How to become a residential real estate agent

Are you a driven individual with excellent social skills? Do you have a passion for real estate and a fascination with the property market? Were you the one in school who always negotiated the best deals? Then, you could consider becoming a residential real estate agent.  In this role, you help your clients negotiate the complex selling and letting domain of residential properties. You should love using your honed persuasive skills to find the best deal for your client whether they are buying or selling. The profession is competitive and fast-paced. Therefore, you should enjoy and thrive on the excitement and pressure. Furthermore, as an essential part of your work, you must have an excellent understanding of property and contract law. Naturally, this understanding should be in relation to buying, selling and leasing properties.

Are you a competitive individual with a nose for a good deal? Can you see yourself helping your clients to get the best deal possible for them? Do you want to work in a fast-paced environment, so you never have a dull day? Then, why not consider becoming a residential real estate agent. Keep reading to discover the steps you need to take and find the ideal course to get you started on the path to a perfectly suited job. 

Step one: Choose a course

In order to register as a residential real estate agent, you need to at least have a relevant certificate III level qualification. However, you may want to go above and beyond to get ahead of the crowd and consider a bachelors or even a masters. If you are working already with qualifications under your belt a short course such as those on property investment or law may be enough. If you want to aim your sights at a career progression into business ownership or a principal role. Then consider studying for a Master of Business Administration.

Step two: Complete a compulsory short course

Once you have your qualifications, you are ready to register to become a real estate agent. You must do this before you are able to work. Each state has a different set of requirements but all of them require you to take a short course first. Check with your local authority so you know exactly what you need to do. You can find more information via the resources section on this site.

Step three: Register as a real estate agent

Finally, when you have passed the compulsory short course you can register as a commercial real estate agent. This is an important step to take because you cannot work without the registration. Every state in Australia has a set of different rules so check with your local authority to find out exactly what you need to do. You can find more information via the resources section on this site.

Step four: Look for your first job 

After registering you can begin to look for your first job. Real estate is growing in Australia and experts are predicting growth to continue steadily. When applying for work don’t forget to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. In addition, make sure you highlight your qualifications, registration, personal strengths and any experience you may have. 

Step five: Consider a specialisation

Working as a residential real estate agent is already a kind of specialisation. Yet, there is room for more growth and progression. For example, you could focus on a certain type of property or business. Or you might move into a management position.

Property Manager

In this specialisation, you move away from the buying and selling of properties and focus on rental properties. You take over the owners portfolio of properties and manage them for them. This usually involves attracting and screening new tenants. As well as making sure tenants take care of the property, pay the rent and meet their contractual obligations. In addition, you arrange maintenance at the property when needed. At the same time, you make sure the work carried out has a high standard.

Estate Agency Principal

After you have gained considerable on the ground experience in your field, you can consider taking on a principal role. In this specialisation, you move to take on an overseeing role. Usually managing the real estate agency operations, staff, budgets, and marketing the business. As the principal, you may have taken the step to start your own business or franchise. Or you may act as the manager on behalf of the owner.

Real Estate Agent Job Description

As a residential real estate agent there is a wide range of tasks you are responsible for to keep you busy each day. Firstly and foremost your primary aim is to help your clients buy and sell residential properties. You may also have clients for whom you manage their rental properties. To achieve these primary aims you have a roster of tasks to carry out. For example, you take responsibility for advertising properties on the market, showing buyers/ tenants around the property, then drafting sale and leasing contracts. You would play a role in the completion of the sale or purchase. Communicating with solicitors and mortgage brokers to see the deal through until the end. Lastly, you may also manage properties on behalf of property landlords. This can involve monitoring tenants, taking rent, and making arrangements for maintenance.


  • Selling and leasing residential properties
  • Giving clients advice on the market
  • Arranging advertising for the property
  • Showing potential buyers or tenants around the property
  • Carrying out inspections of leased properties
  • Managing tenancies

Skills for Success

The property market is a competitive field to work within and highly pressured and often emotional, at least from  your clients point of view. The whole process is a delicate one and a clumsy hand can sent your clients purchase of their dream home into disaster. Moreover, you must walk the tightrope of negotiation. Getting the best deal without breaking the deal. Pushing the processes through to completion without causing the deal to fall through. You must have exceptional communication skills. Critically, to act from a place of knowledge you need to have an excellent understanding of property law and contract negotiation. Lastly, the work is often time-pressured and you have a multitude of tasks to juggle. This means you need to be good at managing your time and task flow.

Skills and attributes

  • Self-motivated
  • Excellent communication and people skills
  • Thorough understanding of property law and contracts 
  • A knack for negotiation and persuasion
  • Good at time management
  • Level-headed in stressful situations

How much does a real estate agent earn in Australia?

In Australia, residential real estate agents earn a median wage of $48,243 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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