Real estate is a competitive industry. You are up against countless other professionals, all of whom are pushing to gain the best deal for their clients. Simply being qualified for the job won’t cut it: you need to have the right real estate agent skills.
1. Communication Skills
Unsurprisingly, a key skill for someone whose job revolves around working with people is going to be communication. However, communication is more challenging for real estate agents than it is for professionals in some other industries simply because every client is different. Some clients prefer to talk over the phone, others will want to send you an email or text. You need to be an expert in all these modes of communication — and you must be fast at responding.
In addition, you’ll find that each client will want to communicate to a different extent. Some may prefer to contact you, whereas others will appreciate it if you check in with them on a regular basis. It’s important to find out what each individual prefers from the start to ensure your clients feel confident and happy working with you.
Furthermore, communicating with clients is just one part of your job. You spend much of the rest of your time talking with colleagues, leads, and other contacts for networking purposes. They will require you to communicate in yet other ways. When focusing on improving your communication skills, it’s important to bear these people in mind as well.
2. Understanding Social Cues
Communication is about more than just words — you also need to learn to read body language. This can often reveal additional information. For instance, body language and facial expressions can tell you if a client is nervous about something, allowing you to ask appropriate questions to uncover the problem.
In addition, pay attention to your own body language to make sure you’re sending the right message. For example, maintaining eye contact is a great way of telling clients that you’re listening.
Finally, be aware of cultural distinctions, particularly for international business deals. Research beforehand how etiquette differs in the other culture to avoid behaviors that could be misconstrued as rude.
Open communication will put you on the right track to showing clients that you’re honest, but you need to go a step further to fully prove your integrity. To build a reputation, you’ll need to provide a great service to every one of your clients. You can then gain glowing testimonials to post in highly-visible places on your website.
Gaining new clients can be difficult when you’re starting out, but it’s never worth it to cut corners. A single incidence of unethical behavior can ruin your career. Things may be slow at first, but working with integrity will ultimately be great for business.
4. Ability to Negotiate
Top real estate agents are able to negotiate while keeping their integrity intact. They strive to arrive at the best deal for both parties. Often, this means educating clients on how to negotiate, which includes making sure your clients know what is a good deal and when to accept.
A final aspect of negotiating is knowing when it’s better to drop a deal and move on. It’s important to do this with tact to minimize losses for you and your client.
5. Active Listening Skills
Although active listening is part of communication, it deserves to be named as a skill of its own because it’s so important. Although it sounds simple, you need to learn how to listen to clients.
When your clients are speaking, it’s important to give them all your full attention, even if you start feeling impatient and want to jump in to answer their questions. Instead, give clients time to express their doubts or concerns, repeat what they said to confirm, and ask followup questions. This is an excellent method for building trust.
Active listening could prevent you from working with an assumption that turns out to be untrue. Moreover, you may find that this tactic helps you come up with better ideas and new solutions.
6. Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving is actually another useful skill for real estate agents to master. The most successful professionals dedicate time to tackling challenges and to figuring out how to overcome difficulties. Such problems can range from selling a house that has been on the market a long time to coping with a client who has unrealistic expectations.
7. Teaching Skills
Clients choose to hire you as their real estate agent for more than just your ability to buy or sell a house: they also need your support with the process. Educate your clients along the way. If you think that there’s something they might not understand, take your time to explain.
Always consider your clients’ experience with real estate. First-time buyers will need much more support than someone who regularly purchases properties for business. Anticipate these needs and be prepared to walk less-experienced clients through even simple processes. It’s important to be patient and willing to explain the same concepts over and again with each new client.
In fact, patience is an excellent skill for real estate agents for several more reasons. For instance, sometimes you may be lucky enough to sell a house almost immediately after you put it on the market. A lot of time, though, it’s a waiting game. It could even take years for a single deal to close.
Another time when patience is a virtue is when you’re following up leads. Some leads may require a large amount of nurturing, and you need to be willing to put in the time to close the deal.
9. Tech Savviness
Long gone are the days when real estate agents managed their contacts in a notebook and wrote to-do lists on post-its. Technology for real estate agents can streamline many processes and help you convert leads faster. There is also tech available to keep your schedule organized, make listings more appealing, host virtual house tours, and share documents with coworkers over the cloud.
10. Knowledge of the Industry
The greater your knowledge of the real estate industry, the better equipped you’ll be to support your clients. Plus, you can use this understanding to market yourself to prospective clients.
The best way to market yourself is to use your website. Create a blog filled with posts about topics like mortgage rates, property laws, and tips for handling complex sales. You should also have some premium content that’s available for download in exchange for users’ contact details — this is a great way to generate leads.
11. Familiarity with the Local Area
As well as a good understanding of the real estate industry as a whole, it’s beneficial to know as much as possible about local areas. Before you represent a buyer or seller in a new area, research the location. You need to be well-versed in things like local regulations, facilities, public transport, and the characteristics of different neighborhoods. All this is just as important as information about the property itself.
Show off your local knowledge in exactly the same way as you demonstrated your understanding of the real estate industry as a whole: with content on your website and blog. It’s also a good idea to utilize social media marketing to connect with the local community.
12. Great Work Ethic
A common goal for real estate professionals is to run a successful business where they don’t need to answer to anyone. The real estate agent skills needed for this include drive, self-motivation, and commitment. It’s up to you to work hard, network, and follow up with leads to keep your business successful.
13. Understanding of Architecture
An easy way to put yourself ahead of the competition is to increase your knowledge of architecture. A genuine interest in structures and design will become obvious in conversations with clients and show that you’re passionate about your career.
14. People Skills
Take relationships with your clients to the next level by treating clients as individuals. Give them tips specific to their situations, send them greetings on their birthdays, and follow up after they’ve moved into new homes to see how they’re settling in. When clients recognize that you care about them, they become much more likely to recommend you to others.
15. Time Management Skills
All the above are close to useless if you’re unable to manage your time efficiently. Meeting deadlines, providing clients with information they need within a reasonable timeframe, and arriving on time to your appointments will shape your clients’ opinions of you more than almost anything else.
Successful real estate agents come from a variety of backgrounds and have different personalities and styles of doing business. What they all do have in common are the real estate agent skills needed to succeed. There are many qualities that can help you, but the ones listed above are the absolute most important real estate agent skills. If you want to get ahead in the business, these are the ones you need to be cultivating.
Unfortunately, though, even perfecting all the above real estate agent skills may not be enough. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work you need to do, the solution is to find support. A real estate virtual assistant can take over tasks like lead screening, managing photos, finding property details, and greeting clients. Schedule a consultation and not only will we match you with the right VA for your needs, we’ll also give you a 10-percent discount on our services.