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More people want to be Fla. real estate agents

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Feb. 15, 2017 – The ranks of Realtors vying for listings continues to swell: 32,954 first-time applicants took the state exam to become a real estate agent in 2016, the most in a decade.

Including repeat test-takers, the number of people who passed the real estate licensing exam last year – 27,926 – brought Florida’s total of currently licensed agents to nearly 250,000, and more are on the way.

The Bob Hogue School of Real Estate based in Tampa says it has already signed up 48 students for a class that maxes out at 50 starting this month. Another class, in St. Petersburg, is expected to have around 45.

Yet Hogue himself is starting to see indicators that interest is leveling off.

“I think there are some unsettled feelings across the nation about where things are going,” Hogue says. “People who typically come into real estate want to see a good strong market ahead, and when there is uncertainty in the economy, there is uncertainty in what real estate will be.”

At the peak of Florida’s real estate boom in 2005, almost 45,000 people passed the state’s exam and got a sales associate license. That number plummeted to 8,598 three years later when the market collapsed, but it’s been on an upward trajectory ever since.

Currently, the residential real estate business in a hot market like Tampa Bay can be quite lucrative – 10 agents in Pinellas County each sold more than $50 million worth of homes last year. For others, particularly newcomers, however, it can be a struggle to get established.

“It’s like sharks out there,” says Ashley Williams, a 20-year-old new licensee in Clearwater. But Williams persisted and eventually went door-to-door to find leads. She says she knocked on about 1,000 doors, met three rude people and sold three houses in the $125,000 range.

“But I got a lot of response and (the prospect) of future business,” she adds. “Just look at the good in every opportunity.”

Source: Tampa Bay Times (02/14/17) Martin, Susan Taylor

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