The biggest business challenge facing real estate brokerages today isn’t making the most of the reviving housing market – it’s being unable to attract younger agents, according to a poll of top real estate executives.
This was among the key findings from the 2013 Imprev Thought Leader Survey conducted in late May. Poll respondents included top executives at leading franchises and independent brokerage firms that were responsible for more than one-third of all U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.
The aging of the real estate workforce has been well documented. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the average real estate agent is 57 years old, though the average American worker is 41 and the typical age of a first-time buyer is 31.
“Over the last five years the average age of real estate agents has almost moved in lock-step with the calendar,” which is also supported by NAR research, said Renwick Congdon, chief executive officer of Imprev, a real estate marketing software firm that works with 150,000 agents and brokers nationwide.
NAR also notes that more veteran agents are choosing to stay in the business and not retire. Apparently seasoned agents are also less likely to make a move to another firm, according to the survey. More than one-third of the respondents (36 percent) said they were “not able to get top producers to apply” with their firms.
Real estate leaders also noted they are struggling to find new talent, which is directly impacting their bottom line. When asked about the biggest challenges they face in driving higher profitability, “need more agents” was the No. 1 concern — cited by 42 percent of respondents and ranking higher than physical space costs (39 percent) and commission splits (35 percent). One-third of the executives (33 percent) cited “too few quality prospects” as one of their biggest recruiting challenges.