2013 has been a stellar year for the Arizona economy, especially for homeowners. This spring marked the start of a positive equity position for many valley residents after years of depreciation and high unemployment rates. Media hype and frantic speculation has ensued, of course. Of course. From CNN to the sudden increase in "for sale" signs creating buzz among the manicured desert communities of Phoenix. It's totally inescapable.
But there is this one topic that I haven't seen anyone, anywhere covering. Something my phone has been popping off with at all hours of the day for months.
The rising rates of aspiring and newly licensed Real Estate agents.
I want to share with you a figure I found to be staggering when I tallied it up. Since Valentines Day I have had nine (9) separate, unrelated individuals reach out to me hoping to pick my brain about becoming a Realtor. Nine.
When I sat back and counted it out I could only be faced with two conclusions. Either I am admired greatly (I hope it's this) or everyone thinks things are looking up, and it's time to jump in and get a slice of the action. I think I might be admired, maybe even greatly by some, but the truth is that most people have forgotten the lessons doled out by the great recession. After the peak of home prices in 2006, new licenses issued reached their own peak in 2007. The subsequent fall of the housing industry began that very same year bringing all the fly by night agents right back out of the field. In the era of fast appreciation and dirty deals, not much respect got paid to the Realtor profession itself. Those of us still standing through the bottom of this recession are better for it overall, but it's been tough times, and it's still not over yet.
Now, I have to admit, this has been a really, truly flattering sequence of appointment requests these last 9 months. But what might have served as an ego boost has really got me really churning lately. Like an irritable and uneasy churning. The first couple of invitations to meet up were far more exciting than the last one. And while I am a big believer in an open market, in sharing with others and that the universe has enough success and goodness to go around, I haven't been feelin' it- at all. So what gives?
I'm not a scarcity freak, I'm an abundance freak.
My waning excitement to meet with people looking for guidance is not personal(*with exception). I usually don't have a hard time combining my desires to be positive, honest and get to know people better by meeting up and exchanging ideas and information. But lately, I find myself hiding winced expressions between latte sips as I listen to the friends and clients who have sought my advice. Their starry eyed optimism on display in the dim lights of the coffee shop make me sort of, well, uncomfortable. For a moment I wondered if it was insecurity or nasty negativity that was causing the discomfort. I gut checked myself. Nope. I've been trying to shake it for a couple of months now. And today I woke up and could finally put my finger on why I've having a hard time being the kind of genuine and caring mentor others deserve to lean on.
Competition among my established peers has become fiercer than ever. The tastes of the buyers and sellers of today are shifting at a breakneck pace. Emotionally charged purchases and sales are still the name of the game with our recovery being in it's emerging stages. Most folks are still financially squeezing themselves into and out of homes and most deals border on dicey up until escrow closes. Consumer expectations are all over the board thanks to the web, television media and really, grossly out of touch agents who do a bad job. Here's more staggering data:
Over 90% of newly licensed Real Estate agents will not make it to their 2nd anniversary in the business. This is a higher failure rate than the restaurant industry. Crazier still: Only 10% of Realtors make 90% of the dough earned, every single year.
What I do for a living is not easy, at all. I wouldn't just say it's not for everyone, it's not for most people who think it is. It takes many years to harness an appropriate level of mastery over both the technical and business aspects of a career in Real Estate. I am far from the summit, or having arrived at my goals. I wake up every single day unemployed, sans salary or health benefits. I spend money long before I make it. It has taken more discipline and self growth than I ever imagined it could, just to stay in the game for these years. I have lost sleep, shed many tears, experienced heartache and betrayal (wow, intense, right?). I deeply enjoy my business and I love my clients and the team of associates I work among, but some days- many days, I have a mountain of tasks to complete and hurdles to overcome before I even put on any mascara.
The lifestyle serving a career, serving a lifestyle cycle is a carefully choreographed dance that I step to every single day. Whether I want to or not. I have to work when it's time to work, not whenever I feel like it. It's very far from the work at home fantasy that many believe it is. I have busted my butt and persevered through much adversity to get as far as I have today. I know the kind of work I do doesn't ever have a completion date, or an end.
But, I like the sharing that happens when I meet with people. I like it a whole lot & I don't want to stop. The spiritual gain far outweighs the time and effort required. It's a a big picture win-win and it's totally my style. And I'm going to remain open to these opportunities to offer advice and network with other aspiring professionals. Shoot, I've even been toying around with the idea of offering a menu of fees for consulting. Kind of brave, but I love the coaching aspect of my job so much, it sparked my entrepreneurial sensibilities.
So I've made up my mind to change. No more cringing, no more wincing behind twenty ounces of caffeine in a cardboard cup.
After today I'm going to push through the discomfort and be less worried about being upbeat. I trust that I am an inherently positive person, and know that when I see the big dreams and hopes on display that don't align with either the reality of Real Estate or their personal lives, it's my opportunity to relay more about my own struggles, the pains and mistakes and the challenges. Sometimes discouragement is what is on order, and I need to be true to that and deliver it. Turns out the discomfort I've been bothered by is actually my calling to connect more deeply instead of do the sales job thing that Real Estate agents tend to do. The very traits that I find so deplorable in sales people is what I was struggling with all along. I don't need to sell anything, I just need to be me and share- the rest will line up as it needs to, as it always does.
Tell me what you think. How many relatives, friends or people do you know are Realtors? Have you noticed that people around you are talking about, or in the process of being agents more now than in years prior? Would you prefer the sharp truth or the upbeat cheerleading approach to your new venture if you were aiming for a Realtor title?
To all of you out there on the path, may the force be with you. You deserve and need it. I am always here to help and chat with. If I ever develop an agent consulting branch of business, I'll keep ya'll posted. For now it's just in the back of my mind.
And to you reading this. Thank you. Thanks for being a safe place for me to air out everything in my head, and for reading & following. I tend to run looooong at thought and when I write. I promise it'll only get better(and shorter)!