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Realtor income rises 25%, prepare for wave of new licensees

Realtor income and sales rose in 2012, and despite challenges cited, this news alone will have some considering getting back into real estate, or starting a new career, a potential wave which could be a double edged sword.

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2013 Realtors Member Profile shows incomes up

According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Member Profile which outlines member data from 2012, income and sales are up for Realtors for the second year in a row following nine years of decline, news that will likely lead to a new wave of professionals looking to diversify income or quit job hunting to seek their real estate license.

After all, the median gross income of a Realtor rose 25 percent from $34,900 in 2011 to $43,500 in 2012 is admittedly an attractive stat, and many will jump on the bandwagon, or perhaps return to the bandwagon regardless of any other facts in the report.

Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of Research put the earnings in perspective, noting that “the median Realtor® income had fallen by 35 percent during the housing downturn, but with the help of sustained increases in both home sales and prices, it’s recovered to the highest level since 2006.”

Brokers, experienced Realtors earn more

NAR reports that in 2012, brokers typically earned $54,900 while the median for sales agents was $34,000 and Realtors in the business for 16 years or more earned $57,300. NAR members working 60 hours a week or more earned $85,700, and 21 percent of all members earned a six-figure income.

Sales are up as well, with the number of sides in 2011 averaging 10 per NAR member, up to 12 in 2012.

NAR President Gary Thomas, said the real estate business is cyclical. “Realtors® have some way to go to surpass the peak income recorded back in 2002. Interestingly, the peak wasn’t during the bubble years because there were way too many people in the business,” he said. “To help smooth out the peaks and valleys associated with residential sales, many Realtors® are diversified into related services. As a result, changes in Realtor® income don’t exactly parallel changes in home sales and prices.”

More about members

Most (80 percent) of NAR members focus on residential sales and 73 percent have secondary real estate specialties. Fully 18 percent of residential specialists also offer commercial property management, 17 percent relocation services, 15 percent commercial brokerage, 8 percent counseling, and 7 percent land development. For Realtors® who have other primary specialties, 37 percent listed residential brokerage as a secondary business.

NAR reports the typical Realtor has 13 years of experience, is 57 years old, works 40 hours per week, and 57 percent are women. Half have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 90 percent are homeowners. Under two percent are under 30, and only four percent are between 30 and 34. Only six percent of Realtors surveyed were uncertain they would remain in the business for at least two more years.

Over half of all NAR members are licensed as sales agents, 27 percent are brokers, 18 percent broker associates, and four percent appraisers, some holding more than one license. Only four percent have two or more personal assistants, while 14 percent have one.

Only 39 percent of Realtors hold certifications in specialized training, of which, Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification (SFR) is the most popularly held certification (23 percent) followed by e-Pro (17 percent) and Real Estate Professional Assistant (REPA, at seven percent).

Over one in three Realtors have obtained at least one professional designation with the GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute) as the most popular (21 percent), followed by ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative, 15 percent) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist at 11 percent).

How Realtors now operate

Fully 36 percent of Realtors still do not have their own website, but 94 percent say their firm has a web presence, and 88 percent report to be without a blog, even though 56 percent say they use social media sites. Although it feels like every real estate professional in the country is on every social network and has multiple blogs, that simply isn’t the case, and the industry has a lot of room to grow.

Sixty-eight percent of Realtors are compensated through a split commission arrangement, 18 percent receive all of the commission and another four percent receive a commission plus a share of profits; 10 percent received some other form of compensation.

Most NAR members see no fringe benefits, and while four percent receive health insurance through their firm, a surprising 78 percent are not covered by errors and omissions insurance.

Challenges for Realtors

NAR members continue to report the biggest obstacle to any real estate transaction is obtaining a mortgage (cited by one in three respondents) and tight inventory levels (25 percent report difficulty in finding the right property).

Repeat business accounted for a median 21 percent of activity in 2012 and is higher for those with more experience – for members in the business 16 years or more, repeat business was 40 percent of their activity. Referrals accounted for an additional 21 percent of all business.

Quick facts about Realtors:

  • Realtor median gross income rose from $34,900 in 2011 to $43,500 in 2012
  • Brokers earn $54,900
  • Sales agents earn $34,00
  • Realtors with 16+ years of experience earn $57,300
  • Realtors working 60+ hours per week earn $87,500
  • Realtors average 12 sales per year, up from 10 in 2011
  • Typical Realtor has 13 years of experience
  • Typical Realtor is 57 years old
  • 57% of Realtors are women
  • Half of all Realtors have at least a bachelor’s degree
  • 90% of Realtors own a home
  • Less than 6% of Realtors are under 34
  • Half of all Realtors are sales agents
  • 27% of Realtors are brokers
  • 18% of Realtors are broker associates
  • 36% of Realtors don’t have their own website
  • 88% of Realtors don’t have a blog
  • 44% of Realtors don’t use social media
  • 78% of Realtors aren’t covered by errors and omissions insurance
  • 96% of Realtors do not receive health insurance through their firm
  • One in three Realtors say obtaining a mortgage remains the top obstacle to a transaction
  • 25% of Realtors say the top challenge is finding the right property
  • 21% of Realtors’ sales are from repeat business
  • 21% of Realtors’ sales are from referrals

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Business News

Removing remote work options creates a new caste system

(BUSINESS) Remote work has created a democratization of sorts in the workforce, and companies desperate to nix the options could take a hit.

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Many companies are mandating a return to the office after over a year of allowing employees to work remotely, and, according to a recent study, over half of workers surveyed say they won’t stand for it. As remote work becomes more normalized for all levels of employment, it is crucial that employers retain the option for employees to work in this capacity wherever possible – even if it means employing nontraditional methods.

Harvard Business Review references something called “the democratizing effect of remote work” – the great equalizing that took place during stay-at-home orders nationwide.

In short, this philosophy entails workers having their needs met while continuing to fulfill their contracts of employment. Theoretically, this is a win-win situation.

But employers have their own predilections toward in-house operations, with remote flexibility often being reserved for the highest-ranking officials while “lower” employees are expected to commute. It’s a business model with which we’re exceptionally familiar; why change?

The answer to that question may be employee-driven, as many employees cite a preference for hybrid or remote work environments post-pandemic. “Employees are leaving workplaces that don’t suit their needs anymore,” cites HBR.

Many of those needs are emotional, too. Non-white employees and female employees face a higher level of discrimination in the workplace than their white and/or male counterparts; Black employees, in particular, reported stressful work conditions, with HBR citing that only three percent of Black employees demonstrated an interest in returning to an in-office environment (as opposed to 21 percent of white employees).

Allowing stressed and oppressed employees to work from home can improve their mental health, stress levels, and even their “feelings of belonging at their organization” in the case of Black employees.

Outside of race and gender, the publication also stresses the negative effects that mandating a return after allowing for remote work will have: “Creating a new caste system where elites have anywhere jobs and non-elites are shackled to the office full time is a recipe for high attrition among employees who often have a lot of firm-specific knowledge that is valuable to their employers.”

The less-subtle breakdown is this: If companies that are capable of offering remote work want to retain employees, they need to offer some remote options.

We saw the effects of employees in frontline occupations refusing to show up to work because of poor wages and working conditions earlier this year. It isn’t outside of the realm of feasibility to expect the next major workforce shortage to impact corporations as well.

If the solution is as simple as letting employees work from home a few days per week or permanently (especially if their productivity doesn’t suffer), that’s a pretty small price to pay for continued prosperity.

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Business News

The case for nixing your company happy hour forever

(BUSINESS) Happy hour is designed to bond teams and offer a perk, but the design is outdated to benefit few workers – let’s just get rid of the practice.

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The world of work has forever changed from the pandemic. Melinda Gates hopes that COVID-19 makes society get serious about gender equality. Some people are wondering how many people really want to return to the office at all. There are questions about providing customer service, not to reduce costs to the business, but because shoppers don’t want help in the store.

Let’s tackle another tradition in the office – the happy hour. Wondering if employees really want happy hours? Do they even help?

Why do we even have happy hour?

Happy hour is a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century and the United States Navy. It was originally a weekly entertainment created to alleviate boredom on the U.S.S. Arkansas when sailors were at sea. The practice became popular in the Navy, but over time, the emphasis changed from entertainment to drinking. As drinking became less stigmatized after prohibition, employees began drinking at work and after work. Although happy hours declined in the 1970s and beyond, there was a resurgence in the 2000s.

Why do offices hold happy hour?

Hosting a happy hour is thought to help a team develop positive relationships and encourage employee engagement and productivity. Drink o’clock can be a time of celebration to help employees feel good about the work they’re doing.

Employees can interact with each other outside of the stress of work. It sounds pretty innocent, just getting together at the end of the workday at a local pub or bar, but it comes with a lot of issues.

Is it time to nix the work happy hour?

Happy hour can come with a lot of pressure for employees. Some people believe they have to attend in order to keep moving up in the job, because skipping out can be seen as not being a team player, and many who don’t show up to the “optional” happy hours are also the ones who didn’t get to schmooze with the bosses and thereby are not the ones who get promotions.

This disproportionately hurts women, who typically still have the majority of caregiving tasks in the family and can’t stay out drinking on weeknights.

Transportation issues or flexible schedules don’t lend themselves well to the traditional happy hour after work. And don’t forget the drinking atmosphere doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are many religious, cultural, and personal reasons for people to avoid alcohol, bars, and happy hour functions.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of liability issues for employers. Can your business risk an accident by an employee who went to happy hour and was a little buzzed when they left?

While we’re rethinking workplace traditions in the post-pandemic era, let’s think about how to get employees engaged. Maybe this outdated practice isn’t the best way to build your team anymore.

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Business News

You absolutely don’t need to be a 100% match for a job to apply

(CAREER) Most people believe they should only apply for their dream job if they’re a perfect match, but studies say that’s the wrong approach.

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You don’t need to be a 100 percent match for a job to apply. You just don’t.

We’ve all seen the crazy job postings:

-Must be fluent in Mandarin
-Must be be full-stack coder
-Must also have real estate license
-Must be a rockstar ninja (uuugh)

After seeing endless open positions with specific requirements, it’s no wonder that so many job seekers become discouraged. How can anyone fit 100 percent of the requirements on the job listing? And actually, most people don’t. According to a recent study, you only need to meet ~70 percent of the job requirements to be a good fit for a job.

So you’re telling me a requirement isn’t actually a requirement?!

The study analyzed job postings and resumes for over 6,000 positions across 118 industries, and they found that applicants are just as likely to get an interview whether you meet 50 percent or 90 percent of the requirements.

Crazy, I know. That law of diminishing returns will eff you up.

But what about women? I wondered the same thing. Surprisingly, the interview data was in favor of women that meet less of the requirements. In fact, the study shows that as a female, the likelihood of getting an interview increases if you simply meet 30 percent of the requirements. Also, female applicants are just as likely to get an interview if they meet 40 percent versus 90 percent of the job requirements.

Before you start complaining that women have it better in the job search process, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Interestingly enough, 64 percent of the female users rejected at least one job where they matched 50 – 60 percent of the requirements, while only 37 percent of male users did. This leads us to believe there more implicit factors to take into consideration, like imposter syndrome throughout the interview process.

If you’re a recruiter or employer, this may seem like more work. But in an increasingly competitive job market for both employers and applicants, this presents an opportunity to get to know people for who they actually are, not just on paper. And resumes often do a poor job of reflecting that — especially the ever-important soft skills.

Key takeaways:

As we’ve gone through this study, here are a few practical action items for job seekers:

1. Apply for a lot of jobs to increase your number of interviews.

The study shows that increased interviews are a direct result of increased applications, not just picking and choosing what you think you’re a good fit for. Which brings us to our next point:

2. Go for those “stretch” roles — you never know what may come of it!

Send in a lot of applications, but don’t let that stop you from approaching the process thoughtfully. Recruiters can tell if you’ve skimped on the cover letter or your resume, and a thoughtful approach to the application process will be noticed and appreciated by recruiters, especially for those reach roles.

3. Don’t second-guess yourself.

We’re always our own worst critics, and according to this, we don’t need to be — especially throughout the job application process. Job hunting is stressful enough, so put on your most upbeat playlist (or Beyonce), say your affirmations, and go on with your bad self and start applying!

This story was first published here in December 2018.

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