This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable discusses millennials in real estate.
Christina Pappas, District Sales Manager, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, NAR
Lennox Scott, President, John L. Scott Real Estate, Seattle, Wash.
Joe Clement, CEO, RE/MAX Properties, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jason Waugh, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, Portland, Ore.
Christina Pappas: Some millennials are taking a bad rap as being lazy, self-absorbed or entitled. But as the Pew Research Center and other respected pollsters are reporting, the nation’s 75.4 million millennials—larger in numbers now than either Gen X or the baby boomers—aren’t lazy or entitled at all. They very much want, in fact, to be achievers. But they are eager to create their own pathways, largely because they see that some of the old, traditional pathways aren’t working very well. They’ve seen their parents burn out and their peers stuck in confining cubicles, and they think, “There has to be a better way.” And lucky for us, many of these budding entrepreneurs see real estate as a career opportunity—one in which they can build a successful business starting with little more than smarts and determination. So how does the industry see this new generation of agents?
Lennox Scott: I see them as the most powerful generation ever to hit this or any profession. They are technology-infused and connected with community—they’re a reflection of the world we’re in, and I, for one, am happy to tap into the energy and excitement they bring.
Joe Clement: You’re right about the energy. I love their desire and their spirit. We have a few self-starters who are absolutely killing it. One of our younger agents who is in her fourth year in the business did 70 transactions last year. In the month of December, while most people were focused on the holidays, she brought in 14 new listings.
Jason Waugh: Millennials have a unique kind of energy and perspective. They were born into social media, which makes them incredibly well-connected—and yet while technology has afforded a more mobile business environment, our millennials want to be in the office. They want the coaching, they want to collaborate, idea share, soak up information, and they’re happy to share their approach.
CP: Is this changing your office dynamic?
JW: You bet! We’re building out offices with less square footage and more open space, where mentors, coaches and agents can openly communicate—which is way different, and so much better than putting everyone in isolated cubicles or behind closed doors. Millennials seem to thrive on collaboration, and that’s the atmosphere we’re providing.
LS: We don’t even have “managers” anymore. We have “office leaders” and quick-start training. We have a VP of Residential Success, who oversees coaching, a VP of Agent Excellence in charge of marketing, and a VP of Professional Achievement who focuses on agent support. We have a whole new vibe in our offices—we’re upgrading the conversation, and we’re sharing new core values. Our motto is, “Everybody is productive quicker.” It’s who we are, and it comes from sharing—and caring. In fact, this new energy is inspiring us to do more than sell a lot of real estate. We sponsored 30 separate charitable events last year to raise $13 million for children’s hospitals.
CP: Wow! Yes, I am a millennial, in my seventh year of business. In my dad’s company we are very focused on creating a next-generation culture. We know our younger agents thrive on quick production, so our coaching and mentoring programs have been retooled to get them to the first deal faster.
JC: Tweaking our training program to an intensive nine weeks and assigning mentors to our new people has been very helpful in doing that. Millennials are fast learners, eager to get going, huge on social media, and, for the most part, pretty confident. No question, they’re bringing fresh energy to this business. What’s yet to be tested, I think, is their staying power—and their loyalty. Will they stick with the company that trained them, or look for what they think are greener pastures? Or will they decide to jump to other careers altogether?
LS: Well, there’s that risk with any newbie, but motivation is key. I have two daughters, for example. One is doing her own thing as an artist. She’s never considered real estate. The other, who’s just finishing college, has been working in our office for several summers. She can hardly wait to get started.
CP: Which begs the question: Are you actively recruiting millennials?
JW: Definitely. Their presence creates a valuable two-way street; they’re learning from our veteran agents, who, in turn, are learning new ways of communicating from millennials—using texting and videos, for example, to compliment the time-tested methods of phone calls and handwritten notes. It’s a vibe that’s working well for us—and that’s exciting.
LS: Millennials are taking us to a whole new level—and not just in real estate. Tapping into their fresh approach can give us all a new perspective.
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