I was at a Realtor luncheon the other day, talking to another Realtor about how a friend of mine was going to be joining our team at TradeMark Realtors Group and the question came up. Is this a good time to join the ranks of Realtors out here who are scrambling to make ends meet?
Many people's immediate response would be, "are you crazy?!!". The market's in the toilet, Long time agents are running scared now and, honestly, I have no idea how they survive long enough to pay their dues every year. Yet I see them at the Realtor functions, so they must be doing something to earn some money. My friend and I were discussing how so many of the people we saw at the luncheon never show up on the hot sheet and left us wondering how they could afford to hold on to their licenses. It's not cheap to be a Realtor, that's for sure.
We discussed our market and how long we thought it'd be before we saw a bounce back in sales. The Wilkes-Barre real estate market always lags behind the rest of the nation, so it took a while before ours felt any real impact from the foreclosures that have ravaged much of our nation. Last year was the year! We really have very few segments of our market that haven't been affected by an influx of REO listings over the last year. I think it may be a while before our market bounces back fully, especially after the tax rebate ends, but that's a different blog post altogether.
So, is it really a good time to get your Real Estate license and try to make a living out of our market? I imagine many people have asked that question. Based on our attrition rate in our board, I'd say that there are many Realtors who have decided that it wasn't worth the struggle and have moved on. That was the opinion of my friend that day as well. If it's not working for you and you aren't successfully paying the bills, it is probably time to look elsewhere. My thought is that it's a different story for a new Realtor. Let me explain myself and see what you think.
I think back to my first days as a Realtor. I was so excited to have my Realtor's license, but I didn't know what I was doing. Really, believe me when I say that I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I didn't have any systems in place to help generate leads, I had no idea how to speak to clients and I definitely didn't know my market enough to help anyone make an informed decision when buying or selling a home. I was just like every other new Realtor, fresh out of class and no idea what I was doing. You don't learn that kind of information in Fundamentals of Real Estate class. It takes time. It took me a full 6-8 months to become familiar with my market and develop the skills I needed to truly be of benefit to my clients.
That's precisely why I believe it's a good time to become a Realtor, as long as you are realistic that it will take a while before you will be earning a living selling houses. I started as a part time Realtor, which gave me an advantage of less pressure, but I really don't know if the lack of pressure made me take longer to get up to speed. I really don't believe it's possible to establish yourself in less than that amount of time, unless you already have a network in place.
The eternal optimist in me wants to predict that our market will strengthen quite a bit before year's end, so that will give the new Realtor plenty of time to hone those skills necessary to be successful in today's market. I believe that any agent who can make it in today's market will make it in any market. That is, of course my humble opinion, which you can put with a dollar and get a cup of coffee at McDonald's on most mornings.
Until next time...
My name is Andrew Trevino. I am a Realtor, working in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area, and I'm affiliated with TradeMark Realtors Group. Thanks for investing your time in reading my blog. If you're interested in contacting me, please visit my website at http://www.wilkesbarrehomesales.com/