consideration before making even one application. The last thing an interviewer needs to see is doubt, so weigh up the decision and make it in good faith. Then, if you come to the decision that it is something you want to try, stick with it and be strong in your conviction.
Do your research
As noted above, many people want to become an estate agent. However, when pressed further on this, few actually manage to articulate exactly why this career path is so appealing. Think about how this would look at interview stage. Estate agents are meant to be personable, knowledgeable, bright and eloquent, something which certainly won’t come across among those who don’t attack an interview with the same drive and passion as their competitors.
Research doesn’t just start and end looking inwardly though. Interviewees will promote the best possible image of themselves if they go armed with more information than anyone that has also applied for the job. Therefore, equip yourself with knowledge of local markets, the property selling process and just what transferable skills you could bring to the role.
If this information isn’t particularly easy to come by, speak with others already working in the industry. If you have friends or family that work as estate agents, then get advice from them. Failing that, there’s a bank of information online about what the job will really entail on a day-to-day basis.
Casting your net far and wide is sure to provide the widest array of opportunities. After all, it’s easy to look further afield if nothing is coming up in your preferred area, even if it would mean a mammoth commute. This may not be as beneficial as it first seems though, as it takes you away from your own patch – where you’re guaranteed to know the place better than most others.
If nothing of worth comes in after a little while of trying, ask for Saturday work or temporary contracts. This doesn’t just show a willingness to work the more unsocial hours of an estate agent, but also shows real intent. It may not be the most appealing option, but will certainly reflect well upon you, both within the company itself and any others you may apply for later on down the line.
Using a specialist recruiter could also be a wise move. Being professionals, they have knowledge of the industry which can be imparted both before applying and then ahead of an interview. They also have an enviable contact list, meaning there may be some jobs just starting to come through which haven’t yet hit the jobs board. As such, getting in with a recruiter could provide a huge advantage over all others looking at a similar career.
Lastly, estate agents view their role as a career, not a job, so the last thing an interviewer wants to think is that this is just a temporary option for you, or a ‘stop-gap’. Those who do best in the industry are those most committed to it, which requires a great deal of focus.
Many of the above points can be boiled down into one word: enthusiasm. This should come as no surprise; enthusiasm sells houses, so it should also be deployed to sell yourself. This is no place for being reserved or playing hard ball, throw yourself into the application and make it impossible for the interviewer to think you’ll give anything less than 100 per cent.
Whilst you don’t want to come across as cocky or vainglorious, this can spill over into confidence, which is very much a positive. You can even, if you feel up to it, ask at the end of an interview: “How did I do?” or “What did you think?” Put it this way, you’d be asking similar questions at the end of a viewing, so why not.
The common considerations
Aside from all this, there’s also the typical job interview tips that may not be specifically catered to estate agents but are still just as important. For example, don’t just create one catch-all CV that you plan to blast out to all companies. This makes them feel like a number and gives the impression of someone that takes little to no pride in their work. Not just that, it probably won’t even save the time you think it might, as you’ll end up having to continually search high and low for new roles, instead of spending a bit of time from the beginning making one or two just right.
Next, dress up smartly for the interview, going in clean shaven (if applicable) with hair neatly styled. Estate agents are always dressed smartly because it’s a customer-facing job, so remember to replicate this for your interview.
Also, arrive promptly. Speculative buyers won’t wait for hours at a house viewing, so why should an interviewer do the same. Promptness and professionalism are natural bedfellows, so set that alarm nice and early!
Hopefully, all of the above points have provided a suitable introduction to those thinking of becoming an estate agent. You should now be more up to speed with the pros and cons of such a career, what is needed before hitting the job trail and how best to secure that dream position at the end of it all.
If you are interested in applying for a job then please view our jobs in Estate Agency.