By Alex Craig
Being young in real estate can sometimes be a barrier or hurdle to getting clients—but it doesn’t have to be. You can overcome feeling “too young” or clients choosing another agent simply because they believe you’re “too young” to help them buy or sell a home.
I was 25 when I got started in real estate. I had some great real estate training, but I jumped into the deep end by choosing to go solo as an agent and I tried not to drown.
My first few buyer and seller appointments were full of emotions. I felt excitement and A LOT of nerves. That’s because my first client was 53 years old. My second clients? In their early 40s.
I had to quickly learn how to sell to clients who are predominantly older than me—sometimes old enough to be my parents. It was an anxiety-ridden experience for me… at first.
Four years later, I am here to share with you some tips and strategies I used to land clients, win the rising star award at my brokerage, and became a top-selling agent in my first year, despite my young age.
If you are a young agent, then these tips are for you. Here are six tips for overcoming your age.
Understand Client Pain Points
Before I dive deep into tactics, it’s important to zoom out and look at the strategy. To overcome your age, start by understanding why and how being young might raise concerns for your clients.
At the end of the day, all clients want to buy a home or sell a home. They want to work with a real estate agent who will deliver top-quality service. When you’re young, clients can incorrectly assume you’re unable to help them accomplish their goals and objectives because they think you lack experience—experience in life and experience in real estate. That lack of experience might make clients feel like you can’t help them sell their home or buy a new one.
When you dig deep, you will see all of these tactics I’m about to share set out to change that perception. Our goal is to convince and show clients that you can, in fact, help them.
Reframe Being Young as a Benefit
I learned this lesson from one of my first clients. They were a nice retired couple looking to sell their farm. In a conversation with them, I asked why they hired me. I was genuinely curious because previously, they worked with a real estate agent in my area who has been in real estate longer than I’ve been alive. He was unable to sell their property.
They hired me because I am young, they said.
At first, I was a bit shocked. As they went on, I learned that due to my age, they believed I would be able to do a better job marketing the home on the internet and getting the exposure their home needed.
They were right, of course. I sold it.
Your age can be a benefit and a selling point. Take this objection as an opportunity to reframe.
Today’s buyers are mainly looking at homes online. Our age gives us strength to leverage technology to market homes and create a smoother transaction process. I don’t know your situation personally, but I grew up with tech in my hands.
This foundational shift of perceiving my age as a benefit rather than a disadvantage boosted my confidence every time I went to a buyer or seller appointment.
Much of sales, at the end of the day, is about building and creating trust. As a young (and possibly new) agent, it can help to borrow trust and invoke credibility from other sources.
It’s tempting to approach clients by selling yourself. It’s really easy to start sentences with I. “I answer my phone and I am available.”
Instead, focus on phrases about the brokerage and what agents at the brokerage have done. “At [insert brokerage], we were able to sell 675 homes at a median sale price that was 5% above list price.”
This advice is relevant to ANY new agent, regardless of whether you’re young or not. However, it’s doubly-important for real estate agents who are both new and young.
Even after four years in real estate with glowing reviews and an impressive list of credible skills, I still do this. The numbers my brokerage produces, like the number of homes sold, are more impressive than I do alone.
Another area you can borrow trust from is the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s worth understanding the value you bring to clients, regardless of your age, as a REALTOR®.
When I started out in the business, I just jumped into the deep end after my training, and stumbled through several buyer and listing presentations. I learned the hard way.
Instead, you could recruit help from another real estate agent in your brokerage. Most brokerages have someone you can take on a presentation appointment with you to lend credibility and help you learn the ropes.
Sometimes this is the broker-owner, a dedicated onboarding agent, a real estate coach, or an agent with a kind heart focused on giving back to the other agents in the company.
For example, a lot of younger agents in my office like to recruit help from the broker-owner, and he is happy to help. After all, their success is his success.
Focus on Listening
The young agents I’ve mentored are overly concerned about what they are going to say to clients. But the reality is, they should focus on listening and learning rather than talking.
As the proverbial saying goes, “You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that order.”
The best strategy is to ask your real estate leads a lot of open-ended questions so that you understand the client’s pain points and objectives. The more you do that, the more they’ll trust you to deliver value.
Asking questions is a far more useful tactic than talking, in general, and will be a skill you heavily rely on throughout your career.
Give Yourself Time to Age
If all else fails, be patient. Give yourself some time, and eventually, you will have some gray hairs on your head that give you some credibility. Suddenly, clients aren’t worried about you being young.
… Although, you might not feel too great about those gray hairs on your head.
As I approach my 30s, have my third child, and continue to build my real estate career, I find my age is less of a concern to myself and my clients.
It’s hard to pinpoint at what age clients no longer consider you “too young,” but time is on your side. You will be able to go from a young, naive, wide-eyed, eager real estate agent to an experienced, seasoned veteran, just like I’m on my way to becoming.
So there you have it. Your age doesn’t have to stop you from becoming a top real estate agent. Understand the fear clients have about working with a young real estate agent. From there, deploy tactics to overcome these clients’ objections and show them you can help them achieve the American Dream.
That’s what we do. That’s who we “R”.
Alex Craig, a real estate professional with Century 21 Looking Glass in Lansing, Mich., helps homeowners sell their homes for maximum cash in their pocket by taking a data-driven approach and executing a systematic marketing plan that uses current digital marketing strategies. Craig also runs the Dolinski Group (www.dolinskigroup.com), a company focused on helping real estate agents get more from their careers and earn more without the heartache.
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Thank you for sharing your insight on this important topic! Many young professionals deal with this very issue in all jobs and industries. I love the shifting viewpoint to the benefits a younger person can bring to the table. A fresh perspective!
Thank you for sharing! You have covered completely something that has been making me hit my own brick wall!
Reading this has helped me try to get back out there with more confidence. Thanks so much!
It seems like Real Estate is one of the few professions where being old is a benefit. Age discrimination is real on both ends of the spectrum.