Today is Drop Dead Day for Many Austin Realtors

by Steve Crossland, REALTOR in Austin TX on December 15, 2008 · 6 comments

Today is the deadline for Austin Realtors to pay annual board dues. It cost $347 to remain in business as an Austin Realtor for 2009. That may not sound like much, but many agents don’t have the money, and they don’t have any listings or active buyers. For some, it’s a very depressing decision to make – stick with it or give up. Many of course do give up, which is probably the best decision.

Looking at the dues I’ve paid into the Austin Board of Realtor and the MLS for 2008, the total is $1,133.50 in ongoing dues and fees. So agents who do pay the $347 due today, will have to cough up another $393.25 in Feb, and that amount again 6 months later.

The thinning out of agents is healthy for our industry. Those who monkey around doing a deal or two a year part time really shouldn’t be practicing real estate, in my opinion. I don’t see how anyone can maintain an appropriate level of expertise and knowledge if they are not in the mix day in and day out, closing sales, dealing with problems, helping people and learning. And that means that the people they do help are not receiving a level of perspective and knowledge that busy, experienced agents can provide.

So, while I don’t wish ill will for anyone, a lot of Austin Realtors won’t pay their dues today, and good riddance to them. They need to go find something they can approach with more passion and success. This business isn’t for everyone. In fact, given the failure rate of Realtors nationwide, year after year, good markets and bad, it’s a business for very few.

Why do so many fail?

For the same reason so many people can’t lose weight. There is NO SECRET to succeeding in real estate. The recipe is simple and easy to follow, just like losing weight. But for reasons I can’t explain, very few actually do what is required. Instead, they try something different, or focus on inconsequential ancillary issues, such as how their business card should look, or what contact management software to use. Meanwhile, they are doing NOTHING to generate leads. This is an amazing thing to witness, but I see it over and over again.

Then, when failure becomes apparent, the blame game starts. “This market is just too tough right now”. Or, “what’s wrong with these buyers? They can’t make a decision”. Or, “I can’t get my sellers to price the home reasonably”. And on and on.

Sylvia and I feel blessed and lucky, but we work really, really hard. And a lot of the hard work is pure grunt work, making phone calls, staying on top of things, talking to past clients, calling FSBOs and Expired listings, previewing homes, attending training and economic functions, networking, prospecting and planning. None of it is easy, but it’s not complicated.

Fairwell fellow agents. Good luck in whatever you do next.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dena Davis December 16, 2008 at 7:56 am

I heard we lost 25% of the board. Is there any way of verifying that number? Does the board let us now how many we lost.

I totally agree with you about the people who are part timers — writing two deals a year. I am so tired these people not filling out the updated contracts. Not understanding the contracts. And not filling out the updated forms. Unfortunately– discount brokers has opened the industry up to a lot of “wanna be” agents who only “wanna be when they feel like it.

2 Steve Crossland December 16, 2008 at 10:54 am

I don’t know what the membership drop has been this year. We’ll know in Jan/Feb after the non-renewals are flushed out. Late fees start today and I’m not sure how long agents have to pay late, perhaps till the end of Dec, before they are officially dropped from ABOR.

Times are tough. I have an agent bugging me to come in person and pick up her commission check for a lease on move-in day. Normally we pay within 10 days and mail the check, but I’ll make an exception this time of year and get it done immediately, in the name of good will and good cheer.

Steve

3 Michael @ The Stage Coach December 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Steve:
One of the most tiring responses I hear when meeting with a homeowner is “My friend/relative is a REALTOR…” It’s a sticky situation for me, and for the owners. Being a friend or a relative does not necessarily qualify that person to handle the sale (or purchase) of a home. But so many people select this route, with out even having a clue if this person can successfully market and sell a home.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that Newbies don’t have a place – all successful REALTORs had to start some where. But if your friend or relative can not respond professionally to simple interview questions, does not have a mentor or other support to mention, and has a marketing plan consisting of “Let’s just list and see what happens”, Why would you trust the sale of [probably] the largest asset in your possession to this person?

So, I’m with you – a little thinning of the herd once in a while is a good thing for all of us involved in the Austin Real Estate Market.

Let’s just hope we’re not taken down by the wolves…

Merry Christmas.
Michael @ The Stage Coach

4 Jim December 17, 2008 at 10:08 am

It’s $1200 a year total, I think, not $347.

Also, they’ll all go work at the mall and crawl back out when the market turns around. We need fundamental changes in the way the real estate business is run.

No part timers, stricter education requirements (a degree, perhaps?) and mandatory apprentice periods like appraisers and inspectors have.

5 Steve Crossland December 17, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Jim,

No, the $347 is the annual ABOR portion. The rest is MLS dues and supra key.

Steve

6 Agentjason December 27, 2008 at 7:57 pm

And as Sylvia’s trainer last year I can support that…she and Steve work their butts off. You’d be lucky in ’09 if you need a Realtor and get to work with them. :-)

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