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Recruiting Young Agents — Tips From the Field

Flexibility, part-time administrative work and hands-on training lure young agents to this firm.

(Boonton, NJ, August 3, 2016) — Los Angeles broker Mel Wilson can’t help noticing the graying of the agents in his office. Wilson runs the 38-agent Mel Wilson & Associates, and he fears that the aging of the agent population imperils an entire industry.

Wilson, who’s in his early 60s himself, has tried to spur a youth movement at his company. He has been actively recruiting at California State University Northridge.

During his recruiting visits to campus, Wilson has found that few college students are eager to jump into careers in real estate.

"It’s not their first choice," he says.

But Wilson tries to change the perception. Among his selling points are a flexible schedule, good compensation, and being your own boss.

Wilson stresses work-life balance, telling students they can take a month off to backpack through Europe if they want.

"Unlike us oldsters, they still know how to have fun," Wilson says.

The age-old dilemma for new agents, of course, is that rookies might not cash a commission check for months. Because many new graduates have student loans and living expenses, a commission-only existence might not work for them.

Wilson has an answer to that: He offers millennial agents part-time jobs. He pays his fresh recruits $12 an hour to handle administrative tasks, set appointments, or run social media campaigns. In that manner, the new agents can bring in a modest income while also learning the business.

Meanwhile, Wilson offers hands-on training. He takes rookies to look at houses and gives them homework assignments that might involve researching property values.

More on Mel Wilson’s approach to recruiting and training young agents appears in the August issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider.

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