So, how many agents are leaving the industry due to lack of
work? Have you ever stoped and asked yourself that question? Most likely not
but, I did this week because a friend of mine who owns their own real estate
brokerage told me that he is expecting that by the end of this year, his office
is going to shrink......so much so, that he may actually close his doors.
You see, many, if not all brokerages are built around
reoccurring revenue streams brought in by the agents. Obviously, I am not going
to go through every single office business plan I know of but, ultimately they
all revolve around either one of two...or both of these ideas.
Idea # 1: High
monthly fee and little to no commission split. These offices charge agents a
high monthly fee....like $500.00 a month or so and, yes...that is high in my
area. Now, these offices don't really care if the agents on their roster do any
business at all because, the broker is paying bills and making money off the
monthly fee. Normally, in these offices, the broker isn't making any money on
commissions anyways so, he is working for just that monthly fee.
Idea # 2: Low to
no monthly fee and high or graduates commission splits. These offices make the
bulk of their money on the performance of the individual agent. These offices
will typically charge little to no commission splits however, they typically have
a skeleton staff and expect the agent to be able to handle most all issues with
little to no broker involvement.
Now, as you can
expect, plenty of pros and cons with either major model however, what happens
to these models when the number of agents in the industry or in local markets
begin to dry up?
competition for agents becomes more fierce and these 100% or low monthly fee
offices begin attracting a lot of agents. Much like we have now in my market.
The problem is these office typically attract the type of agents that most
people should steer clear of. Now, granted, this isn't true in every market and
this is strictly my opinion however, my experience is that before a agent truly
gives up on their business they go into the Realtor Death Spiral. Yes, this is
a phrase I just thought up.
So, what is the
Realtor Death Spiral? Ok...so, here it is. It's when you have a Realtor who has
been struggling the past few quarters and is now having to make a decision. Do
I stay in the business or do I go back to do what I know how to do? You see,
most Realtors, 99% of us, didn't grow up thinking...oh, I want to be a Realtor.
We grew up thinking, I want to be a fireman, a police officer, a marine or in
my case, a secret service agent...yes, that is true. My point is, we all came
from another industry and we either fell into real estate because we had a
friend who was selling their home or it was a part time "job" for
vacation money or...whatever reason you can think of other than, I want real
estate to be my career. With all that
said, it means that many of us....almost all of us thought to ourselves, well,
if I can't make it big and live like Donald Trump, then I will go back to
teaching, being a stay at home mom or steel worker.
Now, let's look
at the graph above...yes, I pasted that in here for a reason. The graph is the
latest information I could find from the National Association of Realtors on
the number of Realtors by year. Look closely at the nose dive in the past 4
years. You see, the graph clearly shows that when real estate was good.....or
easy, people were becoming Realtors left and right. In fact, if you look at the
graph just a little closer, see how we doubled the amount of Realtors from2000
to 2006. That's right people, in 6 years, we doubled the number of people in
our industry. Now, consider that when I tell you that back in 2007, NAR release
a statistic that said something to the effect that 93% of all Realtors, DID NOT
CLOSE MORE THAN 3 DEALS A YEAR! In fact, I read at one time that the average
income of a Realtor was like $26,000.00....that's not even a million dollar in
sales in my area.
Well, I will
leave it up to you to come to your own assumptions and conclusions however, I
am of the mindset that our industry does need to do some "house cleaning"
if you will. In fact, I venture to say that as the housing bubble was blowing
up so was the rank and file Realtors and now, as the bubble is busting....those
same agents are looking at themselves in the mirror and saying, "Damn,
this is much harder, much more expensive, much more involved than I thought or
ever experienced it really was". Yes, we are going to start seeing a mass
exodus of agents from our industry, in fact, many of us in the industry have
noticed this for the past 2-3 years. I must admit, I am glad to see it.
Personally, I am sick and tired of dealing with agents who have been in the
business for 3,4,5 years, sold 3-5 homes a year, has a full time or part time
job in another industry and then complains that they want to do REO and no one
will help them get into the business or that they attended some conference but,
they had no ROI.
needs to purge the part time agent. These agents don't do much for our
industry. Yeah, maybe they have a place and time but, it's not now. Now, we
need to get back to professional standards, common sense and the Realtors who
are here, participate, contribute and improve our opus.
Now, don't get me
wrong, people got to pay bills, people got to do what they got to do in a
country with an unemployment rate of 9.1% but, let's make sure we are all
looking at this with an ounce of perspective. Let's make sure when we see
brokerage office closing, or agents retiring their license that we stop and
realize, fortunes are made in times of recession and those who can survive
deserve to be here and reap the rewards of their commitment.