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Real Estate Agent

Māngai Hoko Whare/​Whenua

Real estate agents arrange property and house sales for clients.


Pay rates for real estate agents vary as they are usually paid on commission.

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2019.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a real estate agent are average due to high competition for positions.


Pay for real estate agents varies as they are usually paid on commission. This is usually a percentage of the price a house sells for, and is negotiated with the client before the house is put on the market.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the average income for real estate agents is $84,500 a year.

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook – Real Estate Salespeople', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Real estate agents may do some or all of the following:

  • find properties to suit buyers
  • help clients sell their property
  • research and calculate the value of properties
  • advertise properties for sale online or in brochures
  • arrange open homes
  • organise and negotiate property sales and contracts
  • organise building inspections and reports.

Skills and knowledge

Real estate agents need to have knowledge of:

  • sales techniques
  • market trends and property values
  • mortgage financing, basic accounting, and business contracts
  • property locations, and different house types
  • property and trading laws.

Working conditions

Real estate agents:

  • may work long and irregular hours, including weekends and evenings
  • are based in offices
  • travel to local homes or commercial properties that are for sale.

What's the job really like?

Real estate agent video

Shane Brockelbank talks about life as a real estate agent - 1.57 mins. (Video courtesy of Professionals Redcoats)

Shane: I'm Shane Brockelbank, I'm a real estate agent for Professionals in Lower Hutt, I'm married with two kids, born and raised in Lower Hutt, and I absolutely love selling houses in this region.

My philosophy on real estate really is just to focus on the people. You don't need to know a lot about the property, you don't need to know a lot about the home itself. You need to know a lot about people and how to build that trust and that relationship with them. And I think once you've been able to build that rapport with people selling real estate is really easy.

So I had never ever thought that I’d sell real estate. After I'd gone overseas I joined the New Zealand Fire Service as a firefighter in Lower Hutt and then I thought I’d just try something else and real estate was it.

A lot of agents will focus on the price. They'll tell you that they're going to get you between this and this, where that's almost impossible to say. So I'm not an agent will focus on the price hugely. I think if you focus on the process of selling the home the price will take care of itself.

It's really important as a real estate agent that you’re available and you need to have those support systems in behind you to allow you to have that time, which is something that we've really focused on.

I do all my appointments and I do all my viewings but having that team in behind is something that is really important. Kerry and Susan are my assistants. Their focus is really to make sure we're not missing anything while I'm out there looking after people and doing offers.

What will happen is that you've rung me for an appraisal, I'm going to come around, we’ll probably be there for 10 to 15 minutes to have a look through the property. I will go away we put a full appraisal together for you which will have all your marketing options and then when I come back for my second appointment with you we will discuss all these things and we'll come up with a plan how to maximise the best possible result.

A lot of people say to me why do I sell more homes than anybody in Lower Hutt and I would say the main reason for that is that I'm able to negotiate people and if I'm able to negotiate with people at the end of the day that will get you a better price than any other agent within the Lower Hutt district I'm sure.

This process shouldn't be a stressful process. I'll come over and meet with you and we'll make a plan to get you the best possible price for your home.

Entry requirements

To become a real estate salesperson you need to have a New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) (Level 4). You will also need to apply for a salespersons's licence from the Real Estate Authority to legally work in New Zealand.

You can become a real estate agent or branch manager after at least three years' experience as a salesperson, and completion of the relevant qualification:

  • National Diploma in Real Estate (Agent) (Level 5)
  • National Certificate in Real Estate (Branch Manager) (Level 5)

Real estate agents must also:

  • be over 18 years old
  • have no criminal convictions
  • have a driver's licence and their own car.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a real estate agent. Useful subjects include accounting, business studies, digital technologies and economics.

Personal requirements

Real estate agents need to be:

  • positive, motivated and hardworking
  • excellent communicators
  • persistent, skilled at selling and negotiating
  • honest and trustworthy
  • patient and helpful
  • good at planning and organising.

Useful experience

Useful experience for real estate agents includes:

  • sales work
  • public relations
  • customer service.


Real estate agents must be licensed with the Real Estate Authority (REA).

Real estate agents may also choose to register with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand

Find out more about training

0508 547 557 - www.skills.org.nz
Real Estate Authority
0800 367 732 - info@rea.govt.nz - rea.govt.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Opportunities for real estate agents to sell houses limited by competition 

Chances of getting a job as a real estate agent are average because a shortage of houses for sale limits selling opportunities.

Competition between real estate agents is stronger in larger cities such as Auckland and Wellington due to higher house prices.

New real estate agents may have better opportunities in rural areas where there's less competition to sell houses.

Success linked to housing market conditions

There are currently 800 fewer real estate agents than in 2017 due to increased competition to sell houses.

There are still opportunities to become licensed, but your success will depend on what is happening in the real estate market.

According to the Real Estate Authority, 15,111 licensed real estate agents, salespeople and branch managers worked in New Zealand in 2019. 

Small range of employers

Most real estate agents work for one of the six main agencies in New Zealand. 

  • Professionals
  • Bayleys
  • LJ Hooker
  • Harcourts
  • Barfoot and Thompson
  • Ray White.


  • Edmunds, S, 'Top-earning agent cleared almost $1m in income so far this year', 8 September, 2018, (www.stuff.co.nz).
  • Gibson, A, 'Real estate industry warned after agent hit with $35k penalty', 5 November 2018, (www.stuff.co.nz).
  • Goodall, N, 'CoreLogic Monthly Property and Economic Update for September 2019', 19 September 2019, (www.corelogic.co.nz).
  • Helm, A, real estate agent, Bayleys, careers.govt.nz interview, January 2020.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook – Real Estate Salespeople', 2019, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
  • Real Estate Authority, 'Licensing Statistics', 31 January 2020 (www.rea.govt.nz).
  • Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, 'REINZ Monthly Property Report and Regional Commentary', 14 November 2019, (www.reinz.co.nz).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Real estate agents may progress to jobs in areas such as:

  • branch management
  • real estate agency franchise management.

Real estate agents may specialise in selling residential, commercial, or rural properties.

A real estate agent gives advice on the floor plan of a house to a client in a real estate agency

Real estate agents help clients find suitable homes

Last updated 27 February 2020