Thursday, January 10, 2008

Realtors Exiting The Business

by Tanta on 1/10/2008 10:31:00 AM

I'm a bit busy this morning disabling my telephone and hiding my mutual fund and retirement accounts, but I can get one post up.

From the CS Monitor:

A former computer developer, Thomas Banecke of Sandy Springs, Ga., spent most of the summer baby-sitting a new condo development – usually a plum assignment. But when the Atlanta condo market tanked, foot traffic dwindled to almost zero.

Mr. Banecke is now back in the computer business and is putting his real estate career on hold. In some ways, he says, the cold housing market forced real estate agents, especially rookies, to confront their own abilities, schemes, and dreams. Upfront costs, marketing, association fees, and the crucial contacts are either more costly or harder to procure than an aspiring real estate agent usually expects, Banecke says.

"This kind of thing will wipe up a whole bunch of people who thought they could do this to make a living," he says.

As for McMahon, the Atlanta agent, she still had a nice listing book and plenty of leads when she called it quits. In the end, unreliable buyers, surly sellers, and a lack of office camaraderie contributed to a decision that solidified when home sales and prices dipped. "I was waiting for a time to kind of swing out," she says. She's planning to become a high school science teacher.

One problem for out-of-work agents is that their skills may not transfer easily to other careers. California is waiting to hear on a $9 million federal retraining grant after 6,000 people lost their jobs in the housing industry since September.

But Dr. Baen of the University of North Texas is optimistic about their futures. "These people are hustlers, hard workers. They're used to getting on the phone," he says. "They'll end up in insurance, in mutual funds, in retirement planning, and commodities."