Seasoned real estate pros doing better than rookies?

Real estate markets in Minnesota and the nation took a hit during this recession as did the people who earn a living from them. But did experience make a difference in who got hurt and who didn’t?

Survey data from St. Cloud State University suggest people with a lot of experience in the real estate business have been able to ride out the tough times better than those just starting.


“It seems the more seasoned people were more able to deal with the changing market,” Steven Mooney, chair of St. Cloud State’s department of finance, insurance, and real estate, said after looking at the 135 new responses from graduates of St. Cloud State’s bachelor’s in real estate program.

“I was a little surprised by that.”

The grads are in fields from appraisal and property management to mortgage banking, commercial and residential sales.

Mooney queries students every couple years. The conclusions are anecdotal but can be revealing. The last survey two years ago showed the bite from the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

This time, he found graduates one year out of the real estate degree program reporting median income down about 7.5 percent compared to the first-year-out students surveyed in January 2008.

But real estate veterans with 20 years plus experience reported income up 13 percent compared to two years earlier.

Mooney said the surveys found the median income of property appraisers falling, although jobs were still available. “I talked to one firm that had their best year ever last year and others scrambling for business,” he said.

Incomes were also down for the mortgage banking business, though many companies are gone and those that remain are getting the business that’s out there, he added.

Overall, there are still job opportunities in real estate, Mooney added, but they’re more focused these days on real estate management.

Mooney’s also forwarded some interesting charts showing how graduates of the program have rated the real estate markets the past five years. I’ll put those in a post later today.


I’m really interested in hearing from real estate pros about whether what St. Cloud State grads are telling Mooney reflects what others are seeing in this market. Post something below or contact me directly.

  • Like most businesses real estate feeds off relationships, passion, and dedication, if you have those, you should be able to stay above water whether you are a seasoned veteran OR a rookie.