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Take your career as an estate agent to the next level

By recruitment expert Chris Oliver

When entering into the estate agency and property industry employers can tend to be more interested in your skills and experience than any formal qualifications.  But once you’ve established yourself within an agency, career development and promotion prospects may feel stale. However, there are obtainable professional qualifications that can help develop your skills, making you a desirable asset for both your current and future employer.

Skills needed for a career in estate agency:

The general skills that estate agents should have are:

•    Good spoken and written communication

•    Negotiation and sales skills

•    Interpersonal skills with people from all backgrounds

•    Organisational and time-keeping skills

•    The ability to work well under pressure in order to meet sales targets.

 Key professional estate agency qualifications:

Obtaining a new qualification will emphasise to employers how focused and proactive you are but there are alternative options. Professional qualifications are industry-recognised and can be acquired by new or experienced estate agents. An example of a recognised awarding body is The National Federation of Property Professionals. The Level 3 Technical Awards on offer are equivalent to A-level standard and qualifications are available in:

•    Sale of Residential Property

•    Residential Letting and Property Management

•    Commercial Property Agency

•    Real Property Auctioneers

You can study for the NFOPP qualifications by distance learning, or part-time at some local colleges, which allows you to balance studying with working. It is also worth approaching your current employer for sponsorship, or part-sponsorship, as it is in their best interest to train and develop your skills.

Gaining any of these aforementioned qualifications will enhance your general knowledge and understanding of the industry and your CV will look more attractive to potential employers. Once the Level 3 qualifications have been achieved you can progress to NFOPP Level 4 Certificates in:

•    Residential Estate Agency

•    Residential Letting and Management

•    Commercial Property Agency

These courses include units on building design and defects, market appraisal and valuations, and the legal side of property sales and lettings.

Other alternative qualifications include NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Sale of Residential Property or the Certificate of Practice in Estate Agency that is available through The National Association of Estate Agents.

More drastic alternatives:

If you are a little further on in your career then it might be time to consider opening your own agency in order to progress. There is however a few risks involved in starting your own business because of the amount of capital required, plus it is very competitive and smaller agencies are not always guaranteed to last.

Another option is to train to become a surveyor, as there are transferable skills provided by the experience you have in your current job. Many of the major estate agents will often have a surveying department within their company to makes this progression even easier.

There are two main ways to become a building surveyor: the first is through joining the Chartered Institute of Building, but you will need an honours degree and two years’ experience in a building related field or pass the CIOB examination.

The second is through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and involves studying for a qualification accredited by RICS, followed by completion of their Assessment of Professional Competence. This may not be a realistic option if you cannot afford to take time away from work, so if this is this case then the estate agent based qualifications mentioned above might be a better option.

This article highlights that there are a number of options available to help advance your career. These obtainable steps may separate you from the competition, and if you are focused and driven, they are far from insurmountable.


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