There are no formal requirements for becoming a Real Estate agent in the United Kingdom- unlike some other countries. Therefore you have a bit more flexibility in whether you want to work for yourself right from the start and freelance, or whether you want to be taken under an agencies wing.
On the whole, the number of real estate agents working in the UK has remained relatively steady over the years- seeing a slight dip from 2017 to 2018. Currently, in 2018, there are 51,000 working in the industry.
What do I need to do to get started as a real estate agent?
Before we delve into invoicing clients and getting paid, let's start at the beginning and work through what's needed before you can work as a real estate agent.
As said before, there are no formal qualifications needed necessarily- however it doesn't hurt to have a degree in something related like business or marketing. After all, sales is a lot of what you'll be doing. Other options are specific real estate courses that are more specialised and attempt to get you hitting the ground running- such as a diploma.
These courses will cover many aspects of estate agency- from the different types (e.g. rental or commercial), communicating with clients, the art of negotiation, managing properties, and the laws surrounding real estate. Many of these can be done online.
Even if you don't decide to take any qualifications aimed towards the real estate industry, there's nothing stopping you from going into real estate agents with a CV asking if they'd be willing to take you on as an intern.
How do I invoice as a real estate agent?
Depending on whether you're going it alone as a freelancer, or if you're an employee of a real estate agency will dictate how you go about invoicing clients. If you've gone the freelance route, then you'll need to deal with all your invoicing yourself.
To do this, you could use Word or Excel, but down the line it would become harder to track invoices, not to mention it might not look the most professional. The most appropriate thing to use would be invoicing software so that you can invoice your clients quickly and professionally.
By using invoicing software, you're making sure that your invoices are correctly formatted whilst always including the proper information needed without the worry that you might have forgotten to add something.
Of course, if you've gone the route of joining an estate agency, then it's likely that they already have invoicing templates in place (if they have their own system), or already use invoicing software to help run their business.
What does my invoice need to include?
The invoice you send to your customer(s) should always include the following:
- An invoice number - whichever way you choose to number your invoices, they must always be in ascending order with no gaps in between invoice numbers on invoices that you issue.
- A title - it has to be made clear that what you've sent is an invoice for payment, so the word invoice has to be somewhere in the title.
- Your company information - all regular information about your company (name. phone number, address etc.).
- The information of your customer - all regular information about your customer (their name, address, and any other appropriate details).
- Date of issue - the date of issue is the date that you send the invoice to the customer to let them know to pay it.
- Date of expiry - the date of expiry is used to indicate how long you're giving your customer to pay before the invoice becomes overdue.
- A description - along with the amount they owe and a breakdown of costs (value of product/ service and time spent- usually in hours), you need to include a description stating the services or products that the customer is paying you for.
If you're using invoicing software such as Debitoor, all of this information will appear on invoices that you create and send to your customers- so that you don't have to worry about invoice numbers being out of sync or not consistent with the style and format you've chosen to make them.
By adding products (such as viewing, various administration costs etc.), you can also be sure that what you're invoicing your customers for is consistent and proper every time.