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Ask McEnearney: What Sort of Previous Experience do I Need to Become a Real Estate Agent?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover with McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703.919.4426 or email [email protected] You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What sort of previous experience do I need to become a real estate agent?

Answer: I knew I wanted to be in real estate when I was in college, and a young agent was extremely uncommon. For that reason, I went into the hotel business, was a meeting planner, and sold promotional products before I started my fourth career.

Now, we are seeing new agents right out of school (or soon thereafter) — especially when other members of their family are in the industry. I am thrilled to have been contacted by a senior from Alexandria City High School who wanted to intern with an agent as part of her Senior Experience. She will be heading off to Virginia Tech in the fall to major in Environmental Economics; however, as one of her first careers, she would like to take part in real estate.

We have attended McEnearney’s business meetings, training sessions, open houses, closings, and she even already met with our recruiter!

According to Effirata Berasu, “Working with Lisa has been the best experience to learn about the world of real estate!”

Quite a few agents are like me in that they have been in one or more fields prior to entering real estate. I always like to ask my fellow agents what they did before they got into the business. In addition to previous sales roles, you would be surprised at some of the other answers, such as bankers, attorneys, teachers, nurses, photographers, writers, engineers, interior designers, construction contractors, home inspectors, technology fields, landscapers, and so many more.

For me, my previous experience taught me to be a collaborator, a good listener, a creative resource, and a detail-oriented professional. Others bring skills from their former lives that they continue to use, allowing for the right agent for everyone.

Since buying or selling a house can be extremely stressful, it is important to work with someone that is the right fit for you and your lifestyle or personality. Select an agent that makes you feel comfortable.

We just had a workshop on different personality styles and how they work with other similar or entirely different types of people. It was interesting to identify the traits for the “power,” “party,” “peace,” and “perfection” categories. Are they risk takers that are more bottom-line oriented? Or people that don’t like change and, therefore, are slower in making decisions? Do they rely on the present, future, or need information from the past to establish their next steps? Is data a key factor, or do they count on a gut reaction?

I love the testimonial from a client that chose to work with me after interviewing several other agents.

“Lisa is a joy to work with and is highly flexible and collaborative. Her ability to use the latest marketing technology effectively brought us a buyer in two days. Her warm personality and excellent interpersonal skills turned a stressful time into a truly enjoyable experience. Our thanks and appreciation for Lisa as a partner in selling our home in Old Town Alexandria.” – Jasper Womach and Marilynne Black

When people ask me how they can get started, I share my personal experience. Before I was licensed, I went to 5-10 open houses every weekend to learn about neighborhoods, price ranges, home styles, staging, and how the agents interacted with the attendees. When I became an agent, I worked 39 out of 52 weekends holding open houses for other agents until I established my own listings. In addition to the post-licensing education that is required once you pass your test and “hang” your license with a firm, I did my best to attend as many workshops and training sessions as possible in order to hit the ground running. Having a designated McEnearney mentor for my first 6 months allowed me to gain real-life knowledge from an extremely experienced and well-respected agent. We continue to collaborate and even share a storage unit for our staging items.

My best advice for a new agent is to ask questions!

Good luck!

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703.549.9292

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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