Why are California real estate agents being forgotten? In all the multi-billion dollar bailouts and media and political attention being paid to homeowners during this housing-fueled recession, what happened to real estate agents? We understand and empathize with the pain homeowners are going through these days, but agents are hurting as well. Who’s standing up for them?
In July, the California unemployment rate grew to over 12.6% — a number which doesn’t even include real estate agents. Where’s the California real estate news about agents? Commission-based real estate agents can’t collect unemployment because they are independent contractors and so are rarely included in official jobless numbers. How many real estate agents are collecting unemployment? How many real estate agents can’t afford health care?
The fact of the matter is that the health of the real estate profession should be a priority for the government and the media. The economy will never completely recover until the real estate sector is back at work – and that includes agents, mortgage brokers, appraisers, home builders and others. It’s estimated that California alone lost 1.3 million real estate industry jobs since the property bubble burst. Is it any wonder we have the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation?
With the formation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) consumers now have an advocate to protect them. But who has the agents’ best interests at heart? Should the California Department of Real Estate be more aggressive in protecting agents and helping them deal with the current market? If not, where should the agent turn when times are tough?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many good answers. Enhancing your skills and gaining additional credentials through continuing professional education can help but it costs money in the short term and takes the agent away from doing what they need to do to make money – sell houses.
What are some other options? How have you managed to survive, or even thrive, in these tough times? Since no organization seems to be taking up the charge to help protect agents, real estate professionals need to lean on each other. How can you help a fellow agent? Or is the market so tough right now that it’s survival of the fittest?
Please share your thoughts with us.