By Johnny Jackson
Realtors from across the Southern Crescent met, on Thursday, at the Metro South Association of Realtors' annual awards and recognition breakfast.
The breakfast, called "Spring Into Success for 2010," recognized high-achieving Realtors and their work in advancing the real estate industry, said Patty Traber, chairperson of the association's Circle of Excellence Committee.
A host of individual and team awards were given to members of the Realtors' organization. Some 70 members turned out in support of their fellow Realtors, and to celebrate the real estate industry's perseverance through the housing crunch.
Traber said many used the event as an opportunity to reconnect with fellow Realtors and discuss the housing issues of the day.
"I think the real estate industry offers opportunities to anyone who wants to prosper," said Deb Nardy, a broker with Keller Williams Realty in Stockbridge. "I love the fact that people can create their own destiny."
Nardy, a licensed Realtor of 24 years, said real estate has changed as a result of new legislation that makes buying a home a slightly more involved process.
"Real estate that we're practicing today is like a brand new business," she said. "The Realtors are having to work three times as hard for much less income."
The struggle to stay abreast of new laws and procedures has produced many more earnest Realtors and "weeded out a lot of people who didn't keep themselves educated," Nardy said. "There is a great risk of us finding ourselves in court, if we don't do it right, now."
There are signs, too, that the real estate industry and housing market are beginning to turn around, Nardy said.
"We've actually written more construction contracts in the last two months than we have in the last two years," she said. "That's encouraging to me."
Bill Fried, a Realtor for Academy Properties in McDonough, said he foresees a real estate industry which places more emphasis on price and quality than it has in the past.
Fried believes the real estate industry and the housing market may soon begin to turn around, but in a process that could take two to three years.
"It's going to be dependent upon the money market [and how much money is available to borrow]," Fried said. "I don't believe that we will see it turn around to the way it was. I would say we're still a little on the slow side, but it's picking up more and more each day."