Throughout the metropolitan area, real estate brokers are continually seeking new agents through classified and display advertising, "career day" programs, and personal contacts. Employment opportunities for those who have passed their real estate exams are extensive.
The very size of the local real estate industry creates jobs. James R. Ingham, president of the Washington Board of Realtors, estimates that there are more than of 15,000 brokers and agents in the area.Industry growth, plus a 10 to 20 percent turnover rate, open thousands of jobs each year, recruiters say.
For the newly-minted agent, the central employment problem is not the availability of jobs but the criteria for working. Will the agent work part-time of full-time? Should the individual work with a small firm or a large one? What training is offered?
While there is a growing preference among realty firms to retain full-time agents, there is little resistance to part-time employment. Part-time employes can often bring significant work-related contacts to a firm. Also, they are valuable during peak work periods such as spring and early summer.
The choice of company size depends largely on the interests of the new agents and the specific firm involved.Many companies offer attractive working benefits such as post-licensing training and central processing. Central processing means the firm has a full-time person or staff to handle part or all of the detail work required after a contract is signed, principally the securing of financing.
Major firms in the Washington area as well as many smaller ones maintain various types of training programs. These programs vary in length, content and approach and tend to reflect the philosophies of individual brokers.
At Shannon & Luchs, which has approximately 600 agents and brokers, new agents generally participate in a two-week "academy" program, said H. James Krauser, regional vice president and director of training. The classes, which usually include 20 to 25 people, run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily and include such traditional subjects as financing, listing, and sales. In addition, the program has special sections concerning goal setting and time management.
Another smaller firm, DEAR Realty, Inc., uses an entirely different approach. Because District regulations do not include an educational requirement prior to the license examination, DEAR has conducts a six-week pre-licensing program as well as an advanced listing and selling course.
DEAR charges $60 for the pre-licensing program. This money is refunded with the agent's first sale through the company.