The fallout from the mortgage meltdown and housing crisis across the country has not left the Puget Sound real estate industry unscathed. Even though many articles, “experts” (yes, I was one of them) and prognosticators thought our local economy was too resilient to undergo a housing correction, here we are.
A t first it was just a slow down in business…numbers, which were inflated in many ways. Agents jumping into the business with no experience but still managing to sell several homes a year for a better than average income. This is what the industry held for many who entered the real estate profession with stars in their eyes (some would say dollar signs) within the last 5 years. Have a pulse? Fog a mirror? You could probably manage to sell a home or two because chances were you knew someone personally who was willing to trust you to handle their real estate transaction.
Experience….who needed it? Knowledge…the market was going up, how could anyone lose? We were riding a wave we never thought could crash.
A recent article in the Seattle PI, entitled “Real Estate Workers Feel Industry’s Pain” tells the story of several local real estate agents who are facing tough choices and tough decisions right now. Stay in the business, get a part-time job or bail. But this slowdown has affected many more than just real estate professionals. Title companies, mortgage bankers, loan processors, home inspectors, appraisers, handymen….the fallout is wide and it is deep.
And although it doesn’t hurt to watch those who haven’t really “paid their dues” leave the industry (afterall they really never put much effort into succeeding in the first place), hearing about some long time veterans who are unable or unwilling to adapt to a changing market is really tough to see.
Someone told me once, and I believe it is very true….a career in real estate can be one of the hardest high paying jobs there is, or one of the easiest low paying jobs.
It’s a choice…now more than ever.
If anyone thinks most Realtors today aren’t working their tails off for every dime they make, then I’d encourage you to spend a week in my shoes. How about a few days?
As I watch many of my colleagues and friends struggle to stay in an industry they love and others leave the business entirely, I wonder what will happen when the real estate market in the Puget Sound comes back. Many of us will have made it to the other side, but many others will not. I wonder how many of those who have been scarred by these times will be once again tempted to dip into the “easy money” again?
And when that time comes, I wonder how will I feel about it?