- Coldwell Banker has announced its worldwide 30 Under 30 list.
- To ensure it can have agents to appeal to millennial and younger buyers and sellers, the franchise group is recruiting agents of a similar age.
- The company has extended its training of new agents to help them better launch themselves into the industry.
- One tip from a new agent: Find a top producer and watch how they operate in every part of a transaction.
We like to think that tech startups today and their under-30 leaders are something new — but the San Francisco-based founders of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate franchise group, Colbert Coldwell and Arthur Banker, were 30 and 28 years old, respectively, when they joined forces in 1913.
More than 100 years later, the second annual Coldwell Banker Worldwide 30 Under 30 list has been announced. The company has 85,000 real estate professionals in 47 countries — and COO Michael Fischer says he sees young millennial agents playing a key role in “redefining the Coldwell Banker culture and the brand.”
Here’s how the franchise group is attracting that young blood.
Why go younger?
Coldwell Banker wants to attract younger homebuyers and sellers to the real estate brand. In order to do that, it’s important that they have real estate agents and brokers who can relate to them and give them the best service, said Fischer.
And there are other attributes millennial agents bring with them.
“Diversity is one of the great values of a millennial agent population; they are more diverse,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Coldwell Banker management has created an improved onboarding experience for new agents, he said.
“We have completely re-calibrated our new agent training to help set up our agents,” said Fischer. “It used to be four weeks; now, it is closer to seven weeks, and by the end of the program the agent has learned how to create their sphere of influence, the basics of real estate and the tech that will help them stand out.
“It’s not about how young or old they are, it is about the mindset,” added the COO.
The international real estate brokerage uses the term “Generation Blue.”
“We have to view ourselves as one generation — we need to be focused on everybody. Sellers and brokers are coming from across the generations,” said Fischer.
New ’30 under 30′ agent brings $8 million listing with her
Alyssa Morgan Brinegar, one of this year’s Coldwell Banker 30 under 30, was welcomed with open arms at the firm when she approached top Miami producer Jill Eber, co-leader of The Jills team, at the age of 21.
Now 23, Brinegar said: “I had a big listing — an oceanfront estate on 20,000 square feet of land and a 10,000-square-foot home.”
She and Eber ended up co-listing the property, and Brinegar joined Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate to be near Eber.
In her first year, 2015, her numbers were $17 million. This year, having started a small team with fellow agent Stephanie Doppelt, also in her 20s, Brinegar is on track for more.
It’s not surprising Brinegar was a bit of a pro from the start, with a mother and an aunt both in the real estate business — her mother, Debbi Brinegar, is a broker associate in Orlando at Watson Realty Corp, and her aunt operates in Chicago.
Brinegar, who studied international business at college, got her real estate license in her senior year of college. She knew how to do open houses, and she knew what to do when she got a new listing — but there was still a lot to learn. She left college before earning her degree, but not before learning what she wanted to do with her life.
“I was thrown into everything, but I was glad that I was thrown into it. I felt that I grew a lot,” she said.
Mentors are crucially important
According to Brinegar, her biggest mentors have been Jill Eber and her office broker, Nancy Corey. Of Corey, Brinegar said: “She has this amazing energy.
“When I talk to her about a new goal, she gets so excited about it.”
Her tip to other new young agents as they start their careers: “I would say, find a top producer and watch them, listen to them, bring a listing to them. They should be someone who will walk you through everything they do, from listing presentations, to how they follow up, what they do for marketing. That’s the best training: their experience.”
Her typical property in the luxury Miami market is a $2 million to $4 million home, both condos and single-family homes, and she works with both buyers and sellers.
“I really like both sides; it’s almost like a different business.”
Young agents happy to return the favor
The young agent is happy to help advise other agents in the office on social media.
“I get a lot of compliments about my social media and often say: ‘I could show you how.’ I like to give something back, I can learn so much from them.”
“I find a lot of leads from social media, the internet, from Facebook,” she added.
Brinegar is enjoying being on her own small team with Doppelt, who started around the same time as she did and was a showing agent for Jill Hertzberg, also of The Jills.
“I love it; we bring so much to each other, another eye, you can be in two places. Stephanie can make anyone feel comfortable, she has a very strong personality that everybody just loves.
“We can cater to just about everybody. Two is always better.”
Willing to try new things
As for her career ahead, she said, “I’ve always wanted to be on the development side. I want to have a residential building one day, so I feel like I’m on the right track — I’m learning all of the aspects working alongside developers.”
Brinegar met her fiance in the real estate field — he’s a developer and property owner.
“I think an interesting development is in student housing right now — when the economy goes down people are still going to school, it does not drop much. It’s a unique opportunity,” she said.
Unafraid of trying new things, Brinegar is currently doing some training and research on commercial property, which she thinks is worthwhile as some hot spots pop up in Miami.
Brinegar will bring in residential sales business from her age group in the meantime.
“I have a few friends starting to look to buy, seeing what’s available, what are their options — typically my buyers have been leads that I’ve got online. They are all from out of town.”
Young agents may not own their own home
Brinegar and her fellow 30 under 30 lister, Tim Savoy, share something in common: Neither of them have bought their own home yet — which is not surprising — but they know exactly what to buy when the time comes, and they know when they will buy in the next year to two years.
Brinegar wants a hotel residence condo that she can rent out from time to time.
Based in the Coldwell Banker Residential Dupont/Logan Circle office in Washington, D.C., Savoy is planning to buy a condo in the spring.
Meanwhile, he has become known in his market as a first-time homebuyer specialist.
Being a real estate agent wasn’t in his plan — he has a master’s degree in population health and epidemiology, but he was volunteering at a food bank when he met Coldwell Banker broker Kevin McDuffie and some of the Dupont office’s agents.
McDuffie, who does the recruiting for the office, has been a mentor.
Coming to the end of his degree, Savoy got a small part-time job at the Coldwell Banker office helping them with a website, “like a local version of Zillow,” he said.
At the end of the project, McDuffie suggested he get his real estate license.
“He believed in me,” said Savoy. He initially laughed at the idea — at home in Alabama, all the agents’ faces are on billboards, they send their postcards in the mail, which was “not exactly my style,” said Savoy. But he has done it his own way.
Always involved with community service as the owner of two labrador retrievers, he is on the board of directors for a dog park to be built.
Making yourself the expert in your niche
He has been featured in a video series for USA Today on first-time homebuyers and writes regularly about real estate in The Washington Post.
“I’m one of the most active agents in print — in my area,” he said.
The Post writing gig took a bit of persistence.
“It took three months of emailing pitch after pitch to the real estate editor; one eventually stuck. Now I’m building a brand for myself,” said Savoy.
Something he appreciates at Coldwell Banker is that there’s an atmosphere of sharing, he said.
“I almost get to play mentor to younger agents,” he said.
Savoy, whose sales volume was $10 million last year, started two years ago, in July 2014.
Why should young college graduates like real estate?
Savoy is persuasive about why younger people should be attracted to real estate.
“It’s heavily entrepreneurial unless you are joining a team. You are starting your own business. Joining real estate was quite risky, but I went to school here — I knew my territory pretty well.”
And the financial rewards have sent him ahead of his friends working in other fields.
“Last year was my first calendar year with Coldwell Banker, and I can afford not only own place but to pay off my student debt.”
Educating your clients
Savoy is still aware he is learning every day. And he enjoys educating his same-age clients.
He tells them of the importance of owning property as a form of investment.
“A lot of younger people don’t buy because they are afraid,” he said.
He tells them though the 20 percent down payment is still the gold standard, there are options for those with a five percent and 10 percent deposit.
Working with first-time buyers has its rewards, he added. They don’t stay put for long. “As people form families and incomes increase and they build equity, it’s not long before someone living in a one-bed condo will move up to larger property,” he noted.
Savoy, like Brinegar, also likes the idea of a team — and, like her, he wants to build one himself rather than join an existing one because he prefers to innovate and be entrepreneurial.
The future in real estate for Savoy? A recent client worked for the tech startup HelloWallet, which inspired him. Savoy would like to be involved in whatever the next big real estate technology or product might be
“I’d like to create something in the future. Right now I am so new to the industry — but I am on the lookout for ideas.”