Real Estate Agent Skills: Definition, Examples and How To Improve

Updated December 19, 2022

Person stands in front of house with a sold sign in the front yard

Real estate agents work in a competitive industry, trying to find people the right home and businesses the right locations. There are skills for real estate agents that can help grow their careers and be valuable in the future. If you are a real estate agent or plan to become one, understanding the top skills for that career can be helpful.

In this article, we explain what real estate agent skills are, what examples of these skills are, how to improve your real estate agent skills, what the skills look like in the workplace and how to highlight skills for real estate agents.

What are real estate agent skills?

Real estate agent skills are skills that are useful for people working as real estate agents. Real estate agents often have to be flexible and might be negotiating contracts, researching properties, communicating with clients and marketing their business all in one day. While many associate real estate agents with sales, in reality, real estate agents do many things besides selling properties. Additionally, while some salespeople may be determined to sell a particular product for their employer, real estate agents are often most interested in finding the right property for their clients.

Related: How To Become a Realtor in 8 Steps

Examples of skills for real estate agents

Here are some of the skills for real estate agents:

Communication skills

Communication is extremely important for real estate agents in many aspects of their work. Primarily, real estate agents need to be able to communicate clearly with potential and current clients. Real estate agents who work as part of a team also need to communicate with their colleagues. Marketing your real estate business requires excellent communication skills as you network and communicate with potential clients. Real estate agents who are interested in working as a broker and listing homes for sale as well have to be able to write clear property listings that will appeal to buyers.

Related: 7 Tips for Improving Communication Skills


Real estate agents regularly have to solve problems for their clients. For instance, a client might tell a real estate agent they need a home by a specific date that is approaching quickly or they might have a very specific list of things they need in their new home that are hard to find. The real estate agent has to do their best to solve these problems effectively for their clients so that they make a sale and their clients are happy. Some problems a real estate agent faces need creative thinking to resolve.

Technology skills

Real estate agents often use technology to share home listings with clients. Technological advances have added many things to the real estate process, including a variety of applications that can be used for home searches, the rise of 3D tours for home listings and how listings are shared. Some real estate agents may even need to show houses to clients using video conferencing if the client lives in another city or state and can't be present for a tour. Additionally, technology is useful for real estate agents for communication and marketing.

Knowledge of your industry

Real estate is a competitive industry, and things can change quickly. For instance, there might be a lot of homes on the market but not as many buyers or there might be a hot real estate market with not enough inventory for the buyers who are looking. Real estate agents need to know about things like that, as well as market trends related to what types of houses are popular or what neighborhoods are attractive to certain types of buyers.

Negotiation skills

Real estate agents are often involved in negotiations, especially as a representative for their clients. They need to be able to negotiate well while following the regulations and rules of their local real estate industry. For instance, real estate agents often need to present an offer in writing to the broker representing a property that's for sale, and then the negotiation process can be complex. Real estate agents need to understand what their client needs so that they can represent those needs during the negotiations.

Related: Negotiation Skills: Definition and Examples

Local knowledge

Real estate agents have to be extremely knowledgeable about the local area they work in. This includes things like what the housing trends are locally but also includes things like where local amenities are located, what different school districts are like, what types of neighborhoods are in that area and what the general housing prices are in different parts of the area. Clients usually hire real estate agents to be an expert resource to them regarding these types of things while they look for a home.

Organizational skills

Real estate agents have a lot of tasks that they're responsible for, including serving multiple clients at a time, so remaining organized is important. Real estate agents might have a lot of documents and files to manage, either physically or digitally, and keeping those organized makes it easier to find the right document when it's needed. Real estate agents also have to maintain a schedule so that they are meeting clients and colleagues at a time they've agreed upon, especially as being reliable is important for real estate agents.

Ethics and integrity

Real estate agents work in an industry that is carefully regulated to ensure consumers are protected, especially because real estate purchases are often the most expensive transaction the average person will make in their life. Real estate agents must have a solid understanding of what it means to work and act ethically and with integrity. These types of real estate agents will often have a longer career because clients will come to trust them because of their ethical behavior.

Related: Personal Ethics and Business Ethics Compared

Networking skills

Real estate agents are often networking, even when they are enjoying personal time outside of work. Because so many people prefer to work with a real estate agent that they either know or that someone recommends, networking is important for real estate agents to find new clients. This may mean attending local events or asking people you know to share your information with anyone they know who needs a real estate agent.

Knowledge of real estate law

Real estate law can be complex and can vary depending on where you live and work. Real estate agents have to have at least a basic understanding of real estate law, especially as it applies to the paperwork involved with a property purchase. For instance, a real estate agent representing a client who is purchasing a house may need to fill out a contract for an offer, finalize the sale of the house and close on the sale. While the real estate agent may work with others for these contracts, they should have some understanding of what's involved.

Understanding of architecture

Architectural terms are often important for real estate agents to know, as clients may ask for a specific style of home or architectural feature. For instance, if a client asks to be shown a Colonial-style home and the real estate agent isn't familiar with that style so instead shows the client a Craftsman-style bungalow, the client might be unhappy.

Marketing skills

Real estate agents regularly need to market their services in their community, especially those real estate agents who work independently or for a company that doesn't provide marketing services for agents. Marketing for real estate agents might include physical advertisements like signs and billboards, digital advertisements in a variety of places or other efforts like public relations interviews. Marketing a real estate business can bring in more clients, which grows the real estate agent's business.

How to improve real estate agent skills

Here are steps you can take to improve your real estate agent skills:

1. Take pre-licensing courses

Real estate agents have to pass a licensing exam before you can work as an agent, and in some states that includes taking required pre-licensing courses. In other states, the pre-licensing courses are optional but can help you learn the concepts covered on the exam. These courses are often your first introduction to some of the most important parts of being a real estate agent and can help you learn the skills you need to be successful.

2. Join professional organizations

Joining professional organizations gives you the opportunity to network, to learn from professional training events and to access materials that might not otherwise be available. An example of this is the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which real estate agents have to join if they wish to call themselves Realtors. The NAR offers a variety of ways for its members to learn new skills, which can be helpful especially for new real estate agents.

3. Obtain certifications

There are many types of certifications available for real estate agents that can grow your current skills, teach you new skills and make you a more marketable agent. Some of these certifications require a certain amount or type of work experience, while others you just have to study a topic and pass an exam. Earning a new certification can show clients you have a specialized skill.

4. Complete continuing education

Real estate agents may need to complete continuing education hours to remain licensed, and these courses can often reinforce existing skills or teach you entirely new skills. Since continuing education is often required anyway, it can be a great opportunity to learn new things and become a stronger agent.

5. Read and research on your own

Another great way to learn new skills is to study independently. This might mean reading books about a skill you want to learn more about, such as marketing, communications or even real estate law. It might also mean regularly reviewing industry blogs and news sites, watching videos about your industry or subscribing to relevant magazines.

Real estate agent skills in the workplace

Real estate agent skills can be learned in many workplaces, not just while you're working as a real estate agent. If you've worked in other jobs previously, you might have already learned things like how to communicate effectively or the best way to network. Once you're working as a real estate agent, you are likely to use many of the skills listed above every day, or at least with regularity. Depending on the type of real estate company you work for, you may also be provided with training opportunities to increase your skills.

How to highlight skills for real estate agents

Here are the best ways to highlight these skills when you're looking for work as a real estate agent:

Real estate agent skills for your resume

On your resume, you should list your top skills in a separate skills section, as well as provide evidence of them in the description of your responsibilities at previous jobs. This makes it easy for potential employers to see your skills quickly, but also shows you know those skills well enough to use them.

Real estate agent skills for your cover letter

When you're drafting your cover letter, it can be helpful to determine a few top skills you want to mention that are important for the position you're applying to. You can then describe those skills as they relate to previous work experiences or the position you want.

Real estate agent skills for your interview

Before your interview, you can prepare for ways to showcase your skills in your answers. By researching common real estate agent interview questions and thinking of how you would answer, you can find a few good ways to mention the skills you feel are most relevant.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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