The Youth Movement in Commercial Real Estate: A New Era of Innovation

In an industry steeped in tradition and long-standing practices, a vibrant wave of change is sweeping through the corridors of commercial real estate (CRE). This change, driven by an energized youth movement, is reshaping the very fabric of the industry. From the streets of South-Central Pennsylvania to the sprawling commercial hubs across the nation, young commercial real estate agents are not just entering the field—they’re transforming it.

Who Is the Youth in CRE?

The youth in CRE are a dynamic mix of millennial and Gen Z professionals, each bringing fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a digital-first approach to the table. These agents are tech-savvy, socially conscious, and incredibly resourceful, characteristics that allow them to connect with a new generation of clients and tackle traditional challenges in novel ways. Firms like Landmark Commercial Realty are increasingly recognizing the value these young agents add, integrating their insights into their strategic visions.

Barb Murdocca, COO of Landmark Commercial Realty, said, “At Landmark, we’re committed to a unique blend of traditional expertise and innovative thinking. Our workspace buzzes with the energy where we frequently are pairing our experienced agents with our newest. Through this mentorship model, not only do our new agents learn the ins and outs of the business, but our property listings also benefit from a vibrant mix of seasoned knowledge and new insights. This strategy keeps us at the forefront of the competitive commercial real estate market.”

Meet Some of Landmark’s Millennials and Gen Z Professionals

Meet Trey Brakefield

Trey Brakefield began his career with Landmark in January 2023, drawn to Commercial Real Estate (CRE) from a young age due to his father’s involvement in the industry. He attributes the youth movement in CRE to a blend of ambitious dreams, hard work, and the lure of performance-based earnings. Trey sees technology’s role as crucial, enhancing efficiency and innovation among young professionals who face the challenge of making their mark in a seasoned industry. Despite criticism of their work ethic, Trey believes younger generations bring a vital drive and dedication to CRE. His networking strategy leans on LinkedIn, work events, and cold calling, and he is looking forward to more opportunities as he matures in the field. With support from experienced professionals and Landmark, he feels well-equipped to face CRE’s future, anticipating substantial changes driven by technology, including artificial intelligence, while remaining optimistic about the job landscape.

Meet Adam Boussatta

Adam became a part of Landmark in June 2022, bringing with him a background in finance that adds a unique dimension to commercial real estate (CRE). He believes millennials, in particular, infuse CRE with innovative perspectives primarily due to their technological savviness. A distinctive feature he deeply values at Landmark, which sets it apart from other CRE firms, is its mentorship approach. Younger agents like Adam are paired with experienced agents on listings, facilitating a smoother learning curve and offering a practical insight into the industry’s dynamics before they venture out on their own.

Meet Nick Martin

Nick Martin began his commercial real estate (CRE) career with Landmark in December 2022, drawn by the sector’s low entry costs and the autonomy it offered. He attributes the growing influx of young professionals like himself to the minimal initial investment required and the lure of controlling one’s destiny. Martin points out that modern tools and easier access to market data have significantly lowered the entry barriers that once protected the industry. However, he also acknowledges newcomers’ challenges in sustaining themselves before achieving consistent business. Martin sees millennials’ familiarity with social media as a crucial advantage in the field, a perspective that complements how technology, particularly platforms like virtual assistants, streamlines business operations. His networking strategies include personal interactions within local communities and leveraging social media to enhance his business visibility. Martin values the mentorship opportunities provided by experienced professionals at Landmark, highlighting the importance of such support for the next generation in CRE. He envisions a future where CRE becomes increasingly mainstream, influenced by social media and integrated internet platforms, foreseeing the expansion of services akin to Zillow within the CRE space, facilitated by platforms like Crexi, Costar, and LoopNet.

Meet Kevin Agnew

Kevin Agnew, Landmark’s newest agent, began his career with Landmark in March 2024, transitioning from a 7-year tenure in the public sector, drawn by the CRE industry’s dynamic pace and constant evolution. He cites the appeal of continuous learning and the competitive, fast-paced environment as key motivators for his move. Agnew highlights the entrepreneurial spirit among young professionals as a driver of the youth movement in CRE, alongside the rapid access to information and learning via the internet and social media. He acknowledges the challenge of overcoming skepticism from clients due to perceived inexperience but points to the unique perspectives millennials bring, particularly their adept use of technology for networking and brand promotion. He notes that technology facilitates swift learning and trend awareness and could expedite entry into the industry through virtual licensing classes. Agnew uses a range of networking strategies, including attending events and leveraging social media, and underscores the importance of support from established professionals, like the mentorship and resources provided by Landmark, in helping newcomers thrive. He predicts that as technology advances, it will further transform CRE, enhancing connections, data analysis, and customer experiences while sustainability initiatives gain momentum with the influx of environmentally conscious young professionals.

Landmark's Trey Trakefield, Nick Martin, and Kevin Agnew
(from left to right) Trey Brakefield, Nick Martin, and Kevin Agnew (Adam Boussatta missing from photo)

How the Youth Are Changing the Industry

The impact of the youth movement in CRE is profound, with changes being felt in several key areas:

  • Technology Integration: Young agents are digital experts, and they’re leveraging this to revolutionize how the industry operates. They’re consistently at the forefront of adopting tech solutions that streamline operations and offer unprecedented efficiencies.
  • Sustainability and Social Responsibility: There’s a growing demand for green buildings and sustainable practices in CRE, and young agents champion these causes. Their advocacy for eco-friendly developments aligns with a broader societal shift towards environmental stewardship, pushing the industry towards more sustainable projects.
  • Innovative Marketing Strategies: Gone are the days of solely traditional marketing in CRE. Young agents use social media, content marketing, and digital platforms to reach a wider audience, telling compelling stories about properties and markets.
  • Client Relationships and Networking: With a knack for social media and a fresh approach to professional interactions, young CRE agents are redefining networking and client relationship management. Their approach is more relational and less transactional, resonating well with a new generation of commercial clients.

What Does the Future of CRE Look Like?

As we look to the future, with our younger workforce soon taking the reins as leaders, the outlook for CRE is exciting and promising. We’re likely to see an industry that is more equipped to address the challenges of the modern world. Innovation will be at the heart of CRE, driving growth and ensuring the sector’s resilience in changing economic landscapes.

The fusion of technology with commercial real estate, championed by young agents, will offer more accessible and transparent markets. Sustainability will no longer be a unique selling proposition but a standard that all developments aspire to meet. Additionally, as young agents rise into leadership positions, their collaborative and forward-thinking approaches promise to invigorate corporate cultures within CRE firms.

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