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Estate agents work with home buyers and sellers during home sales and purchases, providing support and guidance and assisting with tasks including listing properties, visiting homes for sale, and connecting clients with legal and financial professionals. The term “estate agent” is primarily used in the United Kingdom and Ireland and overlaps with roles like realtors and real estate brokers in other countries.

Estate agents may work independently or as part of a larger agency or firm. In either case, they collaborate with both clients and other estate agents to negotiate sales prices and terms. Estate agents also need to promote their services through marketing efforts and networking to ensure a steady stream of clients and referrals.

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Estate Agent Duties and Responsibilities

While the day-to-day duties of an estate agent can vary, most share several essential responsibilities whether they work independently or as part of a larger firm:

Gather Client Information

The estate agent's first duty is to meet directly with buyers and sellers. The estate agent may gather information related to client's price range, target area, or asking price (if they are selling a home). The estate agent also determines what kind of amenities their clients want in a home. During these meetings, the estate agent also determines the client's timeline and may gather financial data.

Locate Properties for Sale

Estate agents determine potential homes for their clients to visit, searching for properties that meet all or most of the client's criteria. They may send clients home data to review and make the client aware of pending listings. On the selling side, estate agents may provide their clients with information on similar listings and price trends.

Visit Properties with Clients

Estate agents accompany their clients on home visits. The estate agent gathers relevant information about the home so that they can answer questions about the property. Additionally, the estate agent advises their client about a home's features and potential issues. During home visits, the estate agent may also ask their clients questions to guide them in identifying other potential properties.

Negotiate Home Sales

The estate agent negotiates prices and sales agreements on the client's behalf. During this process, the estate agent presents the client's offer to the seller's estate agent, and the two negotiate to arrive at an agreeable price and acceptable terms. If the negotiations are successful, the sale then proceeds to the contract stage, where additional negotiations may take place after several more home visits and inspection of the property.

Oversee Leasing Activities

Many estate agents play an important role in leasing commercial and residential properties. While this process does have some overlap with sale and purchase activities, the estate agent also handles lease agreements and landlord negotiations for their clients. In the UK, many estate agents oversee a portfolio of properties for rent on their clients' behalf.

Support Marketing and Promotional Activities

Estate agents also maintain and expand their client base through marketing and promotional activities. They may send out mailers, attend networking events, and receive referrals from satisfied clients. Estate agents may also stay in touch with previous clients who may be interested in selling their homes, relocating, or buying another property.

Estate Agent Skills and Qualifications

Estate agents work with home buyers and sellers throughout the home sale process. Estate agents should be familiar with property types and the sales process and should possess the following skills:

  • Negotiation - estate agents need to be competent negotiators, able to work with clients and other estate agents to set prices and terms and arrive at agreements on a number of elements during the sales process
  • Promotional skills - estate agents also need excellent promotional and marketing skills to attract buyers and build their client base through referrals, outreach, and advertising. They must also be able to highlight a home's benefits while minimizing its flaws
  • Market knowledge - this role also requires thorough knowledge of the real estate market, including current trends, home prices, neighborhoods, and available housing stock within the agent's sales territory
  • Client service skills - estate agents need excellent client service skills and the abilities to understand what their clients are looking for in a home, work within their price range, and remain available throughout the sales and closing process
  • Time management - estate agents tend to work with a number of buyers and sellers at once, so they should have strong time management and organization skills to keep track of sales processes and appointments
  • Communication skills - finally, effective verbal and written communication skills are essential in the estate agent's role. They should be able to prepare documents and speak with clients, other agents, and financial professionals

Estate Agent Education and Training

Estate agents do not need a specific degree, and no formal certification is required for this role. They do need extensive familiarity with home selling and buying processes, as well as an aptitude for the market. Estate agents may work as trainees for several years as they hone their skills and gain further experience in the field. It is also worth noting that estate agents can join professional organizations to enhance their knowledge and reputation.

Estate Agent Salary and Outlook

Estate agents typically receive pay plus commission, so salaries can vary based on performance, location, and experience. Newer estate agents tend to have salaries between £14,000 and £20,000 per year, while more experienced estate agents earn between £25,000 and £60,000 per year. Specialty estate agents in major cities like London earn annual salaries of more than £100,000.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for real estate brokers and agents to grow at an average pace of 6 percent through 2026.

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Helpful Resources

We searched the web and found many resources if you’d like to learn more about working as an estate agent:

Independent Network of Estate Agents

the INEA is a trade and professional organization for estate agents providing advice and guidance on legal matters and assistance with listing properties and closing sales

Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007

read about consumer protection laws and guidelines for estate agents established by the United Kingdom in 2007 to find out how estate agents can better serve consumers and maintain professional ethics

National Association of Estate Agents

the NAEA is another trade, lobbying, and professional organization for estate agents providing career guidance, legal advice, and disciplinary oversight of members and activities

English Houses: An Estate Agent's Companion

this helpful guidebook illustrates styles of English houses, from country estates to city properties, providing estate agents with a quick, handy reference guide

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