|Number of Jobs:||45,000|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#18|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#74|
The big difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker: Brokers are licensed to manage their own businesses, and agents are not. But even though real estate agents work under brokers, their jobs are similar. Brokers and agents help clients sell their homes as well as buy homes. It's possible for people to buy or sell their home without using a professional, but a real estate agent can make the process a lot easier. By advising clients on prices, mortgages, and market conditions, an agent instructs sellers on how to price their house accurately and present the property in the best light. Agents guide buyers toward the home that best fits their needs by generating a list of properties for sale, accompanying the client to see the properties, and negotiating an offer with the seller. Real estate agents must be knowledgeable of the communities in their area, particularly in the facets that matter most to people: schools, safety, job opportunities, healthcare, and activities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 12.2 percent job growth for real estate sales agents between 2010 and 2020, which is about as fast as average. During that time period, an additional 52,500 jobs will need to be filled.
According to the BLS, in 2011, real estate agents earned a median average salary of $39,070. The best-paid earned about $92,860, while the lowest-paid earned approximately $20,200. The highest earners worked in the metropolitan areas of Santa Barbara, Calif., Chicago, and Syracuse, N.Y.
All real estate agents must be licensed. To obtain a license, prospective agents must be 18 years or older, possess a high school diploma, and pass a written exam administered by the state. In addition, a college or graduate degree in finance, business administration, statistics, economics, or even law can help prospective agents get ahead in the profession. The National Association of Realtors also sponsors courses that touch on the basic financial and legal aspects of real estate. But education isn't the only deciding factor: Brokers generally look for applicants who exhibit a neat appearance and a pleasant personality. Good judgment, honesty, and enthusiasm for the job will help attract new clients to the firm.
Mo Veissi, president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says commission should be the last thing on the mind of an aspiring real estate agent. He says education comes first: "Without that education upfront, you limit yourself initially." Veissi recommends using the NAR as a viable resource for further learning, as the NAR features an extensive library that’s free for members. He also suggests taking courses at state and local associations, as they will be more specific about laws and regulations. "You've got a three-tier level of education available, which is more than most other professions," Veissi says. He also recommends using other real estate agents and brokers as mentors: "People within this business are willing to help you along, even though they are your competition." On top of education, Veissi says employers are looking for applicants with some background in sales, who exhibit excellent people skills, and who are fully committed to the profession. "A good real estate agent must be willing to accept both the stress and the rewards of sales," he says. "Anyone who interviews you wants to know that you want to be successful."
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|