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The Biggest Challenge Facing Brokerages? Agents’ Age

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Real estate brokerages face plenty of challenges, but according to a new survey, the increasing age of real estate agents comes out on top.

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It was just two months ago that the National Association of Realtors reported that only 2 percent of Realtors working today are younger than 30, and now, a new survey by Imprev, a prominent real estate marketing firm, has found the nation’s top real estate executives to be concerned with that trend.

According to the 2013 Imprev Thought Leader Survey, which the firm conducted in late May, 42 percent of real estate executives cited the hiring of quality young agents as their biggest concern, with 36 percent stating they were unable to attract quality top producers to their firms. NAR’s latest member profile found the average Realtor age to be 57 years old, compared with the average American worker age of 41.

Imprev Thought Leader Survey – Executive Concerns in Real Estate

Renwick Congdon, the chief executive officer of Imprev, said that the average age of real estate agents has been a steady one in the post-boom housing market.

“Over the last five years the average age of real estate agents has almost moved in lock-step with the calendar,” Congdon said. The Imprev survey sampled executives at both leading real estate franchises and independent brokerages that were collectively responsible for more than one-third of all U.S. residential transactions last year.

Other key findings in the Thought Leader Survey included:

  • Executives were also concerned with physical space costs and commission splits, with 39 and 35 percent, respectively, citing those concerns in the survey; one-third of survey respondents cited “too few quality prospects” as one of their biggest recruiting challenges.
  • Another chief concern was the behavior of competitors. Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents feared that their competitors offered better commission splits, while 46 percent feared lower costs, 23 percent more market share, 22 percent better signing bonuses and 21 percent more leads. Interestingly, only 10 percent feared better technology and 14 percent better brand recognition.
  • Also interesting was the rise of discount brokerages; 22 percent of executives stated that discount brokers challenge their profitability margins.

The Importance of the Company Culture

Another notable survey finding on recruiting dealt with company culture. Twenty-seven percent of surveyed executives said that finding “prospects that fit your culture” is a significant challenge – meaning that rather than hire any available professional, those executives are choosing to wait and hire the right professional for the position. As we’ve covered before, this is a major trend in today’s business climate, and one that more and more brokers should bear in mind when expanding.

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