Photo: Norma Lopez Molina
James Schumaker, right, pitches vacation homes with five and more bedrooms to a potential buyer from Brazil.
A Day in the Working Life
» $139.99 billion
» 16.7% of Florida’s GDP
» GDP rank: No. 1
» Employment: 701,256
» 6.4% of total employment
» Employment rank:No. 8
Includes anyone involved in selling, leasing or managing real estate: Real estate brokers, sales agents, appraisers, property and association managers, accounting and auditing workers in real estate firms.
The Typical Florida Realtor
» 57 — Age
» 60% — Women
» 12 — Years of experience
» 12 — Transactions a year
» $1.4 million — Sales volume
» 18% — Business from repeat customers
» 18% — Business from referrals
» $40,200 — Median gross income — falling as low as $9,300 for those with less than two years’ experience and rising to $54,300 if in the business for at least 16 years
» 78% say real estate is their only occupation
» 79% own their primary residence
» 74% specialize in residential
Source: Florida Realtors
» Realtor, Re/Max
The Social-Media Impact
On the face of it, Port St. Lucie real estate agent Sarah Taylor’s timing was awful. She got her real estate sales license in 2008, with the real estate collapse in full swing. “Most people would say the wrong time, but I knew I wanted to do it long term, and the markets do change,” Taylor says.
Taylor went into sales from mortgage originations. She liked that real estate agents aren’t chained to desks.
Internet and social media smart, she markets herself well online and pays to get a boost in Facebook marketing posts and to link herself to certain neighborhoods. For instance, when she hears of new developments, she buys the domain names to match them so that searches lead to her. “From the very beginning I had a good web presence,” Taylor says.
People to whom she sold in the recession now are moving up or on and call her. She gets a fifth of her business from repeat customers and another fifth from referrals — both above average for a Realtor in Florida. “It’s been an amazing start of the year. Things have definitely improved.”
She did $2.7 million in sales last year for just under $77,000 in commissions — about $115,000 in total with a share from her business partner. She doesn’t see very many short sales or foreclosure sales any more.
» Vice President, JLL
The skills Kaycee Gardner used in recruiting for the University of Central Florida’s basketball program translated well when it came to recruiting companies to fill space.
Gardner got her start in Orlando with the Roger Staubach-founded Staubach Co. When it was acquired by JLL in 2008, she went along. Five years ago, she went to Jacksonville to open JLL’s office there.
“The work-life balance is difficult in a position like this, especially with the amount of activity we’re seeing postrecession. Sometimes I get up at 3 in the morning and shoot off a few emails while I’m thinking of it,” she says.
She works solely on commission. Nationally, the median gross annual income of National Association of Realtors commercial members was $126,900 in 2014, up from $96,200 in 2013. Residential Realtors’ median gross annual income was $45,800, down from $47,700 in 2013.
» Executive Vice President, Encore Capital Management
The Vacation Market
Just a couple of days into the new year, James Schumaker packed his bags for China to sell his firm’s unusual product — Orlando vacation homes with five to 13 bedrooms.
Schumaker is executive vice president of global sales and marketing for Boca Raton-based Encore Capital Management, the private equity firm developing Encore Club at Reunion in Orlando. He travels frequently to Brazil and Latin America, and also has been to Dubai and Toronto. This was his first visit to China.
The 46-year-old moved into real estate from tech sales and marketing when the dot-com bomb went off. He joined Encore two years ago and targets secondhome buyers who also want to rent out their property.
Buyers are looking more beyond Miami to Orlando, where the never-ending flow of visitors holds promise for investor owners.
14% — Growth projected through 2023 in real estate sales agent jobs, making it the 18th-fastest-growing industry in Florida over that time