A Career in Real Estate: Is it For You?
A career in real estate demands diligence, flexibility, and hard work, but it also offers great rewards and growth potential. Most real estate practitioners will tell you there's nothing quite like the emotional and financial satisfaction that comes from the successful negotiation of a transaction. Even after years of experience as an active practitioner, you are always free to explore related real estate fields to keep your viewpoint fresh and your motivation high.
Contact the licensing education department of the Real Estate Association in your province for the specific requirements for obtaining a license to trade in real estate. All provinces require that candidates complete an approved program of study, pass qualifying examinations, and receive an offer of employment by a licensed broker. After you obtain your license, you will be required to upgrade your knowledge through continuing education and professional development.
Areas of Specialty
· Residential resales are generally the first transactions that come to mind when people think about real estate. This area, perhaps the most "people-oriented" involves the sale of existing homes. Residential resales demand a number of technical skills and specialized knowledge in addition to the ability to communicate effectively.
· New home sales are similar to residential resales but the difference is that you are selling an exclusive product for the builder or contractor you represent. It is absolutely essential for you to know your product inside-out.
· Condominium sales are a different area of residential real estate, where you sell not only a property but also a lifestyle. Many purchasers don't fully understand the exact meaning of "condominium lifestyle" so it is up to you to sell that lifestyle.
· Rural property sales are very demanding and require long days, a great deal of travel, and highly specialized knowledge of septic systems, wells and waterfront regulations.
· Commercial sales and leasing (includes industrial, commercial and investment) are very different from residential sales. Many commercial transactions involve millions of dollars and it can take anywhere from six months to two years to close a deal.
There are also other areas in real estate that don't involve sales or leasing. These are known as the "quiet" facets of real estate and each specialized area requires particular skills:
· Property management involves assisting property owners in making sure their investment is properly maintained and leased.
· Appraisal is one of the most complex areas because of the many physical, political, economic, and social factors that affect a property's value. Appraisal techniques rely on mathematical formulas, so having experience in math is an asset in this field.
Regardless of the area of real estate you choose to pursue, each one requires the same basic skills: a proficiency in mathematics, good communication and interpersonal skills, and technical knowledge.
· A good communicator
· Provide the best possible service to sellers and buyers.
· You must be able to take the good with the bad, handle rejection, and maintain an and objective attitude. It's inevitable that you'll have to deal with some disappointment; as in all other endeavors, things won't always go smoothly.
· To be successful, you have to be devoted to your profession, and willing to make necessary sacrifices. Listings are unlikely to simply drop in your lap. It will be your job to go out and find them and build up a solid client base. Achieving these goals requires hard work and a high level of self-motivation.
· As in any career, you have to be willing to accept change and respond to challenges. You will have to be flexible enough to work with all types of people and adapt to the changing minds of your buyers and sellers.
· The qualities of patience and professionalism are necessary in every aspect of the business. Everything you do in your real estate career reflects not only on you but on your brokerage and on the profession as a whole.
· You need to have a good, basic grounding in the fundamentals of math, with proficiency in multiplication, division, fractions and factors. You'll use these skills in measuring area and land, as well as appraising property and arranging mortgage financing.
· You should have (or be willing to develop) research skills, because you'll frequently have to play "sleuth" as you search for legal documents. Of course, you'll also need a thorough understanding of those documents once you locate them.
· Organization and planning
· These skills are particularly important when you're handling more than one property at a time and have to juggle an active, and often conflicting, schedule that includes showing properties, taking listings, and handling offers and negotiations.
· Handling problems and coming up with quick, plausible solutions is a necessity in the real estate business, particularly when it comes to negotiating an offer to purchase. Remember, emotions often run high when you're dealing with people's homes.
· Computer proficiency
· It is very important to have the basic computer skills to access listing databases and other proprietary systems and data. These skills will become even more important in the future!
· Negotiation Skills
· Of course, this is a very important factor in closing a deal. You must be able to negotiate with both the vendor and the purchaser, and bring them to a mutually acceptable and, therefore, successful transaction.
· Good interviewing techniques
· It's important to be able to question people with relative ease. If you don't ask the right questions, it will be hard to give your customers and clients the best possible service.
· Excellent interpersonal skills
· These skills are the hallmark of the real estate sales profession. It's essential that you enjoy working with people, be genuinely interested in them, and quick to understand their needs to establish a good, strong working relationship with both purchasers and vendors.
The Cost of Becoming Licensed
Across Canada, the cost for mandatory pre-licensing courses generally runs from $1,200 to $1,500. Most brokers in Canada belong to local real estate boards and the membership dues range from $800 to $1,500 per year. You will have to pay for Errors and Omissions insurance, and you may also be responsible for fees for other board services. Other costs include advertising, the use of a vehicle for showing properties and a cellular phone or a pager.