Posted by: Connie Yee
Melissa Thomas-Garcia thought selling real estate would be a great way to funnel the entrepreneurial energy she used selling crafts and Avon out of her home into a long-term, steady job.
"They kept telling us how the market is prime right now, and everyone is making sales and making deals," said Thomas-Garcia, 28, who lives in Lindenwold, Camden County. "At the time, it seemed perfect."
After doing what she was told last year placing ads, cold-calling potential clients, asking friends and relatives for leads Thomas-Garcia wound up $3,000 in the red with not a sale to her name. So instead of shelling out more money to renew her license, she put her career on hold and took a job at Payless ShoeSource.
Thomas-Garcia has learned firsthand why the number of people entering the real estate business in New Jersey last year plummeted faster than sales themselves.
In the bonanza years, when newly licensed agents could stir up a bidding war simply by listing a house, people flocked to the industry to make easy money. Now, real estate classes are half-empty and agents are looking for other work until the cycle begins again.