Estate agents arrange transactions involving real estate. Someone wishing to become an estate agent trainee normally must have graduated from high school and in some areas, employers prefer to hire college graduates to fill these roles. Aside from hiring individuals with certain academic credentials, some real estate companies tend to hire individuals who have prior sales or customer service experience. The term estate agent is commonly used in the United Kingdom and certain other Commonwealth nations. Elsewhere, people filling these roles are normally referred to as real estate agent trainees or trainee brokers.
Few colleges offer undergraduate degree programs that specifically prepare individuals to become estate agents. Nevertheless, someone wishing to become an estate agent trainee should enroll in a degree program that is somehow connected to the real estate trade. Many trainees complete college degrees in topics such as finance, sales management or business administration. Since real estate transactions involve contractual negotiations, some prospective trainees complete law degrees.
Experienced estate agents represent the interests of either the buyer or seller during a real estate transaction. These individuals attempt to negotiate the best possible deal for their clients and in many instances, agents receive some or all of their pay in the form of sales based commissions. While trainees do not actively take part in the sales process, real estate firms attempt to hire individuals who have the requisite skills to eventually move into permanent sales positions. Therefore, someone wishing to become an estate agent trainee should gain some experience in sales; many trainees start their careers working in retail stores, as they can hone their customer service and sales skills within this environment.
Since trainees are not actively involved in the sale process, much of a trainee’s time is spent completing paperwork on behalf of a fully trained agent. Trainees must prepare real estate contracts, send e-mails and letters to clients and take messages on behalf of the agents. Therefore, someone wishing to become an estate agent trainee must be familiar with commonly used software applications and office equipment such as fax machines and communications systems. Some trainees familiarize themselves with software and office equipment while working in other clerical positions. In other instances, prospective trainees enroll in short-term community college training courses in which students are taught basic administrative skills.
While many real estate firms employ graduates or entry-level workers, some firms recruit experienced individuals who have worked in real estate related industries. Therefore, someone wishing to become an estate agent trainee may benefit from gaining some experience working for a mortgage firm or bank. Some firms also hire individuals who have previously worked as legal aids or as clerks in the local courthouse since these individuals have some familiarity with contracts and real estate transactions.