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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 depends on how many sales they make.

Source: McDonald Real Estate; and Seek, 2023

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.

  • New agents may be offered a small income as a starting package.
  • Experienced real estate agents work on commission and there is no guarantee of income. What they earn depends on how many sales they make. However real estate agents earn an average of $85,000 to $90,000 a year and successful agents can earn well above this.

Source: McDonald Real Estate, 'How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make?' 2023; and Seek, 2023.

(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:

  • advertise and market properties
  • arrange and host open homes
  • build relationships with sellers and buyers
  • complete sales and negotiate contracts
  • research the housing market and property values
  • organise building inspections and reports.

Skills and knowledge

Real estate agents need to have knowledge of:

  • sales and marketing techniques
  • networking and relationship building
  • real estate market trends, nationally and in their area
  • property laws and regulations
  • mortgage financing, basic accounting, and business contracts.

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

Eva talks about life as a real estate agent – 3.34 mins.

Eva: Hi, I'm Eva Wintle with Harcourt Hamil Reality in the Wairarapa. Today I’m going to be showing you what it’s like to be a real estate agent. Come and join me.

Well a real estate agent helps people in the process of buying and selling property. As a real estate agent I work for the vendor and selling their property. We host open homes on their behalf, private viewings. We organise sale and purchase agreements when there’s someone that wants to buy the property.

We also help the buyer find the property that they want and we help them in the process of buying it.

As a real estate agent no day is ever the same. We don’t work nine to five. Our hours are very flexible. We tend to have a bit of a structure so it’ll be team meetings in the morning, paperwork and admin, calling buyers, follow up call-backs from open homes…

Hi Jacquie, it's Eva Wintle calling.

…any reports that we have to do. We then have the afternoon which we keep open for any private viewings, appraisals, that sort of thing. So it’s working around your buyers and vendors and being able to work for them in the times that suit. That may be at seven o’clock at night or it could be at 8am in the morning. It really depends.

Perfect, okay I’ll book that in.

For a house to come to market we have to do a market appraisal on the property. We then sign a listing agreement. From there we can start marketing the property. The property will have photos taken. It will then go live to the internet and in print media. We will then start to begin to bring buyers through. We will do private viewings, open homes and that will all happen until the property is sold. Once we have someone that is wanting to place an offer, we can then begin the negotiation process.

What I love about this job is the flexibility. You get to see some amazing properties. I love the creativity that you get when marketing a property. I love being able to come and interact with different people all the time. Some of the people you meet are fantastic. Dealing with people is a big part of what you do in real estate. You are dealing with different people’s emotions and different scenarios, so it’s just being aware that it’s not always about selling property.

So to become a qualified real estate agent you have to complete your papers. You then will apply for your license. You can basically start selling property as soon as that license has been accepted. You do have to renew your license annually.

As a real estate agent you’re an independent contractor. You’re contracted to the company that you will work for. So you’re essentially your own boss. That’s where you’ve got to be very motivated, and self-driven. You don’t get paid until you sell a property. So you’ve got to work hard, and you’ve got to put in the effort. What you give is what you get.

At Harcourt we’re very heavily supported with many training opportunities. Every Thursday we have sales training. We also have many webinars and courses. Even though you’re an independent contractor you still have other agents helping to guide you. You also have a fully equipped admin staff that help to give the best experience to your clients possible.

Awesome thank you so much.

Client: Awesome.

Eva: This role would definitely suit someone who is a big people person. Someone who is very confident, self-driven and motivated for sure. Getting to put that sold sign up on your property and putting a smile on your purchasers' and vendors' faces, it’s a really great moment. It makes the job so worthwhile.

Entry requirements

To become a real estate salesperson you need to have both:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) (Level 4)
  • a salesperson's licence from the Real Estate Authority so you can 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. You will also need to apply for the relevant licence from the Real Estate Authority to legally work in New Zealand.

Licensed real estate professionals must also:

  • be over 18 years old
  • be able to pass a criminal history check
  • have a driver's licence and their own car.

 You can also apply for a salesperson’s licence if you have a relevant Bachelor’s degree.

Secondary education

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

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Branch manager

To become a branch manager you need to:

  • complete the New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Branch Manager) (Level 5) after you have been working for three years.
  • apply for a branch manager’s licence from the Real Estate Authority to legally work in New Zealand.

Real estate agent

To become a real estate agent you need to:

  • complete the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 6) with the real estate strand after you have been working for three years.
  • apply for an agent’s licence from the Real Estate Authority to legally work in New Zealand.

Personal requirements

Real estate agents need to be:

  • self-motivated and hardworking
  • skilled communicators and negotiators
  • honest and trustworthy.

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

Real Estate Authority
0800 367 732 -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Slow housing market limits opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a real estate agent are average because a shortage of houses for sale limits selling opportunities. There are still chances to become licensed, but your success will depend on what is happening in the real estate market.

There is more competition to sell houses in the major urban centres, where house prices are high. Opportunities for new salespeople may be better in smaller towns and rural areas.

According to the Real Estate Authority, 15,237 real estate professionals worked in New Zealand in 2020.

Small range of employers

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


  • Goodall, N, 'CoreLogic Monthly Property and Economic Update for September 2019', 19 September 2019, (
  • Helm, A, real estate agent, Bayleys, interview, January 2020.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook – Real Estate Salespeople', 2019, (
  • Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, ‘June 2020 Property Reports and Regional Commentary’, 14 July 2020
  • Real Estate Authority, ‘Licensing Statistics’, 31 July 2020.

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

Progression and specialisations

With further training, real estate salespeople may progress to become real estate agents or branch managers.

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

Three people stand in a sunlit empty room in a house. One holds a clipboard, one looks at it and the other looks into the room

Showing people around houses is just one part of a real estate agent's role

Last updated 30 October 2023