Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Despite laws preventing age discrimination, many older workers feel pressured to retire or, worse, wind up the victim of “position elimination” as their Golden Years draw near. But as lifespans get longer so does the need to remain gainfully employed well past the half century mark.
The traditional workforce isn’t particularly welcoming of new employees whose age and experience demand a higher salary than their Millennial counterparts. Job postings are ripe with coded terminology and intangible benefits that attract a younger crowd. CNN Money notes that many large companies have even done away with traditional employee performance review programs, which may threaten the egos of young workers.
With the scales in their favor, the 20- to 30-somethings of the world must be on top in all industries, right? Wrong. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average licensed agent is 53-years-old. And with a median salary of more than $40,000 per year and relatively few barriers to entry, a career in real estate is the perfect alternative – and the perfect fit – for many older workers. Here’s why:
Low cost education. Obtaining the academic credentials required to become a licensed realtor is considerably less expensive than other professional positions. In California, for instance, it costs around $600 for a state-approved real estate education program. Licensing fees range from $200-$300.
No fancy office is required. Most people already have virtually everything they need to launch this new career. Emerging agents need a clean and reliable vehicle, phone, computer, and access to a fax machine.
Real estate offers schedule flexibility. Real estate is not a 40-hour-per week 9-to-5 job. There is perhaps more flexibility in this industry than any other. Agents can choose when and where they work, which allows time to enjoy personal pursuits such as golf or simply spending time with grandchildren.
Seniors likely already have an extensive knowledge of their area. Realtors need to be familiar with their hometown and seniors usually fit this bill perfectly. Someone who’s been in an area for 15 or 20 years knows which neighborhoods are best for commute times, crime rates, and access to parks and recreational amenities
New social connections keep the brain on track. Real estate is an industry reliant on people. People to buy. People to sell. And people to match them. As an agent, seniors can engage in the community while helping neighbors solve their housing conundrums. For many older Realtors, the process of putting a family in the right home and neighborhood is a huge boost to their mood, too! And, since showing homes requires lots of walking, agents get plenty of
exercise. Harvard University lists physical activity and personal connections with other people as two out of the six most important things everyone should do to enjoy a sharp mind, regardless of age.
How to get started
RedFin, a national brokerage with more than 76,000 clients to-date, offers this advice on how to launch a career in real estate:
Obtain a real estate license. Most states require pre-licensing courses that consist of between 40 and 160 hours of instruction and a real estate exam. There are different prerequisites among the states before a license may be granted, so those looking should find these out ahead of time.
Join a brokerage. All agents must have their license attached to a brokerage firm in order to practice real estate. There are thousands of firms out there, so seekers should take the time to research reputable agencies before attaching their name to a brokerage firm.
With easy entry, self-controlled income, a mature group of peers, and a flexible schedule, it’s no wonder US News calls real estate the “Ultimate Second Career for Seniors.”