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Career Profile: Sales Agent

Why Is Real Estate Sales a Job of Tomorrow?
As the housing downturn eases, the demand for real estate sales agents is expanding. Employment opportunities for real estate sales agents are expected to increase 11 percent by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Real estate sales agents make an average salary of $39,760 annually.

What Does a Real Estate Sales Agent Do?
Real estate sales agents help individuals buy or sell a home. Although 68.9 percent of Americans owned a home in 2005, and the figure has risen since then (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the housing market is complex, and the process of looking for a home and selling one is not an easy task. Real estate sales agents and their extensive knowledge of the field can help guide people through the process. Real estate sales agents work for a real estate firm. They obtain listings of properties for sale and conduct research into current selling prices for similar homes in the same area to determine the value of properties. They also perform necessary maintenance repairs if the buyer or seller consents, as well as take care of health concerns, such as lead-based paint in older homes. Agents also conduct business with home buyers as well. They meet with individuals looking to purchase a house and establish the type of property the client desires. The agent will then come up with a list of properties that match the client’s criteria. Agents must be skilled in finding properties that fit well with every individual client, and must also be good salespeople as they often must convince clients that a property is worth buying. Real estate sales agents work with real estate brokers for commissions from their sales.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Real Estate Sales Agent?
Real estate sales agents must be at least high school graduates, though many employers are now looking to hire college graduates as the field becomes more complex and technical. Applicants with an associate or bachelor’s degree in real estate, business administration or finance are highly sought after by employers. An associate degree would take two years to earn, and a bachelor’s degree would take four years to earn. Students should take courses in economics, law and real estate to prepare for professional work in the field. All real estate sales agents must be licensed to work, which requires the successful completion of an examination. For license renewal, most states require agents to participate in continuing education.

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