Real estate brokers are responsible for helping homebuyers and sellers complete real estate transactions. They commonly work with both buyers and sellers, but their responsibilities vary heavily depending on which side of the transaction they’re on.
Buyer’s brokers are typically working with a client who is trying to purchase a new home or commercial property. They use their knowledge of local neighborhoods to help people narrow down their search. They must be able to understand their customer’s needs and interests, as well as have an understanding of what properties are available on the market at any given time.
Seller’s brokers, by contrast, help their client figure out an asking price for their property and determine when to list it for sale. Once it is listed, they help coordinate any necessary showings and guide their client through the sales process until it’s sold to a buyer.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a real estate broker and what it takes to become one yourself.
Real Estate Broker Job Duties
The following are typical job duties for real estate brokers:
- Identify and contact potential clients and help them find appropriate properties
- Meeting with clients to understand their needs and goals and recommending appropriate properties
- Negotiating prices, terms, and conditions of sales or leasing agreements on behalf of the client with the assistance of an attorney
- Helping buyers determine what price they can afford to pay by estimating loan qualifications and interest rates; also helping them research financing options for the purchase of the property
- Conducting home inspections to identify defects in properties for sale or lease
- Assisting sellers in determining an asking price for their property that will attract buyers while ensuring a profit after costs are covered
- Explaining legal rights and responsibilities associated with contracts for purchase or lease to buyers or renters
Real Estate Broker Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for real estate brokers is $58,882. The top earners make over $146,000 per year.
Demand for real estate brokers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade. As the economy and population grows, more people will be looking for homes and other properties to buy and sell.
Real Estate Broker Job Requirements
The requirements for real estate brokers are as follows:
Education: A high school diploma or GED is usually the minimum educational requirement to become a real estate broker. However, employment will be easier with a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as business administration, marketing or sales.
Training: The majority of training for this job is on-the-job training. A new real estate broker may work under the supervision of an experienced professional who can help them learn the skills they need to succeed in their role. This could include learning how to gather information about properties, how to negotiate with sellers and how to use computer software.
Certifications & Licenses: All states require brokers to be licensed before they can work in the field. To obtain their license, applicants must complete the necessary requirements and pass an exam based on that state’s laws and regulations. Other certifications may also be available for those who seek more education in real estate.
Real Estate Broker Skills
The following skills are required for this job:
Excellent interpersonal skills: Real estate brokers must be able to work well with clients, customers, and coworkers.
Knowledge of real estate laws: This job requires knowledge of state and federal laws regarding real estate transactions.
Problem-solving skills: Real estate brokers must be able to solve problems on the spot, including scheduling conflicts, money issues, repair issues, and other potential roadblocks that may arise in a transaction.
Organizational skills: The real estate broker position requires strong organizational skills in order to keep track of client information and schedules.
Salesmanship: Salesmanship is crucial for this job because it’s often necessary to persuade clients to make a purchase or accept a lower offer. Brokers must also be able to sell themselves and their services when marketing their businesses.
Initiative: Real estate brokers must have initiative and make decisions without being told what to do by a superior.
Real Estate Broker Work Environment
Real estate brokers’ work environment and schedule varies greatly. They can be self-employed or work for a real estate company that employs brokers and sales agents. Many realtors spend most of their time on the road, visiting properties with clients to show them homes available to rent or purchase. They also might travel to meet with other real estate professionals. Because real estate brokers need to find a way to please their clients and make sales, the job can be stressful.
Most real estate brokers work full time, and they often have to work additional hours on evenings and weekends.
Real Estate Broker Career Path
The first two years are difficult. Real estate brokers have few clients, spend a lot of time prospecting, and spend a lot of time working for little money. They also have to pay for their own office space and other expenses.
Five Years Out
By the five-year mark, real estate brokers have established a client base and a reputation as trustworthy and reliable, which is necessary for them to survive in an industry with high turnover. The average broker is working thirty-five hours per week, with some working as many as seventy hours per week during the busy season. Those who do make it to this mark will be able to count on a steady income from commissions and closing fees. A significant number still think about leaving the profession every year, and half of them do just that.
Ten Years Out
Thirty percent of realtor brokers continue to work at the ten-year mark, and many of them can expect to earn $100 an hour or more if they’re experienced with good reputations. Some people may choose to go into sales at this point; others may start their own businesses or open up their own offices. The most successful realtors become independent contractors or purchase franchises such as Coldwell Banker or Century 21. By this time most people who stay in the field are satisfied with their lives and careers.
Real Estate Broker Trends
Here are three trends influencing how real estate brokers work. Real estate brokers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The Rise of Online Self-Serve Platforms
As the real estate industry has become more digital, consumers have increasingly taken over some of the responsibilities that traditionally fell to brokers.
For example, sites like Zillow allow home buyers to search listings, compare prices and even create their own wish lists. Online listings for property and real estate services allow buyers to see a variety of options at their convenience.
While these types of platforms can be beneficial for buyers, they are also challenging for real estate agents who are now competing with customers for leads and sales.
The Importance of Social Media Marketing Skills
Today, real estate brokers need to be highly skilled in marketing in order to reach potential clients and get them interested in buying or selling property.
As the Internet continues to grow as a major source of information, savvy brokers are taking advantage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to build their brand and share information about properties with prospective buyers. Real estate agents now also need to use paid online advertising such as Google AdWords.
Continued Growth of Online Real Estate Services
In recent years, online real estate services have gained a lot of popularity, largely due to the convenience they offer. For example, an online service can help you find a house or apartment with just a few clicks on your phone, which is more convenient than driving around looking for a new place to live.
Furthermore, many people feel safer starting the process of buying and selling property through an online platform because it gives them the opportunity to do their research before meeting an agent in person.
How to Become a Real Estate Broker
1. Planning Your Career
If you’re thinking about a career as a real estate broker, it’s important to understand that you must have a passion for working with people. Successful real estate brokers are outgoing and enjoy helping others achieve their goals.
This career path can be very rewarding but it does come with its challenges. For example, the majority of real estate brokers work on commission so they are paid based on their performance; what this means is that there are no guaranteed earnings. Additionally, most real estate brokers work long hours and must travel frequently to meet with clients.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for real estate broker positions should emphasize their ability to lead and inspire others, strong customer service skills, and desire to achieve results. It’s important to list all relevant qualifications that demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, including real estate certifications, an association with a local or national group, or participation in any educational opportunities.
When listing previous work experience you can include your role at each job as well as your accomplishments. Make sure you detail how you demonstrated the skills mentioned above by providing specific examples of success stories related to leading and inspiring others, communicating effectively with others, and building relationships with clients. It is important to include any awards or accolades that may have been given to you at past jobs. This will highlight your positive impact on the organization.
3. Applying for Jobs
The best way to find a job as a real estate broker is to be active in the real estate community. Look for job openings at conferences and meetups, ask other people who are working as brokers how they found their jobs, and share your experiences with others.
Join professional associations like the National Association of Realtors and get involved in local organizations such as your Chamber of Commerce. Meet up with people at local community events and chat with them about their jobs.
4. Ace the Interview
When you’re interviewing for a real estate broker job, you should be prepared to discuss how your own real estate experience and the skills and qualities that make you a good salesperson can translate into making clients happy. Your interviewer will want to know how you plan on identifying and reaching your clients and what your sales strategy for each client is going to be.
As far as preparing for this type of interview, focus on the job description and make sure you read up on any potential industry trends that might be relevant to the type of position. Think about what aspects of the position are in line with your strengths and interests.
It’s also important to be familiar with the company’s services—be prepared to discuss why they are unique and better than the competition’s offerings. Finally, it is a good idea to bring a few questions about the company or their services to ask your interviewer at the end of the interview. This will show your genuine interest in getting a job with them.