Steamboat Springs January is the month when Realtors take stock and write checks for about $1,800 in order to stay in the game. It’s a modest amount, but with the number of transactions, and thus commissions, dwindling to 467 sales closed through the Multiple Listing Service in 2009, there are signs that some of Steamboat’s roughly 395 Realtors are considering their options.
Karen Beauvais, longtime owner of Coldwell Banker Silver Oak Ltd., said last week that she learned the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors has heard from about 30 Realtors who do not intend to be active this year.
“There are going to be more,” she said.
Jody Condie, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, said she could not confirm Beauvais’ number.
“There’s no way to know that at this time because the period (for paying dues) has not expired,” Condie said. “We notify our members of the names (of Realtors) who are no longer active on a weekly basis. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be members this year. I know of a lot of people who have not paid yet but will. They are an optimistic group, and they have an investment in their licensing.”
Condie said she has until Feb. 13 to certify to the National Association of Realtors how many members the Steamboat board has confirmed.
Realtors took part in less than half of countywide transactions last year when Doug Labor’s MLS figures are compared with statistics researched from records at the Routt County Assessor’s Office by Bruce Carta, of Land Title Guarantee Co. He reported that transaction volume last year in the county reached 1,063, with 412 of those occurring in the last quarter of the year.
The late sales rally brought the 2009 unit volume to within 98.7 percent of the 2008 transaction volume of 1,077. However, both of those numbers pale in comparison with 2005 and 2006, when there were more than 3,200 deals done with or without Realtors.
Prior to 2008, the last time there were fewer than 2,000 transactions was in 2004 when the volume was 1,915 sales.
The deadline for paying about $500 for combined dues to national, state and local associations of Realtors was Jan. 1, but those organizations are willing to work with their members on the terms of payment, Condie said. In addition to dues, the Realtors need to come up with $700 to register with Realtor.com and an estimated $600 for tuition to cover the cost of ongoing education, Beauvais said.
During the year, Realtors also spend on marketing their listings and, depending on the structure of their brokerage, may pay a desk fee to cover office expenses.
David Baldinger Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers, said the overall Realtor head count in Steamboat is misleading because so many Realtors don’t depend on selling real estate for a living.
Baldinger said he thinks Beauvais’ number of 30 Realtors going inactive is accurate but that he’s relatively unconcerned.
“That’s less than normal turnover,” he said. “If it was a huge number like 100, I’d be concerned because it would mean the (Steamboat) board would have less revenue and be able to provide fewer services. The long and short of it is that just because a Realtor has a license doesn’t mean they’re active.”