A career as a real estate agent can take two paths.
You start on the sales path to gain experience before coming to a fork in the road where you either continue in sales or embark on leadership and management roles.
Some people remain in sales for their entire career while others move on to leadership roles.
Focusing on sales means your income is derived purely from brokering property transactions. Presentations, home showings, financial analysis and solutions crafting are part of the job of a salesman.
The typical property agent’s career path begins by focusing on pure sales in selected segments such as high-rises, new launches, resale of condominiums, landed or commercial properties.
Experience in sales and the multiple facets of the industry, including negotiations, prospecting and marketing and client portfolio management lays the foundation for a future career in management and team leading.
2. Team leader
Being a top sales agent does not automatically make one a top leader. There are different sets of skills involved, such as:
- Mentoring to help agents achieve their peak potential.
- Conflict resolution.
- Coaching, including overcoming mindset or behavioural issues.
- Management, learning to trust people and delegation of tasks.
- Consulting, spotting areas for improvement and proposing strategies to overcome them.
Someone in a leadership role would be involved in recruitment, team building and training, being in charge of projects or even a hybrid of all.
A focus on leadership and management means one’s income is derived through team building, mentoring agents and business management.
Management people recruit and train agents on the skill sets and systems developed over the course of a sales career.
No one steps into a leadership and management role fresh from taking their real estate exams. It takes time to develop the breadth of skills necessary to coach and mentor others.
For some, it is a natural extension of their passion to teach and they may find team-leading far more satisfying and meaningful than a pure sales career.
There is no right or wrong path, only what feels most natural and appeals to the individual.
One of the benefits of a management career is that it creates something akin to a semi-passive income, managers get paid for every deal done by their team and can scale much more than if they were relying only on their own efforts.
That said, it does not mean there is little work involved.
A great team leader is required to excel on many fronts and to be a strong pillar of support, hope, encouragement and inspiration to their agents.
They need to be in constant contact with their people to ensure they are performing at their fullest potential and correct and guide them when required.
Great team leaders must always be on the lookout for new marketing trends and skills so their agents can thrive in and adapt to the ever-changing world of real estate.
Full-time team leaders are generally busier on weekdays, meeting agents, coaching them on the job and troubleshooting.
3. Project leader
A focus on taking charge of projects means your income is derived from leading and managing project launch agents to sell out a project.
Project leaders are typically team leaders who take the lead and command the agency’s entire sales force to market a developer’s new launch.
This role requires great leadership skills to train, manage and motivate real estate agents from all divisions of an agency to come together as one to sell out a project.
This type of role can be especially lucrative in fast-moving markets with high volumes. Many team leaders aspire to take on such a role at some point in their career.
Leading a project requires the person to be knowledgeable and a great public speaker as they will need to conduct mass briefings to internal and co-broking agents.
Weekends are usually their busiest period as they need to help their project agents negotiate and seal deals in the show flat.
4. Developer and agency marketing staff
Choosing to go corporate is another path. After some years in sales, some property agents get tired of the constant grind and prefer to seek employment in marketing roles with their agency or with a developer.
Some do so because they prefer a more structured routine job or were not earning much in sales. Some may have been doing well but wanted to switch just to experience “different hats” while they are young.
The pros of being staff are a basic salary, less risk of fluctuations in earnings, less stress in constantly needing to generate leads, and usually being in a position of authority.
The cons are of course the usual that are related to employment such as fixed hours, fixed pay and less freedom.
And take note, at every developer or agency, there are only a few open positions at the top at any one time and only a few manage to reach that level to enjoy a higher income and job perks.