The real estate business is one of those few glamorous businesses left that offer careers with some dream benefits: flexible hours, self-employment, a limitless earning capacity…
Yet, walking down one of the dozens of real estate career paths out there isn’t easy. Some people would say there are “tricks” for succeeding in any of the numerous real estate career paths; however, we’re not “some people.” There are no “tricks” to succeeding in real estate any more than there’s a “trick” to losing weight. To lose weight, the cold reality is that is takes diet and exercise. The same is true to succeed in the real estate business: no tricks, just hard work.
However, there are better methods than others to turn your hard work into potential and profit. Here’s what we mean: you already know it takes hard work to make it down any real estate career paths. But what does “hard work” really mean? Where should you spend that “hard work” to maximize your knowledge, your capability, your earning capacity?
Here’s where we can help! You already know that you must have knowledge of real estate laws and regulations. But you may not know that, without some highly-developed personal skills, you still won’t be able to turn that knowledge into a satisfying and rewarding career. In this article, we’ll show you which personal skills to hone that will most benefit you as a real estate professional.
What Does a Successful Real Estate Career Really Take?
What do we mean by “hard work”? What do we mean by “personal skills” necessary to succeed in real estate? What “real estate career paths” are we talking about?
As we said, you already know that you can’t prepare for real estate career paths without knowing the basics about the real estate business. You already know that the real estate business is involved with helping people navigate property transactions: that is, the buying and selling of land, natural resources, and property assets.
You already know that the “hard work” that real estate professionals must do is have extensive knowledge of specific real estate related laws and regulations, a willingness to put in the effort and the hours to make a real estate transaction a reality, and the ability to make sacrifices to help their clients get what they want and need out of their newly sold or acquired properties. You may even know about the dozens of real estate career paths out there, such as:
- Real Estate Appraiser
- Property Manager
- Real Estate Consultant
- Loan Officer
- Compliance Specialist
- Escrow Officer
- Mortgage Collection Manager
- Mortgage Credit Analyst
- Loan Processor
- Zoning Manager
- Title Examiner
- Real Estate Investor
- Foreclosure Specialist
- Real Estate Attorney
But what you may not know are what personal skills to hone to ensure that you’re successful in the real estate business. And what, exactly, are the personal skills required to ensure you’re prepared to commit to the hard work of succeeding in the real estate business? So glad you asked…
The skills you need to succeed on any real estate career path are:
- Excellent interpersonal communication
- Negotiation Skills
- Teaching Skills
Why Do Personal Skills Contribute Just as Much to My Success in the Real Estate Business as My Real Estate Knowledge?
Knowledge of certain real estate-related laws, processes, and regulations are something that all individuals must have to successfully pursue any of the real estate career paths. However, YOU are the hottest commodity in the real estate business. No matter which of the real estate career paths you choose, you bring to the table personal skills, knowledge, personality, decisions, creative energy (and the list goes on) that only you can bring.
That’s why knowing which personal skills are most useful to your particular career path can help not only your company and assets grow and develop… but you as well! Fortunately, we know which skills and traits are most useful to the real estate business as a whole. Concentrating on developing the following skills will help in all of the real estate career paths.
So, if you’re unsure which of the real estate career paths to try, building these skills will benefit you most, since they’re virtually guaranteed to help you succeed regardless of whether you’re a realtor, mortgage loan officer, title examiner, or real estate attorney! And, they’ll help you more successfully navigate other transactions (and not just financial but relational) in your daily life. Pretty sweet deal!
Don’t believe us? Let’s get into how each of these “soft” skills (less tangible personal skills like patience and tact) can help you as much as “hard” skills (clearly measurable, teachable skills like knowledge of real estate law).
This is perhaps the most essential skill in real estate. Essentially, any job in real estate boils down to helping people navigate a difficult sales transaction. Being able to communicate clearly, effectively, and respectfully will be key to ensuring that all parties are content and well-informed about their role in the transaction.
Honesty and integrity—or adherence to a high moral and ethical standard—are critical in the real estate business (and certainly in daily life…!). Firstly, it’s the right thing to do to deal plainly and honestly with all clients. It’s also best for your business since your trustworthiness can boost your ethos which can lead to an easier time clinching a sale.
“But how will I have an easier time selling a property if I’m honest about all its faults,” you ask? Believe it or not, people value honesty over perfection. No person (and no property) is perfect, and you will gain your clients’ trust and respect by admitting it. Instead of hiding flaws in yourself and the properties you show, get them out in the open and suggest ways to improve them or turn them into assets. This will go a long way in avoiding your clients’ judgment that you are just another greasy, dishonest salesman!
Some people may tell you that it takes “charisma” to succeed in real estate. Others might call it “woo” (if you’re familiar with the StrengthsQuest business model that tests company employees to determine their strengths; “woo” is that skill that allows you to woo people, or win them over, to your cause or way of thinking). Still others might say you need “people skills.” We prefer to call it like it is because we believe there’s no sugar-coating it.
To succeed in real estate, you need to be a good salesperson. It helps if you are charming, charismatic, and have a winning personality, but you shouldn’t rely on these traits to manipulate clients. Instead, you should be a good salesperson by being honest with your clients and yourself: you are in the business to buy and sell, and knowing what your clients want will help you to help them reach their goal.
Pretending that you’re not in the business to also make a profit is dishonest with yourself and your client. Instead, assure clients that, while you need sales for your income, you will never push a sale that’s not right for the client merely for your own gain. Then, stick to that principle!
No matter which of the many real estate career paths you go down, you’ll find countless situations that call for compromise, sacrifice, and deal-making. After all, this business is based on a negotiated contract between two parties. Thus, negotiation skills come in handy. If you already know how to keep all parties satisfied and how to successfully negotiate a sale based on sensitivity to each parties’ needs and desires, then you’ll be far ahead of the pack on customer satisfaction… which is almost always linked to sales and therefore income!
On any real estate career path, you’ll run into clients who need and want a million things at once… and they’ll want it now. Your ability to be fast and responsive will be key to keeping your clients happy. No, you don’t always have to have the perfect solution. However, being quick to respond when your clients reach out will assure them that you’re listening and that you care, which is most important!
Similarly, clients want to know not just that you’ll respond to their needs, but that you care about their needs. Empathy, or the ability to take an active interest in the concerns of others, is something that can’t be taught in schools. Instead, it must be practiced. Try actively listening to your clients and seeing things from their point of view, then acting toward them as you would want your own agent acting toward you!
Whatever real estate career path you choose, you will be the resident expert on real estate processes and regulations. This means that, at some point, you’ll need to convey that knowledge to your clients to partner with them when buying or selling. Sharpening your teaching skills will help you to share your wealth of knowledge with your client in such a way that they feel well-equipped to make smart purchasing or selling decisions… which ultimately affect your sales income.
Every one of the dozens of real estate career paths require you to be flexible and adapt to the ever-changing market and the ever-changing whims, needs, and desires of your clients. Practicing your willingness to make changes with grace will get you far in this business!
So, how can you practice these skills? It’s not easy. Pick a skill, such as communication, and focus on it for a week or a month at a time. Try different methods. See what works—what builds trust and respect as well as drives sales. Keep a journal. If you find that something works, keep doing it, and watch yourself grow and develop… as well as your income!