Real Estate Is Easy!

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

When the market is hot, Real Estate looks easy.

Maybe real estate is easy and it's people that are hard?

The number of agents goes up too!

(50% of the licenses out there are not Realtors ie. not NAR members. So not all sales agents are Realtors).

Here's the stats:

  • 2013- 1.04 M. NAR agents and 2.08 million total sales people with a license.
  • 2014- 1.10 M.  NAR agents and  2,20 million total sales people with a license.
  • 2015- 1.23 M. NAR agents and 2.46 million total sales people with a license.
  • 2016- 1.70 M. NAR agents and 3.40 million total sales people with a license.
  • "at the end of the 20th Century we had only 750,000 NAR members and in 2006 at the heighth of the real estate industry fraud and era of low hanging fruit we had 1.374 million. We will see the tipping point this year." Joe Pryor contributed this fact for my post, thanks Joe, so true!


Some sellers think, "The agent put a sign in the yard, did nothing and it sold = no skills."

Well sure that happens, but even in a hot market, you have to price well, negotiate well, manage-sort and qualify multiple offers well, problem solve well, etc.

The public thinks getting the home sold is the hard part, that's 1/3 of the work at best, the real work begins at the opening of escrow.

For those of us who were in this business back in 2007, we know what reveals our skills; going through the Great Depreciation of 2007-2011, our competence and character were revealed. You either quit in fear, went out of business-but went down fighting, or re-tooled-learned short sales and survived.

We earned 57% less annually 2007-2011, we were expected to do all the same work and a hell of lot more, but we who were in, survived, some of us even thrived.

But, since 2012 especially, from the outside looking in, real estate looks easy to buyers, sellers and licensee hopefuls.

"Why am I paying these high fees?" sellers think.

"We just look at three homes and pick the best one " buyers think (thanks HGTV).

"I love people and I love houses" the licensees think. (You only love people because you have not worked with them yet in a transaction; wait until your best friend lists with the discount broker).

But this perception is our fault. Yes, it is, because it's our job to communicate the truth. We need to communicate our value and update them on our 200+ tasks we do from start to finish through weekly updates. By updating our clients weekly  for example, (I do update my sellers for example each Mon & Fri) so they get frequent, reliable updates;  They never wonder "what you are doing to earn your fee Thomas?". They don't call me so much, because they trust my communication and dedication to their transaction. You go from commodity to USP (unique sales person).

In the absence of experience and skills, agents discount their fees as a solution to competing; competing with other agents or competing with their own lack of confidence. How amazing would it be to get the listing or the buyer because OF your skills, not because OF your discount. 




It's on us to communicate our value, our unique selling proposition and our experience. Those of us that survived the last Recession, the worst in our lifetime, we have a unique opportunity with that experience to stand out, we have third party stories that show real world problems we solved, victories we celebrated and challenges we overcame that demonstrate our worth, more so than any "#1 this" or "trophy for that". Use it. Otherwise real estate looks easy, from the outside looking in.

Oh by the way, the number of For Sale By Owners is actually down 4% as of 2016? More technology to sell your own home, less people doing it; I'd say some recognize our value, let's get the rest on board shall we?!


 The fiery furnace of experience strips away the dross; only the gold remains.


 Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I love the title of this post.  Sharing what we do behind the scenes for our clients is always a surprise to those who believe we put signs in the yards of our sellers' homes and show a house or two to our buyer clients. They are also shocked to hear that we are independent contractors with expenses.

Feb 17, 2017 09:07 PM #29
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Those stats on Realtor vs licensees is uncanny; the way it is 50% regardless of the market.  It is weighted towards Realtors in Vermont (I think)  but we have plenty of part time licensees.  

Feb 18, 2017 04:43 AM #30
Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!

You nailed it Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS!  You hit on so many points that ring true. (As an aside, sometimes it feels like there are over a million Realtors right here in metro-Phoenix!) Anyway, no matter if we do the 200+ things on each transation our clients may not be aware of or otherwise acknowledge, or 400+, they will still not see our value and claim we "get paid a lot for doing almost nothing".  For those of us in the industry that give it all we have with each buyer or seller, it is insulting and it hurts to be jammed into that category. That said, it doesn't and won't deter us from continuing to be thorough, keep our clients best interest in mind, and be as professional as possible in the process. If we collectively do this, we can all turn around these attitudes one client at a time.

Feb 18, 2017 07:21 AM #31
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS thank you for speaking up. This is a much needed topic that needs to go beyond this post. The problem is not the number of agents, but the quality of their work. Most of the agents on AR are quality and strive for excellence. The unfortunate fact is that it does not take a lot of effort to be in the top 10%. 

Inman did a great disservice to the industry when they published an article by a woman who declared that "this is an easy way to make money".

We should be smoking out the ears from such.

We should all implore our local boards to make sure the highest quality of education is provided. 

I think we need to look at Brokers and encourage them to become more involved and to set up Mentors and encourage the agents to get properly educated.

It all boils down to the consumer. The bottom line is the consumer. Are we doing our duty to serve the consumer with the quality that they deserve?

I study all the time in order to provide the people I serve with what is best for them.

Thanks for raising the issue.

Feb 18, 2017 08:00 AM #32
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Realtor or Sales Agents, I look at the difference between being Full Time or treating it as a hobby. Will the consumer ever know the difference?

Feb 18, 2017 08:07 AM #33
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-966-3200 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est



Good post. Having fewer competitors is not the answer.  I believe the answer is each of us being able to articulate our value to a potential client and our superior skill/performance.  For all practical purposes every human being in our market has or has had a license. The 90/10 rule still applies.  10% of us will always to 90% of the transactions.

Feb 18, 2017 09:40 AM #34
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS I wrote a blog post here on AR....oh, probably somewhere around 2008 about how many agents were getting out and how when (back then I was actually thinking IF) the market recovered would they come back. And of course they did and brought some friends ;-)

Feb 18, 2017 10:26 AM #35
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"


 I must say I have been blessed with very knowledgeable and appreciative clients. Even (and maybe more so) with buyer clients. My knowledge, experience with building and diligence in finding a fitting property is not lost on them and they show their appreciation. 

Feb 18, 2017 12:09 PM #36
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL - (561) 716-7824 - CRS, ABR, GRI

Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS   Many people think real estate is easy.  Some think we walk with a set of keys and are nothing but door openers. 

We know there is much, much more that goes into a transaction.  We need to make sure our buyers and sellers know, as well.

Congratulations on a well-deserved feature!

Feb 18, 2017 05:10 PM #37
Carol Skon
Green Realty Group - Princeville, HI
RB, Kauai, Hawaii Real Estate

I have been licensed for over 15 years.  In my opinion, it is sad that the consumer does not really understand the difference between a part time and  a less knowledgeble agent and  full time professional and experienced Realtor.  But the consumers are not to blame and Buyers and Sellers can make decisions with emotion and without due dilegence. 

Feb 18, 2017 06:32 PM #38
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

As a survivor of the Great Recession I strongly agree with your closing line.

 The fiery furnace of experience strips away the dross; only the gold remains.


Feb 18, 2017 06:44 PM #39
Teri Pacitto
Compass - Westlake Village, CA
Real Estate, Your Style...Your Home...My Specialty

Great post and many of these are things that need more attention and the public needs to take notice. Too often sellers rely on shiny objects and such and list only to find out that it was smoke and mirrors. Those of us who have been through the trenches and survived year after year and make it look easy often don't get the public to understand how difficult this business is. I like you comment on "i like people and homes" and as a team leader when an agent comes in for an interview and says that I smile and quietly If one goes in with that idea as the #1 reason to be in the business it's not going to work on my team. There are way too many licenses handed out and until that changes this industry will suffer from lack of experience and high turnover. Brokers need to stop throwing $#IT against a wall and hoping some stick. It's not good for the consumer or their business.

Feb 19, 2017 07:50 AM #40
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

If we do not value our services why should or would anyone else.  Just like my mechanic says when he gives me the estimate, "This is what I think it will take to get you going down the road in the vehicle you want to be in."  If I want to pay less, then I am going to get less.

Feb 19, 2017 01:51 PM #41
Diana Dahlberg
1 MONTH REALTY - Kenosha, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great stats.  I never realized the numbers were that far apart - being licenced with or without NAR.  Wow!  Good to know.  And I always say, a Realtor's work is never done.

Feb 19, 2017 02:16 PM #42
San Mateo County Broker Associate Mayra Espinosa
Realty ONE Group Alliance| Call 650-996-8961 - San Mateo, CA
Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes San Mateo County

Great post! I remember back in 2007-2011 when most agents were saying that they didn't  know how to do a short sale transaction. Moreover, they did not bother to learn how to do it.  They did not like the idea of dealing with the banks, all the paperwork, getting pay eight months later or taking the chance of not getting pay at all. Sometimes it took more than a year for a property to close escrow o. Some of us were there to assist every single homeowner in our communities with information, help with loan modification and whatever was need it.  We are there for the good, the bad and the ugly.




Feb 20, 2017 02:35 AM #43
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

Too many people think this job IS easy. I see so many 'retired' pp try to get in the business and many of them don't really work it .  I feel to really serve your customer, it must be  a FULL TIME job, not just a part time gig. Without the motivation to earn a living and dedicated yourself to learning the market, neighborhoods, contracts, form relationships with other agents and contractors --why do it?

Feb 20, 2017 07:29 AM #44
Keller Williams Realty Partners SW - Cooper City, FL
Selling Broward County Homes with Passion!

Just last week, someone I've known for years texted me with "things are slow at work; I'm thinking of going into real estate." She thinks it'll be easy money...I wish! Great post!

Feb 20, 2017 07:32 AM #45
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Ah oh so true Thomas - those of us who inherently love the business and who can adapt to change did survive the great recession.   The experience we gained helping people through that period is irreplaceable.    I'm proud to be a survivor and a REALTOR!

Feb 21, 2017 01:13 PM #46
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Spot on Thomas!  Trying to convey our value is a constant effort and worth it. By continuing to stay in touch, communicating the process and our value, we earn that commission and the respect of our clients!

Feb 26, 2017 08:45 AM #47
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

You should add at the end of the 2oth Century we had only 750,000 NAR members and in 2006 at the heighth of the real estate industry fraud and era of low hanging fruit we had 1.374 million. We will see the tipping point this year.

Mar 18, 2017 09:40 AM #48
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