How real estate boomed in Arkansas despite the pandemic


Real estate has attracted a lot of people from other career fields, especially during the pandemic. The industry continues to boom even now, but why is that?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — At one time, becoming a real estate agent was just a dream for Cason Barnhill. It took a pandemic for the former software engineer to ditch the computer and go into real estate.

Barnhill changed careers in June 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic – a time when many people were forced to re-examine their lives and the way they paid their bills.

“Essentially it put me in a position where I had to decide whether it was to continue in software or pursue a passion,” Barnhill said.

From layoffs to parents seeking work-from-home options so they can care for their children, the real estate industry has attracted many people from other professional fields.

“One of the reasons the pandemic kind of sparked a rush is that furloughs and people had time, so they had time to explore,” said Stephanie Guinn of the National School of real estate. “Then the state opened up the possibility of online education through Zoom and live streaming, so now not only could they do it on leave, but they could do it on leave from home.”

Two years into the pandemic, Guinn is still teaching students in person and virtually.

Currently, Arkansas has more than 15,000 total real estate license holders, the highest number on record since 2007. More than 4,000 of them have occurred since the start of the pandemic until today. .

“I don’t really think that surprises me, especially for Arkansas, because we’ve been a bit of an isolated state from a lot of big city activity,” Guinn said. “So we have a very low inventory of homes, which means our homes have been very strong for a long time and that low inventory is keeping prices high, keeping buyers excited.”

Now, before you get any ideas and maybe consider quitting your current job, there are a lot of things you need to consider.

Among a list of things, you must complete 60 hours of real estate training, pass the licensing exam, apply for your license, and complete post-licensing training.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but Guinn said with a good work ethic, a little patience and a lot of planning, it can become a lucrative career field.

“If you’re willing to work and you’re disciplined and you have a plan, there’s a lot of success to be had,” she said.

She’s not the only one to think that either, Barnhill agrees and says he’s still glad he made the switch.

“It’s definitely the best career decision I’ve had the chance to enjoy,” Barnhill said.


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