Communication Skills Are Critical in Real Estate. Period.
Having been a part of this industry since 1996, I can emphatically state that agents who are good at communicating with their colleagues and clients are much more likely to succeed than those who struggle in this arena.
If you have trouble spelling, putting together a sentence properly, or speaking clearly and intelligibly, real estate will present a serious challenge. This career requires nuanced and layered communications, with many "moving parts" to keep track of throughout the average transaction.
Presently, I am in full-on hiring mode, having spoken with a handful of prospective agents over the past week or two. I would consider myself to relatively picky when it comes to selecting agents, especially considering the liabilities associated with running a brokerage. I evaluate phone manner as well as writing skills when I'm deciding whether to bring someone to the office for an interview.
Sadly, I sometimes get emails that make it an easy decision not to interview. As an example, here's a (very slightly modified) email that I received recently:
my name is (xxx xxxxx) im very familiar with real estate laws but i dont have my licence. rite now i work for somebody that buys houses for cheap and sell them for 4times the value. im very familiar with the austin area i have alot of contacts over there. I live in xxxxxx rite now but traveling is not a problem. im intrested in working for you and maybe getting my licence in the process. my phone number is xxxxxxxxxx
I promise you that I'm not making this one up. I think I counted 12 spelling and grammatical errors in this short, six-sentence message. I'm not publicizing this email to make fun of the applicant, but to illustrate how important it is to be able to write well.
This next part might cause a bit of controversy, but it's the truth. I've encountered a handful of licensed agents during my career that don't fare a whole lot better than the person above. One of the reasons that it's difficult for the real estate industry to gain a lot of respect is because the bar is really quite low with regard to our educational and licensing requirements, at least in Texas (which is actually more stringent than it used to be). I have a feeling that most states are in a similar boat.
I do wish that the barriers to entry were set higher in our business, even if it means that I wouldn't be grandfathered in, and I had to take additional classes. I fully realize that I'm in the minority on this opinion. :)
Anyway, I just wanted to provide a bit of food for thought. If nothing else, maybe I can inspire someone new to use spellcheck.
Thanks for reading!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rakka_pl/2332343583/