Roles in Real Estate
Thinking about a career in real estate?
The job roles in real estate are varied and require different levels of responsibility and prior experience. It is highly advantageous to know what each role is responsible for on a daily basis.
For detailed information about salaries in real estate including median salary, gender split, median bonus, years of experience and more, visit our salary portal.
This person is first point of contact for the business. As well as manning the phones and assisting clients that walk in, the receptionist is usually responsible for a myriad of other duties ranging from stationery supply and general office orderliness, to providing administrative support to the sales and/or property management departments.
A great many successful real estate professionals started their careers in a reception role and ‘worked their way up’ through the ranks. Many receptionists also provide administrative support to the sales or property management departments.
Those seeking a start may choose to look at completing the Certificate III in Property through the Real Estate Training College. This is a very good course for admin staff as study focuses on responsibilities in sales and property management, as well as general office administration.
This role carries a large level of responsibility and its scope is wide and varied. Duties usually range from providing support to the sales and/or property management departments (and sometimes both!) to backup support to the receptionist, trust accounting, business accounts, payroll, and often general supervision of the day-to-day operation of the business and mentoring of administrative staff.
This role is critical, in many respects, to the success of the real estate sales department. The sales secretary has the often-difficult job of ensuring that the ever-frenetic sales consultants have all their paperwork in order.
Press and internet advertising usually form a component of this role, as well as preparation of sales contracts, and client and broker liaison. Sales secretaries often move on to become office managers, personal assistants or even sales consultants themselves.
Often known as the ‘right hand’ or the ‘shadow’, the personal assistant to a sales consultant helps the sales consultant maximise their success. This person is required to have undertaken their Certificate IV in Property to conduct open inspections or have authority to sign contracts.
In many respects the personal assistant performs all the duties of a sales consultant although the hours are usually less demanding and, unlike the sales consultant who is generally paid on a retainer, the personal assistant has the security of a fixed wage and is often also rewarded with a bonus scheme. It is in the personal assistant’s best interest to strive to ensure the success of the sales consultant. The busier the consultant is, the more certain the PA is of job security, and the higher the likelihood of shared financial prosperity!
In order to perform the duties of a real estate sales consultant, you must have undertaken and successfully completed the Certificate IV in Property. Several institutes offer this course. We recommend the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) or the Real Estate Training College.
Almost everyone is aware that a sales consultant sells houses. A lot of people don’t realise, however, that the consultant is also responsible for many other duties behind the scenes. Business development is an integral part of the role. You need to list houses in order to have them for sale, and listing is one of the most challenging aspects of the role! Telephone marketing, door knocking, letterbox drops… these are a daily requirement for a real estate sales consultant.
This is a job that is usually 7 days a week with many late nights. The hours are long and demanding, but the personal and financial rewards can be considerable if you are successful.
Many agencies engage inexperienced staff in this regard on a Traineeship and as part of the traineeship support you in your studies and provide valuable on-the-job training. It is always a good idea to check with your local agents and see what opportunities exist.
Personal assistants, sales secretaries, even general admin personnel have worked up through the ranks and become highly successful sales consultants in their own right.
Almost every real estate agency, as well as running a sales division, incorporates a property management department into the business. The property manager is responsible for (as the name suggests) ‘managing’ a portfolio of rental properties. Usually, these properties are predominantly residential however commercial properties may form part of the portfolio.
A typical day in the life of a property manager may consist of routine inspections (usually conducted on a quarterly basis), following up rental arrears, arranging repairs and maintenance on properties, showing prospective tenants through vacant homes, signing up new tenants into properties, attendance at the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (RTT) to resolve any disputes that have arisen, and business development to list new properties into the portfolio.
This is usually a fairly autonomous role that is very demanding and requires exceptional time management skills and a solid ability to negotiate and problem solve. It may also be necessary to attend to some after-hours calls for emergency maintenance. Depending on a variety of factors (for example, the size of the portfolio and department) the property manager may or may not have an assistant to provide support in the daily running of the portfolio. The property manager may also be required to manage the rental trust account, and ensure that once or twice a month, the landlord receives the rental moneys that the tenant has paid, less agency commission and any bills that have been paid on behalf of the landlord in that period (e.g. utilities, maintenance and repairs etc).
Although there are no legal requirements insofar as study is concerned (unlike the requirement to have completed a Certificate IV in Property to become a sales consultant) most successful property managers have completed Certificates in Property Management either through REISA or the Training College. Certainly, having completed the certificate is not a guarantee of entry into the industry, but in a competitive market one can realistically assume that someone who has completed it will have an advantage over someone who has not!
Property Management Assistant
This role provides critical support to the property manager or property management team. It can range from an in-office role handling telephone enquiries, back-end paperwork support or arranging maintenance, to an on-road role conducting open inspections and showing tenants through vacant properties. Many assistants go on to become property managers.
While there are no formal qualifications required for this role, once again it is certainly a big advantage to have undertaken property management studies through REISA or the Training College.
As a minimum requirement in order to own and operate an agency, the principal needs to have completed a Diploma of Property.
Full liability for the success of the business rests with the agency principal, and it is his or her responsibility to ensure that all staff within the business adheres to sound business practices and work within the boundaries of the law. Heavy penalties apply for those in breach, so agency principals usually conduct regular training and legislation updates to ensure that their business operates appropriately.
Commonly, agency principals in a sales office will continue to sell real estate while managing and motivating a team of salespeople and a property management division.
The important and motivating thing to remember is this – almost ALL agency principals started from the bottom and worked their way up through the ranks! If you are passionate about what you do, prepared to work hard, and willing to undergo additional study, opportunities exist in time to develop a satisfying and prosperous career in the real estate industry!