Today I received a call from a salesperson from California who wanted to sell me the latest and greatest real estate lead system. She started off the call with, “Maureen, are you still selling real estate?”
I was leaving an open house and headed to an appointment to meet a new listing client. Yes, I am still selling real estate.
It occurred to me that she has run into a lot of agents who are no longer selling real estate for a living on her list of prospects. There is plenty of evidence of agents leaving the business.
In our board of Realtors, Metropolitan Consolidated Associations of Realtors, membership is down to around 4,000 from its high a few years ago of 7,500. I’ve seen lots of agents pick up second jobs that are really first jobs, because they actually get paid at their ‘second job’, and paychecks are something they were not seeing often as a Realtor.
I’ve watched, in recent years, as successful Realtors packed up their belongings and moved their families across the country in search of greener pastures. Even they could not have predicted what we are seeing today.
There is uncertainty for the brokers as well. One large local brokerage is in bankruptcy. It’s agents have been all over town looking for a new wall on which to hang their licenses. Another has large “For Sale” signs in front of it’s offices. Every day I drive by the For Sale sign on the Birmingham office and I wonder how it makes the agents and their clients feel. The broker does not own the building, from what I understand.
We feel fortunate. Dmitry and I had our best year ever in 2008. We were amongst the top producers in the company. And last I knew, SKBK Sotheby’s sales for 2008 were up significantly over 2007. We are lucky to be backed by a solid, stable brokerage.
We’ve heard similar stories of great years from other’s in the market. Austin Black II at Max Broock and Erin Keating Dewald at SKBK Sotheby’s also told us they were having their best years. Todd Waller from Team 366 at Real Estate One in Ann Arbor said his team has put record numbers on the books this year. I did not go out searching for this information, so I am sure there are many more who are having better than good years selling homes in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and surrounds. I would be happy to add names to this list if anyone just lets me know in the comments.
I don’t know what the brokerage landscape will look like this time next year. I think there may be casualties as we all adapt to the ever changing realities of selling homes in Metro Detroit. But I remain optimistic. Homeowners and buyers will always need innovative, exceptional advocacy and informed advice.