Generation Z real estate agents face the first test of their careers

  • Born after 1997, many Gen Z real estate agents started their careers in a booming market.
  • More than 170,000 new agents have joined major realtor groups, while 140,000 left during the last housing crisis.
  • Hard times usually thin the ranks of brokers, but young agents believe they will prove their mettle.

Recently, 25-year-old Caleb Spears, a Florida real estate agent, calmed a panicked colleague over the phone.

“After the house has been laid down for three days, they’ll call me and say, ‘Oh my god, do you think we need a price cut?'” he told Insider.

But Spears is calm. Ever since his brother, who was already working as an agent near the Florida resort city of Destin on the Gulf of Mexico, quit his job at Chick-fil-A at the age of 20, he has spent his six years working as a buyer and seller. I have acted as an agent. Year.

According to Redfin, Destin’s homes took more than 78 days to hit the market in June 2019, when Spears was already working, compared to 10 days in June 2021.

But fellow Gen Z agents may not have witnessed the slower spell.

“All they’ve seen is this volcanic activity in a market where everything sells above asking price in a week,” Spears said. It’s a rare example.”

Born between 1997 and 2012, the oldest members of Generation Z entered the workforce during an unprecedented pandemic. Real estate was no exception. Once the newcomer became an agent, home prices rose at the fastest rate in his 45 years, bidding wars became commonplace, and homes flew off the shelves in days.

Now the market is shifting under these newbies. They are still selling homes, but at reduced prices and longer timeframes. At best, that means real estate agents and mortgage brokers make less money. It means being laid off or voluntarily quitting during the so-called busts of the boom-bust cycle of the housing market.

A Gen Z agent told Insider he sees an opportunity now. They believe that if they can deepen their relationships with clients offline and improve their marketing to reach more potential customers, they will be able to come out on top in their industry, even in a recession. they said you can head for the exit.

Caleb Spears

Caleb Spears, 25, believes young agents who combine social media skills with old-fashioned relationship building will survive the housing market cooldown.

Courtesy of Caleb Spears

“You will not only survive, but you will get all the business that thousands of agents would have done,” said Spears.

Gen Z real estate agents now have an easier time getting started in a hot market

“Historically, when markets are strong, more people want to try real estate,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Between July 2020 and July 2022, an additional 170,000 agents joined the ranks of the association, bringing membership to a record high of 1.58 million nationwide. Yoon said the surge was even higher than the association’s own expectations for the period.

Take Nimel Sonna, a 20-year-old named Tre, who started working as an agent in Seattle in August 2020. When Sona asked the owner what he does for a living, he replied that he was a real estate agent.

Sonna said he feels lucky to have jumped into what he called the “heat wave” of pandemic housing. Early on, he made a habit of calling strangers to find homeowners on the fence about selling to agents and people struggling to find a property to buy.

Sonna said three of the first six deals were the result of cold calls. Many of his targets were already thinking of selling or buying when he called, he added. Market news was inevitable, making it easier for him to swoop down.

“Cold calling is purely a numbers game,” Sonna told Insider. “But the numbers game works much better when the market is very hot.”

Julianiz Baez Fonseca

Julieniz Baez Fonseca, 22, got her first list just two weeks after getting her license.

Courtesy of Julieniz Baez Fonseca

Based in Tampa, Florida, Julieniz Baez Fonseca joined the family business in June 2020 by becoming a broker herself.

She was told it could take months to get her first listing as a reseller. But Fonseca got her first listing in her two weeks and then sold in just her three weeks.

“I’ve heard stories of agents who haven’t signed their first contract in the past year or so,” Fonseca, now 22, told Insider.

Cooler Market Offers Standout Moments for New Agents

What rises must fall. Few experts predict a crash like that of 2008, but the housing market is showing signs of a downturn from a frenzy.

During periods of slow market growth, agencies leave the industry due to increased competition and overall loss of revenue. Between December 2007 and December 2008, the National Association of Realtors said it lost 140,000 of its agents when the 2008 housing crisis began.

However, some Gen Z agents are already anticipating a dwindling herd and see it as time to prove their mettle.

“Anyone who was doing this part-time, or who thought they could make easy money, would quit or give up,” said Spears.

“We’re entering the season that separates men from men,” said Sonna, who is relying on her social media presence to prepare to compete for lesser lists.

He sees his online audience, 15,000 followers on TikTok, as a source of potential buyers and sellers.

“Followers translate almost directly into currency when used correctly,” says Sonna.

Spears warned his peers against relying too much on social media. Real estate is still a relationship business, he said. Video and photo posts will get attention, but Gen Z agents also need to participate in deep conversations, he added.

“If they can tap into that skill set and combine it with the more old-school traditional model of picking up phones and talking to people,” Spears said, “they will absolutely thrive.” “

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