Mentors will play a critical role as we transition into the next era of real estate. The median age of a Realtor is 56. Digital forms, social media and other advances are changing the game, which, in turn, is changing the very definition of a mentor. Although some people believe the title “mentor” should be granted only to individuals who have gained knowledge and understanding through years of experience, younger professionals are now mentoring older Realtors, showing them how to use technology to market and grow their business. After all, young professionals are the perfect choices to share their understanding and knowledge of different devices and apps with their older counterparts. They know how to keep connected and how to stay accessible through technology, and they are able to communicate almost instantly.

But regardless of age, professionalism and good business sense should always be maintained across the board for all Realtors, and that’s where a more experienced and financially successful mentor can help a younger agent out. I’m a broker in Mississauga, Ontario, under the age of 30, and cater to clients across many generations who are looking to buy their first home, upgrade to their dream house or downsize for comfort. I believe my experiences with mentors (and older “mentees”) have helped me achieve success. After all, there are some clients I connect with easily and intuitively, and then there are others who will be easier to understand with the help of an experienced mentor.

There is great value to learning as much as possible in this changing environment. And finding a mentor may prove to be not only valuable, but actually essential to survive in this industry.

Here are four things to look for in a mentor, no matter what your age:

1. Reliability: You want to make sure that if you have a question your mentor will be available to provide an answer within a reasonable time period. Younger agents will want to ask their older potential mentors about the extent of their work and family commitments, and older agents should question potential younger mentors about their typical responsiveness via various forms of communication. (That said, make sure you use your mentor’s time wisely no matter where they are in life. A younger mentor might not have a spouse and children waiting for them at home, but his or her time is still valuable.)

2. Success, age and experience level: This seems obvious, but it’s important. Your mentor needs to be successful at the area of business where you are looking to improve, be that building a business from the ground up or building a social media presence from scratch. Your job as the mentee is to listen to what worked and what did not, and then do what works to increase your efficiency and your bottom line. As I stated before, younger agents can be great mentors about topics like online marketing and using technology, which they’ve been doing their entire lives, while older agents can offer a lot of value to newer agents because they have been in the trenches and can share some valuable lessons they’ve learned.

3. Regular connection: A mentor can offer the best value in person, so although you can certainly call or email your mentor if you need to talk, it’s important to schedule weekly or monthly meetings to ensure accountability and follow through on any previously discussed plans. Buy your mentor lunch or dinner to show you appreciate his or her time; perhaps even hold your standing meeting at a favorite restaurant.

4. Positivity: This one isn’t quite so obvious, but mentors who have a positive outlook and attitude can be great resources when you’re having a bad day (and those, as we know, will happen). A positive mentor can keep you motivated to be more successful by helping you stay focused through positive reinforcement and helping you see the good side of your bad day. Individuals who are mentored by a positive person will be more relaxed and feel less intimidated by the tasks ahead of them.

It’s important that we continue to grow together as a supportive group and make real estate a sustainable career for mentors of all ages.

What do you look for in a mentor? Share your must-haves in the comments below.

Branden Kameka entered the real estate business in 2009; he co-founded The Realty Shop Inc. and is a broker.

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