6 February 2024
A new course offering would-be estate agents the chance to obtain a foundation degree in residential estate agency – the first degree course of its kind in the UK – is being launched by the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) at its Swindon campus.
The unique course – which is now recruiting its first entrants to start their studies in September 2024 – will be taught two days a week, enabling students to work while studying for the qualification. Areas covered will include valuations, marketing, law, and professional sales practice, as well as more “hands on” modules such as surveying, inspecting, and measurement.
The course will also include a 10-week work placement, during the summer between the first and second year, where students will gain further “on the job” training and experience as well as developing their confidence and employability skills and gaining valuable industry contacts.
Course leader William Leschallas, Senior Lecturer within the Land and Property team at the RAU, said: “The role of an estate agent requires a diverse set of skills and attributes - from acting as a sales person to showing clients available properties, helping private buyers/investors buy and sell homes/investment properties, marketing properties for sale and assisting clients find that perfect home to rent or buy.
“This new course will give students a broad and innovative introduction to the key principles and practices in property services which examine property valuation, property law, finance, sales and marketing, people management and business strategy to enable students to become familiar with the core issues concerning the residential property sales sector.”
The Cirencester-based University already offers degree courses in both Real Estate and Rural Land Management which are accredited to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors but realised there was a need for a more specific and focused course for those wanting to become residential estate agents.
William added: “Residential estate agency has become an increasingly complex area of business with modern and traditional approaches adding to the competitive nature of the work. The home remains the main asset for most private owners who can afford them and the returns on capital remains the priority for investors.
“This course sets out to provide the foundations specifically required for a career in residential estate agency - providing students with the skills and knowledge they need for a successful career in this industry - and is ideal for those already working in the industry or those considering becoming an estate agent.
“I firmly believe that it will really give students that little bit extra which will set them apart from others in their early career in estate agency.”
This new programme, which will include input and guest lectures from industry professionals, will also give students an introduction to the relevance of technology to residential estate agency, including reference to property portals, online agency, social media, client relationship management systems, and software packages to help with compliance.
Local estate agent Sam Butler, Senior Partner at Butler Sherborn, welcomed news of the new course saying: “The very best estate agents are often those who understand the core principles and practices and capitalising on new technology will also be a key to success now.
“They will be handling owners’ major assets and that requires the agent to be competent, skilful, well trained, and to inspire confidence. Prospective employers will always look for candidates who have an edge and who can demonstrate commitment in addition to a strong work ethic. I would strongly recommend this programme to anyone who wants a career in estate agency and to make a success of it!”
Fellow agent Edward Bagnall, partner at Tayler and Fletcher, agreed: “This dynamic estate agency course is just what the industry needs - equipping aspiring agents with the latest knowledge and practical skills in this competitive industry.
“The course's curriculum covers everything from valuation techniques to negotiation strategies and will ensure that graduates are ready to tackle any challenge the market throws their way. I fully expect the course will be embraced by students, the industry, its regulators, and the public alike.’’
To launch the course, the University is holding two events – one for schools and colleges on Tuesday 20th February, starting at 4.15pm, and another, for estate agents and other potential employers, the following Tuesday (27th February) from 5pm to 6.30pm – at its RAU Swindon campus.
If you are interested in learning more about the course and would like to attend one of these events, please visit the RAU Swindon webpage for more details and to sign up to one of the launch events.
Applications for the new course – which will start in September 2024 - are now open and students can choose to complete the course either full time, over two years, or part time, over four years. Visit the the course webpage for more information and the details of how to apply.