January is a time for people to make resolutions and promises to lose weight, exercise more or find a better job. For many years, I was not only a real estate agent but a local and national real estate instructor as well—just for the fun of teaching and travel. I was pretty great at teaching and earned the "Distinguished Real Estate Instructor" or DREI designation for my national classes. One of the reasons students liked me was that I was blunt, honest and funny. So when I looked out at a sea of 80 deer-in-the-headlight faces of wannabe real estate agents, I'd smile and give them the truth about a career in real estate.
The owner of Stringham School, where I taught, collected years of data about students. He believed that anyone looking to be an agent was in a personal crossroads in their life and looking for a major change. He found that students would most likely (96 percent chance) pass the test to get a state license, but would not likely end up having a full-time career in the business. "Only 20 percent of those that graduate will work in real estate for more than 18 months," he writes. "Of those that stay in the field, less than 10 percent will make more than $40,000 per year (with no insurance, no retirement and no income taxes taken out of that figure). And, of that 10 percent, half will file some form of personal bankruptcy during the first five years of their career because they have no idea of how to be self-employed."
There are about 7,000 licensed real estate agents in the Salt Lake Board of Realtors right now and most are part-time independent contractors.
The highest sale of a Salt Lake City home in 2016 reported on the Wasatch Regional MLS was for $8,200,000 in Holladay by two Summit Sotheby agents, Kerry Oman and Thomas Wright. The home built in 2011 on 2.79 acres had 18,453 square-feet with four bedrooms and nine bathrooms, a pool and a five-car garage. In Summit County, the highest sale reported was in December for $10,980,000 of a 1-year-old home with 20,309 square-feet, eight bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a nine-car garage on 6.8 acres by Engel & Volker agents Paul Benson and Marcus Wood.
The national data isn't out yet for top agents of 2016. But in 2015, the two TV stars of Million Dollar Listing New York (Fredrik Eklund and Ryan Serhant) were battling for the title of No. 1 broker in the entire U.S. However, the title is still disputed a year later.