The Good Life in Austin Texas

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1 in 10,859 - Standing Out in a Crowd of Agents

Standing out?While recently updating my E-key, I noticed that the roster function deleted 78 members and then added 84 members for a net gain of six. Looking at the roster total I saw that there were 10,859 agents currently registered with the MLS system in the greater Austin, Texas area. Now, that is a huge number of real estate agents in my part of the world. Out of curiosity I learned that in the last year approximately 12 percent of the agents had sold around 90 percent of the real estate. Further investigation showed that 70 percent of the new agents entering real estate quit in the first year. Of the 30 percent left, 90 percent of those quit in the second year. It appears that the people making the most of this massive turnover are those that own real estate schools. I talked about this with Jason Crouch (who also had the same experience)at lunch recently and was inspired to write this post! Thanks Jason!

I hear people say that with the downturn, maybe it will clear out some of the crowd but I have never found this to be true. In good times people flock to the profession in search of the so called "easy money". In bad times even more people seem to get a license because "if you can't do anything else you can always be a Realtor". As professionals we encounter and incredible amount of competition. The only way we can effectively stand out is by building a solid reputation based on results.

I often go on listing appointments and face the challenge that my soon to be client has both friends and family who are realtors. At these meetings I also see a lot of refrigerator magnets, calendars, cup holders, drink coasters, and other house hold items emblazoned with the names and logos of competing agents and companies (which is the reason I don't employ such marketing gimmicks.) Although 75 percent of my business comes from personal referrals I depend on my reputation and that of my company to build and expand my business.

I am fortunate to work at an independent high quality firm where all of the associates are FULL TIME most of the members are share holders of the company. Last year with 36 associate brokers and agents we sold nearly 300 million dollars worth of real estate in Austin, Texas. Compare that production with the largest company in town that has over 3,500 agents and likes to trumpet the fact that they sold 1 billion worth of properties. You get the picture.

No matter where you work, you can succeed by focusing on your abilities and what you can do for your client. It is paramount that you be truthful and realistic and (walk the walk) for any claims you make about your expertise. There are at least 2 dozen agents in my area that I know might beat me at any listing appointment where I compete. If that happens, that is fine. They are all very good agents and the only thing that distinguishes us is that different people work with different personalities.

The most important thing we all have to remember is this; in the majority of cases, a person's home is the single most valuable investment they will ever have. Because of this it is important to have the best representation possible. Not a friend, family member or part timer but someone who is a full time, committed professional with the clients' best interest at heart!1 in 10,859

Here's the difference: my clients can get the same service, effort and expertise as Neiman Marcus or they can go to Wal-Mart... which would you choose?

 

 

                                                   

Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

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115 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • September 18 2008 01:46AM

Comments

Russell - those are some numbers all right! Wow! And right you are the schools are bringing in the money. ~Rita

Posted by Rita and Brian Burke ~KennaRealEstate.com ~ 303.955.4220 about 1 year ago

Hi Russell Great Post, it is intresting to see that this is Universal , it does not matter if you are in Boston Mass or Travis County, TX or Los Angeles CA, the numbers are simmilar and the Profession has the same plus and minuses. BTW what is copy scape?

Posted by Endre Barath,Jr. (Beverly Hills,CA.310.486.1002 Coldwell Banker) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell,

It seems like it used to be 80/20, 20% of the REALTORS doing 80% of business and now are numbers are changing too which reflect more like the 90% in your example.

However in CA our numbers of people even taking the r.e. exam is down dramatically this year. Sorry I don't have those numbers at my finger tips (yet I'll find them) we're not even a fraction of the normal test takers. I also teach new member orientation for my board and we're doing less that 1/3 the normal classes.

BTW, I'm in complete agreement with your analysis of Neiman's vs. Wall-Mart, right on!

Posted by Orange Co. Real Estate~Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner, CRS,CRB,GRI,SRES, Brea, CA (Preferred Home Brokers) about 1 year ago

Russell this is a very good observation about our current status regarding the number of agents currently in competition all over the country!. As bizarre as it sounds, the number of agents actually selling real estate and doing transactions is spot on and I am amazed that so many stay in the business. Thank you for another great article, I will continue to look for your posts in the future!!!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell,

Thanks for the reminder...wow, I'll have to check out our numbers....thanks for making me think so late!  :)

Posted by Sheila Moran, SanAntonioSheila.com RE/MAX Access, Broker, At your service! (RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels)) about 1 year ago

Russell- In my market of 2,200 agents there are 1,700 agents who sold 1 home or less last year.  I use these numbers everytime I meet a seller OR buyer.  Very powerful stuff!

Posted by Larry Hultberg Newark Delaware Realtor, Wilmington (EXiT Central Realty Delaware Home Search) about 1 year ago

It appears that the people making the most of this massive turnover are those that own real estate schools.

Aha!  I have suspected this for years.  The question is: What can be done about it?

Posted by Not Yet Licensed about 1 year ago

All I know is MANY cleared out in our area.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman HAWAII Relocations & Real Estate (Century 21 Liberty Homes) about 1 year ago

Well said, I'm a newer agent by comparison but am in my 4th year now. It's fresh enough in my head to look back and think how many times I almost abondoned ship and how much your numbers are right now as I've seen plenty of my classmates working other careers. Referral business is great but I'm nowhere near 70% as you are. I do however have to rely on my desire to improve, technology and yes, the occasional "gimmick" to supliment my non-referral business. :)

Posted by Barbara Gregus (Exit Realty of Albuquerque) about 1 year ago

The reason there are so many real estate professionals in the business even though most of them don't belong there is because the entry into real estate is beyond easy in comparison with other professions. One should have 10x the number of hours currently required before getting a license (and after passing the test ofcourse). At least 2 years worth as any other profession would require (AA at least). 

Posted by Castellum Realty - Lancaster real estate - homes for sale in lancaster county PA (---Preferred Lifestyle Advisors---) about 1 year ago

My personal preference would be Neiman's, but in my area,  Super Wal-marts are ubiquitous and always crowded!  I agree that it should be more difficult for entry into the Real Estate profession for two reasons, first that clients would likely get better service from new agents and second, that if potential Realtors knew how difficult and expensive the first two years are, they might reconsider it as a profession.

Posted by Colleen McConnell, Tallahassee Realtor (Advanced Realty Group) about 1 year ago

This is very thought provoking! I recently changed companies from a big broker who is only concerned about taking money out of my pocket to a smaller firm that is interested in putting money into my pocket. I left because my efforts were being diverted from me instead of to me! We do have to try to stand out and referrals are the bread and butter of our business! Do a great job for a client and it will come back to you many times over! The full time agents who offer excellent service will rule the profession!

Posted by Caren Wallace-Real Estate Agent (Stouffer Realty, Akron, Ohio) about 1 year ago

Russell, good stat's. That is a lot of agents in Austin. I had no idea. It is true that most are just not prepared for the market we are in; however, there are a few new agents that have great support from their broker of team leader who will succeed.

Posted by Missy Caulk-Ann Arbor- Realtor(R)- Ann Arbor Real Estate (Keller Williams-Ann Arbor) about 1 year ago

We havent seen as many agent go out as we thought here. For everyone of them that does a new crop comes out of school. I wish there was room for all!

Posted by Laura Jefferson (Acquire Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Good for you - Excellent points and excellent marketing!!!

Posted by Marcia Kramarz (Prudential Page Realty) about 1 year ago

Wow-that's a whole lot of agents in your area.  I thought we would see more agents leave our local market this year.  Dues bills just came out so it will be interesting to see what happens for 2009.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) about 1 year ago

Russell,

As one of your repeat customers, I would like to congratulate you on putting this into perspective. When I fist met you I had workrd with several other agents and realized that I was having trouble finding someone who had my interest at heat.

Let me also commend you and your new "Good Life" blog. It is definately a slice of Austin Texas life and and good look at you! I will continue to send you business in the future!

Samantha in Austin

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Great post and very interesting with the numbers - Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Norma J Elkins Realtor Elkins Home Selling Team ( Exit Triple "E" Realty) about 1 year ago

Good Morning!

 sent the link to your outside blog http://www.thegoodlifeinaustintexas.com/ to some of your previous clients and see that Sam commented on your post. I must have sent itwrong because it also has your name or maybe that's how it works.

I really like the look of your blog and this post is so true of the overcrowding in real estate. From the comments, it seems to be prevalent in other parts of the country too!

 

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

We only had 4 new agents take the real estate exam in our region last month.  There were only 12 in all of Virginia.

Tina in Virginia

Posted by Tina Merritt - Virginia Beach Real Estate (Long and Foster Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell,  Very well written post.  Interesting stats on the attrition in our industry.  I wonder how our market would compare?  Probably very similar.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy Fort Myers Beach Realtor (Century 21 Tripower Realty) about 1 year ago

Russell,

This is a very good article on the state of affairs here in Austin and Travis County. from reading the comments, it looks like this situation is also widespread in other parts of the country. I like the graphic at the bottom and think it would work as a good mail out to SOI or a geographic area! Keep up the good work!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

These are interesting numbers, thanks for sharing with us!

Posted by Daniel Tucci Medford Massachusetts Real Estate (American Hallmark Realtors) about 1 year ago

Russel, you have an admirable grasp of the reality of the profession.  I had seen a study done on the US and Canada, by one of the ReMax higher-ups, several years ago that put the numbers at 94%-6%. It's a great profession, but you do have to work at it!  Thanks for a very informative post.

Posted by Dave Hamill, Prescott, Arizona Real Estate (EXIT Realty Legacy) about 1 year ago

Russell, I prefer Neiman Marcus over Wallmart but the public has the choice and as long as they realize that they get what they pay for it's ok with me. There's enough for everyone.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 1 year ago

Russell-Excellent post! There have always been more agents in the pool than real estate would support. It is a sad indication of our profession that so many take it lightly. Let me rephrase that, agents that do not take this business seriously. You are so right when you say:

"a person's home is the single most valuable investment they will ever have"

As professionals we owe it to our clients to give them the best service we possibly can.

Posted by Michelle Keahey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Great post and definitely you facts carry out of Texas and go nationwide. This problem is everywhere and unfortunately as long as the bareer for entry is a book a weekend crash course and a test to pass, it wont be changing anytime soon

Posted by James Engel KW Beverly Hills (Keller Williams Realty Beverly Hills) about 1 year ago

Russell, I think your marketing approach is fantastic! We all need to find a way to stand out from the crowd!

Posted by Kristen Wahl (Kristen Wahl, RealtyUSA) about 1 year ago

Russell - how true!  Many of my clients have family and friends who are Realtors. Fortunately they know that working with family may not get them what they want. It is a big investment and ensuring that investment is protected by a trusted professional is key - even if it causes a family feud or upsets a friend. I provide Nordstrom Quality Service and a Satisfaction Guarantee.  The Wal-Mart discounted ~ 1% ~ volume brokers are a dime a dozen. We definitely get what we pay for - don't we?

Posted by Kathleen Daniels (San Jose-Silicon Valley Real Estate (Intero San Jose Ca)) about 1 year ago

Russell - It looks like you turned part of our lunch conversation into the opening of your post here.  I like the look of your marketing piece!  Congrats on the feature!

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 1 year ago

Very well written Russell ...

Posted by The Woodlands Texas Real Estate >>Spring Homes Pippa MAC (Remax Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) about 1 year ago

Think of how beautiful it would be if part time real estate wasn't an option due to increased fees and education requirements.  No more 200+ agent offices full of people "trying real estate out" . Only good quality service to the public by skilled agents..

Our standings in the community may rise as a result.

Posted by Brett Tousley | Tacoma WA Real Estate | (253) 820-2745 (NW Home Brokers) about 1 year ago

Russell - I think your marketing piece is fantastic!  Kudos to you and whomever designed that.  We haven't seen the thinning out in its entirety just yet.  It's always a challenge to separate yourself from the herd in earning the business of consumers.

Posted by Jason Sardi, Mortgage Banker (FHA-VA-USDA-Conventional-Pennsylvania Loans) about 1 year ago

The amazing thing to me is that early last year there were over 13,000 agents in Austin. By the way, I love your artwork/photo! Nice post!

B

Posted by Betina about 1 year ago

The amazing thing to me is that early last year there were over 13,000 agents in Austin. By the way, I love your artwork/photo! Nice post!

B

Posted by Betina about 1 year ago

The amazing thing to me is that early last year there were over 13,000 agents in Austin. By the way, I love your artwork/photo! Nice post!

B

Posted by Betina about 1 year ago

Hi Russ:   You are "right-on"   focusing on my abilities and what I can do for my client. I want to be truthful and realistic and (walk the walk) for any claims I make about my expertise. But, as you say, the only thing that distinguishes us is that different people work with different personalities. Hey, what's the climate like (Buyingthat is) in your are??

Thanks for the Post.

Aloha

JIm

Posted by James Pycha (R) - REMAX KAUAI about 1 year ago

What a great post!  I, too do most of my business by referral - those that trust me - do business with me.  Thanks for posting.

Posted by April Hayden-Munson Realtor, Southeastern Wisconsin (RE/MAX Realty 100) about 1 year ago

Russell, that is a positive attitude if there ever was one. Here the schools spit them out as fast as they quit. I have done five deals this year where the agent has quit in the middle of the deal. It is sad how these new agents are told and still think how much money their going to make.

Posted by Charles Stallions Real Estate 800-309-3414 Pensacola, Fl. about 1 year ago

Endre This issue does appear to be widespread in every market. Copyscape is a copyright site that automatically copyrights your work on the internet. Click on the link to learn more (It's free) 

Brian & Rita I was shocked by the variance between number of agents and total production! 

Lynda You are right, the 80/20 rule is getting more extreme. Although I don't want to see a situation where NO new agents enter the market, it would be a relief to many of the less productive members either get busy or drop out altogether!

Scott I am glad you checked in and hope you get more involved here as time goes on. Again, I am also surprised that agent not producing can afford to stay in the market! 

Sheila Thanks for checking in, I have seen some good posts from you and plan to check your blog soon!

Larry Great attitude and an excellent way to use the numbers to build your own market share as a full time agent!

HI Sally I am flattered that you stopped by and equally glad that many of these types of agents are leaving. In the long run it is easier to work with a seasoned professional (at least most of the time)

Jose Thank you! You are just the type of agent that I am glad stuck with it! As far as referral business yours will continue to grow as you work with new folks and maintain consistent follow-up with previous clients! 

Nathan & Everard I completely agree with your ideas of strengthening the requirements for obtaining a license, after several years as an agent I went ahead and obtained a Brokers license so that I could in one more way, set myself apart form the crowd!

Colleen I am a Nieman Marcus fan myself but I really have to watch my budget. The great thing about real estate is a client can have Neiman/s style service and it does not cost any more!

Caren Thank you for your well articulated points and you are on the money when you say: "The full time agents who offer excellent service will rule the profession!"

Missy Thank you so much for commenting, I have been a fan of your posts for awhile and will subscribe later today!

Laura There seems to be a never ending stream of new agents. There are more in some areas than others. And if there were room for all we would be very busy!

Marcia Thanks and thank you for the marketing comment. Feel free to create a similar card that fits you and your area!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Nice post.  Your comment about all of the refigerator magnets, etc. around your "future client's" home reminded me of a realization that I had recently.  I belong to several networking groups, where I am very active in giving out appropriate referrals to the other members.  A mortgage broker asked the group for Realtor referrals, and everybody pulled a dozen cards out of their pockets.  It got me thinking, "perhaps this is not the group for me!" so, I started my own business development group.  It has taken some time to get off the ground, but it's a great source of business...

Doing the same thing that everyone else does will not grow your business very quickly!  Thanks again for a great post

Posted by Brendan Cooke (Passport Realty, LLC) about 1 year ago

So many think that all real estate agents are the same.  We know this is so untrue!

Posted by Marlene Pellegrini REALTORĀ® ERA REALTY PROs - Eastern Connecticut (The Dan Sperduto Home Selling Team) about 1 year ago

Hello Russell,

I totally agree with your blog and what most agents don't understand is that they need to follow-up with their clients.  Don't just sell the house and be done with the client they need to reach out to them at least 8 times per year with direct mail, a postcard, greeting card, call at least twice and have an event once a year to grow their referral business....

I wanted to personally invite you and anyone else who wants to grow their referral business to send out a free greeting card on me at http://www.sendoutcards.com/Thanks4yourbiz

This high powered database practically runs itself once you get it set up. If you want to learn more once you send your card email me at coniotto@yahoo.com and I will send you my presentation and follow up with a call to walk you through all the great features.  Another Real Estate Agent sold this system to me and I love it....

Once I started using it, I grew my referral business and practically run my whole business from referrals. 

I just sent out a card to invite all my clients to my annual event, I am having a pumpkin carving contest on October 24th for all my clients. I set up a campaign (design the card) then I go to my database and click on current buyers, current sellers, past clients, and all my RAVING FANS!! (Raving fans are the people who give me referrals without me asking and may or may not have sold them any real estate, these are the people I definately take care of!!)  Then with a click of a button I send out the card to everyone...  Costs me around $50.00 to send out an invitation to all my clients and it usually takes me less than 5 minutes to pick the card, write the invitation, pick the people and hit send. Send out cards does the rest... It's sooooooooooooooo simple, I love it....

Kind regards, Coni Otto
www.coniotto.com
http://www.socreferral.com/Thanks4yourbiz <<watch video>>


 

Posted by Anonymous about 1 year ago

Diane There are a LOT of agents here and now that you mention it we juts passed our dues deadline so maybe that will impact membership! 

Hi Norma Nice to hear from you and yes ye numbers are startling!

Mattie Thanks for sending the link of my outside blog to some past clients! I am hoping that more of my SOI start reading my blog! Again, it does appear that this is an issue that affects all parts of the country! 

Tina Well that is very interesting, I don't think I have ever heard of such s low number but it would be preferable to the overcrowding both in Texas and other parts of the country!

Bill Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I would guess from many of the comments that a similar situation exists for you and your market!

Anne Thanks and yes, I did send out the card I used below and received good feedback as well as appointments and a new listing. Please feel free to use the idea yourself!

Daniel You are welcome, the numbers are probably similar in your part of the country! 

Dave Thank you for contributing to the discussion and you are correct that our business is still a job! As surprising as it may seem I believe that it can be worse in some areas as you noted!

Gena I always enjoy hearing from you and like you prefer Neiman Marcus (on a budget) and the best part of our service is that it costs the same as Wal-Mart!

Michelle Because of the fact that it can be our client's biggest investment is all the more reason we should treat them with the utmost professionalism! Thanks again for dropping by!

Kristen Thanks for the compliment, please free to adapt the marketing piece below to fit you and your particular market!

Kathleen It can be tough when competing against a friend or family member but you are so right that people get exactly what they pay for! We also represent a chance for folks to not get cross ways in a situation that may call for some hard decisions!

Jason I was inspired to write this based on our lunch conversation and go back and give you credit for the opening line! I really appreciate your friendship and help with learning more about ActiveRain! 

Pippa Thanks, I see you are just down the road in the Woodlands. I hope you fared well after Ike came through!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell,

In Martin County, FL it appears we've lost 40% of the agents we had during the peak in 2006.  So not too many flocking to the business right now.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Premier Realty Group) about 1 year ago

I think there will always be more agents than there should be. When most people decide to get into real estate, they have no idea how much the expenses will outweigh the income in at least the first 6 months - and that's if they do well. I am not surprised at all by your stats for Austin. Despite the sheer volume of agents, I just strive to place myself in that top 10% and watch the revolving door continue to spin...

Posted by Marisa Whisel-Scott AFB Area Real Estate - Internet Real Estate Marketer (RE/MAX Preferred) about 1 year ago

Russell .. thanks for this article.  We agree that a "person's home is the single most valuable investment they will ever have".  That applies to each one of us.  Keep up the good work.  Best wishes.  Harrison

Posted by Harrison K. Long - Realtor & Broker (Explore Group Properties, Coldwell Banker Previews, South OC) about 1 year ago

Russell your graphics are great.  Keep up the good blogging.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones The Hampton Roads Real Estate Lady! (Wainwright Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Yes..Nice post...I agree wholeheartedly....best of luck!  And do keep up the blogging..Im joining yours now!!!

Posted by Janice Morze, Ehret Realty, Collingswood NJ about 1 year ago

GREAT POST... did I emphazie GREAT. It is true about standing out from the crowd and making real estate your own because everyone has different personalites and as stated by yourself a home valuable investment for anyone. Keep up the good job.

Posted by Kerina Jessamine (Soldiers Of Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Not Yet Licensed WOW, I nearly missed your comment (and you are my most avid commenter and AR associate! The problem will be alleviated when the entry requirement are more stringent so maybe you should jump on board before that happens. I think you are one of the best candidates for a license I have met in quite awhile!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

  

James I agree and like you concise description of the situation!

Brett "Only good quality service to the public by skilled agents." Should be the goal of all agents and thanks for mentioning that!

Jason Actually the piece and most all of my stuff comes from my head but I have an incredible graphics person at our office, Rick Landwehr, who is a design wizard and he is also in charge of our in-house printing and web graphics. I am spoiled to say the least!

Betina That is amazing that we had so many more so I guess that we are losing some of the overflow. Thanks for the compliment. I think up most of my ad pieces but have Rick Landwehr, our graphics person who creates the artwork and he is incredible! 

James We are on the same page about service and actually our market in Austin is good (compared to the rest of the country) Thanks for adding to this conversation! 

April Personal referral business is the back bone of my production but I have to stay in constant contact with my SOI so they do not forget me!

Charles Your are working very hard my friend (especially when the agents are quitting in the middle of the deals). Keep up the good work even if you are doing the work of 2 agents! 

Brendan I think your comment is so funny about the networking group and I am still laughing. Great idea to start your own group and it shows original thinking and initiative!! 

Marlene You are correct and it is up to us to show our clients that there is a difference AND that they can work with the best! 

Coni Your marketing cards and information sound great! I actually have the services of an in-house graphics designer and printing facility at my company (Yes I am completely spoiled!) But you should join The Art of Marketing You group. It was founded by Marti, an incredibly gifted artist and it's a great place to swap ideas and interact with others in sharing marketing ideas!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Gabe 40% would be good news here. I hope you are able to take advantage of the situation and expand your market share! 

Marisa I also believe that many people enter the business with unrealistic expectations! You sound like you have a great attitude AND work ethic!

Harrison As long as we remember that fact it helps keep our business in perspective!

Dee Dee Thanks for the compliment, I think up most of the ideas for me personally but have the incredibly gifted Rick Landwehr at our office who can create the images! 

Janice Thank you for the compliment and come back anytime! 

Kerina I thank you very much for your comment and the compliment! I hope to see you again!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Good Post Russell, but hasn't this always been the case? In Atlanta the numbers are pretty much the same (give or take 5-10% last time I checked). In fact I can relate to just about everything you've stated. In regard to the "downturn" I do believe that in any profession, especially real estate that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. In fact I've been known to say "this will definately seperate the sheep from the goat". In my experience I've come across one too many agents that just don't give a damn. About their appearance, their education or lack thereof, real estate in general; much less the 1 or 2 clients they're fortunate to have. To stay in this business you must really have true passion for real estate no matter what's going on with the market.

I once heard someone say "if the grapes aren't selling, let them dry and sell raisins". SO TRUE. There are so many facets to real estate that if one area isn't working for you, try another area. DON'T QUIT! It's all about character. Yes it's frustrating when things don't go as expected, but I try to remind myself that this is why I love what I do because it's not repetitive and predictable like a typical 9-5. Anything can happen at any given time.............and if that's not exciting I don't know what is. FRUSTRATING, BUT EXCITING!

Don't get me wrong; things aren't always "hunky dory" in my world. I've definately had my moments, but hey- Choose your poison.

Posted by Adell about 1 year ago

Russell

This is a really clear and accurate post that paints an honest picture of your area. Gosh, I just didn't realize how many agents were in the Austin MLS. 

Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (Classic Realty Associates) about 1 year ago

Russell,

Excellent post!  I found your figures to be very interesting.  I'm from Colorado Springs and I thought we had a lot of agents here...about 4000 licensed agents.  I had no idea Austin was so huge.  I really liked your sentence about distinguishing ourselves from the rest of the agents."...the only thing that distinguishes us is that different people work with different personalities."  I think that's awesome to look at it that way.  And I wholehearted agree with the Nieman Marcus v. Wal-Mart Scenario!  You get what you pay for.

Posted by Carla Carberry, GRI (Prudential Professional, REALTORS) about 1 year ago

Russell - Thanks for your mention.  I wasn't trying to take credit - I just remembered talking about it with you.  I hope we can do lunch again soon.  It's always fun to see you.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 1 year ago

Russell - Awesome post and most deserving of being featured.  To me you're 1 in a million, but for your competition 1 in 10,858 is probably more than enough.  The picture on the bottom is priceless, where's the guitar ;-)  I always look forward to reading your posts:  thoughtful, fun, provocative.  Thanks

Gail MacMillan

Posted by Gail MacMillan - CRS, e-PRO, GRI ~ Titusville FL Real Estate Brevard County (Home Sweet Home Florida Realty) about 1 year ago

Adell Thank you for your concise and thorough comment. I have learned from the comments that the situation IS very similar in all parts of the country and like you hope that it will shake out some of the "goats"...I am still laughing at that! And what a great idea, "if the grapes aren't selling, let them dry and sell raisins" The market can use more agents like you!

Trey Hi there, good to hear from you! Unfortunately there are way too many agents here and we are actually down a couple of thousand from our high, according to an earlier comment! How are things in College Station?

Carla 4000 agents for Colorado Springs sounds like a huge amount in comparison to your overall population. We are actually down some but it would help everyone (except the real estate schools) if there were fewer of us in Austin AND Colorado Springs too!

Jason I know, I just wanted to give credit for the seed of the idea. I am having a great time here and for some reason this was featured so I feel honored that it keeps happening! I look forward to lunch again soon because I always enjoy your company and our lively conversation! 

Gail So good to hear from you and thanks for the compliment. It's gunny but when I wrote that MeMe I really kind of let it all hang out and though I love my guitars and the music that abounds, I do not really incorporate them that much in my every day work...Maybe I should!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell I like the look of your Goodlife blog! This is an interesting article and I had no idea that there were so many agents in the Austin area! No problem for us though, you will always be our favorite! Talk to you soon!

Jimmy

Posted by Jimmy about 1 year ago

Hi Russell,  I have to say you would stand out no matter where you were!  :)  You are right, clients can choose Neiman's or Wal-Mart.  In real estate the cost is about the same, the service is not. 

Posted by Ricki Eichler,Broker,GRI,ePRO your Texas Hill Country connection (Ricki Eichler Real Estate LLC) about 1 year ago

WOW! This is a good post and the comments are very good and contribute to thye continuing discussion! Congratulations on another "Feature" too!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell,

I am not one bit surprised at those Austin numbers.  I'm looking forward to the next shift in the market after this one has weeded out the part-timers and "dreamers".

Posted by Anonymous about 1 year ago

What you find in Austin is true in Northern Virginia and every other major market in the US.  This is not the same real estate market that was here when I becane a realtor 32 years ago,  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Fairfax Prince William Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (Long & Foster America's #1 Privately Owned Real Estate Co.) about 1 year ago

You get to have lunch and talk about marketing with Jason? Lucky!

Posted by Benjamin Clark - Exclusive BUYER'S AGENT - Certified Negotiation Expert - SLC, UT (Homebuyer Representation, Inc.) about 1 year ago

I think I see myself at Zilker park......

You are so correct.  Branding is huge.  I hired an agent a year ago from a wine company and she tagged herself as the Home Somelier.  I thought it was a bit risky....but now her community ($1mm+ homes) know of her as the "wine lady" by the public and realtors, and was a multi million dollar producer after 2 months.  One year into it, she is our number one agent.

 

Posted by Tim Moncrief, Co-Owner-Bartlett RE Group (Keller Williams Realty Austin, Texas) about 1 year ago

The numbers are mind boggling. The market is impacted every where and you are correct. The real estate schools keep churning out more naive people who don't have any idea about what goes on the the real world of Real Estate!

Posted by Richard about 1 year ago

Hi Russell

Thanks for sending us the link to your goodlife blog! It looks great and I hear you are also going to be writing about local places and events as well as neighborhoods too.

We had no idea there were as many agents as you noted in Austin right now but you are still our favorite! We will look at some of your other articles tonight too.

Talk to you soon,

Mark

Posted by Mark & Cherie about 1 year ago

Hi Ricki Nice hearing form you and thanks for the compliment. You are correct when you added that our clients could get the same service but not have to pay more! I hope all is well with you! 

Mattie Thanks for checking up on me!?! Yes I was very fortunate to get featured again and I will try (as I promised) to just post when I have something relative, compelling or fun!  

??? I also look forward to a thinning out of the part-timers and "dreamers".

Karen So nice to hear from you! It does appear that the overcrowding phenomenon is nationwide. And I cannot believe you have been in real estate for 32 years!!! You must have started in grade school J have a great weekend! 

Benjamin I do indeed and Jason is as truly nice and interesting generous as you would imagine. I don't mind sharing with another realtor either :) He will laugh when he see's this! Thanks again for dropping by! 

Tim Me too...As a matter of fact I recently wrote about Barton Springs and ended up goofing off there several afternoons in August while doing "research"... 

Mark and Cherie I am so glad you two checked out my blog. It is an "Outside Blog" that is something of a mirror of the blog I have on Active Rain which is a social network for Realtors. I will also be incorporating my posts into the new Localism which is the new Neighborpedia that is now rolling out across the country. Thanks again for dropping by and I will call y'all next week!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I always thought that this kind of market did make the numbers go down....at least it did when I was in the mortgage bus...maybe its different with agents...thanks for the insight...

Posted by Sonja Adams (Samson Realty, LLC) about 1 year ago

Hi Russel,

We are in a crazy industry when you think about it. Most of the agents in the business get in by default. Few of them understand that they are in their own business as an agent, yes I know they have to hang their license with a broker, but the bottom line is that it is their business.

I don't think they realize that when they go to RE school. It all looks so easy from the outside, I relate that to any other professional. Professionals always make what they do look easy to anyone observing.

The industry #'s won't change unless the rules change for getting in.

Sincerely,

Bill

 

Posted by Bill Farragher (Exit First Choice Realty Woodbridge NJ) about 1 year ago

I have only been in real estae for a year and it is not what I firstimagined but I see the possibilities if I stay on track and have a plan, What is the hardest is that no one tells you that it can be a long time before you have your first closing or how much money it takes to get started. It is a tough business but I am determined to make a go of it! Thanks for your insightful article.

Posted by Cynthia about 1 year ago

The problem will be alleviated when the entry requirement are more stringent so maybe you should jump on board before that happens. I think you are one of the best candidates for a license I have met in quite awhile!

Aw shucks, Russell.  Thanks for the vote of confidence.  I'm still reviewing my options.  However I believe I'm in a holding pattern right now.  My intention had been to get licensed this year.  Then I read two AR posts, one by Jason Crouch and one by Jim Crawford, that made me realize I need to have six months of income in the bank before I jump into real estate.  I'm probably just gonna hafta watch from the sidelines while you guys have all the fun!  :)

Posted by Not Yet Licensed about 1 year ago

Russell, I commented on this before but wanted to add that I have been impressed with how well it written and that you clearly make the point!. Keep up the good work!

PS. You will be happy to learn that I am finally starting to read and comment on some of the other article her on Activerain!

Posted by Michelle Keahey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

I like your marketing piece at the bottom of your post and you are right, it is important to back up any statements of expertise with action!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Excellent analysis, Russell. It shows once again that the 80/20 rule has become 90/10. When I lose a listing, I don't feel as bad if they've chosen a capable, professional agent. It's when they don't that I have to wonder ....

Posted by Sharon Simms St Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (ALVA International, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Sonja For awhile there, I was beginning to think the Mortgage field was even more over crowded that that of real estate agents. The problem is that real estate is marketed as something to do in both an up and down market!

Bill Crazy is a good description of the business now days. I agree that the best in the business are those who work with integrity and professional standards!

Cynthia You have an excellent attitude and also a realistic view of the challenges along with the willingness to WORK! I think you will do well; stay with it, the industry needs more agents like you!

Not Yet Licensed You have such a great attitude (as well as a sense of humor) I look forward to conversing with you on Active Rain in the future!

Michelle Thanks for the compliment and I am happy that you are starting to explore Active rain. Jump on in, there is so much that you will like and learn here! 

Scott Correct, there are plenty of people in many lines of work that are just empty promises and spout meaningless quotes...

Sharon Nice to see you here and thank you for commenting and it's true; I know I have some first class competition and like you realize that different folks are drawn to different personalities and ways of doing business. I don't like losing in any competition but its part of our work and I do have respect for many of my competitors!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I agree completely.   I've said the same thing and occasionally have recieved some hard looks from fellow Realtors, but ask me if I care what they think.

Posted by Sandy Keller, ABR, CNRS, e-PRO, Realtor (Coldwell Banker Chicora) about 1 year ago

Russell...

Well written and great advice...very deserving of a feature post, congratulations.  I still have not given up on doing my slide show, but my brain was fried and needed a break.  Here are a couple more pictures for you until that time.ARARarIt was such a pretty setting, and you live there!  Very Cool!  I'm doing a post on Ike tomorrow too, so I'm feeling much better.  Talk to you soon, L

Posted by Liz Carter,Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston) (Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life!) about 1 year ago

Russell Those are wonderful pictures of you and the other folks at the AR gathering here in Austin. I wanted to let you know that I sent the link to this post to some of our friendly competitors here in Austin! Its a great article and i agree on every point!!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Russell - very thought provoking.  I am sure the NAR has their own state and I wonder what they are.  Here in the Indianapolis area we are being told that a third of over 6,000 realtors have dropped out.  Personally my business is slightly down, but still good.  I do find myself wondering if the events of last week will affect the numbers even more!

Posted by Pat Haddad, ABR,CRS,e-PRO,GRI Indianapolis (The Haddad Team, Keller Williams ) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, I came into the office as Ally was leaving and she told me to check your blog. I am still getting the hang of it but you seem to be taking to it like no body's business and this is an exellencent example. i commented earlier but read the post again and just think you are going to make some very good contributions here at the active rain network! Ok, I am off to vote in the top 20 women in Real Estate!

Posted by Michelle Keahey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

SandyI like your attitude because after all, other peoples opinions are none of my business!

HI LIZIt is so good to see you and thank you for posting the pictures of us at Jason's BD/AR party! You are right, we are so fortunate to live here! i am glad to see you back in action, take care of yourself and i will talk to you soon!

Allysoun Thanks for spreading the word about Active Rain,I am glad t see you getting more involved!

PatYou are probably right that this is not just specific to one area. I also agree with you that the near future may be quite a bit different because I wrote this prior to the weeks devastating events and news in the financial markets. Everyone is still waiting to see how this all shakes out and it may mean that more people leave the business!

Michelle Well thank you for commenting and also the compliment, it's just me writing down what a lot of people are probably already thinking and I want to try and contribute something of value!! Thank you again! Russell

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell:  Very interesting post and perspective on the RE business and the agents in it here in the Austin area.  I do see that the hard chargers in the market seem to pick up market share in the tough times though and I am sure banking on that during this slower period.  I hope that this is a correct assumption!

Posted by Steve Homer (The HBH Group (Keller Williams affiliate)) about 1 year ago

Steve Hopefully many of the people who do not take the business seriously will drop off and those of us who are not afraid of working will benefit (and our clients will too) How are thing in  Rock these days?

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hey Russell, me again. several of us at the office want to sit down with you and really start exploring Active rain and expanding our knowledge here.  Most of us are just checking in here when we are at the office and then mainly to see what you have written lately.

With the market changing, it will be important for us to utilize new resurces like Active Rain so thank you for introducing us to the site and we look forward to expanding our presence here!

 

Michelle

Posted by Michelle Keahey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell, I agree that the market is changing and that we need to be able to adapt and learn new ways to market ourselves and utilize the internet. I am with Michelle and would like for you to do an in office tutorial so we can learn more about Active rain!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Russell, I want to add to the conversation here because we all are beginning to understand that Active Rain has a world of possibilities. We just need a push in the right direction and some guidance along the way! Okay, I going tocheck on one more of your blogs to send the link to some clients!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Any Realtor who can hang in there and keep a good reputation as the first priority will in my opinion be a success! They will after about 5 years get referrals, repeat business and understand why being a full time Realtor is really a wonderful career. 

Posted by Mary Strang ~ Viroqua, WI Real Estate (RE/MAX Hill Country) about 1 year ago

Any Realtor who can hang in there and keep a good reputation as the first priority will in my opinion be a success! They will after about 5 years get referrals, repeat business and understand why being a full time Realtor is really a wonderful career. 

Posted by Mary Strang ~ Viroqua, WI Real Estate (RE/MAX Hill Country) about 1 year ago

Russell, I wanted to add that in Austin, the membership is down somewhat from last year when the numbers were supposedly over 12,000 agents. Now the current numbers are still large and with the newest blows to our economy the decrease should continue!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Michelle With the new problems in the banking sector, it will probably mean that our business will get tougher and maybe that will shake out some of the hangers - on. I see from the other comments that we do need to get together so that all of you can start taking advantage of this great site!

Anne We have so much competition and we do need to be ready to adapt and change in this market. Active Rain is a great new resource and we will have an office get together to get everyone on board!

Allysoun I am happy that you all are beginning to understand the possibilities here and i will set something up soon for everyone who is interested in learning more!

MaryYou nailed it when you say that we have to guard our reputation and make sure we are not painted with the same broad brush as many of the others in the business.

Anne I did not realize the numbers had gotten that high!?! With over 10,000 now it still seems like a crowded field!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell I am cruising your blog and this one is excellent. I like to work with agents who have experience but always look forward to new agents who are willing to look at the profession as a business!

Posted by Karen David-Mohr (Prominent Title, LLC) about 1 year ago

There are 46,000 licensed real estate agents in Atlanta and over 90%  of them have never sold one home.

Posted by Winter Baserva Realtor Atlanta, GA Homes For Sale (ERA The Good Broker) about 1 year ago

While looking over the comments here it is evident that almost all parts of the country are affected by this imbalance of productive Realtors and non-productive Realtors. it is more important than ever to learn new ways of doing business and Active Rain along with Localism are great resources for building business. I wonder what the % of agents on active rain that actually contribute and those that are signed up but then do not go any further?

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

You make some excellent points! Since we work at the same firm, you should share this at our next meeting. It's very timely considering the recent fall out from the lending and banking problems! I am also looking forward to a tutorial on Localism in the near future!

Posted by Francie about 1 year ago

Karen That is an excellent distinction. When any agents, new or experienced, treat the profession as a business, it makes all the difference in the world!

Winter WOW!!! That is the most amazing statistic I've heard yet! I hope you ere weathering the downturn in Atlanta!

Mattie Good points and I think i will write a post on the % question you mentioned about Active rain!

Francie As the market, economy and financial sectors continue to decline there will be more that drop out but I think that there will always bee a surplus in our industry! Thank you for commenting and next time, login to your account when you surf active rain!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell, I have already commented on this twice but came back to copy and send the link to a client. It is so well written and congratulations on getting it "featured" great job!

Posted by Michelle Keahey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell this is a wonderfully written article about a situations that is common everywhere! Thanks for making some very good points and i just subscribed to you blog! Hope to read more from you in the future!

Posted by Francie Little (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Francie Thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog. I plan to post more in the future when time allows!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

The numbers don't lie.  After coming from one of the largest real estate firms in Austin, it's a real eye-opener to see the figures on paper. It's very important for clients & consumers to understand quality over quantity. Reputation is key & we've got it!

Although Wal-Mart seems convenient at times, I chose Neiman's any day of the week! I appreciate your blogs!

Posted by Jessica Philpot (Moreland Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell,

You make some excellent points!  There will always be fewer agents doing more work.

 

Posted by Mandy Andrews (Prominent Title, LLC) about 1 year ago

Russell,  I'm back in here only to ask if my info regarding maps was helpful,  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Fairfax Prince William Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (Long & Foster America's #1 Privately Owned Real Estate Co.) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, I spoke with several people at your office who told me about you and your involvement with Active Rain. This looks like a very cool site and I would like to learn more.

I also wanted to comment on the is post. It is unbelievable, the huge number of agents that only do 1 or 2 transactions a year and i have had to deal with several in the last six months who had little knowledge of the market, business protocol and other factors that help with a successful transaction. We all start out new but the problem is that many new agents do not have the back up help and support to be successful. With the market suffering like it is now, there will probably be a major reduction in our agent work force.

Posted by Jennifer about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, I spoke with several people at your office who told me about you and your involvement with Active Rain. This looks like a very cool site and I would like to learn more.

I also wanted to comment on the is post. It is unbelievable, the huge number of agents that only do 1 or 2 transactions a year and i have had to deal with several in the last six months who had little knowledge of the market, business protocol and other factors that help with a successful transaction. We all start out new but the problem is that many new agents do not have the back up help and support to be successful. With the market suffering like it is now, there will probably be a major reduction in our agent work force.

Posted by Jennifer about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, I spoke with several people at your office who told me about you and your involvement with Active Rain. This looks like a very cool site and I would like to learn more.

I also wanted to comment on the is post. It is unbelievable, the huge number of agents that only do 1 or 2 transactions a year and i have had to deal with several in the last six months who had little knowledge of the market, business protocol and other factors that help with a successful transaction. We all start out new but the problem is that many new agents do not have the back up help and support to be successful. With the market suffering like it is now, there will probably be a major reduction in our agent work force.

Posted by Jennifer about 1 year ago

Russell,

That is a well written post that speaks to the thoughts of a number of us making a living providing real estate services in the Austin area. There isn't much more for me to say other than thanks for speaking your mind and indirectly speaking for others.

Sincerely,

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Self (Self Homes Realty) about 1 year ago

Thank you, great reality check on the industry and very uplifting to me

 

Aloha,

Posted by Stephanie Perrault R(S) ABR CC (Quality Real Estate LLC) about 1 year ago

Jessica You have it down perfectly, the quality issue is important in every market form 1st time home buyers to Multimillion dollar mansions. Everyone needs and deserves professional representation!

Mandy Thanks for commenting, you folks in the Title Business have to follow the same ethics and I am glad there are people like you around who are service oriented!

Jennifer many agents and others have to deal with the lack of expertise and often lackadaisical attitude of other agents that do not take our profession as a business!

Jeff I appreciate the compliment, we all have to work together to increase the standards in our industry by making the individual effort ourselves, every day!

Stephanie it is a reality check and it's also good to know that there are others who share the same concerns! Thanks for dropping by!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, great post. Professionalism and results always win. Too many people think anyone can sell real estate so many try but few truly succeed.

Thanks,

Andy Standen

Posted by Andy Standen (Northside Realty) about 1 year ago

Andy, I like your attitude because you are right that so many people think this business is just an easy way to make a quick buck!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Scrolling through your previous blog posts, I found this one and wanted to say that I completely agree. It is always a matter of professionalism that separates us from the herd. I know that we all do our best to maintain business standards above and beyond. Knowledge and service is what puts us ahead of so many competitors. Thank you for an excellent view of the topic! 

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) about 1 year ago

Jeannette Working with you, I KNOW that you are a consummate professional and have a work ethic that is rarely matched by anyone, including me! I think that these principles are what make all of the individuals at our company so outstanding and successful at the same time! Thank you again for reading my blog!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Enjoyed reading your post Russell. I like your analogy of Neiman Marcus versus Wal-Mart.

Posted by Michael Sahlman e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes (www.HomesForVIPs.com - Keller Williams Realty) about 1 year ago

Michael, thanks again for commenting and since we are in the same niche of the market, it really makes sense to our buyers and seller that we have managed to set ourselves apart from the rest of the herd!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

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