Estate agents, if you were asked for the top three skills needed for success in the profession, what would they be?
You’d be forgiven for struggling to list only three. When you consider all the tasks an agent needs to master, narrowing these to just a trio seems impossible.
But I believe that there are three core areas worthy of study that have a direct link to job success.
The first is probably the most obvious. At their heart, estate agents are sales people. And one of the most important skills any sales person can have is the ability to negotiate. Finding common ground between parties is a constant necessity for an agent. For example negotiating –
- terms and conditions with a potential seller client
- a property sale between a seller and buyer
- a price for services for your company such as marketing or the erection of For Sale boards
Being able to successfully resolve these matters is a critical skill and certainly separates the mediocre estate agent from a great one.
The second skill that will bring greatness is a knowledge of legislation that affects the estate agency industry.
Has there ever been a time where agents have had to abide by so many laws?
The most obvious ones include the Consumer Protection Rights, Estate Agents Act, Equality Act 2010 and money laundering regulations. The list is endless.
Ignorance of these is no excuse for breaching them. They have to be understood and applied. The consequences of non compliance can be severe, so studying these on a regular basis is a no brainer.
The last skill a great estate agent needs is the ability to manage. Like the art of negotiation, this is required for so much of what estate agents do.
For example, being able to manage –
- An ongoing sale – knowing how surveys, searches and the conveyancing process works is critical to successfully managing a sale for a client. Leaving this to the solicitors isn’t an option for an estate agent who seeks greatness. They will want to understand and know exactly what should be happening at every stage of the process and what to do if things are going awry.
- Office staff – the success of any organisation is down to its staff. If you have a managerial role or expectations of one in the future then you’ll need the knowledge and skills to be able to support staff, offer guidance, manage challenging situations and be a role model.
- A property instruction. Knowing how to take instructions on a property has always been important because it’s likely to be the first time a client sees an agent’s knowledge and skills in action. Now though, with changing legislation, such as cooling off periods and Consumer Protection Rights, there has never been a more critical time to keep updated on these matters. What legal information a potential seller requires, taking and creating property details, approving of the terms and conditions all need to be studied, understood and rigorously applied.
Estate agents notoriously have busy working lives. It’s important then that they make the most of what spare time they have to study subjects that will bring success in the profession.
The three subject areas above certainly fall into this category. Fortunately, they can all be studied in a variety of ways including observing others, practice, training and private study.
How they are learned isn’t the crucial part – the learning of them is.
Further details on training for property agents is available from MOL on 0345 203 2103 or go to: www.mollearn.com/property-courses
Paul Jager is head of the Property Division at MOL