The Real Deal
NEW AGENTS JOIN IN RECORD NUMBERS
The number of licensed real estate brokers climbed 5.4 percent between January 2002 and the end of August.
“We’re seeing the most diversified group of people with the most diversified backgrounds coming into the industry today,” said Esther Muller, founder and president of the Academy for Continuing Education, which offers courses in real estate. “Some people now have to wait three weeks just to take the licensing exam.”
“It’s still true that people are coming
from the Internet and Wall Street,”
“Some of it was due to the economy,” said Lawrence. “Some people wanted to get out of the rat race. They jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, but they’ll find that out.”
While still coming to real estate as a second, rather
than a first career,
As the rental market lags, some younger brokers are eschewing starting out in rentals, a common practice, and heading right into sales.
“The average age has definitely gone down,” said Lawrence, who said he is noticing a lot more young brokers in the profession. “It’s skewing younger.”
Still, real estate is a second career for most. “Young
graduates from college generally cannot do it,” said Jacky Teplitsky,
a vice president at Corcoran.
Andrew Heiberger, President of Citi Habitats, said he has seen a greater number of well-educated people coming into the industry.
“One of the things that has happened has been the ability to hire tremendous talent,” he said.
“It’s common to hire people with law degrees and PhDs. Bankers are coming in, and CPAs.” Many were prior customers who saw the potential money in real estate. “They wrote checks for $30,000 or $40,000, and they would get to talking with brokers. ‘How much of this do you get to keep?’ Then they started doing the numbers.”
In a profession where a majority of the practitioners are women, many of the new agents are men.
“In some of my classes, men are the majority
now,” said Lawrence. “It’s getting to be about half
and half. A decade ago, it was maybe even less
Lawrence said there might be several factors at play in bringing about the change. “You can really make money here,” he said. As more men enter the field, “the perception becomes different. The economy spilled out a lot of guys, too. In real estate, they can start at any time. And they don’t have to start in the mailroom.”
Teplitsky said there are more men because a career in real estate is now seen as a ‘primary breadwinner’ role. “Women traditionally worked in real estate as a part-time job, and somebody else had to bring home the bigger bucks.” Now, the bigger bucks are in real estate.
Younger brokers who traditionally started in rentals,
partly because the money is more immediate, are now beginning in sales.
“The rental market
Heiberger, who heads the largest Manhattan rental company, acknowledged the trend. But he also thinks “it cuts both ways,” and that people are still coming in as rental brokers for the immediate income.
The landscape has also changed for broker’s
Whether the new influx of talent with outlast the
next economic upturn is anybody’s guess. “It’s a good
question,” said Lawrence. Heiberger thinks
One thing that remains constant, however, are the
daunting odds facing
Estimates of the attrition rate vary. “I think
we probably keep between 60 and 70 percent,” said Douglas Elliman’s
director of broker development, Kay Brover. That figure includes people
who leave of their own accord and people who are asked to leave because
they don’t meet certain productivity levels. Heiberger said the
attrition rate in the first year “has got to be 50 percent.
Lawrence said the idea of one in four agents staying in the profession “doesn’t seem off the mark.”
Misconceptions about the industry abound on the part
of new agents,
“You have to be on call like a doctor,” said Muller. “You have to be a psychologist. You have to be an entrepreneur, with a close eye for detail. Buying a home is a personal emotional decision, mixed with the financial.”