Jay Luebke got his real estate license at the age of 18 and has been going to college and working part-time while he gets his degree. He’ll graduate in May, and he plans to use his education and experience working in a team to become a top producer.

  • "Mentorship is, 100 percent, one of the most important things that you can have as a young agent."
  • "Anybody can go through a course through their brokerage and get the basics down, but there's something to be said for really getting down in the trenches and learning by experience."
  • "The days of a big corporate company are becoming less and less appealing to a lot of my peers."
  • "The better client experience that you can provide, the more business you'll get."

Jay Luebke is the marketing director at The ART of Real Estate and became a licensed real estate agent at the age of 18.

A headshot of Jay Luebke wearing a red bowtie

Jay Luebke

Brad Inman Hi, this is Brad Inman with Unlisted. I’m so excited to have with me today, believe it or not, a 21-year-old real estate agent from South Carolina, Jay Luebke. Welcome, Jay!

Jay Luebke: Thanks so much for having me, Brad.

Jay, by the way, your voice sounds like you’re a lot older, but you’re a young guy. You got into real estate at the ripe age of 18, when you got your license. And you started as an intern in North Carolina, worked for a big broker. Now you work for a smaller broker in South Carolina. Do I have the bio right?

Yes, that’s correct.

We want to probe how young people think about real estate differently. You told me that your mom, who’s a lawyer, and your dad, who’s a business consultant, used to watch HGTV and watched Million Dollar Listing together? Do I have it right? And what about that inspired you to get into real estate?

That is correct. I think those TV shows are just, they’re so interesting and they’re captivating, in a sense. Everybody loves to see the big multimillion dollar properties, but they don’t really understand what it’s like to have the day-to-day operations in a real estate business, so that was one of the things that pulled me in and got me to where I am today.

I am impressed that you’ve had mentors. Your first broker in North Carolina as an intern, your broker in South Carolina, a bigger and smaller broker. Tell us about how important it is for a young guy getting into real estate to have those mentors?

I think mentorship is, 100 percent, one of the most important things that you can have as a young agent. Working at a big brokerage where you didn’t necessarily have the support that you needed, I found it very tough to get started. By finding a mentor, it’s really helped me to get to where I am now.

It’s given me the opportunity to learn about the business from a seasoned professional and get to try out some of the different areas, from listing to marketing to sales. It’s really given me the freedom to be able to ask questions and to be able to learn from somebody who knows what they’re doing.

You have worked all ends of the real estate office. You’ve been a listing agent, you’ve helped buyers, you’ve worked obviously as an intern, you’re now helping on digital marketing, you’ve been a transaction coordinator. What’s that all about? Do you want to become a broker? Do yo uwant to become a powerhouse million dollar lister? What’s your ambition to be so careful and thoughtful about your training to do it right?

I think the ambition is to one day become a top-producing agent. That’s kind of the goal, that’s what got me into real estate. And this is the way that I see my education, in a sense. Anybody can go through a course through their brokerage and get the basics down, but there’s something to be said for really getting down in the trenches and learning by experience.

 I’ve interviewed Madison Hildebrand many times, and he’s one of the guys you used to see on TV. And Madison said how his parents freaked out when he was graduating from Pepperdine University and he told them he wanted to become a Realtor. You? You’ve got a mom who’s a lawyer. What do your mom and dad think about you becoming a Realtor?

Originally, I think they looked at it as an interest, a potential job through college, something to do. But here we are four years later and it’s stuck. And I think that now it’s the direction I’m heading and it’s the direction that I want to be in, and I think they realize that there’s more to it than just what you see on TV. There’s an actual career there, there’s such an entrepreneurial aspect that you can build your own business, and I think they really respect it.

 Is it true now that your generation increasingly sees it as a profession because we’re seeing more and more college graduates enter the business. Do you think it has more respectability than maybe 40, 50 years ago?

I think it does, and I think that more and more young people are seeing it as an opportunity to create their own job and create what they want their working environment to be like, and that’s something that’s really drawing people in. I think the days of a big corporate company are becoming less and less appealing to a lot of my peers. They’re looking for more startups and more entrepreneurial outlets than they could typically have.

What’s your advice? What advice do you give to young people who enter the industry? You’re still a newbie, you’re only 21 years old, but what recommendation would you give younger people to enter the business, what do they need to do to qualify themselves to be successful?

OK, we’ll take that one, one at a time. For new entrants who are younger, who are my generation, I would definitely say mentorship is one of the most important things that you could have. I would not be in the position that I’m at today had it not been for some incredible mentors.

Almost everyone here in my office is of the millennial generation or just outside of it. We’re a very young team. And I think that that has really shaped me as a player in the industry, in a sense. I also think that being on a team is a must. I’m a complete team supporter.

And you see the team as a way to partner up, collaborate, work together, solve problems together? 

Exactly. Collaborate, and it’s a way that I can learn. There are so many incredible people on my team right now that I can learn from each one of them and from their different experiences.

And how about the older people in the industry. Do they need to move out of the way, or adopt technology, or is there room for everybody?

I think there’s room for everybody. I also think that just as I needed a mentor, I think that it would be great to have a mentee in a sense, that you could have somebody from a younger generation, a younger demographic, who can help an older agent pull in some of these new technologies. Somebody who understands it directly and can teach a little bit as well.


What are your goals?

I think goals, yes, are important. I don’t have a direct plan for I want to be at X by this date, but I know that one main goal is to make the 30 Under 30 list, so I’ve got a 9-year goal to definitely hit. Before then, there’s still a lot of learning I can do, there’s a lot of hands-on experience I can gain on a team. And we’ll go from there.

Being in the middle of all of these real estate deals and transactions and working with different people, what would you like to see changed in the real estate process so it’s easier and better for the consumer? 

I think customer service is the no. 1 issue we see. There’s a lot of agents out there who don’t necessarily put customer service first, and one of the things that I’ve seen on our team is that that is really the direction that we need to push.

It’s all about the client experience these days, and the better client experience that you can provide, the more business you’ll get, the more referrals you’ll get and the better you’ll do as an agent.

You work with young buyers and sellers. How do they view the deal these days? Do they still want a Realtor, do they expect you to have great technology? 

I think technology is playing more and more of an importance, but I think that there’s also the personal touch and the ability to have their questions answered that they can’t get if they try to do it themselves. I think that as buyers, they also realize that they don’t have to pay for a buyer’s agent and so they’re much more willing to work with an agent, work with somebody who knows what they’re doing and can answer their questions as opposed to trying to tackle it on their own.

You at Real Estate connect in New York. Did you have a good experience there?

Absolutely incredible. It’s one of the best communities that I’ve seen in a long time.

I think it’s an incredible networking and learning community, from sitting down at round tables on the last day to meeting some of the brokers at drinks at Connect afterwards. I think there’s so much knowledge that you can learn from other markets, and what may work for them may also work for us.

I think that’s one of the big things that drew me, to meet some of these other incredible agents from around the country, hear some of these fantastic speakers and gather in as much knowledge as I possibly could to bring back here to Columbia and implement in our business.



Great to have you Jay, and stay in touch, OK?

Thanks so much, Brad, I appreciate it.

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