Column: Real Estate Agents …..only 5% survive!

Long-time realtor Freddy Marks weighs in

The real estate boom in British Columbia has not only resulted in record real estate prices, but it has also spawned an unprecedented number of realtors.

The number of people selling real estate reached 23,000 in BC, according to the BC Real Estate Association. To put it another way, that’s one realtor for every approximate 200 citizens, including children.

Just over a year ago that number was 22,000, which represented a 40 per cent increase from 2005.

The number of listings in Chilliwack at the end of the year was 1,255, and there were 312 realtors – approximately four listings per realtor. We have almost as many people selling houses as houses available for sale.

After 33 years in this industry, with a family that has been involved for three generations, we have seen a lot of changes to the real estate profession. Nothing is set in stone.

Like all areas of our instant communication economy, things change in this business, and they can change rapidly whether it’s caused by a change in technology, legislation or some other factor.

But there are some things that never change. First off, there are both good and not-so-good realtors and brokerages out there.

While there is not just one brokerage that is good, and there is not only one realtor who is successful, it is an open secret that a small number of agents do the most business.

At a seminar in Vancouver last week, the presenter stated that 90 to 95 per cent of the realtors – even in the current “red hot” market – are not making money.

In fact, what money they are making is being used to pay back the debt they created when the market was slow.

And the next flat market is around the corner.

As a dinosaur of this industry, these numbers are no surprise to me. It reflects the fact that the skill set of an excellent real estate agent is not something that is easy to develop. This is also why so many do not last for long.

With every new version of TV shows like “Million Dollar Agent” and House My Style,” another wave of dreamers see these unrealistic characters drive around in their luxury cars, making phone calls in upscale restaurants, and cashing gigantic commission cheques.

They think, “Hey, I can do that! I’d love to drive a Mercedes! I love big houses! I love talking on my phone!”

They believe that is all that it takes and join the industry for all the wrong reasons.

Most successful realtors I know do not act like the guys on the TV shows. In fact, I do not see one who works like that. That’s why it’s a show.

As in every industry, to be successful in real estate, you must have specific survival skills. It is an expensive business and only a few survive. From the 10 new agents joining the real estate industry today, three years from now, eight will have left.

Good agents I know share the same set of skills. Number one, they are all big relation/network builders and communicators. They are client-motivated and proactive. Money is not their first motivation, but it is part of their motivation; they also have to feed their family.

They adapt quickly to their clients’ needs and time frame. Good realtors have a problem-solver mindset, are highly organized, understand their areas of expertise, work very long hours, and take every training and knowledge opportunity they can get.

They pay attention to detail, and, most of all, they care about people – their clients, colleagues and people they work with. In other words, they love people.

I do not know one successful long-term realtor who is not actively involved in his community, All of us love and enjoy to give back. Just look around any community. How many of your community associations, boards, and fundraising efforts have realtors involved?

Of course, I understand that one of the great attractions of this business is that one can still enter it with a relatively small start-up investment.

Just remember that to succeed in this very competitive industry, you need to bring wisdom and good work ethics.

Choose the right franchise as your brand and fulfill all of the above. And only then and only maybe you will survive and make this a beautiful career.

Freddy Marks

Sutton Office

Harrison Hot Springs

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