Top Agents Quit Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

Facebook Bottlecap!The Facebook post caught my attention.  It said,

"I heard today of 3 top real estate agents in Tulsa who gave in to our difficult market and quit real estate. It saddened me that they couldn't work through the hard times. No matter how upbeat I am on here, I am feeling the very same hard times as the majority of you."

It was written by Bonnie Baker, a nice lady who owns "Real Estate Essentials," a store in Tulsa that carries signs and other items for Real Estate folks. 

Real Estate Essentials
(Click Real Estate Essentials to see Bonnie's Facebook page)

I was surprised when I read Bonnie's Facebook post because Tulsa has been a relatively strong market, even through the downturn.  This year though, it has been rough.  After the tax credit expired, someone hit the "off" button on the Tulsa market.  Things got scarey quiet for a while.  They've picked up some, but not like they should have.

Race CarWhen I first entered Real Estate, selling houses was like getting in a sleek, powerful sports car and zipping around the track at over 100 miles per hour.  It was fun and it was exciting and it was pretty easy to do.  And there were lots of people who wanted to take the ride with you!  Yuk!Today it is more like putting on heavy rubber boots and a heavy rubber coat every morning and then slogging through deep muddy marshlands.  You will get to the other side, but it ain't gonna be very easy to do.  And there aren't very many people who want to trudge through the muck and mud with you.  And they tend to get grumpy and fussy when you tell them what it is going to take to get to the other side.  And all the other people who are out in the muddy bog who are trying to get to the other side are really grumpy least for the most part.  I guess it isn't any surprise that many Realtors will throw in the towel and say, "Forget it!  It's too hard and too expensive in a down market!" 

I could give you a pep talk right about now about how, if you stay the course and persevere, that you'll be well positioned when the market turns.  And I could encourage you to retool your marketing plan and to go back to the basics, etc.  I could do a lot of things like that, but I'm not going to because many already have.  And besides, you already know all that stuff.

What I will say is this.  A down market is a an excellent opportunity to evalute your Real Estate career.  Is Real Estate really what you want to be doing with your life?  Is it your passion?  Do you still wake up each morning excited about what the day might hold?

That, I believe, is where we have to focus our attention in this kind of a market.  If we're in, then let us be in...muddy boots and torn rain coat and all.  But if we think we may want out, then that's okay too.

But if we want out, what will we do then?  I heard that there are mud holes all over the place with people struggling to get through them.

Something to think about.


Race car photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons:
Muddy boots photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons:

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Bob Haywood
Bob Haywood
Owasso, Oklahoma REALTOR®

(918) 272-7272

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Comments (71)

Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

Elizabeth, I did see it.  The timing was perfect!

Sep 16, 2010 03:07 PM
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Bob~  Like they say, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going!"  It can be tough, and if your heart isn't in it and if you don't have a burning passion for real estate, it is time to get out!  I intend to stay and can't imagine doing anything else, but you just never know what your future holds.  I never dreamt when I got my nursing (RN) license that I would have stop doing that either!

Sep 16, 2010 03:42 PM
Heather Fitzgerald
REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc. - Greenwood, IN
REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate

Bob, your title and post caught my eye.  This is very sad indeed.  You wouldn't even want to know what we slop thru in some of our foreclosed property listings!!!

Sep 16, 2010 03:59 PM
Robin Dampier REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker King - Hendersonville, NC
Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source

An excellent post and yes, there are "mudholes" everywhere these days in many different businesses.

In this business in the areas hit hard I feel sorry for the agents who always did their job well but are the breadwinner in their families and now can't bring home the bacon.  At the least it has got to be demoralizing and creating upsets in families who are trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.  This mess may go on for a few years before the light starts to shine in the tunnel and find its way out.  It's a very sad situation for many.

Sue of Robin and Sues

Sep 16, 2010 04:55 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Bob, there are some agents who just aren't able or willing to change with the times. This is a more challenging market than many have ever seen. Old timers are dropping out because they don't want the hassle of all the social media uproar. Others are dropping out because they don't want to or aren't able to deal with distressed properties and their owners.

Sep 16, 2010 04:56 PM
Rhonda Burgess
Southern Living Realty Partners - Smyrna, TN
Moving to Nashville TN Real Estate Specialist

You gave such a good description of what it is like day after day.  To me, it's just not fun anymore.  I've been in the game for 13 years and I'm re-evaluating what it is that I want to do in the immediate future and going forth.  I love sales and I am a sales professional so whatever I do will still be in sales but I cannot say for sure right now that real estate sales will be where you find me.  Best of luck to everyone.

Sep 16, 2010 04:59 PM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

I wouldn't assume that everyone who chooses to leave the business at this time "couldn't" work through the tough market...  I've been threatening to retire for a long time, and it will be a positive choice when I finally do it, not a negative one or reaction to the market.  I'm sure there are plenty of successful real estate agents who get out of the business in any market, for a variety of reasons - health, relocation, family, etc.  And so what if they decide they'd rather garden or golf or whatever than spend time and money in this market. 

Sep 16, 2010 05:06 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Thinning of the Herd...  

For many Realtors in many Markets, there is simply not enough business to justify the time, effort, and expense of plodding on.  

It will be interesting to see what happens in January, when Annual Membership Fees to Local, State, and National Associations come due.  How many Brokers and Agents who are seeing no ROI, will pony up $500 to $1000 plus MLS and Key Fees to stay in the game?

Sep 16, 2010 05:44 PM
Jill Wente

We will see more real estate agents exit real estate around the first of the new year when it comes time to renew their licenses.  This has been the pattern the last couple of years.  I am going to go out on a limb and say every market in the U.S. has been going through some tough times recently. The economy has forced numerous other business owners to go out of business too.

Real estate is not for everyone.  I just hope for the sake of the industry we don't lose too many of the qualified agents.

Sep 16, 2010 08:18 PM
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Bob, so many agents are trying to sell real estate the way they used to.  They sit back and wait for the phones to ring and it's not working.  Re-evaluate your business and find what is selling.  Pick up the phone, knock on doors, and blog.  I've not been able to blog lately with our business soaring.  Can't wait to see what next years does for us.

Sep 17, 2010 01:12 AM
Don Sabinske
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
Sabinske & Associates Inc.

Bob, great advice...and I keep using it in my office.  We need to learn new tricks and not rely on what worked even five years ago.  Great post. 

Sep 17, 2010 01:28 AM
George P. Cruz Sr.
Premier Brokers International - Port St Lucie, FL

Bob congratulations on next endeavor and best of luck in future it's a 24/7 and hard work for Realtors.


Sep 17, 2010 03:44 AM
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

Bob, just watched the Apprentice last night. There's one of those wonder boys from the REALTOR magazine, "30 under 30". No fan of Trump - but, I think I'll watch it while I'm on the sitting on the fence.

Who know's, maybe a buyer will sit down next to me. ;-)

Sep 17, 2010 04:16 AM
Andrew Martin
REMAX Accord - San Ramon, CA

The thinning of the herd is a GREAT thing. Now, what would be even better is if there was a harder barrier to entry when the next upward rebound comes. Hopefully, NAR will treat this business seriously and make it a little harder to become a Realtor. The problem, is they are all about making money, so they want 10billion Realtors in this country paying them dues.

We could easily use a drop of 75% of the licensed Realtors in this country, and we'd still have too many. Unfortuantely, it's the only profession that I can think of that anyone with $300 that can pass an easy test can call themselves a Realor. Pretty sad that it's so easy.

Sep 17, 2010 04:40 AM
Kathleen West
Trademark Realty Group of Palm Coast - Palm Coast, FL
Flagler County & Palm Coast Realtor

There are two key things I love in this post that really sums up discrouagement in this business, 1) "the sleek sports car" and 2) "easy".  The reason is that many get involved in it thinking it's big incomes that are achieved easily.  I'll be honest and say there was a bit of that with me too at the beginning.  I've found that it's important to get grounded and realize that 1) It's a business and 2) Success never comes without a lot of work.  Today I work with a very focused business strategy that is in-tune with the customer-base that is here not what I hope it to be.  I work to provide real service to customers in the niche that I am passionate about that allows me to provide the best levels of service I can and am excited about being a part of for that customer.  The result is less stress, increased number of contracts, and increased income year over year.  The main thing is that it's not about me.  It's a service business that I have to run, and great service is never delivered for selfish reasons.

To give you an example, I got very frustrated one time because I lost a customer.  They chose to go to another agent.  My husband happened to be out on the appointment with me and saw how the day transpired.  He said to me, "Can I tell you what I saw that caused that to happen?"  I listened although I really didn't want to.  He said, "It's actually simple.  You made that appointment about you.  You thought only about 'contract' and not about that customer.  That consumed everything you did that day and the result was what it was."  It's hard to hear that sometimes, but it was 100% correct and was a learning opportunity and sometimes lessons are learned the hard way.

Sep 17, 2010 05:01 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

Opportunity exists in every market.  What separates the survivors from the quitters is the ability to identify and adjust to the volitility.

Sep 17, 2010 05:41 AM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


And sometimes we learn that right where we are IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE right now!

Sep 17, 2010 08:05 AM
Gladys Webb
Kreative Realty LLC - Tuscaloosa, AL
In my opinion, its the burden of creditors which makes us stop working and seek employment again....if you don't have the assets to wait months before you get paid it can really hurt....a lot of people don't know how to budget of maybe 4 sales a year? It's hard right now I'm new and I've tought about giving up, but I refuse to let the odds beat me...I'm sadden to hear them go....but we all have to do what we have to do.
Sep 17, 2010 09:35 AM
Cliff Paulick
End Zone Realty - Owasso, OK

Bob, I think it's nice of you to be so understanding of other agents and not bash them or say you're glad they're leaving. I agree: Do what you love, even if it doesn't love you back all the time.

Sep 18, 2010 06:27 AM
Tonya Maxwell
Century 21 Clinkenbeard Agency - Sallisaw, OK
Realtor-Associate, Century 21 Clinkenbeard Agency

I also saw that facebook post.  It has slowed some in the Sallisaw, OK area as well.  But I've been tossing that question - "Do I stay or do I go", along with the matching music - in my head for well over a year now.  I finally decided that my deciding factor was that I kept finding myself trying to talk myself into going.  (Try to follow that sentence!).  I don't want to leave the real estate industry - I love it!  I am passionate about it!  I dream about it!  So, I finally told myself to shut up.  Things may get tough, and may still yet even get a little tougher, but's that ok, because what i've been learning is invaluable!  (Or at least that's what I tell myself to get myself to shut up every month while sitting down to pay the monthly bills .)  By the way, great post, loved it!

Sep 20, 2010 08:04 AM