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Starting your career in property

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘as safe as houses’?

Although the UK housing market has been turbulent over the last 2 years, property is widely considered to be a stable, long-lasting market and career. 

Even if you haven’t been closely following the news, you’ve probably seen various predictions, price updates and property pictures online. That’s because it’s an exciting time for the housing market, and many people are getting involved. 

Also, you don’t need to be house-hunting to find property interesting. In this article, you’ll learn more about the skills you do need to succeed in property, and how apprenticeships can help you start your career as an estate agent. 

Jobs in real estate

Estate agent

You’ve probably seen estate agents giving their opinion on how much houses are worth and advising their clients on the market. But they do a lot more than just valuations.

Estate agents are the middle man between buyers and sellers. They help negotiate contracts, arrange house viewings and organise marketing for your home. Not only do they have great knowledge of the local property market, but they also need to be clued up on legal issues, sales processes and their clients’ interests – so there’s a lot to learn!

Letting agent

Letting agents have the same responsibilities as estate agents, but the difference is that they deal with rental properties. Rather than representing the buyer and/or the seller, they work with property landlords and people who want to rent the houses (also called ‘tenants’).

Property accountant

All businesses need an accountant at some point, and property accountants specialise in the accountancy, tax and compliance that is needed for buying and selling houses. You could work freelance to support estate agents as and when they need your advice, or you could work for a larger business, such as an estate agency, to support the financial aspect of all their deals.

Property lawyer

If you know someone who has recently moved house, ask them about the legal issues – they’ll probably sigh and roll their eyes. That’s where property lawyers come in to make everyone’s lives easier. Daily tasks include negotiating contracts, providing legal services, overseeing transactions, handling legal documents and more. 

Where to find estate agent apprenticeships

Propertymark

Estate agent apprenticeships are very new, and Propertymark delivered the first one in July 2020.

They are a membership body for the property sector and they have recently developed their Propertymark Qualifications apprenticeship scheme. 

Connells Group

Connells Group is the largest high street estate agency in the UK. Not only will you have the opportunity to earn while you learn about sales, lettings and estate agency work, but the Connells Group apprenticeships also cover HR, customer service and business administration – all essential skills in property. 

Spicerhaart

As one of the UK’s leading estate agency groups, Spicerhaart owns many well-known agencies including Howards, butters john bee and Haybrook. Although they currently don’t have any open apprenticeship vacancies, they are hiring for an Apprenticeships Coordinator… which surely hints that they’ll be opening up more apprenticeships soon.

William H Brown

With offices across the UK, William H Brown are in a great position to offer their apprenticeships in sales, lettings and administration. You can apply via email, and all the details can be found on their website. 

Gov.uk

Although the estate agent apprenticeships on the gov.uk website are currently not active, it’s worth keeping an eye out in case they reopen.

Entry requirements

For most apprenticeships, including in the property industry, you’ll need GCSEs in at least English and maths. Besides that, you’ll need a great work ethic, and be able to deal with disappointment – of course, not every deal works out well!

As you can see, the word ‘negotiation’ crops up a few times in this article. That’s because most roles in property involve negotiation over contracts and valuations. Although you’ll learn key negotiation skills on the job, the ability to communicate well and adapt to other people’s needs will be a great foundation.

Extra tips

How do estate agents get paid?

You’ll earn a salary, but it’s also very common for estate and lettings agents to also earn a commission.

How much exactly depends on your employer. Some high-flying estate agents who work with multi-million-pound properties might only earn commission and no salary – but the commission will be a lot higher on expensive properties, so there’s still the opportunity to earn plenty of money.

What’s the difference between residential and commercial property?

Residential properties are intended for ‘everyday people’, such as individuals or families. Commercial property is used for business reasons, such as offices, shops and restaurants. You can choose whether you’d like to work in residential or commercial property, and there are pros and cons to both.

Look locally!

Don’t forget to ask local estate agents near you if they offer apprenticeship schemes. 

Kickstart your career in property

A career in property combines business acumen with sales, interpersonal skills and an interest in the housing market.

It’s an incredibly varied career and you’ll be adapting to the fluctuating market and new trends. Besides that, a career in property will provide you with a huge amount of job satisfaction – not only will you have the opportunity to earn a great commission, but you’ll also be able to make many people’s housing dreams come true.