10 Real Estate Skills Every Successful Agent Needs
The path to a successful career in real estate begins with a set of strong real estate agent skills. But if you have little experience buying or selling homes, you may wonder what makes a good real estate agent.
The good news is that you don't need a specific educational background to become a top agent. However, there are some specific qualities of a good real estate agent and skills needed to be a real estate agent that leading performers share. By focusing your efforts on developing these skills, you can prime yourself for a fruitful career. Below is a look at the top ten skills needed to be a real estate agent. As you read through our guide, bear in mind that these qualities of a good real estate agent are just a snapshot; if you don’t possess all of these real estate skills, you can still become a successful agent. But if you work to improve these skills, you’ll see a hefty return on your investment. Let’s get started!
1) Communication Skills
No two clients are exactly alike. Some clients may want to chat frequently in person, while others may like to communicate only through text. Some may want to know every detail and decision while others are more hands-off. Leading agents realize this and never use a cookie-cutter approach when engaging with their clients and other agents. They know that communication skills top the list of qualities of a good real estate agent and strive to excel in the following four areas:
- Verbal communication skills: A good real estate agent speaks clearly and confidently with others. They also avoid the overuse of slang and industry jargon.
- Nonverbal communication skills: They look clients in the eye, display open body language, and exhibit pleasant facial expressions.
- Active listening skills: Top agents make it a point to listen to clients. They ask questions and paraphrase the response to ensure they understand their client’s needs.
- Written communication skills: Preparing professional emails, contracts, marketing collateral, and website content is critical to success.
In addition to excelling in these areas, the best agents seem to intuitively know how often they should communicate with their clients. While a novice client may need regular updates and information, others don't require frequent meetings or information. Experienced agents are able to quickly determine their client's needs and tailor the frequency of their communications accordingly.
Good communication skills are imperative to your success as a real estate agent since you’re helping people conduct one of the biggest purchases in their life. To improve your communication, ask your clients for feedback, either in-person or through a follow-up survey or email. Practice active listening, even on your friends and family, to take your communication abilities to the next level.
2) Local Knowledge
A strong working knowledge of your local market can make a huge difference if you are a newcomer to the real estate industry. You can give yourself a competitive edge by becoming an expert in the following areas:
- Schools: Clients with school-age children will want to know about the proximity and quality of the local public, private, and parochial schools.
- Public transportation options: Access to city buses, trolleys, trams, and ferries is important to many buyers, especially in larger cities.
- Neighborhood information: Some neighborhoods have restrictions and/or resident perks that can influence the selling process.
- Local taxes: You can help clients prepare for a home purchase by providing information about state and local property taxes.
Ask your clients to rate their satisfaction with your knowledge of the local market, either in person or anonymously through a free survey tool like Typeform. Ask them to list your strengths and weaknesses so you can continually improve your local knowledge skills.
3) Teaching Skills
While teaching skills may not be the first answer to the question of what makes a good real estate agent, this is a necessity when working with first-time homebuyers and inexperienced clients. Good agents know the real estate industry is complicated. They realize that some clients need to be fully walked through the process and may need a lot of help (sans industry jargon!) along the way.
On the other hand, great agents are also comfortable working with experienced clients who prefer a more hands-off approach. Their real estate skills enable them to quickly determine their clients' level of experience. This allows them to deliver the appropriate level of guidance and educational support.
If you’re unsure how familiar your client is with the real estate industry, check in with them. Ask clients about their real estate knowledge, if they’ve sold/purchased a property before, and what makes them nervous about the process. Then, take those answers and keep them at the forefront of your mind while you guide your client through the process.
4) The Ability to Adapt to New Tools and Technology
Real estate skills are not the only thing that has changed for agents over the years. Tools and technology have also evolved. Embracing these technological advances is a must if you long to thrive as a real estate agent. Here are some examples of tools and technology that will help you maximize your sales and efficiency:
- Virtual real estate: This technology enables people to enjoy a simulated walkthrough of a home or property, which has been particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Customer-Relationship Management tool (CRM): A great CRM system allows you to organize your clients and contacts in a database. You can access their contact details or history quickly.
- WhatsApp: Over 68 million Americans now use WhatsApp to communicate. This free platform allows you to send quotes, documents, and images.
In addition to using these tools, don't forget to seek feedback from your clients and contacts. Mastering the most efficient and convenient ways to interface with your contacts is one of the most important skills needed to be a real estate agent, so check in and ensure that your efforts are moving your business in the right direction.
5) Real Estate Knowledge
Keeping up with the latest real estate news and trends is essential to an agent's success. One of the best ways to stay on top of the latest industry news is to follow a leading specialist in real estate education. You can now boost your knowledge from the comfort of your own home by carving out some time each day to read about current industry events and trends.
The CE Shop offers the latest real estate industry news to help you stay a step ahead of your competitors. By bookmarking The CE Shop's industry news page, you can remain abreast of topics such as ethics, the lending process, and factors that influence real estate compensation.
6) Time Management Skills
Life as a real estate agent is anything but predictable. You may find yourself working well over 40 hours per week for active markets while some weeks may require much less in the way of time and effort. Day-to-day life, on the other hand, offers a lot in the way of flexibility. Other than scheduled client meetings, closings, and showings, you will have much more flexibility than many other careers would allow.
While many people welcome this flexibility, the lack of a structured schedule calls for outstanding time management skills. Rarely do weekdays follow a typical 9 to 5 format. And weekends often involve open houses and impromptu showings. It is imperative to be organized and timely so that you make your appointments and respect your clients’ time.
7) Negotiating Skills
Many homeowners and prospective buyers aren't skilled negotiators. In fact, many are unfamiliar with the basics of real estate transactions. Others simply don't feel comfortable haggling with buyers, sellers, and other agents - some of whom can be quite aggressive. So it's up to you to make sure that negotiation is one of your sharpest real estate agent skills.
There are other reasons to become a skilled negotiator. Simply put, the better negotiator you are, the higher your commission will be. Without the ability to hammer out a fair and favorable price on a property, you could leave money on the table for both you and your client.
8) Honesty and Integrity
Of all the qualities of a good real estate agent, honesty and integrity are the two that define your reputation. Clients depend on their real estate agents to be truthful and transparent when handling a property sale. And in the real estate world, it can be difficult to overcome a negative reputation.
Fortunately, most agents start their careers with a clean slate. And while there is no secret recipe to protecting your reputation, there are some measures you can take to maintain your status as an open and honest real estate agent:
- Professional development activities: Choose activities that will help you build upon your existing real estate agent skills.
- Ethics classes: Continued focus on real estate ethics will help you maintain your commitment to honesty and integrity.
- Transparency with fees: Always clearly outline any and all applicable fees so there won't be any surprises for clients.
- Reporting unethical activity: Turning a blind eye to illicit real estate activity is not sufficient. You may need to file a complaint.
9) Networking Skills
Leading real estate professionals are extremely well connected. They have trusted contacts who can come to the rescue no matter what challenges may arise. These rockstar real estate agents recognize the importance of strong networking skills and make it a priority to establish and maintain good relationships with the following professionals:
- Staging specialists, who can quickly make a home more aesthetically appealing to buyers.
- Home inspectors, who can assess a home's physical condition.
- Real estate lawyers, who can assist with contract questions and issues.
- Mortgage lenders, who can provide prospective buyers with the funding they need to purchase a property.
Additionally, you’ll want to network with your clients. While creating a positive experience is one of the best organic marketing strategies to generate repeat business, real estate clients are typically one-transaction clients, meaning it’s important to constantly meet new people who will hopefully think of you when they need to sell or buy a home.
10) Marketing Skills
Sharp marketing skills are the icing on the cake for those looking to master the real estate agent skills outlined above. With a five-star marketing approach that includes the following, you can effectively spread the word about your services:
- Social media marketing
- Website design
- Digital marketing expertise
- Experience with signage and print media
While many large brokerages have a marketing department that offers these services to clients, you need to be prepared to pay for them yourself, especially when you’re first starting out. Whether you plan to join an established agency or strike out on your own, it's important to remember that it's ultimately your responsibility to promote your clients' properties. And with strong marketing skills, you will maximize your chances of a fast and lucrative sale.