Wednesday, February 07, 2007
This story($) from the Wall Street Journal (no, mercifully, not the editorial page again) probably wouldn't be shared save for the related phone call received a short time ago.
Me: Hello.Carlos should probably have read the article by Christopher Galler, a senior vice president of the Minnesota Association of Realtors, in which he suggested "career adjustment" as a reasonable alternative to annoying people over the phone.
Carlos: Hi, is Jennifer there?
Me: No, you have the wrong number.
Carlos: Well, maybe you can help me.
Me: Uh ...
Carlos: My name is Carlos and I'm with Century 21. We just listed a home in your neighborhood and I was wondering if you know of anyone who was in the market for a new home. We have a ...
It's all here in the WSJ story:
Seeking Alternative CareersWow, what a career path - from golf pro to real estate agent to dog trainer.
By JAMES R. HAGERTY and ANJALI ATHAVALEY
Selling homes has turned into a dog-eat-dog business, so Patrick Logue decided to work with some friendlier canines.
Mr. Logue quit his job as a real-estate agent near Fort Myers, Fla., in December. Then he set up shop as a franchisee of the dog-training chain Bark Busters. So far, he says, "I have zero regrets."
The long-awaited shakeout among real-estate agents is finally happening -- much to the relief of those who are sticking with the business and prefer a bit less competition.
When David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, addressed the group's convention in New Orleans in November, he got one of the biggest bursts of applause by predicting there would be fewer Realtors around in a year. Mr. Lereah said in an interview that he expects membership in the trade group to decrease by about 6% to 8% from the record of nearly 1.4 million reached in 2006.
The culling of agent ranks is a reaction to the downturn in housing that started around mid-2005. Sales of previously occupied homes last year declined 8% to 5.7 million, even as the number of agents continued to increase for the year as a whole.
Even before sales slowed, people in the industry said far too many agents were chasing too few deals. If hordes of inexperienced agents are scrapping for business, says Christopher Galler, a senior vice president of the Minnesota Association of Realtors, that can only lead to "a race to the bottom in fees."
More competition on commissions could strike many consumers as a good idea. Mr. Galler argues the result would be poor service. He says more productive agents, who complete 20 or more transactions per year, are better at solving problems than those who do only a few deals annually.
Last fall, Mr. Galler did something all but unthinkable for an official of an association that lives on members' fees: He wrote an article in a Realtor publication suggesting that some struggling agents should ponder whether it is time for a "career adjustment."
Mr. Logue, a 34-year-old former golf pro, became an agent for the Assist-2-Sell franchise chain in the Fort Myers area about three years ago. He says his commission income was nearly $100,000 in his first year and $180,000 in his second. Then it plunged to $40,000 last year. "Nothing was selling," he says.
Having known a few knuckle-head golf pros, it can be stated with a high degree of certainty that Patrick has no idea how silly he looks next to that dog in the Wall Street Journal.
And Carlos, in case you're reading this ... one word for you ... woof!