What It Takes To Be A Successful London Estate Agent

What It Takes To Be A Successful London Estate Agent

What Skills are Needed To Be A Good Estate Agent?

Over the last 14 years I have worked with some truly amazing estate agents. The type of agents that all managers want on their team and others want to emulate. And over those years, I’ve come to realise that there’s not just one type of person who is successful in real estate. They come in all shapes and sizes and from a myriad of different backgrounds; with different strengths and weaknesses. Some are flamboyant extroverts, while others are quieter, introverted types that just got on with the job without fanfare. I’ve worked with “real estate superstars” who are lone wolves needing little direction, and I’ve worked with very experienced agents who thrive on structure and support. However, there are some key traits that I have found in each and every estate agent enables them to succeed. They include:

- Plenty of drive
- A competitive nature
- A good listener & challenger
- Resilience & Persistence
- Resourcefulness
- Ability to self-manage

Here’s a bit more about each characteristic…

Plenty of Drive

All successful London estate agents are driven. By that, I don’t mean that they ‘want to be successful’. Most people WANT to be successful. Rather, they have the inner drive to turn that “want” into a reality. The rewards of being a London estate agent can be huge, but it is hard work. It is very competitive and many fail. If it was easy then everyone would be doing it and the rewards would be far less. Success means working harder than the next person. Having the drive to do more meetings. More late nights. More phone calls. More weekends. Success takes sacrifice……and plenty of drive. This job certainly isn’t for the fainthearted.

A Competitive Nature

I recently recruited a London estate agent, who came to me a few days into the job. She told me that she didn’t think the job was for her. That day, she ‘agreed’ her first sale. I asked her how it felt? Did she get a sense of achievement? Did she have a mini fist pump moment? Her reply was… she felt nothing.

She was right. This wasn’t the job for her. To be a successful London estate agent, I firmly believe you need a healthy dose of competitive spirit. That little voice that spurs you on to work harder than your colleagues and pushes you to be better and better. And if in your first week you don’t want to celebrate every little win, I really don’t think the job is for you.

A Good Listener & Challenger

One of the most important skills of a London estate agent is to learn to ‘qualify’ their clients thoroughly by understanding the motivations and mindset of their buyers and sellers. But many agents ask the questions, but don’t really listen to the answers. They are too consumed with pushing their own agenda (their hottest deal or their most difficult client’s property, for example) they miss important opportunities to add value to the process.

The best agents are good at listening, but they’re also good at challenging. They’ll challenge a client’s beliefs and present alternatives. They are confident in their knowledge of the market and provide expert opinion and advice, even if it contravenes their client’s current beliefs. A great agent will question, listen, understand, advise and challenge.

Resilience & Persistence

There’s nothing like the elation of closing a big deal. Months of hard work finally paying off and seeing keys collected by the buyer is hugely satisfying. Equally, a house sale falling through can be devastating. The ability to pick yourself up and move on is vital. I’ve seen many (potentially great) careers cut short because the agent couldn’t handle the ups and downs. A career in London estate agency comes with a multitude of micro-wins and -losses and for every “yes” there are likely to be even more “no”s.

Many agents give up on buyer-opportunities before they’re actually ready to move. They may have two, maybe three conversations with a new buyer before moving onto a newer opportunity. But, on average, a buyer takes approximately six months to find a property, which often means they’ve been abandoned before they’re ready to make an offer. The best agents forge relationships over a longer period of time, because they don’t give up; they follow up. And then repeat.


The purpose of a great London estate agent is to add value to the transaction of buying and selling property. This is done through great marketing, knowledge, experience and honest advice. But a transaction rarely runs smoothly. A successful estate agent will need to find the answers to a variety of problems – securing emergency accommodation for tenants who’ve got the wrong move-in dates or organising and co-operating with your competitors to meet an exchange deadline are just a couple of examples, the life of a London estate agent is rarely dull!

Ability to Self-Manage

Commission based careers can be hugely rewarding and will often exceed a salaried role. However, an element of self-discipline and management is essential. I have seen many talented agents become unsettled early in their careers due to a lack of management; particularly when it comes to personal finances. I’ve seen agents buy new cars on finance the day they do their first leasing deal or start spending anticipated money from a transaction before it is secured. But it is not just management of money. Successful agents need to keep healthy and surround themselves with positive people who will support their journey and not try to derail their efforts. A supportive team, manager and employer will catapult your career and with the right attitude, a bit of self-discipline and the support of positive influencers, it can be the best career in the world!

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Great London Estate Agent?

Are you a London estate agent who longingly looks at the leaderboard wondering how you can get to the top? My answer is that there are no shortcuts. Those at the top have probably invested many years to get there and will have worked extremely hard along the way. But in my experience, a combination of hard work, doing the basics right and building your personal reputation, will help you to get there.

As I’ve said, there is not one ‘type’ of person that makes a great agent; rather there are certain traits that are found in most successful ones. Drive, communication skills, resilience and resourcefulness are important for success and tend to be part of someone’s natural makeup. But they can also be taught and improved upon. Knowledge and experience is obviously also incredibly important too and that will come with time.

My advice is do not try to be someone you are not, but be the best you can. And if you’re looking for a new challenge, please feel free to contact me, as Bective is now expanding.

Tom Dainty

Narrated by
Tom Dainty
Client Services Director

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