When Harris Scher was listening to his instructors in class last year, he took a good look at the jam-packed room filled with 300 students who had the same aspirations as he had — to have a successful career as a licensed real estate salesperson. He speculated about his chances. Scher was about to become one in an already congested field of more than 27,000 brokers and real estate agents operating in Manhattan — according to New York State records — competing for only about 10,000 real estate transactions per year (not including co-op sales).
“I wondered how many people I would run into once the course was over,” says Scher, a 29-year-old native New Yorker who earned his license and has been with Century 21 Kevin B. Brown & Associates for several months. “So far, I haven’t run into many of them.”
Although some pursue a career as a broker because of their passion for real estate, others are lured by the opportunity to close multi-million dollar real estate deals and earn seriously lucrative commissions. Scher did what many up-and-comers do — he turned to the real estate market after dabbling in another career.
“I was in finance, but I had also moved many times and had used brokers in the past,” says Scher. “I enjoyed the process of looking for a house, and realized that this was something I could be doing myself.”
“When you read these stories about how great the market is and how we’re breaking records in price, it sounds easy,” says Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the trade organization representing the city’s real estate brokers. “But it’s not an easy business. It’s hard work, and you may get lucky once in while, but you’re working a long time on one particular sale.”