Denver Has Many More Real Estate Agents Than Real Estate Listings
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Experts suggest that the inventory in Denver's red-hot housing market is at an all-time low. But there's no shortage of real estate agents looking to sell the homes that have been listed. Right now, there are more agents than there are properties on the market in Denver, and perhaps as many as ten times more.

The number of listings fluctuates rapidly in Denver — especially these days, given that properties are selling fast, often after generating bidding wars that push the prices above list. But as of this morning, Zillow lists 1,880 homes for sale in Denver, while shows 2,478, Trulia has 2,218 and Redfin spotlights 1,806 — and since many homes are listed on multiple sites, there's considerable overlap.

And the number of real estate agents in Denver? According to figures provided by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which oversees the state's Division of Real Estate, the total for the three main categories of agents currently working in the Mile High — active brokers, active employing broker and active individual proprietors — is 20,926, out of around 35,000 in the State of Colorado as a whole. And that last figure only counts active brokers. If you include licensed agents who aren't currently practicing, the Colorado sum rises to approximately 44,000, up from 42,785 as calculated in the real estate division's 2016 annual report.

DORA broke out the Denver broker digits by zip code, and on page two of this post, we've got the complete list for dozens of zips between 80000 and 80293, including several with literally thousands of agents registered there. "If a broker works for a big firm, such as ReMax, the individual's license is registered under the address of the company's main office," notes Rebecca Laurie, spokeswoman for the agency — which explains why the 80111 zip code, in the Tech Center area, boasts more than 4,800 licenses.

Scott Grossman, board chairman for the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, who recently spoke to us about the proliferation of "Coming Soon" signs outside properties headed for market, offers another way to measure the number of people gravitating toward the profession. Over the last six months or so, he says, "we've been gaining about 118 members a month."

Just because an agent is designated as active doesn't mean he or she is presently beating the bushes for clients, Grossman points out. "Not everybody getting their real estate license is necessarily going to be into selling real estate full-time. You have your commercial people in there, you have people who are maybe into investing and just want to save on the commission — maybe for family. You see that a lot, since there are such low barriers to entering the field. It's fairly easy and relatively inexpensive to get started in this business."

Still, there's no guarantee of success. By Grossman's rough estimate, "probably 15 percent of the licensees out there are driving in about 80 to 90 percent of the business. They're the ones who have their systems down and know what they're doing."

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That hasn't stopped new agents from flooding into the market. "Everybody seems to know a real estate agent, or know somebody who knows one," Grossman says. "So there is increased competition in general, since a lot of agents get their business through referrals and people they know."

At present, the Denver Metro Association of Realtors — the largest such group in the city — has around 7,000 members. Other sizable associations in the area include the South Metro Denver Realtor Association, the Aurora Association of Realtors and the Mountain Metro Association of Realtors, and it's Grossman's understanding that they're seeing a similar percentage of membership growth.

Despite the ultra-competitive environment, Grossman doesn't dissuade folks from getting into the real estate game.

"I think it's a great profession," he allows. "I would just say to somebody who wants to get in to jump in with both feet. If you work hard at it, you can make it. And specialize. Find a niche that works for you and focus on that niche."

Why? "What I see is everybody wanting to be everything to everyone," he replies. "But if you spread yourself thin and lose your focus, you end up maybe not being as successful as you can be. So narrow it down. Geographic, demographic: Whatever works for you. And find a good realtor company that's going to provide training in the beginning. If you go to school and get your license, they tell you nothing about selling real estate; they teach you how to pass the test and get your license. Look for national brands or great local brands with training programs. Use your resources. Network."

In Grossman's view, "I think anybody can be successful in real estate if they're professional and are trying to raise the standards of real estate agents and realtors out there."

And if they are able to get listings before they're snatched away by some of the other 20,000 plus agents in Denver who want to be successful, too.

Continue to see the number of Denver real estate agents by zip code.