A Few Clouds
53°FA Few CloudsFull Forecast

Improving housing market lures would-be brokers

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 4:58 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
A 20-floor high rise condominium being built in downtown Miami. The number of U.S. real estate agents is increasing as the housing market recovers from the Great Recession, according to real estate license applications in 2013.
Caption
(Lynne Sladky)
In this Monday, July 21, 2014 photo, instructor Keith Grandy shows the potential amount of money that could be made in one year in the real estate market, while teaching a class to aspiring real estate agents at the Gold Coast School of Real Estate in Doral, Fla. With cranes sprouting over the Miami skyline and other U.S. cities, students are returning in droves to real estate agent schools, seeing it as a quick way to get rich, or at least make a living. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Caption
(Lynne Sladky)
In this Monday, July 21, 2014 photo, Katherine Sanchez, 34, of Miami, takes notes during a class for real estate agents at the Gold Coast School of Real Estate in Doral, Fla. With cranes sprouting over the Miami skyline and other U.S. cities, students are returning in droves to real estate agent schools, seeing it as a quick way to get rich, or at least make a living. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Caption
(Lynne Sladky)
In this Monday, July 21, 2014 photo, instructor Keith Grandy, left, teaches a class to aspiring real estate agents at the Gold Coast School of Real Estate in Doral, Fla. With cranes sprouting over the Miami skyline and other U.S. cities, students are returning in droves to real estate agent schools, seeing it as a quick way to get rich, or at least make a living. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Caption
(Lynne Sladky)
In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 photo, real estate agent Jovita Martinez, 36, left, talks with homeowner Vilma Cuenca whose home is up for sale in Pinecrest, Fla. Martinez got her license a year ago when she moved from Spain to Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Caption
(Lynne Sladky)
This Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo shows construction cranes at the Brickell City Centre project in downtown Miami. According to real estate license applications in 2013, the number of U.S. real estate agents is increasing as the housing market recovers from the Great Recession. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI – To motivate a classroom packed with 87 aspiring real estate agents, instructor Keith Grandy started off his one-week, intensive course with the promise of big money: With hard work, fresh licensees in the Miami metro area could make $100,000 a year if they complete at least two transactions a month, according to current property prices and commissions.

With 67 condo towers being built in South Florida, a pace not seen since the housing crash of 2007, such a payday seems more than possible to Grandy’s students, despite competition so intense that many of them will leave their new career without completing a single sale.

“If you are aggressive, you can do extremely well,” he said during a break from his class at Gold Coast Schools of Real Estate in Doral, a Miami suburb.

Low interest rates, foreign buyers and a gradual end to the foreclosure crisis are driving the modest turnaround in the nation’s housing market, but there might be no better evidence of it than the number of people hoping to become brokers.

In Florida, where housing prices dropped by about half when the recession hit, the number of applications for real estate licenses has almost doubled from 23,863 in 2010 to 40,901 last year. In California too, the number of people taking the license exams has doubled since 2012, respectively. Even Nevada, another hard-hit state, saw a 23 percent bump in prospective licensees last year.

The National Association of Realtors, which has more than a million brokers, salespeople, appraisers and other real estate professionals among its members, added 42,000 agents to its ranks in 2013, the first increase in seven years.

The workforce in this field tends to expand and contract violently, mirroring the booms and busts that shock the housing market and the economy as a whole.

Gold Coast Schools of Real Estate, which has five South Florida campuses, saw its enrollment fall 70 percent during the housing collapse, director John Greer said. But enrollment was up 20 percent last year, driven by students dazzled by the chance at fat commissions like the kind attached to every deal on TV’s “Million Dollar Listing.”

“The income is going to be great and I’m going to have my own schedule,” said Katherine Sanchez, a 34-year-old nutritionist and a student in Grandy’s class.

One reason many turn to real estate is that it’s not a difficult field to enter: while each state has different requirements, it generally takes little time and money to get a license. On average, Gold Coast students spend two months preparing for the Florida sales associate exam and spend less than $1,000 in tuition and licensing fees.

It can be done even faster. Students in Grandy’s crash course cram 575 pages in one week before taking the state exam, which tests their knowledge of real estate law, practice and procedures, and math. Florida says 51 percent of students pass on their first try.

But selling real estate is a difficult job with long hours. Studies show that most new agents quit with no or few sales. The Realtors association said the median gross annual income of its broker and sales agent members nationally was $47,700 in 2013, up from $43,500 in 2012.

Jovita Martínez, 36, who got her license a year ago, said she earned about $20,000 working full time, often seven days a week. She turned to real estate when she found herself unemployed after she married a U.S. citizen and moved from Spain to Miami. Soon after getting her license, she realized the business is not as easy as she expected.

“It is hard because I am not from Miami and do not know anybody out of the circle of my husband,” she said.

Still, Martínez said her clientele is growing and she enjoys her new job. A social worker in Spain, she likes being self-employed.

“Either you sell or you don’t make money. As simple as that,” she said.

Previous Page|1|2|Next Page

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Northwest Herald.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Reader Poll

How do you support breast cancer awareness?
Donate money
Register for a run
Wear a pink ribbon or other apparel
Other
I don't