Bloated Ranks of Realtors
"The joke is old, but it goes something like this:
A shopper at a checkout counter wants to write a check. "Sure," the clerk says. "I'll just need to see your real estate license."
"You mean my driver's license?" the woman says.
"Well, ma'am," the clerk says. "Not everyone drives."'
"Not everyone is a real estate agent. But it may seem that way."
"Some are pulling in six figures a year. But the money is not easy, agents and brokers say. It takes work, dedication, odd hours -- and thick skin. Many don't make it. In good times, turnover is high. With the housing market cooling, even more churn is expected."
"Two-thirds of real estate agents "are always in motion," said Bill Porter of Porterhouse Properties in Richmond. "One-third is coming, one-third is going and one-third stays."
Many got in the business to ride the wave of the hot housing market."
"Porter has been in real estate since 1975 -- long enough to see mortgage interest rates at 18 percent and at 6 percent."
"Most agents are independent contractors. They knock on doors, send mailers and let people know they are in business, he said. "There are no secret agents in this business." But 80 percent act as if they are, and they won't make it, he said. Among those who stay, "20 percent do 80 percent of the work."'
"While agents' sales commissions are negotiable, 6 percent is standard. On a $200,000 house, that is $12,000 off the top. Half generally goes to the buyer's agent and the other to the listing agent. But realty firms get a cut -- as much as half -- of those takes."
"Most everyone has business, advertising and licensing fees. An agent could sell $1 million worth of real estate and net only $25,000, Porter said. Anyone getting into the business needs six months of income set aside, Porter said. "And fire in their belly."'
"Muriel Rodriguez, an agent, has been licensed for 2 1/2 years. "To really get it going has been tough. It is such a slow start."'
"Ken Rubert, an agent with Hermitage Realty, can empathize. A mechanical engineer for heavy industry, he was restructured out of a job once, then laid off again from a chemical conglomerate along with the entire American contingency."
"I was in my upper 50s, so it was getting more difficult to find a job."
"He got his real estate license and signed up for a course at the Multiple Listing Service in Richmond. The instructor was from his former company. Each was surprised to see the other in real estate."
'"I'm starving," Rubert told his colleague."
"The first broker he worked with tried to warn him. "I was told it was very competitive, and the majority of agents make $20,000 or less a year. Well, that is very true."'
"A. Terry Crawley, an agent since 1977 and a broker since 1988, said he has seen hundreds of people come and go in real estate. "You just have to get out there and work your butt off," he said."
FYI.... From Calculated Risk
"The California Department of Real Estate reports the total number of agents in California is now 490,861, up 0.9% from last month, and up 10% from last March. The number of licensed salespeople has risen 80% since March 2000."
p.s. Doesn't this smell just like back in the .bom days when when everyone and the horse they rode in on was a wannabe stockbroker getting into the industry to make their "easy money"... after all the money had been made?