Age is just a number

Services for Real Estate Pros with ERA Top Service Realty, Inc.

I am 25 years old.  I am single with no children, and have been told that I have a baby face.  Most people would see me as being "wet behind the ears".  The people that say this, say it because I am obviously a lot younger than the majority of the real estate community.

I have been licensed since I was 18 years old.  I worked as a receptionist at this company since I was 16 years old.  I have been in the industry since I was 2 years old.  My father owns ERA Top Service Realty.  Now, just because he owns it doesn't mean that I would know anything.  After all, if you ask my brother something, he would have a question mark.  He's just one year older than I am.

I went to my very first convention when I was 21 years old.  It was in Las Vegas for a referral and relocation company, Cartus (formerly Cendant Mobility).  I sat down next to an older woman (60 plus) and she turned to me and asked me what was I doing there???  My thinking was that I was there for the same reason she was... duh!!!  She proceeded to quiz me about real estate and then came to the conclusion that I apparently had some idea of what I am doing or talking about.  Gee.... thanks!  Now, this lady made me feel uncomfortable.  I realized that the majority of people I work with are old enough to be my parents and/or grandparents.  So, I felt like I had to look older.  I cut my hair to look more professional.  Started being more conservative with my clothes, and tried not to doll myself up too much.  I was literally becoming an old lady by the age of 22.  I had hoped that this meant people would take me more seriously when I went to conventions, but I still felt like the odd man out.  My baby face wasn't changing.

Now, in my office.  I felt fine.  My agents, regardless of their age, would come to me for help and I was able to help them.  I know this business.  Not only because I have been around it my entire life, but because I have immersed myself into it.  I graduated with a Finance degree for nothing because I told my parents that real estate is what made me happy and that's where I wanted to commit myself.

Time passed and I hated it.  I felt frumpy.  I'm young.  And I'm smart (or at least I think I am).  I was establishing myself within my company and within the ERA system.  Then one day something clicked, and I said: "forget about it."  People were judging me regardless of how I came, so why not be happy with how I was.  Now, I look my age.  I no longer want to be thirty or fifty (that's the age my brother says I am).  I dress however I feel like dressing and have my hair long and always wear a smile.

The moral:  Age is nothing, but a number.  Just because I'm young, doesn't mean I don't know anything.  I assist my father in running a renowned company, ERA Top Service Realty, in a tough area, Queens and Brooklyn, NY, and oversee 5 branches with about 130 agents.  I recruit, hire, and train.  I put out fires.  I've gotten involved with my local board, Long Island Board of Realtors.  I maintain a life with my friends from grade school, high school, and college.  Now, I have a social life with agents in my office too.  I can and do "have it all".  Or at least I will, when my boyfriend finally proposes and we get married, then I want to have 4 children (but will most probably stop at 1).

I am tired of the older generations judging my generation as not knowing anything.  The more innovative (and successful) agents in my office are not much older than me.  The older agents that do well have "young hearts" and feel a kinship with my generation allowing them to break through and continue their success.

To the younger people getting into the industry, my key piece of advice has tended to be that they look like a professional, but more importantly that they know what their business is about.  You need to understand your clientele and know how to demonstrate that you are the answer for them when it comes to real estate.

To the older generations, please stop under-estimating us because we can be your best asset.

Now, I love my youth and promote it all the time.  This really upsets a lot of the older, crankier crowd.  The ones that have a kinship with my generation, love it and encourage me.  I know my business and work with others to help them achieve their successes.  This business is fun and rewarding, now I'm just showing it off (which I would not have done before). =)

Enjoy your successful week!

Melissa Gomez
VP of Operations
ERA Top Service Realty, Inc.

Comments (7)

Mark Brian
Silver Star Real Estate LLC - Anderson, SC
Anderson SC Realtor

Your post is dead on. Never judge a book by its cover! The bottom line is the results you deliver.

May 25, 2009 05:08 AM
Josh Murphy
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Belfair, WA
Belfair WA Real Estate, 360-710-3972

Good for you, I have been licensed since 18 aswell, I am currently 19 and doing very well, age is nothing.

May 25, 2009 05:48 AM
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

I dress however I feel like dressing and have my hair long and always wear a smile.

Hi Melissa,

Good for you!  Don't let age discrimination discourage you.  Remember this: The older, crankier people are probably just jealous.

P.S.  Keep smiling!  :)

May 25, 2009 06:10 AM
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ

Some of us older people view it as just a number too! I'll "judge" you on your many talents & vast experience any time. (It's the other ancient warriors you need to remind...)

May 25, 2009 08:55 AM
Chanda Barrick
Keller Williams Indy Metro Northeast - Indianapolis, IN
in referral

Melissa, you're exactly right.  I wasn't in real estate, but I was in various leadership type positions when I was in my late teens and early twenties...Many times my peers would look at me like "OK, who's this kid?"  I actually had an office manager at one job tell me that I shouldn't dress like I did (I wore suits but they were trendy and didn't go down to my ankles so I guess I was showing too much leg) because it wouldn't earn me any respect.  What difference would it make as long as I knew my job?  I was young then, so I too changed my wardrobe and hair, but didn't like it.  Now that I've gained some weight, boy do I wish I hadn't changed back then.  I felt like nothing could stop me before the change and now sometimes wonder if that's part of why I started "letting myself go".  Ah to be 21 again....

Chanda panda

May 25, 2009 10:22 AM
Irene Tron
Valparaiso, IN

As someone who has a daughter almost your same age, I know I could learn a lot from you.  You definitely have more years of experience in the real estate business, especially since you grew up around it.  Dress in whatever you are comfortable in but still professional.  Don't worry about looking young!  Sometimes others maybe just a bit jealous.  Be confident in yourself.  

Thanks for a great post.

May 25, 2009 12:06 PM
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Corona, CA

Hi Melissa,

Great post and great topic! I too had an early start on my career, and at age 30 was President of a very successful advertising agency. And I was judged constantly about being too young - especially when companies were making a decision about entrusting millions of advertising dollars to our care and direction.

But now the pendulum has swung the other way, and people often prefer to work with someone younger.  ; )

BTW - Congratulations on your success at such a young age!

May 26, 2009 12:25 AM