“Helping people makes me happy,” he said.
With real estate, “I help families build generational wealth, especially African American families and young people,” Cooper said, adding, “With my nonprofit, I support the low-income families and youth”.
Like Mr. Cooper, many new agents retain their old professions. Ms Bieganek said she still waits on a restaurant two or three nights a week but hopes to move into full-time real estate in a few years. Ms Gwin said she continues to audition for roles. For her, it is rather a companion in her creative work. (Her email signature reads “actress/real estate agent.”)
Others go all-in. Isaac Teplinsky, 25, graduated from the University of Kansas in 2019 and moved to New York to work in experiential marketing. He had just four months on the job when the pandemic hit. He flew to visit his parents in Minnesota for what he thought was about a week. A few days later, he was fired from his job, along with about half of his business.
While living with his parents that summer and contemplating his next career move, he started watching “Million Dollar Listing New York” and read a book written by one of its stars, Ryan Serhant. He also watched YouTube videos about getting into real estate. “I was taking notes,” he says. “And at some point I was like, ‘This is 100%’.”
He spent $800 on a Kaplan real estate course, got his license last spring and joined a local branch of Coldwell Banker in April 2021. He said his father told him to think of his first three years as in law school – an investment in an education with no immediate payoff. “But if you keep going, it will pay off like it would for a doctor or someone studying graduate school,” he said. He has since sold seven homes and condos and managed multiple rentals, hitting his $1.5 million sales goal in his first six months.
Mike Mogavero, a 54-year-old Austin-based agent with Compass, said he was earning more than expected in his freshman year. When the pandemic hit, he was working remotely in sales for a Silicon Valley-based tech company and his job changed from an employee position to a contract job. With his children, now aged 10 and 17, home schooled and his wife’s job as an architect as busy as ever, he decided to take some time to think about his next move. “I looked for other jobs and people kept saying I was overqualified, which to me is kind of like a code word for ageism,” he said.
After stumbling across a Groupon for a real estate education, Mr. Mogavero signed up and got his license in 2020. His timing was fortuitous. Austin home prices have increased nearly 40% between 2020 and 2021, making it one of the hottest markets in the country. Buyers flocked from California, where he grew up and spent most of his life and career before moving to Austin in 2013. He said he had sales of $30.8 million in 2021. helping people buying and selling real estate is very different,” he said.