Thinning the Herd

Dozens of articles predict NARs agent count to drop by nearly a million agents.  Music to my ears, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg that ultimately sinks NAR.  So, let’s forget NAR and focus on what our agent Community looks like going forward. 

People in the know predict the death of the part-time agent.  They see a future with less commission money being available and draw the conclusion part-timers will leave the industry as a result.  I don’t think these people have much experience with part-time agents. 

Wynd Realty was founded as “Atlanta Leading Part-time Agent Advocate”.  Our original $9.95 monthly fee was specifically set for part-timers.  We have openly promoted a real estate license as the ultimate gig economy user tool.   We love part-time agents.

The prognosticators totally miss the motivation factor of the part-time agent.  As the name implies “part-time” agents also work part-time elsewhere.  Meaning they have other streams of income.  I don’t know any agents who do nothing else other than “part-time” real estate. 

Wynd Realty has years of experience working with hundreds of agents who earn between $8K – $25K a year on a part-time basis.  Would any of those agents change or alter what they would do if those commission amounts were $4K – $15K?  No, they wouldn’t.  It’s still a revenue stream worth pursuing.  And to the part-timer—it still represents low hanging fruit. 

As long as you can get a real estate license for a couple hundred bucks with little to no effort, the percentage of part-timers in our industry won’t change.  For all of NAR’s braggadocio of being the saviors of our industry, their greed for membership numbers lowered the agent entry requirements to practically nothing.   Over the years we have had a few agents who couldn’t speak, read, or write English, but yet somehow passed the test? 

Whatever changes are coming won’t alter the statistical reality of the 80/20 rule.  Part-timers will always represent the lower number, but as a collective, they aren’t going anywhere. 

That said, the sheer volume of real estate sales dictates a full-time professional workforce.   I have read, to sell between 5M – 7M homes a year a nationwide sales force of around 250 thousand agents would be required.  Imagine that, if NAR loses 1M agents, we will still have what we need. 

Here is the interesting part: the median age of a realtor in the United States is 60 years of age.   In terms of birth-age, that’s not old.  But in terms of integrating into today’s consumer markets and trends, it’s dinosaur-like.       

Franchise real estate is a Baby Boomer creation.  Older agents love franchises.  But for many others, the recent DOJ ruling on Buyer’s commissions acts as the official closing of the “open bar” that was, and still is, the national franchise system.    With less and less Buyer’s agent commission money available to be spread around to friends and other agents, look for the Boomers to drop out of our industry like leaves in November.  This will create both a huge void in our industry and a tremendous opportunity for those who wish to carve their own niche.   For the first time in forever, Boomers won’t be involved in whatever happens next.    

A new era of real estate is before us.  The next generation of the Garry Keller-Dave Liniger–Barbara Corcoran—types has yet to be identified.  

It may take another year or so, but throughout 2024 expect to see a changing demographic in our agent community.  There will be fewer agents and they will most definitely be younger.    And from that simple fact alone, it should tell you things are going to be very different.  Finally.  

Interesting Sidebar

Ex-Realtors are a large part of the upcoming “Silver Tsunami”.  The greatest transfer of wealth the world has ever seen.  Will ex-Realtors, who made their living from other people’s nest-eggs, be so generous when it comes time for them to downsize?  The money realized from that final home sale will have to last the rest of one’s life.  Having the money to live, or having money to share with an agent you don’t know is a tough call for ex-Realtors.  For years they said paying the Buyer’s agent 3% was a good idea.   Well … that was then.

You know who else doesn’t think paying Buyer’s agents a 3% commission is a good idea: the next generations of heirs.

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