Careers that set you up for a job in real estate
It’s never too late to change your career and, more importantly, it’s never too late to change to a career in real estate.
The average Australian worker will change careers five to seven times in their lifetime, and the average age of the Australian real estate agent is 44, painting a clear picture that says it doesn’t matter how many careers you’ve had or how long you’ve been working – real estate is always an option.
For someone who’s never worked in property before, the idea of selling someone else’s home might seem daunting, but chances are you’ve been working in an industry that’s been training you for real estate greatness.
Here are some careers with skills that are easily transferred into a real estate profession.
Marketing or human resources
One of the key traits of the successful real estate agent is their ability to communicate effectively, so anybody who’s worked in marketing or HR will have already honed this craft.
For the uninitiated, real estate is packed with jargon – stamp duty and settlement dates, LMI and LVR, fittings and fixtures – all of these may mean little and less to the layman, but that lack of understanding can serve to increase the stress of selling a home, a stressful time in its own right.
Marketing professionals need to be able to express complex ideas in simple, easy to understand ways, and so do real estate agents. Explaining the complexity and nuance to an already stressed person who does not have a real estate background is a crucial part of selling their home, and so a career in marketing will give you the tools you need to accomplish this aspect with aplomb.
Human resources is similar, and also requires communicability. HR professionals are required to act as the communication channel between senior management and their employees. While not identical, this draws a lot of parallels to property management, wherein the landlord and the tenant typically communicate through the property manager.
The ability to play this middle role effectively, keeping both parties as happy as possible, is what separates good property managers from mediocre ones. HR professionals already have this talent down to a fine art.
Perhaps the most obvious, a career in sales will teach many of the skills required to sell homes. Nobody would claim that selling a car or an insurance policy is the same as selling property, and understanding the process of sales will make the transition much easier.
A prior career in sales can do much more than just give one the knowledge to sell a home, however; it also provides invaluable experience. A sales professional is going to more easily recognise when somebody is playing the game, so to speak.
Potential buyers can employ a number of tactics in the effort to get the best possible deal, but an experienced sales professional will be more able to thwart that endeavour. Threatening to walk away, pointing out flaws, and low-balling, are just some of many potential tactics.
Those who have worked in sales before are able to recognise these immediately, and have the know-how to not be taken for a ride.
Customer service or hospitality
Residential real estate is more about people than it is about property. Of course, property makes up a large part of it, but a real estate agent will spend more time with buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants than they ever will with a property.
There are few careers that can teach someone how to deal with people as one in customer service or hospitality can. While a career in sales involves working with customers, a career in customer service or hospitality involves spending a lot more time with them, ensuring their happiness is maintained through the course of the interaction.
In a bar or restaurant, this means keeping a customer happy for a few hours, while in a resort or hotel, it means keeping them happy for days on end. When things are going well – the food is great, the room is clean, the weather is fine – this isn’t a tall order, but when things are hitting the proverbial fan, customer service professionals must go to great lengths to keep those customers happy.
This has many parallels to managing or selling property. Like in many professions, the best real estate agents shine in the most difficult circumstances. Being able to handle a situation where the seller is frustrated about not getting the offers they want, or where a tenant is outraged by not getting the maintenance they’re requesting, or where a landlord is aggravated by a tenant who expects too much, is what can really separate a good agent from a great one.
Prior experience with handling unhappy clients can provide a new real estate agent with the necessary tools to cope with, and prosper during, some of real estate’s most difficult situations.
Any other career
The truth is, with the right training anybody can achieve success in the real estate sector, regardless of their working background. The careers mentioned above will provide transferrable skills which will make the transition easier, but they are absolutely not a requirement.
In fact, many real estate professionals begin their careers right out of school, without any working experience to call upon, and still find their way into the upper bracket of successful real estate agents.