“I have shoes older than you.” A blog about our industry’s generational divide.

I am 34 years old, too and it is interesting to see the difference between the generational age groups.

I’m on twitter (EmilyLowe) and on facebook (Emily Lowe) and LinkedIn as well (you guessed it, Emily Lowe again!), so please feel free to friend and follow me, even if you don’t know what that means!

 

“But you’re so YOUNG!”
“I have shoes older than you.”

These are actual quotes I‘ve heard during almost two years as the leader of a real estate office in Washington, DC.

I am a 34-year-old Generation X managing associate broker in a major metropolitan area. I lead an office of more than 50 agents who range in
age from 24 to 92 (that’s right, 92). Although I manage several agents who are younger than I am, I manage even more who are beyond the traditional retirement age. Every day I can see firsthand how differently my generation operates from each of my predecessors.

Like most younger agents and leaders, I tend to be more aggressive in my manner and more eager to go against previous ways of doing things. For this reason, I have been accused of “not playing well in the sandbox.”

The viewpoint of many of my generation is that real estate is no longer a cottage industry. We see it as a fast-paced, cutting-edge, multibillion dollar industry, and we are determined to run our businesses in a way that maximizes the benefits of modern technology and electronic information-sharing. In our drive to be innovative, many of us attempt to break the mold of our predecessors entirely–not because the previous ways didn’t work but because the ways we are accustomed to communicating are so drastically different than those of Boomers.

We’ve embraced the social networking paradigm. That means, that to us, sending out handwriting letters to your sphere of influence is dead, and snail mailing “Just Listed” and “Just Sold” cards is a waste of effort, time, and resources.

Instead, we ask ourselves, “How many friends do I have on Facebook.com?” “Am I making and growing contacts on LinkedIN.com?” That’s how we gauge our circle of influence. To younger real estate professionals, these virtual connections represent the relationships with the people who are most likely to refer clients and other agents to us.

From firsthand experience, I know that Gen Xers and Millenials sometimes
feel dismissed and misunderstood in this industry. Those in other age
groups may see our desire to be innovative as brash and disrespectful of
the lessons learned from the past. Some believe that the importance we
place on speed and instantaneous communication implies nothing more than
impatience, or an unwillingness to spend time on the things that matter.

That is why I hope this blog can shed a little light on the way my mind works,
to help you understand my generation’s perspective a bit better. Perhaps then
Gen Xs and Boomers can to start to talk with each other instead of at each other
and start building a more multigenerational real estate industry better prepared
to serve multiple generations of home owners.