RRE: What it takes to make it as a real estate agent through thick … – The Business Journals

New homes being built in a subdivision of TPC Parkway Drive on Friday, March 31, 2023, in San Antonio
Gabe Hernandez | SABJ
During the pandemic, the number of new real estate agents in San Antonio exploded. 
It happened after the turbulence of spring 2020 subsided, and rules were put in place that made it possible for daily life to resume at some facsimile of normal. By June, the Texas Real Estate Commission saw an average year-over-year uptick in the number of new agent licensees of about 30% for the city. Now, that number seems to be ticking back downward. The same data from TREC shows declining year-over-year figures since spring of last year.
In November 2022, well into the current high interest rate environment, the Business Journal spoke to newly licensed agents to see how they were surviving. Branching out into land sales, hosting events to help generate leads and targeting investors were all strategies they employed.
For the city’s most seasoned agents, however, it’s not about survival. It’s about how expertise, tenacity and the depth of their lead network allows them to thrive throughout any given economy.
“It’s tough. I wouldn’t want to be a new guy starting out,” said Charles Beever, a farm and ranch agent with the Phyllis Browning Co. “To understand the macro level, you have to understand the micro level – you have to be in the trenches.”
He went on. 
“I was born and raised on a ranch in Frio County near Pearsall, and instead of backpacking around Europe, my fun thing I wanted to do was work on big, big ranches – between 50,000 and 100,000 acres.”
That experience allowed Beever to differentiate himself from other, less experienced agents. Because farm and ranch transactions are fewer and farther between than traditional residential transactions, sellers often prefer going with veteran agents to help sell their property. Beever said that makes it hard to accumulate a critical mass of experience as a newer agent. 
“There aren’t any books on how to do this. That’s why a young person must attach themselves to someone who has been in the business,” Beever explained. “Run errands, do odd jobs for a seasoned person who has achieved success and learn by osmosis – like cavemen passing down information from one person to another.”
But it’s tricky, he added, because every minute spent teaching a young up-and-comer is potentially time away from an agent’s own productivity.
Back inside the cities of Central and South Texas, however, the challenges facing traditional residential agents, such as Mario Hesles, are a little bit different. During the pandemic, Hesles decided it was time to make a go of running his own agency, the Hesles Agency, where his team caters to both the median income and luxury markets. 
“Home prices are the highest I’ve seen in my career. Inflation and high interest rates are making it challenging to help clients find a home in the current market,” Hesles said. Those challenges weed out many agents who are unable to sustain themselves through their own sales. 
One way agents can help themselves is by aligning with a brokerage offering reasonable terms. “Sometimes an agent comes out of a deal and the brokerage comes in and takes nearly all of their commission,” Hesles said.
Agents should find a brokerage that will offer them comprehensive technological tools to help them ply their trade, as well, Hesles suggests.
“Did you know that it costs agents $20 per lead?” Hesles asked, noting that those costs can mount. He advised, however, that even if a lead doesn’t immediately pan out, it can yield dividends in the future.
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