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10 Advanced Skills that can help you become a Successful Real Estate Agent

“Uhh what you got Mike – my skills to pay the bills
Agh yea, I got the skills to pay the bills ya’ll” – beastie boys

Lifehack has a good list of basic skills that I think Realtors (and everyone else) can use as building blocks for these more advanced skills:

1. Education

Of course you need to constantly learn and improve your own education level, but you also need to develop the skill to educate others. Whether it’s teaching a first-time homebuyer about mortgages or a savvy investor about the internal rate of return on an income-producing property, you need the skills to be able to convey your message effectively.

2. Legal

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You don’t have to be an attorney or be able to recall every real estate code on the books. But you do need to have familiarity and comfortability with legal terms. You are suppose to refer your clients to legal experts, but you better know when it’s appropriate to do so.

3. Negotiation

Some say it’s an art, others say it’s a science. Whatever you call it, it’s a necessity for the future of your business. If you can’t help a client accomplish their needs and goals thru negotiation, then you will have little value for their friends and family. You don’t have to ‘win’ a negotiation to be effective. But you have to be effective if you want future referrals.

4. Processing

To be an effective processor of information, you must first perfect the basic listening skill. Then you can move on to processing your client’s needs and goals. You also need to be able to process lots of information at one time and on short notice to react. Processing is critical to proper action and reaction.

5. Problem-Solving

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You need to be able to react to problems that arise (and they will) with a confident decision that results in an effective solution. This advanced skill requires timing and judgement to be successful.

6. Marketing

Marketing is such an advanced skill it could have it’s own post (or thousands of books on the topic), but suffice to say you better have some skills in this area to succeed long term. You will be marketing properties, cities, school districts, and yourself. It will pay you to be good at it.

7. Leadership

The ability to motivate others and have them committed to your ideas and ideals will inspire people to work toward a common goal. Your clients will thank you for taking them where they want to be.

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8. Team Building

Not a real estate team of agents, but a team of partners who can help you accomplish goals.Relationship skills and networking skills will help you develop a team of trusted partners and this team of resources will be invaluable to you and your clients.

9. Tech-Savvy

113% of all buyers start their search for a home on the internet. (Isn’t that what ‘they’ always say) Regardless of the real percentage, we all know the internet is here to stay (and it’s not your momma’s internet either). You will need to understand many technologies and feel confident implementing the tools to help accomplish tasks for your business.

10. Communication

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Last and MOST IMPORTANT. Our industry needs to stop having ‘presentations’ and engage more in ‘conversation’ with the public. If you are not an effective communicator, then you will be left behind. Effective communication not only involves listening and conversing, but it is critical to be timely with your response. You can give the right answer at the wrong time and lose a deal.

What did I leave out? What are you doing to improve your advanced skills?

Written By

Chaotic Good adventurer on a quest to optimize the lives of others. Husband & Father to Wolverines. Founder of RETSO + Managing Director at Path & Post.



  1. Judy Peterson

    August 16, 2008 at 11:35 am

    This is a good list. I totally agree that communication skills,( listening more than speaking), are critical skills for all of us to master. Especially as Realtors, we meet people at the crossroads of some stressful times and the personal quality of listening and being empathic are so important. It’s the best way to make customers for life.

  2. Amy Webb

    August 16, 2008 at 1:27 pm


    You took the words right out of my mouth…I was going to also add “empathy” to the list of important skills: you put it perfectly above.

  3. Alicia

    August 16, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    What a great list! I am an investor in VA and am fortunate enough to be working with a great real estate agent who has a good grasp of all of the items on your list. Having her on my team has been a major factor to my success as an investor.


  4. Dan Connolly

    August 16, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Diplomacy may be a skillset that was left off the list. To me that is the most important skill a good Realtor can have. Communication, coupled with that ability to present the important information in a style that the client can hear, can frequently make or break a negotiation.

  5. Brad Nix

    August 16, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    @Dan Diplomacy is a great one! It sort of combines # 3, 5, & 10. A very high-level skill indeed.

  6. Paul Dunn

    August 16, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Brad you are right on and I’ve found a ton of value in the past over at lifehack.

  7. James Bridges

    August 18, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I am glad that you put #1 as having two parts to it. Educating clients is a huge part to real estate so that they can be confident in pursuing a purchase or wanting to sell their home.

    #9 is essential for agents who want to produce at a high level. From general computing skills to the education to learn as new technologies emerge, it will help you master elements of #6 🙂

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  9. Jonathon Kelso

    September 12, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Skills can make you successful agents and can take your real estate career to the next level. Hence it is very important to choose the right set of skills. Thanks for sharing the list. It was very helpful.

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  11. Alex

    May 3, 2019 at 8:58 am

    My mom is thinking about using the services of a real estate agent to move into a new home. She is not sure if this is the right idea or not. If all the real estate agents have these set of skills I will let her know to work with one so that she would have protection.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 6, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      It’s just like going to court – you don’t HAVE to use a lawyer, but you should because they know the ropes and protect you. 😀

  12. Rebecca Gardner

    August 31, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    It was interesting when you explained that real estate agents need negotiation skills to help their clients reach their goals. My husband and I want to work with a realtor to save time and stress when we look for a house closer to his new job. Thanks for teaching me what qualities to look for as we start the process of reaching out to potential realtors soon!

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