According to the St. Paul Area Association of Realtors, its enrollment is up month-to-month so far in 2021, and is up approximately 5% over the same time last year, right as the pandemic shut everything down.
Perhaps it’s the boom in the real estate market, which one veteran realtor described as brisk, and cited more listings and increased sales over last year. Or perhaps, as one new realtor said, it was the chance to switch careers after the pandemic caused major shifts old jobs.
“I love houses. I love looking at houses, and I love talking about houses,” said Reatlor Nichole Hayden of Edina Realty’s Blaine office. She worked for eight years in higher education for adult learners in downtown Minneapolis before deciding to make the switch to real estate late last year (her office downtown was forced to close because of COVID-19).
“It just felt right,” she said. “I feel really honored to be a part of the (homebuying) process.”
“We can live in pockets of time, and still do the things we want to with our families, with our community, get involved, (and) learn a little bit more, really, and make the business what we want,” said Amy Peterson, also with Edina Realty in Blaine. She has been a realtor for nearly 20 years.
Hayden said the virtual set up necessitated by the pandemic shutdown has made networking and even attracting potential clients easier. She is able to lead seminars for first-time homebuyers who maybe can attend more easily since it doesn’t involve commuting or looking for childcare. She said the fast-paced market also has forced her into a bit of a steep learning curve.
“It forces me, in a good way, to be really clear about what my buyers want,” she said. “We have very thorough conversations at the beginning to set expectations, to understand what’s going to be exciting and what’s going to be de-motivating–but also to get really clear in what they want so that we’re not wasting time looking at homes that aren’t going to meet their needs.”