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Real Estate Agent (Realtor) Career Guide

A career as a real estate agent is a fast paced and offers lots of career advancement opportunities and the uncapped earning potential. Real estate agents do not need a university education. However, they must complete state-accredited prelicensing real estate courses to be eligible for licensure. Once qualified, real estate sales agents will improve their skills through practice and training.

To be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your clients’ best interests first. When you do, your personal needs will be realized beyond your greatest expectations

Anthony Hitt

Real Estate Agent (Realtor) Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Job Profiles

Real-Life Real Estate Agent (Realtor) Job Profiles

Below is a list of links to anonymous job profiles of REAL PEOPLE who have filled out our survey and offered to share their insights with our users about their job in the Real Estate Agent (Realtor) field.
IDJob TitleGenderAgeEarningsCity & StateDate
33955RealtorMale55 $150,000ARLINGTON, VA01/01/2010
33861Real Estate BrokerFemale60 $140,000Coxs Creek, KY01/01/2010
33722Real Estate BrokerFemale45 $75,000new york, NY01/01/2010
33702Real Estate CoordinatorFemale44 $60,000Jackson, MS01/01/2010
33715New Home ConsultantFemale44 $100,000Elk Grove, CA01/01/2010

Overview

What a Real Estate Agent actually does

A real estate agent is responsible for the sale or a property (commercial or residential). They are tasked with the responsibility of creating market listings of properties, providing guidance to buyers and sellers, creating lists of real estate properties and presenting purchase offers to sellers. Their typical daily duties and responsibilities include:

  • Generating client leads to buy, sell, and rent property
  • Advising clients on market conditions, prices, and mortgages
  • Developing a competitive market price for a clients property by comparing properties
  • Creating lists for real estate sale properties. These must include information on location, features, square footage, etc.
  • Showing potential buyers (or renters) around properties
  • Presenting the clients purchase offers to the house seller
  • Facilitating negotiations between buyers and sellers
  • Reviewing purchase contracts to ensure terms are met
  • Promoting properties with ads, listings, and open houses

Why they are needed

Real estate agents are beneficial to both buyers and sellers. For the seller, they are needed for their wide internet exposure, their network, their marketing materials, their experience and for their knowledge on the procedures of selling a house. For the buyer, they are needed to keep the buyer’s information confidential, provide them with sufficient information to purchase a home and expertly negotiate on their behalf.

Pros and cons of a career as a Real Estate Agent:

Pros:

  • Flexible working hours as many real estate agents get to pick their own work schedule
  • It is a rewarding job as you help clients to achieve their dream homes
  • There are plenty of opportunities for career progression and development
  • As real estate agents often earn commission, there is high income potential
  •  There is variety of different fields. For example, estate agents can work in commercial property or residential property

Cons:

  • As a lot of an estate agents salary is based on commission, their income can be quite unstable at times
  • Estate agents may have to work long, and sometimes unsociable hours, in order to meet the needs of their client
  • It can be stressful as you may have to work with lots of different clients who are difficult
  • Like most sales roles, real estate agents can face a fiercely competitive environment

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of labor statistics, the employment of real estate agents in the United States is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than the average for all occupations.

There will be a continued demand for real estate agents because they are essential to people when they are looking for a new home, relocating or are purchasing property for a business.

However, tighter credit regulations, increasing real estate prices and millennial workers having delayed home ownership (due to financial and personal considerations), more people will continue to rent, as opposed to entering the housing market. Therefore, their slower entry into the housing market is expected to limit demand for real estate agents and brokers.

The real estate market is also highly sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, and employment of real estate agents will vary accordingly. In periods of economic growth or stability, employment should grow to accommodate everyone looking to buy homes and businesses looking to expand office or retail space. However, during periods of declining economic activity, the amount of work for real estate agents will slow and employment may decline.

Career paths

Real estate agents must complete real estate courses in order to be eligible for licensure. Although most agents must take state-accredited prelicensing courses to become licensed, some states may waive this requirement if the candidate has taken college courses in real estate.

Due to the real estate market becoming more competitive and complex, some employers prefer to hire candidates with a college degree, which is offered through some community colleges, colleges, and universities. Some offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in real estate, and many others offer certificate programs. Courses in finance, business administration, economics, and law also can be useful.

In addition to offering prelicensing courses, many real estate associations have courses and professional development programs for both beginners and experienced agents. These courses cover a variety of topics, such as real estate fundamentals, real estate law, and mortgage financing.

After achieving the relevant qualifications, all real estate agents must be licensed, which varies by state. However, generally candidates must be 18 years old, complete a number of real estate courses and pass an exam. Licenses are typically not transferable among states and they must be renewed every 2 to 4 years.

Once qualified, real estate sales agents will improve their skills through practice and repetition. Training varies depending on the real estate company, with some providing formal training and others allowing their agents to enter the field immediately after obtaining their license. In some cases, new agents may observe and work closely with more senior agents. Once qualified and trained, estate agents can then gain experience and chose what area to specialize in.

Example Job Titles for Real Estate Agent (Realtor)

Below is a list of common job titles in the Real Estate Agent (Realtor) field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for real estate agents in the United States was $48,930 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $111,800. The highest paying industries were construction, where the average salary is $58,490. This is followed by real estate, rental and leasing, where the average annual salary was $45,540 in 2019.

The income of a real estate agent often depends on economic conditions, the agent’s individual motivation, and the types of property available. Therefore, the average annual income of an estate agent can vary each year and usually increases as they become better and more experienced at sales.

Autonomy and Flexibility

Real estate agents are responsible for their own schedule and can book appointments with clients when it suits them. This, in theory, means that autonomy and flexibility are high. However, real estate agents will need to book clients in when it suits them, meaning that a career as an estate agent is not actually as flexible as it appears.

Locations and commute

According to Zippia, the best states to be a real estate agent, based on the average annual salary and number of jobs, were:

  1. New York, where the average annual salary is $108,596
  2. Connecticut, where the average annual salary is $80,865
  3. Delaware, where the average annual salary is $79,191
  4. Pennsylvania, where the average annual salary is $76,331
  5. Massachusetts, where the average annual salary is $79,796

The worst states to be a real estate agent, according to Zippia, were Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Oklahoma and Kanas.

Work environment

Real estate agents can work in offices that have one-person, to large firms with numerous employees and branch offices. Some real estate agents work in a typical office environment, whereas others work out of their homes. In general, both types of real estate agents spend much of their time away from their desks, showing properties to clients, traveling to see properties for sale, and meeting with prospective clients.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Real Estate Agent (Realtor) careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Real Estate Agent (Realtor) career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Real Estate Agent (Realtor).

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

  • None

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

DiSC

  • None

Enneagram

  • None

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

  • None

Personality types

It is thought that real estate agents with have the Holland code type of enterprising and then conventional. Both of these personality types are suited to careers in sales or careers that are detail oriented and achievement focused.

Accomplishment and mastery

As real estate agents are in charge of their own schedule and are responsible for their own communication with clients, and therefore the successful selling of a house, there is high levels of accomplishment and mastery.

Meaning and contribution

The work of a real estate agent is very meaningful as they help buyer to purchase their dream home, and help sellers to get the best return from their investment.

Life fit

Despite the fact that estate agents do, in theory, get to control their own schedule, many real estate agents work more than 40 hours per week. Often, real estate agents will have to work evenings and weekends to accommodate clients’ schedules. They may also spend a significant amount of time networking and attending community events to meet potential clients.

Who will thrive in this career?

Those who have the ability to solve problems will thrive as real estate agents. This is because real estate agents will need to negotiate and come to many decisions between buyer and seller. Similarly, those who are self-motivated are likely to thrive as estate agents as they need a high degree of self-motivation and drive to make commissions.

Real estate agents will also need a genuine interest in houses and architecture. Being able to show a passion and enthusiasm for real estate gives them a competitive advantage over other real estate agents, meaning they will thrive.

Finally, like all sales people, a successful real estate agent will need an excellent personality that is appealing to many people. People will respond to estate agents who have a great attitude, are personable and honest.

Who will struggle in this career?

Those who are not sales or results driven will struggle as an estate agent as their earnings are dependent on this. Similarly, those who prefer to work in one location will struggle with the constant travelling involved with being an estate agent.

Requirements

Skills and talents

To become an estate agent, you will need skills and talents such as:

  • Sales and business skills, as they will need to reach out to prospective clients, handling their finances and advertise their services
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, as real estate agents will spend a lot of their time interacting with clients and writing and maintaining documents
  • Organizational skills, as real estate agents must be able to work independently, managing their own time and be able to prioritize their work.
  • Problem-solving skills, as real estate agents need to be able to quickly address their clients concerns and will need to mediate negotiations between seller and buyer
  • Negotiation skills, as real estate agents will need to come to agreements with both buyers and sellers in order to make commission

Education

Real estate agents do not need a university education. However, real estate agents must complete some state-accredited prelicensing real estate courses to be eligible for licensure.

Some states may waive this requirement if the candidate decided to take college courses in real estate. Moreover, the real estate market is becoming more competitive and complex, and therefore some employers prefer to hire candidates with a college degree. Degrees in real estate are offered through some colleges, community colleges and universities. Courses in finance, business administration, economics, and law also can be useful.

In addition to offering prelicensing courses, many real estate associations have courses and professional development programs for both beginners and experienced real estate agents. These courses cover a variety of topics, such as real estate fundamentals, real estate law, and mortgage financing.

Once qualified, real estate sales agents will improve their skills through practice and repetition. Training varies depending on the real estate company, with some providing formal training and others allowing their agents to enter the field immediately after obtaining their license. In some cases, new agents may observe and work closely with more senior agents. Furthermore, in most states, real estate agents must complete continuing education courses to renew their license.

Certifications

All real estate agents must be licensed, which vary by state. However, generally candidates must be 18 years old, complete a number of real estate courses and pass an exam. Licenses typically are not transferable among states and state licenses typically must be renewed every 2 to 4 years.

How to Become

Summary

A career as a real estate agent is a fast paced career that offers lots of career advancement and income opportunities.

Immediate action

The best immediate action is to find institutions in your area that offer courses in real estate. This can be at at university, college or other state acknowledge institution.

Education and learning

Real estate agents do not need a university education. However, real estate agents must complete some state-accredited prelicensing real estate courses to be eligible for licensure.

Skill development

Once qualified, real estate sales agents will improve their skills through practice and training, which varies depending on the real estate company. Some will provide formal training and others allow their agents to enter the field immediately after obtaining their license. In some cases, new agents may observe and work closely with more senior agents. Furthermore, in most states, real estate agents must complete continuing education courses to renew their license.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Real Estate Agent (Realtor) careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

IDJob TitleGenderAgeEarningsCity & StateDate
33955RealtorMale55 $150,000ARLINGTON, VA01/01/2010
33861Real Estate BrokerFemale60 $140,000Coxs Creek, KY01/01/2010
33722Real Estate BrokerFemale45 $75,000new york, NY01/01/2010
33702Real Estate CoordinatorFemale44 $60,000Jackson, MS01/01/2010
33715New Home ConsultantFemale44 $100,000Elk Grove, CA01/01/2010

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