If you want to become a real estate agent in Germany, you can do it without a degree or apprenticeship program. How does it work?
Become a real estate agent in Germany: Introduction
For many, real estate agents are more than just people who broker an apartment or house. Professional real estate agents are experts with local knowledge and connections to find the perfect property for their clients. Real estate agents know:
- how to find and broker houses and apartments before they hit the market
- they know how to negotiate on behalf of their clients
- and they know how to make sure everything goes smoothly.
So what makes a good real estate agent? According to most, it’s three things above all else:
- local knowledge
- a good reputation.
No one entrusts their money, their home and their future to an agent they can’t trust. Real estate buyers and sellers want to feel good about trusting an agent with their personal information and money. In Germany, it is expected that transactions will be handled smoothly and that there are no shady characters in the broker’s network.
What are the advantages of being a real estate agent in Germany?
Of course, there are already a lot of real estate agents in Germany. Currently, about 35,000 real estate agents offer their services in Germany. This is about one real estate agent for every 2,500 people in Germany. Real estate agents in Germany work not only independently, but also as employees.
Even though there are already many and many established brokers, we still see enough opportunities for lateral entrants and newcomers – also from abroad. There are several opportunities:
Opportunity: General size and value of the real estate market in Germany.
Your first opportunity is the strength of the German economy and the size of the German market:
- The transaction volume on the investment market for residential properties and residential portfolios in Germany exceeds 20 billion euros per year
- Top rents for retail space can range from about 20 to nearly 400 euros per square meter, depending on the city
- The transaction volume on the investment market for office properties in Germany is just under 30 billion euros per year
- Germany’s population generally grows every year, primarily due to immigration from abroad
- Around 125,000 building permits are issued each year – further strong growth is expected in the coming years.
Opportunity: deficits of current real estate agents
Second, the shortcomings of current real estate agents in Germany can be an opportunity for you. In many cases, current real estate agents are characterized by:
- an extensive focus on the German market, little internationalization
- little knowledge of foreign languages in the country
- lack of strategic approaches with regard to the aging of the population and migration from the regions to the cities
- upcoming retirement of many older real estate agents.
Opportunity: Low administrative barriers to becoming a real estate agent in Germany
Important opportunities for you are also the following:
- you can start at a very young age (from 18 years of age, with the consent of your parents even earlier)
- in the beginning you often need very little equity capital
- the title “real estate agent” is not protected: you can call yourself that without further ado
- you do not need any proof of professional qualification or apprenticeship program
- anyone can register and operate a real estate brokerage (freedom of trade).
Opportunity: The real estate market in Germany is currently reviving
In recent years, residential real estate often achieved very good sales prices, in many cases even top prices. Since there was a lot of money in the market, people tended to buy rather than rent. As a result, the number of deals fell and some real estate agents gave up. For the near future, we expect
- rising interest rates and, as a result, rising payment defaults and, consequently, higher brokerage figures
- more new construction due to government programs and subsidies
- rising unemployment and consequent sale of properties
- further increase in the proportion of pensioners with higher sales figures
- continuing rural exodus with more properties for sale in the countryside.
So it may be that now is an opportune time for your entry into the real estate business.
Becoming a real estate agent: What apprenticeship program do I need?
The term and the activity of a real estate agent in Germany are not protected. You can therefore practice the profession of real estate agent in Germany without any apprenticeship program. However, there are of course apprenticeship programs and exams for the job. The most well-known exam is the Geprüfte Immobilienfachwirt / geprüfte Immobilienfachwirtin (IHK). This course is one of the few accredited advanced qualifications in the entire real estate industry. And there are at least two reasons why you might want to take such a course.
First, you’ll learn the basics of the real estate industry in this course and won’t have to acquire your knowledge elsewhere. You’ll get everything you need explained to you by experts, and you’ll be prepared for the exam. By taking the exam before the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), you prove your expertise in the real estate industry.
Secondly, you can use this certificate to promote yourself: it can increase your chances of being hired by real estate companies or boost your sales if you work independently. It shows your colleagues and clients that you are particularly knowledgeable.
There are various places where you can take such a course, including the Studiengemeinschaft Darmstadt*. Here the course lasts about 20 weeks with a weekly learning time of 10 hours.
You can also take an apprenticeship program to become a real estate agent, for example, in order to prepare yourself for self-employment as a real estate agent. Also a study or a dual study can prepare you for this, for example:
- Business Administration
- Real Estate Management
- Management and Real Estate
- Construction and Real Estate Management.
Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Germany: Questions and Answers
What are the requirements to become a real estate agent in Germany?
To become a real estate agent in Germany, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a good reputation, and have a qualification in real estate management, such as a university degree or vocational training.
How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Germany?
The length of time it takes to become a real estate agent in Germany depends on your educational background and the requirements of the state in which you wish to work. Typically, it takes between one and two years to complete the necessary education and training.
Do I need a license to become a real estate agent in Germany?
Yes, you need a license to work as a real estate agent in Germany. The license is issued by the state government and requires completion of education and training, as well as passing an examination.
What are the job prospects for real estate agents in Germany?
The job prospects for real estate agents in Germany are generally good, as the demand for real estate services continues to grow. However, competition can be fierce, and success as a real estate agent often depends on your experience, reputation, and marketing skills.
How much can I earn as a real estate agent in Germany?
The income of a real estate agent in Germany can vary widely depending on factors such as location, experience, and market conditions. According to the German Federal Employment Agency, the average annual income for a real estate agent in Germany is around €48,000.
Do I need to speak German to work as a real estate agent in Germany?
Yes, proficiency in German is essential for working as a real estate agent in Germany, as the job requires communicating with clients and conducting transactions in German.
Can I work as a real estate agent part-time in Germany?
Yes, it is possible to work as a real estate agent part-time in Germany. However, keep in mind that the job requires a high level of commitment and flexibility, and success as a part-time agent may be more difficult to achieve.
What are the main responsibilities of a real estate agent in Germany?
The main responsibilities of a real estate agent in Germany include finding and listing properties for sale or rent, conducting property viewings, negotiating deals, and providing advice and support to clients throughout the transaction process.
What kind of education and training is required to become a real estate agent in Germany?
To become a real estate agent in Germany, you need to have a qualification in real estate management, such as a university degree or vocational training. Additionally, you must complete a mandatory internship and pass an examination to obtain a license.
Can I work as a real estate agent in Germany if I am not a German citizen?
Yes, it is possible to work as a real estate agent in Germany if you are not a German citizen, but you will need to obtain a valid work permit or residency permit before you can begin working. Additionally, you may need to demonstrate proficiency in German and comply with other legal requirements.