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Ask a Millennial: Are Young People Interested in Becoming Realtors®?

by Leslie Fowle | Jan 24, 2019

The 2018 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Member Profile recently reported the average Realtor® is a 54-year-old white female. However, there is evidence this is changing. According to that same report, NAR membership has increased from 1.22 million in March 2017 to 1.30 million in April of 2018. Younger Americans entering the industry have driven this increase – the study found that 29 percent of Realtors® have less than two years of experience. More locally, millennials now make up 16 percent of Realtors® here in Massachusetts. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun credits younger agents with realizing the business opportunities that a career in real estate offers. 

For millennial Nicholas Sanginetti, a career in real estate gave him the opportunity to pursue a dream. In 2016, he left his career on Wall Street to move home to the Berkshires and go back to school for interior design. It wasn’t until a conversation with his personal broker that he realized the potential of becoming a real estate agent, a career where he could combine his previous experience in business management with his passion for design. Sanginetti got his real estate license at the beginning of 2018 and has been an active Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway Barnbrook Realty in Great Barrington since June. He is also launching his own interior design company, where in addition to helping people to sell and buy homes he will offer his design services either before or after the transaction.  

Sanginetti is most grateful for the lifestyle that a career in real estate has afforded him. “It’s nice to have a job that doesn’t keep me stuck in a cubicle for 80 or 90 hours a week,” he said. “It’s also nice to be in a career where every day is different and is very interactive with my clients. I can be creative with my clients and help them stage if they are selling and help them design their homes after the process if they are buying.” 

The flexibility of a real estate career is a major boon to many millennials. In an earlier issue, we reported that up to 55 percent of millennials report feeling disengaged at work. Having the flexibility to work from home and achieve the elusive work-life balance could increase career engagement and is one of the main attractions to the real estate field. For example, when millennial Realtor® Rebecca White gave birth in 2018, she wanted to move into a position that would allow her to care for her child but would be challenging for her entrepreneurial attitude. She has been a Realtor® with Coco, Early & Associates in Haverhill since October. 

“I gave birth to my baby girl in April and the company I was running closed in May,” said White. “I knew I wanted to find a career that was flexible but also rewarding for someone who works hard. I was sick of running a company for someone else and not reaping any of the rewards. My husband works long hours and being able to work with his schedule, is wonderful.” 

Importantly, younger real estate agents are also seeing the value of joining the Realtor® organization early in their careers. For 21-year-old Realtor® Maxwell Lenihan, the Realtor® brand is all he has known after growing up in a family of real estate developers and obtaining his license at age 18.  

Lenihan listed off perks he enjoys as part of the large national organization, “There are many added benefits to being a Realtor®—receiving news, getting notified about changes to state regulations, access to Flexmls, help drafting contracts, and being able to call my local board with questions.”  

Other new agents may not have been aware of the Realtor® organization before they started in real estate but are glad they joined early. 

“Before I got into real estate, I didn’t know there was a difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor®,” said White. “Now I know how wrong I was. I wish more people knew just how much goes into being a Realtor®. It’s such an honor and gives me a lot of confidence to be able to call myself one. Especially being new to the industry, it just shows I’m fully committed to making my career successful and helping people every way I can.”