Why A REALTOR's "Years On The Job" Means So Little To Somebody Who Needs To Sell A Home

Real Estate Agent with Joe Manausa Real Estate 8508880888

As somebody who tries to analyze, measure, and track every recorded aspect of the Tallahassee real estate market, I am often curious about the impact of the changes we are seeing in the real estate brokerage industry. With the help of the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service, today I want to take a look at real estate agent productivity and compare it with the amount of years they have been with the Board (experience).

Tallahassee REALTOR® Experience

Anybody who has tried to sell a home lately knows just how tough the housing market is right now. There have been more homes failing to sell over the past five years than there have been successful home sales, and this trend is likely to continue for several more years. But how much of this really boils down to Tallahassee REALTOR experience, or is there something else that is more important? And how would we go about measuring and analyzing that?

Experienced Tallahassee REALTOR

By my count at the end of November 2011, there were just under 1,200 REALTORS in the Board with an "Active" status. Based upon the graph above, 85% of these have less than 20 years of experience, and 65% have less than 10 years of experience. 9% have fewer than 2 years of experience.

Productive Tallahassee REALTORS®

But this only tells us about the make-up of the membership, we can now look and see who is actually selling something. The following real estate graph shows the number of active and productive Tallahassee REALTORS who have closed a home sale in the past twelve months.

Productive Tallahassee REALTOR

Real Estate ChartAt first glance, the graph above seems to parallel the one above it. When we look at the productivity levels for each experience group, we find the numbers in the table at the right.

Most experience levels are seeing their "membership" at just over fifty percent productive. This could be a sign that once somebody has finished their first year in the business, they are as likely as anybody to be productive.

What scares me the most is that it seems we can't stop slowing down until we get 40 years in the business :).

Proof That Experience Is Only A Part Of The Equation

This next graph compares the number of homes sold by each experience group with its corresponding number of homes that the group failed to sell, for the period of December 2010 Through November 2011. Remember, it won't be pretty, as fewer than 50% of the homes listed for sale last year actually sold.

 Tallahassee Realtor Home Sales Success Rates

The Tallahassee REALTORS who have been in the business 20 to 30 years performed the best, with a 48.8% success rate. Putting this in the simplest terms, would you hire somebody (based solely on experience) because they sell fewer than half of the homes that they list for sale?

Experience is wonderful, but you can see that there is not much difference between a first-year "freshman" REALTOR® and one with over 40 years of experience when it comes to being able to sell your home. That means you have to look beyond the presentation and ask to see a history of performance. Don't simply hire somebody that seems to know more than you about selling a home, demand to see their success rate with their plan to sell your home.


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  1. Pacita Dimacali 01/04/2012 06:25 PM
Home Selling
Florida Leon County Tallahassee
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Matthew Johnson
Keller Williams Premier Realty - Woodbury, MN

This is a great breakdown and very interesting info to me... plan to run the numbers for my board!

Dec 29, 2011 02:27 AM #1
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Matthew, it blew me away (I have 21 "years of experience") ...

Dec 29, 2011 02:34 AM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Joe- very interesting stats.  It would seem to me that many factors come into play when determining your choice for an agent to represent you.  Years of experience are only a part of the equation. 

Dec 29, 2011 02:43 AM #3
Ken Brandon
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage (Jacksonville, NC) - Jacksonville, NC
Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC

This was a great post! I have told people before that "My grandmother drove for 50 years...but that didn't make her a good driver!", but it was VERY useful to see, in graph form, the breakdown of the numbers based on RESULTS. You have sparked a curiosity in me to see how the agents in our board fare.

Dec 29, 2011 04:41 AM #4
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Joe - While I certainly agree that experience is a very important component in choosing a Realtor, it's most certainly not the only one that needs to be considered.  I speak from experience when I say that because as a homeowner for more than 25yrs, the best Realtor I ever had was a newbie with only a few transactions under his belt when I first started working with him.

I chose him because he wasn't some mega listing agent with a gazillion listings that would go MIA as soon as I signed the lising agreement.  I chose him because he didn't have a "team" (and I use that word loosely) of flunkies peons assistants that I would be delegated to as soon as I signed the listing agreement.

He was such a wonderful Realtor that I not only used him to sell my primary residence but I also used him to purchase my next primary too.  After that, I used him a couple more times to sell some rental properties that hubby and I used to own.  Lastly, he was so good that over the years, I referred him to many of my own borrowers.  I was really bummed when he left the area because he was such an incredible referral partner.

So while I do value actual experience and production, it is not the only thing I look at when choosing a Realtor for myself or any of my own borrowers.  Personally, I think many newbies are just as knowledgeable and wonderful to work with than some old-timer whose been in the business a gazillion years.  Frankly, I find the whole, "I've been in the business X number of years" a real turn-off.  I don't care how long you've been in business, that doesn't mean I should hire you to help me buy or sell a home.  You still have to earn my trust, respect and business.

Dec 29, 2011 04:52 AM #5
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential
Joe those with 20-30 years of experience have hopefully learned how to price listings and which ones not to take.
Dec 29, 2011 05:42 AM #6
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

That was the point Kathy ... and perhaps not a major part of the equation.

Dec 29, 2011 05:57 AM #7
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Ken, great analogy. I've been driving for 10 more years than I've been in real estate ... :)

Dec 29, 2011 05:57 AM #8
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Donna, I've seen newbies out-perform 95% of the market every year!

Dec 29, 2011 05:58 AM #9
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Being that I'm in that group David, I agree :).

Dec 29, 2011 05:59 AM #10
Peggy Chirico
Prudential CT Realty - Manchester, CT
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate

I love your charts and stats, Joe!  This one is really interesting and makes so much sense.  Very creative!

Dec 29, 2011 08:31 AM #11
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thank you Peggy. I'm still amazed at how all experience groups ended up with similar success rates.

Dec 30, 2011 12:35 AM #12
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Don't forget that, for many of those licensees with 5-10 years experience, once they become successful, many will go into brokerage or management where they don't sell as much but are still fully active.

Dec 30, 2011 03:28 AM #13
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Joe,  I am amazed at the research and documentation that went into this post.  Bottom line: do your homework before you list still works.  Picking the right listing agent means looking behind the stats to find the best for the market at this time in this location.


Jan 01, 2012 06:25 AM #14
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I always get the sense from a lot of older agents and especially those in the leadership of organized real estate that "tenure" means something on its own.  It's infuriating when I think about the fact that most of these people barely sell enough to eat and yet they think being in business for so long gives them some sense of superiority.  Ugh!

Jan 01, 2012 09:25 AM #15
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Great info!  Informative.  We have a lot less agents here than five years ago.  I would be curious to see our numbers broken out like yours.  

I've talked with a few folks about their 2011 years who are very seasoned agents.  They didn't have good years in fact some of their worst.  You've got to have the drive to succeed in this market and after you've been doing this so many years, the drive to thrive might be lower in this very tough market.

All the best in 2012, Michelle

Jan 01, 2012 12:59 PM #16
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I'm going to disagree here. Your graphs & research is usually spot on but I'm not sure that it is giving useful info. I can't seem to find where you are coming from here? What percentage of homes that expire & not sell by real estate tenure? And the results would vary I suppose by market.

It's common sense that more homes are not selling over the last year then ones that have. Find someone that you are compatible with & still fogging a mirror.

I personally don't want a 'newbie' in any portion of my life 'practicing' on me, my financials, my car, etc.

Jan 02, 2012 02:16 AM #17
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Ah Finally, a nay-sayer :) Hey Lyn, this is simply a measurement of listings taken/sold/failed by "years in the business." The results speak for themself (I was surprised too). There does not appear to be a strong link between success (as in you were able to sell your house) and the experience level of the agent.

You responded as I expected all experienced agents would respond ... defensively. I agree that this could be unique to my market area, but I doubt it. Every time I do one of these crazy obscure measurements, they get validated in other markets. I would be curious what you find in your market area.

The reason I made a blog of this is that my #1 goal for our company in 2011 was to improve our home sales success rate. Our market has been below 50% for more than 5 years, and I wanted to make sure we were not like everybody else. We sold 87% of the listings taken over the last year, and I am proud of our agents hard work in getting these homes sold.

Jan 02, 2012 02:28 AM #18
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA


What a fabulous blog!

I ran into one of those agents who bragged about her 30 years experience as if she was the better agent and knew more than me while we were negotiating repairs, etc. While I respect her longevity in the business, it does not translate into superiority. College graduates aren't automatically smarter than those who aren't -- look at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, neither has a degree.

What makes a good agent is a strong mix of knowledge, actual experience, drive, compassion, responsiveness, accountability, resourcefulness, friendliness, sincerity. It isn't just the number of years.

Jan 04, 2012 06:22 PM #19
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Joe: Agents with longevity usually have built up a following; however, it can also work against them. In a smaller town like ours, people know too much about each other and tend to try someone "new(bie)". After all, this is not a "social" business. In fact often they don't want someone close to them handling their affairs including selling their home. Hope I'm still on point with this conversation.

Jan 04, 2012 06:56 PM #20
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