“Birds of a Feather . . . ?”

When it comes to hiring a Realtor, which is better:  the younger, presumably less experienced Realtor, or, the older one who’s done more deals but whose energy level and technology skills may not compare?

Before I answer, first a definition:

Notwithstanding my 83 year-old Dad’s definition of “young” (anyone more than a decade younger than he is), I define “young” in real estate to be anyone who’s under 30, give or take.

Such folks may still be single, or, if they’re married, just starting to have kids.

If they’ve been doing real estate for more than 5 years, it’s probably their first, real job (no refugees from the corporate world), and they’re probably (more than) conversant with texting, social media, and the like.

They may have a college degree, but just as easily may not.  

Defining Terms

So, what constitutes an older Realtor?

My definition, at least, is someone in their late ’40’s or older who’s been in real estate for a decade or more.

Their kids (if they have them) are doing sleepover’s, learning how to drive — or already in college!

Their resumes are typically longer, with stints in other careers and at multiple companies.

They’re certainly comfortable with email and the Internet, but don’t live on it, as their younger colleagues seem to.

And their educational background varies widely (just like younger Realtors). 

Prioritizing Criteria

So, which agent — younger or older — is better for you?

It depends a lot on who “you” are.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked factors in choosing an agent is shared values, backgrounds — and, yes, life stages.

In a sentence, would-be Buyers and Sellers want someone they can relate to, and have rapport with.

Everything else being equal, a peer more easily fits that bill.

Shared Values

Step 2 is to decide what other criteria are most important to accomplishing your real estate goals — namely, getting the most house for your money (if you’re a Buyer), or getting the most money for your home (as a Seller).  See, “Realtor Job Description.”

So, what attributes are most integral to accomplishing those goals?

“Market knowledge,” “negotiating skills,” “marketing prowess,” “energy level,” “work ethic,” and “integrity” would all rank high on my list (or anyone else’s). 

Still can’t decide between older and younger?

Put it this way:  I think it’s easier for an older Realtor to compensate for the area(s) where someone younger might have a natural edge (e.g., technology fluency), than for a younger Realtor to compensate for the area(s) where the older Realtor has an advantage (market knowledge, experience).

Too, I’m already on record stating that technology — and in particular, speed — are overrated in residential real estate.  See, ” Real Estate and Technology.”

And that’s coming from someone who blogs, tweets, IM’s etc. with the best of ’em.

Best of Both Worlds

Which still leaves the question:  older or younger?

If you had to choose — at least in my book — the nod goes to . . . . the older Realtor.   

Of course, the ideal is someone who combines the experience and maturity of an older Realtor  . . . with the energy level and technology skills of a younger Realtor.

I can think of at least one Twin Cities Realtor who meets that profile.  🙂

P.S.:  applying to Ivy League colleges when I was 17, I remember asking an admissions officer which was better, “getting an “A” in the regular calculus class or a “B” in the advanced placement one?”

She replied, “getting an “A” in the advanced placement class.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
1 Response
  1. I’d have to argue that age rarely has anything to do with it. I know some agents that are old, moderately tech savvy, many years in the business and yet horrible agents. I also know young ones with only a few years that can run circles around most of the people in the business.

    While experience is important, that experience can be gained quickly by hard working agents – some of the newest agents in the business become top producers.

    As a guy who is just coming up on 30, has been in the business for 8.5 years, and has this as his 2nd career (I started in IT at 15), I can hold my own against almost any agent in the market in any component other than a 30-year agent’s specific geographic expertise.

    Ageism is something that works both ways. Never judge a book by its cover… whatever cover that may be! 🙂

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