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How do I get started in property and what am I in for?

We’ve all watched the glitzy reality shows like Selling Sunset and Million Dollar Listing where properties sell for tens of millions of dollars, the agents are driving European cars, dressed in designer suits, earning the big (very big!) bucks.


Is this really what it’s like when you work in Real Estate?


The answer is yes, it certainly can be…. for some, that is!

Where do I begin?


Real Estate & Property are now more than ever at the front of mind. In the US, the New York Times recently reported that “how to become a real estate agent” was the most job related search term from Jan 2020 to Jan 2021! ¹


A question I get asked all the time from people I talk with in my role as a real estate recruiter, is “what is the best way to get started in real estate”. I don’t believe there is any one ‘best’ way to get in to real estate. Everyone is looking for something different and there are many entry point roles to get you started.


Which Real Estate role is right for me?


Some roles will require you to hold a certification called Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice (previously known as the Agents Rep certificate). Entry-level Property Management, Leasing and Sales all require this qualification.


There are many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in Victoria who offer training for the Cert IV qualification and prices start from $400 and can be as much as $6,500 (as at June 2022). The course can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months to complete, depending on how much time you are able to devote to the study. If you type 'Cert IV in Real Estate Practice' or 'Agents Rep certificate' in Google, you will see many options to choose from. Pre-COVID, you could complete your training face to face or online, however the majority of training is now conducted online.


There are roles in Real Estate that do not require you to hold this qualification; reception, admin, concierge, owner’s corporation, facilities management, to name a few. Some people work in these roles first to get comfortable in Real Estate and study for their certification at the same time and progress upwards once qualified.


How much will I be paid initially?


Salaries for entry level roles will vary from company to company, but it is not uncommon for a starting salary close to the minimum award wage of $55,000 per annum. This includes base salary, super, and car allowance, if applicable). Some sales cadet/personal assistant/leasing roles may receive additional incentives or commissions, but not all companies offer this to entry level roles. When identifying companies you want to work for and attending initial interviews, don't be afraid to politely ask whether any incentives or commissions exist.


The day to day


Entry level roles in property management will generally see you working Monday to Friday with a rotation of Saturdays (perhaps one in 3 to 8 Saturdays) and you will generally be provided time off in lieu for the extra hours worked. Progression in to becoming a property manager will depend greatly on the training provided, however we often see assistants moving in to portfolio management within 6-12 months.


Residential sales roles will often see you working up to 6 days per week, including every Saturday. There is can be the requirement for after hours work for tasks such as client meetings, dusk photoshoots and valuation meetings. Some people are put off these roles when they have commitments on Saturdays such as sports and children who need to be taken to Saturday commitments.


Administration/reception/facilities management and commercial property management roles generally work Monday to Friday only.


The bottom line


Don't think you are in for an easy ride when looking in to a career in property but these roles can come with clear lines of progression and development. You will work with a lot of different people, and the earning potential, if you go down the path where commissions can be earned, it can be extremely rewarding.


Our recommendation is to do your research really well and try to talk with lots of people who may be working in property roles at the moment. Real Estate can provide huge job satisfaction - we wish you every success if you chose the pathway down this road.


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¹ https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/realestate/real-estate-agents-pandemic.html

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