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Who would be a real estate agent in this market?

Media Release
2 September 2008

Who in the bloody hell would be a real estate agent in this market?

Despite media reports suggesting real estate agents are leaving the industry in “droves,” real estate agencies are still recruiting, with hundreds of job openings around the country, including Auckland.

So who in the bloody hell would want to be a real estate agent in this market?

Plenty of people, including rookie agent Felicity Scott of Bayleys Central Auckland office who has been in the business six months and sold over $ 6.5 million in real estate, with properties ranging from $320,000 to $4,250,000. Ms Scott says her business degree, prior experience in sales and marketing and property investing has helped her succeed.
“Despite the downturn I have found the career transition straightforward. I have a lot of experience working with people, and have also owned 12 houses in Auckland and Northland in recent years. I sold a lot of those myself, so I understand the needs of people buying and selling homes, and I listen and learn about each vendor’s priorities,” Ms Scott says.
“Beyond that, it’s a combination of a strong company brand and a lot of enthusiasm that gives me an edge. I believe these aren’t difficult times, they’re just challenging times, and I love a challenge,” she says.

While residential real estate has made headlines with sales down by half around the country, and the Real Estate Institute reporting 1,636 people leaving the industry between December and June, it may seem harder to make a living as a real estate agent.

However, Murray Cleland, National President of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, says good salespeople can do well in any market.

“Some of the industry’s most senior salespeople have seen downturns come and go and are successful regardless. Despite the residential downturn there is a lot to be said for entering the industry now, as those who do are likely to be realistic, dogged and have a strong will to succeed, and be in position to benefit when the market recovers,” he says.

Bayleys is hiring in Auckland and beyond, recently sending recruiting and training experts to assist franchise owners seeking new staff at many of its 60 offices around the country.

“We are gearing up for an increase in staff rather than the opposite,” says Bayleys General Manager David Poole.

“We just are not seeing the kind of staff losses being reported in the media. Our sales induction courses are as full as ever, and 75% of our new recruits are from other real estate companies. It’s great that we are attracting so many new people and I believe it’s the strength of the brand and our training programmes that is drawing them.”

“Vendors also are looking for that brand strength and good salespeople with a strong brand behind them are in demand,” Mr Poole said.

“Residential vendors are competing for a reduced number of buyers. Excellent marketing that lifts a vendor’s property above the competition is something Bayleys has been widely recognized for 20 years. We are a market leader and in this market it helps our sales people secure new listings.”

Research backs this up – Vendors saying they will “definitely” list with a real estate agent was up to 41% from 35 % last year. The percentage of homeowners wanting to sell privately has plummeted to just 14%, compared to 50% last year, according to a recent Nielsen Online study.

So what type of person makes it in real estate sales? Shayne Thompson, Bayleys national training manager, says he has seen people from a variety of backgrounds succeed -- former police and military people, sports figures, airline cabin crew members, farmers, bankers, stock agents, and more.

“We look for honesty, integrity, self motivation and interest in property. If a person has good people skills but hasn’t done sales before, we can up-skill them through our sales training programme,” Mr Thompson says.

“Good salespeople can support a family and top salespeople earn six figures and up a year. It doesn’t necessarily take a long time to get there, either. Many salespeople hit the multi-million dollar mark in sales transactions their first year,” Mr Thompson says.


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