By: Karishhma Ashwin | May 28, 2021 |
There's this delicious quote Diane Keaton's character utters in Love and Death: "If everybody went to the same restaurant on the same evening and ordered blintzes, there'd be chaos. But they don't."
As anyone who has considered buying or selling their home recently has found out, because the pandemic caused many to put their plans on pause for a year and the Fed lowered interest rates, every buyer is going to the same apps at the same time and wants to buy a house with the same features. It's chaos, and until more inventory comes onto the market, buyers will have to prepare for an epic battle.
Strangely enough, there's another "blintz" moment happening in the real estate industry: again, thanks in part to the pandemic, those workers who had to find new jobs overwhelmingly decided to go for the same job at the same time, and got their real estate license. And somehow, they all believe in the same misconception: they'll all achieve unprecedented success in their very first year on the job.
Kris Lindahl, CEO of Kris Lindahl Real Estate, the largest independent brokerage in the United States, understands this all too well. A bit of a visionary, Lindahl was the first to offer a real estate scholarship program to recruit new agents, removing the barriers to entry that plague his profession. It's paid off, and he's been able to put the right kinds of people in the right seats, and win their loyalty in the process.
Many of these new recruits have, in fact, become high performing agents incredibly quickly. But for some, he worries that unrealistic expectations and get-rich-quick dreams will ultimately cause another problem down the road, with attrition of talent who have what it takes to do quite well, if only they'd put in the time.
"Too many are playing the short game right now," Lindahl explains. "And in many cases, the market is only fueling that. But it's short-sighted. Those who play the long game can get an incredible foothold in this industry right now, and do very well even as the market returns to some form of new normal."
Though brokerages can feel very much like employers at times, every agent is more like a start-up business, and has a lot of choices to make regarding their own marketing and support staff. In general, depending on the industry, startup businesses tend to take a few years to be truly profitable. And though hard working real estate agents often achieve success before that, there's a lot to learn. And no matter how hard an agent works, it just takes years to build up a roster of loyal clients who will give you repeat business. Eventually, the value of a lifelong client will produce opportunities forever.
Unfortunately, that means that many truly talented agents put in the work of getting their license, finding a good fit with a brokerage, and learning the ins and outs of the business, only to quit perhaps six months before they would have really seen the long-term profits of their labor start to accrue.
Lindahl, who started as an agent during the housing crisis (and originally planned on a career in education), has a genuine soft spot for newcomers to his field. "I worry that all of these agents that started at the same time will also leave the business around the same time because their expectations weren't accurate. And I think, for many of them, they'll quit right around the time they would have started to find a home in this industry," he states.
Then again, his brokerage might be relatively safe from the biblical exodus Lindahl foresees elsewhere. As many of his new agents took advantage of the scholarship program after the pandemic forced them out of hospitality jobs, they didn't have the financial burden others did for entry. They also are heavily mentored by seasoned agents, and by Lindahl himself, so they have been encouraged regularly to have a longer-term vision.
But for many brokerages across the country, it could be mass chaos.