that go to traditional brokerage feel
very dangerous and risky to Millenials,”
But Garry Holmes, SIOR, president of
R. W. Holmes Realty Co., Inc., in Wayland,
Mass., recognizes that a generation
gap exists but does not attribute it to
Millennials. “With the dot.com bust,
there weren’t many commercial real
estate firms hiring between 2000 –
2007,” he observes. “As a result, there
is an age discrepancy in many commercial real estate organizations. But
Millennials have benefited from a strong
economy and certainly are entering the
commercial real estate field in great
numbers.” This, he predicts, will have
tremendous benefits for the industry.
“I don’t think it is any different than
previous generations,” adds Kraig
Heeter, SIOR, senior vice president and
partner at Kidder Mathews, in Seattle.
“Commercial real estate has always
been an attractive field for those willing
to take on the risks.”
but Not Without Challenges
Are Millenials inveterate job-hoppers?
Are they lazy? Do they feel entitled?
Most SIORs we contacted would reply
“no” to those questions, asserting that
Millennials have been given a bad rap.
They would not deny, however, that as
managers of Millenials they face some
“They come with a clean slate; you get
to write the script on that slate,” says
Brockhouse. “Their ability to learn new
skills or processes is illustrated by
their GPA.” Millennials, he adds, can
be enthusiastic for short periods. They
will play a five-hole round of golf or
watch four innings of a baseball game,
but don’t ask them to watch the Daytona
500, he says.
When it comes to client relations,
Brockhouse cautions, “You don’t send a
Millennial out to develop a relationship
with a Greyhair, instead you take them
along to the meeting between two
Greyhairs.” This enables the Millennials
to get introduced and develop the relationship on two levels, he explains.
When it comes to sales, he notes that
Millenials don’t have a Dale Carnegie
Sales Course certificate hanging on
their wall. Instead, he says, they have
“Likes” and “Followers. A Greyhair can’t
understand how that works, but get out
of the way and let it happen,” he advises.
Pruitt warns that Millenials may have
been spoiled by the hot real estate market. “The challenge with the millennial
crowd is to get them out of their comfort
zone, which is on the computer or on the
phone, because that’s not how business
is done,” he says. Instead, his firm trains
people entering the business to do face-to-face meetings.
Pruitt cautioned about “Wantrepreneurs”
– Millenials who view themselves as the
next Mark Zuckerberg, but who do not
always understand the risks involved,
or even want to take those risks themselves.
While Heeter agrees that Millenials are
likely to find sales harder than expected,
he actually believes their naivety is their
greatest strength. “They don’t see barriers like I did when I began my career,
and they are more likely to take chances
with ideas and strategies,” he asserts.
Work ethic, he continues, doesn’t mean
what it once did. “In our world it’s about
results; efficient work can be construed
as a poor work ethic, but I think it is the
opposite.” In addition, he says Millennials
are more willing to join a team than
previous generations, and more open to
look at different styles.
‘Generation Gap’ Seen in
Due to a number of reasons, including
the recent downturn in commercial
real estate and the association of CRE
among some Millennials with “evil” Wall
Street, Millennials have not been entering the field in the same numbers as
preceding generations. This reluctance
has, in turn, led to a significant age gap
between experienced leaders among
SIORs and up-and-comers.
“I had lunch with a friend of mine who
was in real estate in the ‘80s and is now
in finance; many went this direction after the downturns,” shares Grant Pruitt,
SIOR, co-founder, president, and managing director for Whitebox Real Estate,
LLC, Dallas, and a Millennial himself.
Pruitt explains that in CRE you typically
see more people in their late ‘50s to ‘60s
or younger people entering the business
ages 25 and under, and a shortage of
brokers in between that age range.
“Millennials saw the collapse of the
markets or the effects of the collapse in their earlier years. They were
taught that it was evil Wall Street that
caused the collapse,” notes Douglas
Brockhouse, SIOR, principal, Industrial
Market with Bender Commercial Real
Estate Services in Sioux Falls, S.D. If
they do stick their toe in the water, it
is with reluctance, he adds, noting that
the effect will be a ‘shortage bubble’ for
a period of time until the stigma goes
John Culbertson, SIOR, CCIM, CRE, managing partner with Cardinal Real Estate
Partners, LLC, in Charlotte, agrees.
“Numbers are down and my experience
has been that they are far more cautious;
the rugged individual characteristics