Newcomers to real estate business see a market that’s poised to come back – The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Newcomers to real estate business see a market that’s poised to come back – The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Wed, 5 Aug 09 (mdmrealdeal) Photo by Mike MAPLE Story on new real estate agents going through orientation at Memphis Area Association of Realtors. Beverly Sharpe, 49, and her son, Justin Sharpe, 25, are first timers. PHONE 674-5011.Beverly Sharpe has followed her son, Justin, into real estate sales. "It's just an open market for me to get involved," she says of her decision. Here, the Sharpes attend an orientation for new agents sponsored by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. (Photo by: Mike Maple, The Commercial Appeal)

By Don Wade, Memphis Commercial Appeal


Thursday, August 6, 2009


On Tuesday, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors released its sales report for June, which showed an 18.5 percent decrease in sales when compared to June 2008.


On Wednesday, about two dozen new real estate agents gathered at MAAR’s offices on Poplar for an orientation.


Logical question: Why would anyone get into the real estate business now?


“I always think it’s good to get into things at the downturn, so you’re positioned when things come back,” said Casey Moore, 39, who works for Banyan Tree Realtors in Collierville, and who is also a pilot.


“It’s sorta like the stock market, even though that doesn’t always work out.”


Based on a review of MAAR’s membership, four years after agents join the organization, only half still hold a Tennessee real estate license. After six years, only a third still do.


But it’s the transient nature of the industry that some newcomers believe


affords opportunity.


“My thought is a lot of agents have gone on to other jobs,” said Beverly Sharpe, 49, who has followed her 25-year-old son, Justin Sharpe, into the business; both work for Crye-Leike.


“It’s an open market for me to get involved,” she continued. “And the market always comes back.”


Justin has been in the business for about a year.


“I didn’t make a dollar the first six months,” he said. “And now I’m doing well, sold about $2 million.”


To be sure, it is a different industry than it was even a few years ago. The Internet in general and social networking sites in particular have revolutionized the way agents do business and the way the public approaches the purchase of a house.


“Realtors are no longer the first point of contact for people buying a home,” said MAAR president Jon Albright, adding the new agents would be wise to find an experienced Realtor to provide some guidance.


“It’s critical to get with a mentor,” Albright said.


New agent Robin Benson, 28, is back in Memphis after earning engineering and math degrees in the Northeast, working as an electrical engineer at a Connecticut power plant, and earning her MBA in France.


She is now mining the Hutchison School alumni database for old friends who might prove valuable contacts.


“In the end, I found out I’d rather work for myself,” she said of her career switch. “It’s that drive, that excitement.”


And it is that part of the equation that MAAR executive vice president Jules Wade says hasn’t changed in real estate.


“You set your own goals and work as hard as you want,” he said. “It definitely takes that entrepreneurial spirit to succeed.”


— Don Wade: 529-2358


Agents come and go


Two years after joining the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, two-thirds of new members still held an active Tennessee real estate license.


Four years after joining MAAR, half still held an active state license.


Six years after joining MAAR, one-third still held an active state license.