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Working as a Real Estate Agent [NOC 6232]

Job Description

Real estate agents help clients buy, sell, lease, or rent houses, apartments, commercial buildings and other real estate properties.

As a real estate agent, you perform the following duties:

  • Assist owners in selling property by establishing asking price, advertising the property, and conducting open houses for prospective buyers
  • Assist prospective buyers in selecting, visiting, inspecting and making offers of purchase on properties
  • Draw up sales agreements for approval of purchaser and seller
  • May rent or lease properties on behalf of clients

You may specialize in a specific type of property such as residential, commercial, industrial or rural real estate.
Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Real Estate Agent – 6232Career Cruising (Profile for Real Estate Agent)

Industry Overview

The real estate industry offers a wide variety of jobs including sales, rental property management, strata management, appraisal, mortgage financing, and more.

However, the Real Estate Council of BC cautions that you should carefully explore the industry before making your decision to undertake a career in real estate. Each year many individuals spend time, effort and money to enter the profession only to discover that they cannot complete the required licensing course and examination or after doing so, they are not suited to the work.

The majority of real estate agents are employed in the Lower Mainland/ Southwestern region (73%) and Vancouver Island (14%). An additional 9% work in the Thompson/Okanagan region.
Sources: Real Estate Council of British Columbia, WorkBC Career Profile

Job Outlook in BC

Forecasted average employment growth rate, job openings for 2018-2028

Chart from WorkBC

WorkBC provides job openings in BC regions from 2018-2028:

Region  

Employment in
2018

Average Annual Employment Growth Expected Number
of Job Openings
Vancouver Island 2,820 0.9% 1,190
Lower Mainland / Southwest 14,900 0.8% 4,740
Thompson-Okanagan 1,750 1.2% 890
Kootenay 330 0.2% 120
Cariboo 200 1.3% 100
Northeast 120 0.7% 50
North Coast & Nechako 50 0.4% 20

You can learn more about working as a real estate agent in BC from:

Types of Employers

Most real estate agents are self-employed, though you may be associated with a real estate agency.

You can also specialize in a variety of areas and work for companies such as:

  • rental property management
  • strata management
  • mortgage financing
  • commercial leasing services
  • land development
  • research organizations

Salary

The median annual salary for real estate agents working in BC is $54,354 a year. Most real estate salespeople work on a commission basis. Some specialty sectors such as rental property management are salary based.

If working on commission you have little or no guarantee of income level.  Your earnings can be affected by your sales ability, people skills and hard work, or by the market conditions, region, property type and the commission structure.

Sources: Real Estate Council of BC & WorkBC

Job Bank Canada provides wages BC in regions:

low, median and high hourly salaries for bc regions

Source: Job Bank, Wage Report

Working Hours

Some real estate agents work part-time; others work full-time. At the beginning of your career you may have to work 50 or 60 hours a week just to build a client base. More experienced agents may only work 40 hours per week, or decide to work on a part-time basis.

You must have a very flexible schedule.  Most real estate agents work evenings and weekends since clients are often only available at those times. When negotiating deals you may have to work late into the night.
Source: Career Cruising database

Skills, Education and Experience

Skills

  • able to work under pressure
  • motivated to succeed in a competitive environment
  • strong customer service skills
  • strong communication skills
  • persuasive and able to negotiate
  • pleasant personality and neat appearance
  • good eye for detail
  • honest

Education and Experience

To work as a real estate agent in BC you require:

  • meeting the minimum age (you must be at least 19 years old)
  • completion of a real estate training course and examination
  • licensing with the Real Estate Council of British Columbia

Qualifications

This occupation is regulated in British Columbia.

You must be licensed by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) to work as a real estate agent in BC. The Council licenses real estate sales, rental and strata property management.

To become licensed, you must:

  • Be of “good reputation”. General business and personal reputation are reviewed along with criminal convictions and charges, which must be disclosed.
  • Demonstrate that you meet the minimum English language requirements
  • Successfully complete the Real Estate Council’s licensing course and examination. Courses are offered through the University of British Columbia (UBC) Real Estate Division.

You should expect to take up to one year to complete the required course prior to becoming licensed.

For further information see:

Note: In certain cases, course exemptions are available based on previous related experience or education. Details are available at:

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, electronic sources, and through professional associations.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & the Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily and the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available in print at the Central Library or online at JOBFreeway.com
    NOTE:  Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards.

Many of the major real estate companies also have their own job sites. For examples see:

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For real estate agents, look for these related job titles:

  • Real Estate Broker
  • Real Estate Sales Representative
  • Salesperson, Real Estate

Source: NOC

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of potential employers. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “real estate” and click SEARCH.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter. These should identify the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for real estate agents in BC and Canada provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are usually required for membership.

Industry Journals

Industry journals provide information about trends in the industry.

Examples at the Central Library:

  • Western Investor / Westward Publications
    Also available at the Central Library, 333.3305 W527