Stimulated by an improving job market and periods of economic stability, the government expects to see job opportunities for real estate brokers and sales agents to expand in the coming years. As the business of buying and selling property becomes more complex, leading employers in Los Angeles prefer to hire candidates that have earned a college degree or taken courses in business administration or finance.

(Photo Courtesy of Hugo Torres)

(Photo Courtesy of Hugo Torres)

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For Hugo Torres, a wide-reaching pathway toward success has suited him well.

“When my wife and I bought our first home, I was working for a web-based company that sold cars. Then the tech bubble began to unravel, and I felt that I could use the knowledge I gathered in customer service, internet marketing and logistics to better the experience of people seeking to purchase or sell homes,” said Torres, an agent at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Arcadia.

What has your experience taught you?

“I’ve learned that the key to having a successful business career in sales is to amass a variety of great mentors and appropriate their best practices.”

How has your college education benefited you?

“I studied sociology at California State University, Los Angeles and feel that my degree gave me insight into the motivations that drive people toward their goals.”

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How are you maintaining a competitive edge?

“Being an early adopter of technology has helped immensely. I have earned industry-specific certificates in using technology to help customers. As a former manager of a couple of real estate offices, I took part in comprehensive management, recruiting, marketing, risk-assessment, mediation and file-coordination training sessions.”

What else do you want to learn?

“The push toward energy-efficient housing and drought-tolerant landscaping design is definitely on my to-learn list. I’m also constantly talking with professionals in other industries about ways we can help first-time buyers find affordable housing in Southern California.”

What is your message to newly-minted brokers/agents?

“Real estate is not a hobby. It is an endeavor that will require your full-time attention. Choosing a brokerage firm is key, and being surrounded by energetic realtors should impact your outlook positively and lessen the learning curve.”

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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.