As the old saying goes, good people are hard to find, and that is certainly true at the moment in the real estate industry.
There is a shortage of agents across the sector according to industry veteran Peter Nicolls, the Director of KR Peters.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of agents have left the industry in the past 12 months, many of them burnt out or forced to seek new careers when Covid restrictions severely affected how property could be bought and sold.
However, Mr Nicolls said attracting the right people to the industry has been a problem "for quite a while".
He said most people don't realise how hard it is to succeed in real estate and the burn out rate was high.
"It is very hard at the beginning because new agents are an unknown brand, they have no experience, no connections, no database, no relationships or product knowledge," he explained.
"The first two years can be really tough, but the rewards are there for those who persist and want to succeed.”
"There are a lot of financial gains, a lot of money to be made. The first two years are always a struggle, but once an agent is established they can expedite their income. I see it all the time in my organisation, young people making extraordinary amounts of money."
Apart from being lucrative, Mr Nicolls said a career in real estate offers lifestyle benefits for those who want a balance between their work and private life.
He said the industry had a reputation for long hours and endless weekend work, but with technological changes that was no longer necessarily the case.
"You've got to be able to operate in balance. The most important thing is to always be in control. If you allow yourself to work seven days week you will burn out. Lots of people come in at 100 miles an hour and collapse."
Mr Nicolls has hired more agents than he can remember over his 44 year career.
When recruiting he looks for two key qualities - character and competency.
"I look at their family, their upbringing, which school they went to. If they are employed, I look at the people who previously trained them. If someone says they have worked for 10 years for a company whose principles I respect, then I don't hesitate to employ them."
He has recruited people across the age spectrum and says formal education is not always what is required of a good agent.
"We find that some of the best sales people are tradespeople. They are usually friendly, have a good personality, are easy going and hard working."
And the key to success?
Training and having a good mentor.
"You learn by having a good teacher. There is an art to selling something, from the meet and greet, to scripts and dialogue, negotiation techniques, and understanding the buyer's situation. You don't just introduce yourself, show them the product and close the deal. It won't work. You have to understand what's going through the person's mind and what obstacles they face before you close."
Mr Nicolls said workplace culture was also vital in enticing good people into the industry.
"You need to have the right culture so that your employees are passionate about the company. Good culture starts with strong leadership and vision. I always say a company without a vision will perish. If you've got a good leader there is harmony and teamwork, staff are passionate about what they do and enjoy going to work. Staff have got to feel they add value and can grow. They have to feel there is reward for effort."
He encouraged new agents to invest in themselves and take advantage of their employer's training plan.
Key is personal branding and building a portfolio of positive, independent online reviews from vendors, buyers, renters and landlords.
"With social media it is important to build a brand. At the end of the day it's about trust and if an agent is successful that's attractive - people want to deal with winners."
He said young agents have an advantage thanks to their natural affinity for social media, and real estate can offer a path to financial security over the long term.
There are also opportunities in the industry for mature workers who want a career change or for women returning to the workforce after bringing up children.
"People relate to mature people who have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. They have experience, a trustworthiness and they possess empathy," he explained.
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
He encouraged anyone serious about a career in real estate to knock on his door for a chat.
"If you enter the industry with passion, a positive attitude and a desire to succeed you will do well.”
"The sky is the limit."