Inspection in the Spot Light
and Media Articles on Home Inspection
WEB EXCLUSIVE By
industries continue to shed jobs, real estate is looking increasingly
attractive to those seeking a newor secondcareer
Friday, August 1, 2003
Michael Hart thought he was ready to retire last December.
After 25 years of working for the city of San Diego, most
recently as a criminal investigator, he just wanted to relax.
But after three months of surfing and sleeping in, Hart, who
is 57, reconsidered. It was time to do something,
FRIEND OF his who worked for Coldwell Banker suggested he
become a home inspector. The training was easy, Hart figured,
and there would be plenty of work for him once he got his
certification: In California, home sales in June jumped 7.2
percent from a year earlier. Hart signed up for a fast-track
course at the Kaplan Professional Schools school in Oceanside
and a few weeks and about $1,300 later, he was already at
work. Hart has now postponed retirement indefinitely to focus
on building up his business insteadhes already
doing about two inspections a day. I enjoy every inspection,
says Hart. I feel like Im doing a dream job and
getting paid for it.
estate has been flooded with career converts during the past
couple of yearsmany of them like Hart, midlifers who
are attracted by the autonomy, flexibility and earning potential
for an investment of relatively little time, money and coursework.
You dont have to have a whole bunch of money to
enter the professionall you need is a computer, a car,
a phone and some business skills and a willingness to learn,
says Dirk Zeller, CEO of Real Estate Champions and author
of Your First Year in Real Estate: Making the Transition
from Total Novice to Successful Professional (Prima
Publishing). You can make a lot of money for a little
1995, membership in the Association of Home Inspectors has
leapt more than 50 percent. Other real-estate fields have
enjoyed similar growth: the rolls at the National Association
of Realtors have increased 25 percent in the past four years
to more than 936,000. The number of active real estate brokers
has also grown, by about 5 percent in the past two years to
nearly 540,000. Meanwhile, the number of agents or salespeople
with active licenses increased by more than 7 percent in the
same period to about a million, according to the Association
of Real Estate License Law Officials, a national organization
that oversees state real-estate licensure and registration.
Professional Schoolswhich runs a number of real-estate
schools nationwide, including Hartshas seen enrollment
in its real-estate-related courses nearly double over the
past two years to about 150,000 students at the end of last
year. And Andy Rosen, president and COO of Kaplan Inc. (owned
by The Washington Post Company, which also owns NEWSWEEK),
says he expects a 40 percent increase in enrollment this year.
Theres just enormous growth. We find our projections
are constantly outstripped, Rosen says.
the number of sales agents and brokers grow, and sales slowand
they inevitably willcompetition could drive down the
cost of service and commissions and drive some out of the
business altogether. For now, though, there is still plenty
of demand for various real-estate jobsfrom sales agents
to appraisers. While other industries struggle to recover
from the economic downturn, the housing market is still soaring.
The National Association of Realtors predicts 2003 will be
another record year in the number of homes bought and sold
nationwide, thanks in part to lower interest rates, which
have helped bring mortgage rates to their lowest levels in
nearly 40 years. Mortgage loans are expected to hit an all-time
high of $3.4 trillion this year (about $2.3 trillion in refinancing
loans and $1.1 trillion in home-purchase loans), according
to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Continued
demand is also expected to push home prices up again this
year nationwide, by 5.4 percent for existing homes and 3.3
percent for new homes.
are signs that real estate is becoming an increasingly popular
career option among college and graduate students, tooeven
at business schools. Susanne Cannon, associate professor and
director of the new real-estate center at DePaul University,
which is open to both M.B.A. and undergraduate students, says
enrollment in her introductory real-estate analysis course
has tripled in the last few years. And this fall, the school
is offering four real-estate courses, each capped at 50 students.
They were filled up almost immediatelynow were
looking for more faculty [to add more courses], says
Cannon. Students who might have thought about investment
banking a few years ago are realizing there arent as
many jobs there now and so they want to try something else.
They see the housing boom as meaning more jobs.
the economy is beginning to improve and theres little
doubt that the federal funds rateand, therefore, mortgage
loan interest rateswill rise over the next two years.
But even if the housing market flattens out over the next
couple of years, sales should remain strong.
if students opt out of real estate as the nations overall
job market improves, Kaplans Rosen says, It [real
estate] is always a good fallbacksomething to keep it
in your back pocket. You never know when you might need
Source: Newsweek, Inc. http://www.msnbc.com/news/947281.asp