The job of a realtor isn’t much fun these days, what with delinquencies on the rise, home prices continuing to fall and even stricter regulations on the way.
And so you could be forgiven for thinking that those attending last weekend’s National Association of Realtors convention would be in a pretty sour mood.
But as it happened, those who showed up were surprisingly optimistic.
Matt Cohen from Minneapolis was one of those in attendance. His job is a more technical one, handling realtor’s listings services.
“We have to try and be positive rather than getting down about things,” he says. “We have to try and make things better.”
And Cohen knows full well how tough times have been on realtors recently. According to him, in some markets the number of realtors without a transaction to their name over the last year is between 45% and 60%!
There simply aren’t enough listings for everyone. What’s more, with prices dropping, commissions are dropping too, making today’s markets extremely difficult for all concerned.
Cohen was glad of the opportunity to meet up with his fellow realtors in these difficult days. As he put it, “We can’t change what’s happening in these meetings, but we can discuss the challenges and the realtor community can help each other out. And doing so feels wonderful.”
Tammie Tucker was another realtor in attendance. She actually tweeted the highlights from the convention so her colleagues back in Springfield, Missouri, could keep up with the news.
She explained that while the market in Springfield hasn’t been as slow as many others, “It’s still the toughest I’ve seen in 22 years of being in this business.”
Like other markets, many realtors have left hers because of the downturn.
According to the NAR, they have lost 21% of their members since the bubble burst five years ago, with numbers now down to just 1.06 million.
But the ones who remain are working hard to improve things, and they remain optimistic about the future.
“Things are improving slowly,” says Tucker.
During the convention, the realtors’ association president Ron Phipps spoke about how he was coping with the stress they were all under.
“Like me, there are lots of us who go out jogging every day. I do a lot of swimming too.”
He pointed out that one of the particular difficulties realtors faced was that they have to deal with families that are facing similar challenges.
“And it’s our job to make things better, which can be incredibly stressful.”
Phipps said that realtors were coming up with many different ways of dealing with their stress. For this year’s convention, the NAR offered yoga classes for its members.