Is it Still A Good Time To Become a Realtor?
by R. Asmerom
When Kim Kendrick got her real estate license in 2005, real estate was still synonymous with wealth, progress, and security. Today, those two words stir up quite the opposite sentiment.
The recession, after all, was told largely through the eyes of homeowners who had lost their homes, savings and sense of pride. News of foreclosures have far overtaken the hype of real estate jackpots that colored the market news earlier in the decade. The turn of events, however, hasn’t changed Kendrick’s approach to her work. “2009 was a great year for us,” she said, of the realty business The Kendrick Group she runs with her business partner Kimberly S. Ruley. “The tax credit really helped a lot of people out there achieve home ownership.”
Based in the Philadelphia area, Kendrick contends that one sure thing about real estate is that it is much more nuanced that what it seems. “Real Estate is very much local, ” she said. “So what’s happening on the West Coast may not necessarily be the same thing that’s happening in the middle of our country as what’s happening here on the East Coast,” she said. “Locally, here in Philadelphia, there is a high inventory of houses but there are also a lot of qualified buyers and a lot of buyers who took advantage of the tax credit.”
The Kendrick Group represents itself online through the aptly titled website JustStartPacking.com and are licensed through the brokerage firm, Keller Williams Realty. Although their website, social media presence and farming activities (distribution of flyers) account for a portion of their marketing success, 95 percent of their business is generated via referrals, mainly due to their neighborhood specialization. “We primarily focus in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia because we live in Overbrook,” said Kendrick. “We know the difference from block to block to block and we also belong to the organizations in the area so that we know what’s happening in the neighborhood and we know what’s coming up.”
Audrey Edwards, a Brooklyn-based real estate broker with Brown Harris Stevens certainly doesn’t worry that the market will slow things down for real estate’s deal makers ” I think anytime is good to go into real estate if you have a passion for it,” she said. “There’s always people buying, selling,and who are always active.”
Edwards has been in real estate for over thirty years. Having worked as an editor for Essence, Black Enterprise, and More magazine, she found that real estate provided a more lucrative career choice. “I sold my first property in the village in 1979 and I made more money on that one little transaction than I knew I’d ever make in one deal had I stayed at Essence at the time,” she said. “It was a great job but real estate was a great business.”
Although New York has fared better than other real estate markets, she said that her business did suffer a bit in the last few years due to the economy. Nevertheless, as one of the capitals of the world, the real estate slowdown is not enough to halt business. “New York is a strong market because it’s a big international city,” she said. “There are always people moving here. It’s an exciting place for people with money to live.”
Part of her re-adjustment to the changing economic landscape involved transitioning from an independent broker to aligning with a larger firm. She joined Brown Harris Stevens in 2008 after many successful years as an independent broker in order to maximize her marketing capacities and extend her reach.
“As an independent, it was just not possible for me to compete like I once did,” she said. “The internet became a huge factor in how real estate gets marketed and a company like Brown Harris Stevens was on the cutting edge in terms of the latest technology when it comes to marketing properties so it made sense to align with a big company.”
It’s safe to say that the number of people applying for their real estate licenses have probably gone down in the last year or two but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the real estate sector are expected to increase by 14 percent in the next eight years. Good news for those who were pessimistic about the buoyancy of that market and for those investing their careers in it.