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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

Business News

Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace

(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?

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Ageism void

Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.

Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.

How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?

It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.

  1. Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
  2. Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
  3. Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.

Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.

What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?

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Business News

AI-generated content is against Google’s guidelines, so what now?

(BUSINESS) Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, says that AI-generated content is against webmaster guidelines. What does mean for content strategy?

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Google homepage on computer representing AI-generated content.

John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, stated that AI-generated content is against Google’s webmaster guidelines in a weekly online question and answer session.

Let’s review what that means for you and your content strategy going forward.

First of all, what is AI Generated Content?

Simply put, Medium defines it as

“[a]utomatically generated or Auto-Generated content is content that’s been created with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools.”

Tools like writesonic or jasper are examples of AI content creation tools made to create content for a blog, social media, etc. If you check these websites, you will find that Google is listed as one of the many companies that use their services.

So, Google can use it but others will be penalized for using it. Can Google recognize when a user takes advantage of AI-generated content services for use on the web?

In the video Q&A, Mueller doesn’t confirm or deny whether or not Google is capable of recognizing AI-generated content. He is quoted as stating,

“I can’t claim that. But for us, if we see that something is automatically generated, then the webspam team can take action on that.”

After countless searches about the Google webspam team and what actions they can take, it’s not immediately clear, but what seems to be the consensus is that it could negatively impact Google rankings and SEO.

What can you do?

If you are already using AI-generated content, the first thing to consider is do you need to do most of the heavy lifting or are you using it to generate ideas or a starting point? If you’re using it to fully write your next blog post, you need to reconsider this position and be sure to have a human add personal touches to your online content.

According to Mueller, using AI-generated content in ANY capacity is considered unacceptable. He states,

“[c]urrently it’s all against the webmaster guidelines. So, from our point of view, if we were to run across something like that, if the webspam team were to see it, they would see it as spam.”

Your best bet is to keep doing it yourself because right now Google has all the power over search and rankings. At least, until something changes.

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Business News

Social media and depression go hand-in-hand, studies show

(BUSINESS) Maybe this won’t come as a surprise, but the statistics sure are telling- having depression and social media usage are linked.

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Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found evidence of a link between depression and social media use. Many studies have attempted to show that social media use can be detrimental to your mental health, but the parameters of these studies are often limited in scope or were unrealistic situations. The UPenn study collected usage data tracked by the phone rather than relying on self-reporting.

Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt, the author of the published study, says the bottom line is: “Using less social media than you normally would lead to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

It should be noted that the study participants were college students who were randomly assigned to either use social media as they normally would or be in the experimental group that limited time on the three most popular platforms, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Hunt doesn’t believe that it’s realistic not to use social networks at all, but it is important to find a way to manage your use to avoid negative effects.

Depression is a serious problem for Americans, but is social media responsible?

The CDC reported that between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of Americans over the age of 20 experienced depression in a 2-week period. About 80% of these people had difficulty with daily activities due to depression. However, “over a 10-year period, from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, the percentage of adults with depression did not change significantly.” On the other hand, social network use increased exponentially during this time.

There have been other studies that link social media use and depression. It might be that the more platforms accessed increase the risk for depression. Another study found that it was the way people used social media that increased depression. Using it to compare yourself to others or feeling addicted to social media increased the feelings of depression.

But it’s unknown whether depression or social media use came first. Studies haven’t quite agreed on whether it exacerbates existing problems, or creates them.

How should we approach social media use?

Another report suggests that Facebook knew from the start that they were creating addictions. The people closest to tech believe that there are inherent risks for their children to be on social media. Scary? It should make you think about how and why you use tech.

If you find yourself having negative feelings after using social networks, consider limiting the amount of time you spend on those platforms. Get out and connect with others. Relationships can often reduce the risk of depression. Get involved in your community. It’s important to find balance in using social media and having connections with others. Spend time on what makes you feel better about your life.

There are still a lot of questions about how social networks and technologies affect society. In the meantime, pay attention to how you use these sites and be conscious of not getting sucked into the comparison trap.

If you are depressed and lonely, there is help available, and we ask you to make that difficult step and reach out – call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. You can also visit their website to find your local NAMI.

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