Selling homes in metro Phoenix is a popular career again, thanks to rising home prices and sales.
More new names are popping up on Valley "for sale" signs, and real estate licensing classes are getting fuller.
And then the career path got a little viral boost from Lauren Burnham, the fiancee of ABC’s The Bachelor, Scottsdale real estate agent Arie Luyendyk Jr. Burnham recently moved to Phoenix and tweeted out to her many followers that she's working on getting her real estate license.
Some have begun to worry that the jump in agents is a concerning sign that another housing bust could be looming.
But while the number of real estate agents in Arizona is on the rise, according to the Arizona Department of Real Estate, it's not near boom — or event bust — levels.
Is "every other person in the Valley in the process or have the Real Estate license? Reminds me of 2006 all over again,” said a recent tweet I received from @Andyaz77.
It was in response to a column I wrote a few weeks ago about the possibility of home values rebounding to 2006 levels this month.
Home prices are close to rebound levels, but the number of real estate agents is still below both the boom and crash.
Now, there are about 73,500 real estate agents and brokers licensed in Arizona, according to the department.
That’s compares to 86,000 real estate agents and brokers during the peak in 2006, and about 80,000 at the bottom of the crash in late 2011.
The top years for metro Phoenix home sales are 2005 and 2011. The boom drew a record number of speculators pumping up sales and prices. The crash drew many investors snatching up foreclosure homes for bargain prices.
Veteran Phoenix real estate agent Bobby Lieb said people who become agents thinking it’s easy money will be disappointed.
“Getting a real estate license isn’t too difficult,” said Lieb, of HomeSmart Elite. “But just because people take classes and pass a test, doesn’t mean they will make money.”
He said making money selling real estate in the Valley now is “hard work” and often a seven-day a week job.
During the boom, easy money selling homes drew in many new agents who left other jobs.
In 2005, I profiled a 25-year-old real Valley real estate agent who had been a teacher but had just got her license a few months before. She was doing multiple sales a day with investors.
I watched her finalize one home sale on the trunk of her car after getting a rush appraisal.
Lieb said those days are long gone, and he doesn’t see them coming back. He advises new agents to find a mentor.
Homes priced below $300,000 in the Valley are selling fast now, often on the first day they are listed if the house is in good shape and in a popular neighborhood.
But agents have to work harder because of the growing competition.
A buyer looking to pay $300,000 or less may get outbid or lose out to other buyers who make offers faster. There are plenty of investors willing to pay cash for houses in that price range so they can flip or turn them into rentals.
David Meek, a Phoenix agent with Keller Williams Realty, said it’s typical now to show a client 30 or 40 homes if they are looking in that price range.
That can be lot of work and time for a 3 percent commission.