Market Changes will Lead to Agent Count Changes

8 11 2017

Real estate companies like to boast about their agent count. This number helps them grab market share and when the market is good the number of agents always rises.  Offices grow with new agents and then either expand or start new offices in hopes of continued growth.

The last time we had this rise was the 2003-2008 time period. During this time the number of agents in the United States hit approximately 1.33 million at its peak according to National Association of Realtors statistics. Then, the market officially crashed in August 2008 and the number of Realtors began to dwindle. In 2012, the number of agents was just under 1 million. Now with the market improved over the last few years that number increased again to 1.23 million in 2016 and expected to be higher at the end of 2017.

We are starting to see a market shift again and where it will end we don’t know yet. There are major differences in this shift and what happened in 2008 though. This time there are no subprime lenders with shady loans so the foreclosure and short sale market is no factor. Actually, there is no major factor that has caused the slowdown except just the peak factor of prices. Mortgage programs are growing and rates are excellent.

In 2008 there were few ways for Realtors to stay in the business if they didn’t have a base built of referral clients. Real estate companies were still basically brick and mortar offices and the concept of virtual offices was just that…a concept. There were a few companies that offered the stay-at-home program but most was still required basic office functions with no true paperless functions and thus costs were passed down to the agent. Now with our current shift in the market, transactions will slow and companies that rely on agent count will begin to decline. Virtual and cloud-based companies have now obtained the technology for agents to do their business effectively.  Realtors who believe this is the “wave of the future” and those that just want to keep their license active now have multiple options. I believe  agents will move from the big box offices to a more virtual less expensive atmosphere to stay in the business if they are not established. This means the overall agent count will not decline as rapidly as we did in 2008 and 2009 just shift companies.

Teams will also grow rapidly in the next few years. Realtors who have solid businesses can take on those agents that have struggled because of the abundance of the lead sources. and agent sites use to be the main source of internet leads. Now those leads have been spread across many different platforms like Zillow, Trulia, and other lead referral sites.

So, what does this mean to real estate agents overall? Realtors will be able to stay in the business with the shift but transactions per agent will decline. Teams will grow as long as they have the lead sources but also be more part-time roles. This will also lead to a decline in the professionalism of the agent due to lack of broker oversight.  How this will change our business in the next five years will be interesting to see.


Most Important Part of Home Builders

1 08 2016

There are numerous Home Builders of all different shapes and size. There are large national builders like DR Horton, Drees Homes, CalAtlantic Pacifc and then there are smaller regional builders and Luxury Home builders.

Each has different price points, designs and reputations based upon their quality. One of the most asked questions by even Realtors is to ask other Realtors what they think about this builder or that builder. But, I contend one of the most overlooked questions is how is  their warranty service?


I know very few new homes that never get warranty work done. And, this is by all builders of all prices and build quality. Homes are not built all by a builder. They have sub-contractors and these are the guys who put up the drywall, texture, plumbing, etc. The builder is in charge of hiring and firing these guys…and they go through a lot of subs. I have seen the most reputable builders put out lemons. This is where that inspection comes into play even on new homes. ALWAYS GET AN INSPECTION BEFORE YOU PURCHASE ANY HOME!

One of the main reputations I look at with builders is how they handle warranty work. Do they put you on a list to get to when they can? Do they contact you in 48hrs and schedule right away?  While quality of work is important..the builders reputation on how a buyer is going to be handled after they have their money is what keeps a client happy.  No builder is immune so Realtors should also know how their client is going to be handles when they are not around.

Spring is the time for Roofers-Beware!

24 03 2016

Spring in North Texas is here and that means hail and that means roofers are gonna come a knockin’ on your door after every hail storm. Signs are going to start popping up in yards…some with legitimate damage and some not. This is the time to get a good referral from a Realtor who knows a reputable roofer.

Most people will think every roofer is going to find damage and say you have a claim. Most people think that every insurance adjuster is going to come out and dispute the roofer. Once this happens most “bad” roofers will disappear to find the low-hanging fruit of an easier claim. A good roofer will meet the adjuster at the home, walk the roof and go over the damage.

If you are thinking of selling your home and think you might have hail damage, call The Harden Group at 972-396-9100 and ask for our list of roofers. Yes, LIST. We know multiple roofers with good,long-built reputations. No door knockin’ needed…referrals from clients have built them a steady business. Don’t hire a Homer!


My Promise as an Agent’s Broker

29 01 2016


download (5)

I watched a video from the Inman Conference and there was a Broker/Owner speaking about the state of real estate and she was blunt…to say it nicely. There was one thing she said that struck me though…”Agent’s will buy anything” If someone calls with a leads program, new fangled gizmo that will give you 100 listings or promise of free business than a Realtor will buy it.

Right now in North Texas there are a lot of companies either moving here or talking about “relocating” to our area. So, real estate companies are promising a lot of “free” business to recruit successful, and frankly, gullible agents. These leads are not free. Realtor is going to give up 40% right off the top. Then whatever you have left after your split with your company. Then you get to pay taxes on it!

So, here is my list promises to an agent.

  1. I am not going to make you any promises of business. You get what you work for! Real estate is a relationship-based career. The most successful agents build relationships with clients. If you want to work the relocation business then I promise I will help.
  2. I am not going to make you promises that you will even be successful as a Realtor. 83% of people that get their license are gone in 2 years. This business is HARD! I promise I will help you with your business, give advice and be blunt.
  3. I am not going to promise you will even like real estate. Dealing with clients and the public can be taxing and makes for very long hours. This is not a 9-5 job. I promise to be your sounding board though and be a buffer clients if needed.
  4. I am not even going to promise I will hire you. I don’t want 100+ agents in an office. I want people who respect this business and take it serious. Even more than that…must be ethical. I have terminated agents for their actions and will continue to do so. I promise you that for sure.
  5. I promise never to make a promise I know I cannot keep…period.

So, if you are a Realtor that like promises then I promise I am not the Broker for you. If you like reality, assistance, and being treated like a professional then let’s talk and see if we fit.

7 Ways a Buyer’s Agent Makes Life Easier

25 01 2016

7 Ways a Buyer’s Agent Makes Life Easier



As a potential homebuyer, it’s important that you understand the two different types of real estate agents. A seller’s agent looks out for the interests of the person selling the property while a buyer’s agent can serve as your advocate during your home search. Here are just a few reasons to enlist a buyer’s agent’s help.

1. They save time
These days, you can glean tons of information (not all of it accurate) on your own from the Internet. An agent can use their experience and expertise to streamline your search, guiding you to the properties that are truly appropriate and eliminating legwork on your end.

2. They have the inside scoop
Thanks to their professional network, agents often know of properties before they hit online listing sites.

3. They keep you in check
Shopping for your next home can be an emotionally charged, overwhelming experience. A buyer’s agent can help you keep your main objectives – and financial limitations – in mind as you sift through properties with alluring features.

4. They a have team of experts on speed dial
An agent can save you time, heartache and dollars by connecting you with trusted service providers such as painters, inspectors and insurance brokers.

5. They play hardball
Buyer’s agents are professional negotiators, with the skills and experience needed to get a fair price for you.

6. They don’t get paper cuts
They’ll help you complete all the time-consuming paperwork accurately and on time.

7. They’ll be the first to congratulate you when you close
A buyer’s agent will be your advocate at closing, making sure all your interests are protected as you sign that pile of forms at the settlement table.

8 Things Your Realtor Does Behind Your Back

19 01 2016



“This could include looking up flood zones, previewing the homes for out-of-state clients, or any number of specific things,” she says.

Plus, listings come and go fast in the real estate world, so agents need to check their multiple listing service database constantly, or else they’ll miss out. Sometimes the process of matching up properties with clients can take a very long time.

“I have a client who wants a Mid-Century Modern house in Carlsbad, but there aren’t many there,” says Rachel Collins Friedman, a Realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty in San Diego, CA. That means that she’s been searching the database regularly for that particular kind of property for three years (here’s hoping all that patience pays off).

They go prospecting

Of course, there’s nothing like seeing a house in all its brick-and-mortar glory, which is why most Realtors worth their salt spend tons of time driving around checking out new listings. In Friedman’s San Diego area, they call it “caravan day.”

“It’s a good way to preview properties, and it’s a good time to network with other agents and talk up your listing,” she says.

They attend pitch sessions

Agents don’t spend all their time sizing up homes. According to Friedman, they also spend tons of face time with other pros at pitch sessions—gatherings of local agents at cafes where they swap listing info in order to spread the word about your property if you’re selling, or to find the house that checks every box on your wish list if you’re buying.

They spend their own money on marketing

In addition to not getting paid until a deal is done, selling agents also spend their own money on marketing: magazine and newspaper ads, fliers, hiring a photographer, glossy prints, and premium placements on listing sites.

“Agents can spend thousands marketing a property,” says Friedman.

They write up offers and counteroffers

Offers and counteroffers are an extremely important part of the transaction, as they can save or net you thousands of dollars on a sale. Yet getting to the right price requires written offers and counteroffers every step of the way.

“It’s time-consuming to be writing them up, explaining to the client how to counteroffer and the ways to do so, and just keeping track of it all,” Friedman says.

They stick around for inspections

You might not be present when it’s inspection time, but a good agent will be. This gives the agent an immediate knowledge of what’s going on. Anything from termites to an iffy foundation can be relayed to the buyer immediately, according to Friedman. McGlone estimates inspections take roughly two hours.

They smooth bumps in the road

Not every sale goes smoothly—buyers and sellers get difficult all the time—but good agents try to shield their clients from the high drama unless there’s a reason to fill them in.

“It’s called putting out fires,” says McGlone. “It’s just fixing issues that a lot of times buyers and sellers never needed to be made aware of.”

They keep you calm when the pressure’s on

Good agents don’t just hand you a house. They can also act as a therapist, making your sale much less stressful.

“People get emotional. You have to be a problem-solver and keep a positive approach and come up with a positive solution,” Friedman says. “It might not take a lot of time, but it takes emotional energy.”

Tell that to your therapist.

Craig Donofrio

Quit Fighting Change in the Real Estate Industry

26 08 2015


The real estate industry has changed dramatically over the past 20 years with technology evolving faster and faster. Fads come and go with somethings working and others not so much…remember QR codes? As a realtor, our advertising has to continue to develop and grow and become faster.

In the beginning there was the MLS with each listing controlled solely by the brokerage and it was up to the agent to advertise to get it sold whether it be magazines, newspaper, flyers, etc and it was Good. Then, the internet and its growth into our lives has changed the pace. First, there were company sites and the National Association of Realtors began to syndicate the MLS into one websites and this began a disturbance.

Over the years, other websites such as, and even agent sites have joined into the syndication. They grab local listings and advertise them to potential buyers and/or sellers to generate traffic. Then, the evil Zillow appeared along with Trulia and their marriage into one has caused controversy.

There is speculation that this website of Zillow that MLS syndicate it’s listings is going to become a national brokerage. Let’s say it does become a real estate company. Instead of becoming a real estate company and growing a national site, it was a national site that became a real estate company. Big deal! Is it going to change the way I market a home? No, I am always looking for new ways to get my clients homes sold and get new clients. I better be and so should every Realtor. Besides, what am I or anyone else going to do. Can you stop Zillow? What is stopping syndication to Zillow going to do besides losing advertising? A client does not care about your problem with Zillow. They want their home on the site to get it sold.

Let’s say they do become a real estate company and you want to stop your listings from going there…are you going to stop them from going to Century 21…or RE/MAX…or Coldwell Banker? I didn’t think so.