As of June 2014, there were over one million real estate agents in the United States alone! And that number has been increasing. One major reason for this is the fact that real estate business appears very easy to get into, especially for those who seek alternate sources of income, as well as those having difficulty having or keeping a job.
It’s tough enough being in a very competitive profession where the number of qualified personnel far outnumber the number of available spaces (other professionals). This is one major reason why many people are applying for and obtaining licenses to become real estate agents, a profession that has become a bailout for many. You can actually become a licensed agent in less than one month, or up to a few months depending on the state and the institution you applied through.
The Under-Employment And Unemployment Conundrum
For perspectives, let’s consider the statistics released by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012. For the position of Computer and Information Research Scientists, NCES data indicates that 145,924 computer science and engineering degrees were awarded, 66,014 masters degree awarded, and 10,554 Ph.Ds awarded in this particular discipline, but according to BLS’s most recent data, only 16,700 people were employed in that field. Then wait for this, it is projected that by the year 2022, only an additional 4,100 openings are projected to be available. What happens with the rest?!
Like in several other competitive professions, many of these are applying for licenses to become estate agents.
To analyze the pros and cons of the high number of realtors, first we need to understand other reasons why the number of estate agents keep increasing. Then we’ll be able to weigh the consequences of the phenomenon.
1). The requirements for becoming a real estate agent isn’t set in stones. Nationally. In fact, there are different rules and guidelines as we move from state to state. You could obtain a license as a realtor in as little as three weeks, or a few months depending on the state you’re applying in.
2). The opportunity to work on a part-time basis also contributes to the increasing number of realtors. This is easy to understand because people are constantly looking for avenues to augment their incomes.
3). There are many platforms to get a real estate agent’s license. Asides physically sitting for a qualification exam, failure at one doesn’t stop you sitting for another qualifying exam somewhere else. There are even several institutions that offer online courses and exams by which one can write, pass, and obtain license as a realtor.
4). A realtor’s job appears to be easy. I mean, come to think of it, realtors appear not to do much, and this may explain to a large extent the affinity which many have for becoming one.
Disadvantages Of High Number Of Realtors
The peak period for estate agents in the US was during the bubble of 2008. Then, there were about 542,267 brokers and sales licensees in California alone. Though this figure has since reduced to about 403,842 as of today. This may indicate that there is a correlation between, high number of estate agents and a bubble market. In other words, though preponderance of agents may on one hand help to bring down prices. On the other hand, it may be due to an inflated market.
Second, due to the seeming ease to become a licensed agent, many subtle attributes that distinguish good and bad agents might take too late to realize, thereby leaving many clients with a bitter taste. Though being a part-time agent is enticing, the clients are the ones who really bear the brunt due to missed and delayed schedules, missed calls and deadlines, lack of passion (due to circumstances that made them agents, that is, none availability of preferred jobs) etc.
The Advantages of Having A High Number of Realtors
> It improves services, performance and ultimately allows the buyers to get a good deal
> In California alone, there are more than 400,000 estate agents and brokers, if taken as a single profession, this is far more than many other professions, thereby providing employment to many who would otherwise be unemployed.
> It also provides means for part-time employment by which many people augment their incomes.