The Real Deal New York

Interns look to NYC brokerages for unpaid work

February 07, 2012 10:00AM

Real estate agents are accustomed to working sans salaries, but a new crop of young people are willing to work without commissions, too. The New York Times reported that unpaid internships with residential brokerages in Manhattan are becoming more common.

For students who covet a career in the real estate industry and can afford a summer without pay, the idea of helping out brokers by copying keys, sending Evites, managing social media and preparing open houses is attractive — especially after spending weeknights seeing how these tasks contribute to the five- and six-figure commissions agents on increasingly popular reality television shows earn.

“I initially got interested in real estate because I was watching HGTV”, said Maxine Fouladi, who interned at Core last summer for a small stipend and bonus.

But these interns don’t necessarily dream of a career brokering residential real estate deals, instead they consider the experience, at firms like Core and Gumley Haft Kleier, a way to get a head start in the general real estate industry, the Times said.

But Robert Morgenstern, an academic director at Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University, questioned the need for students to take these internships. Early in an agent’s career “the pay is so infrequent, it’s almost like an internship already,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you just take the licensing course and become a salesperson?” [NYT]