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Placed Australia

Beginners Guide to the Different Jobs in Residential Real Estate

Updated: May 27

First things first...

If you're just starting out in Real Estate, or looking to move from another industry into Real Estate, then understanding what Jobs are on offer is a great place to start!

Just be aware that all Real Estate Agencies prefer experienced Agents and Staff, but on occasion, they do take on "new recruits" and train them up depending on their skill and capacity at times.

As a minimum, you should at least have your Real Estate Certificate / Licence "In-Hand" before you start applying for Jobs in Real Estate. There are a number of course providers and most of the course's can be completed relatively quickly online (for a fee) although the "issuing" of your new qualification can take on average 6 weeks or more before you physically have it in your hands.

Here is a great video we found on the typical lifecycle stages of a career in Real Estate.

We get loads of people contacting us who "want a Job in Real Estate" and expect they will only get their Licence once they get offered a Job in Real Estate. Unfortunately that's not how it works and you will struggle and there is not much your Recruiter can do for you until you have it.

Simply put, Agencies can only put you on if you are licenced and ready to start, and not many, if any, will be willing to wait 6 weeks or more for your Licence to be issued before you begin. You have to be ready to start. Make it easy for them to take you. It will also show them you are serious.

The below guide will give you a bit of "no fluff" insight as to the types of Jobs are on offer, what's involved and after reading this, you should have a much clearer idea of how most Real Estate Agencies operate, and what Jobs might suit you within the typical Residential Real Estate office structure.

Agency Principal

The Agency Principal is usually the Owner or Co-owner of a franchise or their own brand. Some Agency Principals also list and sell property and some don't sell at all.

Their main job is to provide all the Real Estate Agents and staff with the best platform possible to operate. Their focus is driving growth, branding, providing great leadership, training and systems, coupled with the right back-office support team to make listing & selling property as easy as possible.

Most Agency Principals also focus heavily on Recruitment. Their objective is to convince as many Agents as possible to come and join their Agency. It’s a huge part of their business growth plan as well as a solid focus on growing the Rent Roll.

Real Estate Sales Agent – (Mostly Commission Only) We all know that Real Estate Agents sell houses, but their Job is basically a self-employed commission only sales Agent that typically works under an Agency to help with their market recognition and motivation. Its easier to get out of bed and work when 20 or 30 + other Agents are doing it with you and your Manger is helping you to perform...

Real Estate Agents typically charge anywhere from 1% - 5% Commission to sell a property. (Depending on how good they are & well known in their area). They often negotiate their commissions to get the property listed.

In exchange for a great office, back-end Admin support, access to all the relevant advertising platforms and their brand strength, the Agency splits that commission with the Agent. Most Agents usually getting anywhere form 30% - 80% + of each sale commission (depending on experience).

Most of the time, the Agency sets a sliding scale of Commission, meaning the Agent may get 50% for the first one or 2 properties sold in any one quarter, but if they sell more than that, their Commissions can jump up to 60, 70, 80 + over and above the set target.

Agencies try to attract as many Sales Agents to their brand as they can. The more Agents they have selling, the more commissions the Agency makes. (This is why they use Recruiters to help grow their team).

More experienced Agents can often negotiate a higher commission split between them and the Agency. The more experienced the Agent, the more likely the Agency Principal will be flexible with their splits. It all depends on how many Properties the Agent sells each year as to how much commission split the Agency is willing to share with them. (Good Recruiters understand how to approach this the right way!)

For example, If the Agent sells 10x Properties a year…the Agency might not be that willing to negotiate the set splits (35% - 60% on average) …but if the Agent sells 50 to 80 + Properties a year…then the ball is in the Agents court, and they can sometimes negotiate the lions share of the commission (65% - 90%).

Most Agents work under their own ABN as a Sole Trader or they establish a PTY LTD Company and are not directly employed by the Agency. They come and go as the please and usually the Agency with the best Brand reputation will attract the best Agents.

Some Agents like working for Big Corporates because they have National Brand Recognition, in-house Marketing Teams, Leads, Stylised Brochures, Marketing Material, and Sales Support teams in place already, which is provided to the Agent as an attraction for getting them to work in their business.

Most long standing Agents realise if they had to pay for all the things that Agencies cover, out of their 100% of the commission, they aren't really on100%... After all the costs like Virtual Assistants, Marketing help, Subscriptions, Advertising etc its more like 65% or 70% anyway + they have the added headache to manage all that, which can effect their sales figures considerably.

Sales Associates ($45k - $70K depending on experience)

Sales Associates are typically support roles to Experience Real Estate Agents or Agency Principals, almost like an apprentice. Most new to industry Sales Agents start in this role or a Lead Generation role first.

Sales Associates are usually newly Licensed Agents with stars in their eyes and dreaming of selling Multimillion-dollar properties and rolling in Porsche's and taking long lunches. In most cases, their dreams are shattered in the first few months when they realise, the role of an Associate is to walk up and down streets in suburbs, in stinking hot weather, dropping off leaflets and knocking on doors looking for listings.

They are typically expected to work 6 days a week and do all the Agents "Open for Inspections" every weekend, while the Lead Agent takes some time out with the family or plays a round of Golf.

The big carrot for most Associates is the goal of becoming an Established “Stand Alone” Sales Agent at some point…when their dream of rolling in Porsche's and attending long lunches gets a little closer… They only way to get to that point is to learn the ropes and becoming a Sales Associate for a high-performing Agent is one of the best things you can do to learn Real Estate.

Associates are usually paid a salary from between $45k - $70k depending on their skill level. Sometimes they get to share commission with Lead Agent, but not much.

You can read our Article on "What people earn in Real Estate Sales" and this will give you everything you need to know about the different structures available to people coming into Real Estate. It will open your eyes...

The Sales Associate is expected to do all the hard work like letter box drops, going door-to-door asking if people are looking to sell. Its not glamorous by any means and the road to becoming their own Stand-Alone Agent will usually take 12 – 18 Months…if they survive that long. The ones that do typically go on to have long careers in Real Estate Sales.

Leasing Agent ($45k - $60k)

A leasing Agent works in the Property Management team and is typically responsible for advertising Property for Rent, conducting the "Open for Inspections" and taking prospective tenants though the properties.

It's like the "Apprentice" role for Property Management.

They also get the application forms filled out and conduct references before submitting all the details to the Property Manager. Leasing agent roles are typically 6 Days per week like most roles in Real Estate.

A Leasing Agent type role is usually the starting point for most people in Property Management and it frees up the Property Managers and BDM's to manage and grow the portfolio of houses they look after.

Property Management ($45k - $85k)

Property Managers look after the Agencies Rent Roll. This is the number of houses they have for rent. They manage who rents the house and oversees filling vacant properties, advertising, and interviewing applicants.

The Property Manager is the one that also looks after the tenant on behalf of the Landlord. They make sure the Rent is paid on time, do regular house inspections, reports, and fix any issue that the tenant or landlord may have regarding the Property by organising Trades & Services.

These are great secure salary paying Jobs. Usually anything from $45k - $85k depending on experience. The natural progression for most Property Managers is moving up to Senior Property Management or Business Development at some point.

As well as good solid base salaries, these roles can sometimes come with company cars.

Senior Property Manager ($75k - $100k)

Senior Property Managers are usually highly skilled at their job and have been in Property Management for more than 5 years.

They typically oversee the Property Management department, report to the Principal directly and handle any technical issues (QCAT Disputes) regarding the Property Management portfolio. They also take care of interviewing new members of the team.

Senior Property Managers are highly sought after in the industry. Salary can range from $65k up to $100k + Phone + Car + Bonuses on occasion.

Property Management BDM’s ($55k - $120k + Comm)

Property Management BDM (Business Development Managers) usually prefer selling their Property Management Services to Landlords than dealing with Tenants day to day.

Good Property Management BDM’s can secure anywhere form 10 – 30 + new Landlords a month and they are paid very well by the Agency to do this. Anywhere from $55k - $120k a year + Commissions + Car in some cases...

Some BDM’s also get incentivised by getting the first weeks rent (or a portion of) from every new Landlord they bring in. Some Property Management BDM's can earn more than Real Estate Agents.

The rental roll is the Agency life-blood. It’s regular income and usually makes the Agency very valuable to sell. It is a common practice for Agency owners to look to buy other Agencies rent rolls to build up their cash flow and make their Agency worth more.

Back & Front Office Support ($45k up to $120k)

The Back-End and Front-End office support is usually made up of Reception, Contracts, PA to Principal, Administration, Accounts, HR, Recruitment & Marketing.

These are normal office Jobs that pay salaries, anywhere from $45k up to $120k depending on the role.

Some people specialise in these support roles and experienced candidates with the right skills can be paid very well. It's also a great place to start out in Real Estate, where most people get a chance to work out what their preference is as far as Selling, Property Management or Supporting roles...

Other Careers in Real Estate...

Commercial Real Estate is also an option for some people, Project Marketing, Land Sales and Development...although that's a blog for another time...

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