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by CareyBot

By SUSAN GALLEYMORE

While the housing downturn has devastated some markets, leading some industry professionals to choose other careers, there are young entrepreneurs who are bucking the trend and chasing their real estate dreams.

Now 22, Rich Lewetzow was a high school freshman when he began working in the boutique-style real estate brokerage office of Brown & Co. doing miscellaneous tasks for Realtors, accompanying them to open houses, performing site inspections, and asking lots of questions.

He earned his real estate license at 18, despite dyslexia, and sold his first listing, a San Francisco condo, for $625,000.

The fifth-generation San Franciscan says he has never regretted his decision not to attend college after graduating from some of the city’s best high schools.

He left Brown & Co. in May 2011 and joined TRI Coldwell Banker Previews International. "I enjoy working for a well-known and recognized brokerage," he says.

Despite the economic downturn — and his youth — his business has doubled. He encourages anyone considering this tough business to "listen to people’s suggestions but never give up on your own direction. There’s a lot to learn … and knowing the right people is key."

Rich Lewetzow

Many of Rich Lewetzow’s clients are parents and family members of high school friends. "They don’t care that I don’t have a college degree. They just care about how I perform."

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