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Where are the real estate young guns?

Got your attention? Good. You do realize that a 27 year old just bought out a 28 year old for a billion dollars last week? This is just the most recent W in the “win column” for the young guns of the world and there are dozens of examples of how young guns are changing industries and even changing the world for the better. Why is this phenomenon almost non-existent in the real estate industry and what will it cost us if we continue to let “The Guard” put the rest of us to shame?

Sure, NAR highlights the 30 under 30 every year and there are definitely some other “young guns” making making noise in the real estate spaces. However, I feel like we have yet to see something really big come from this group. Right now “The Guard” dominates the innovation in real estate technology, marketing, and industry advancement.

The Guard

These 3 gentleman (yes there are ladies in this group too, these are just the 3 people I’ve been following lately) have multiple real estate successes under their belts and continue to push the envelope of what it means to be progressive in the industry.

Jay Thompson

Founder of Thompson’s Realty and The Phoenix Real Estate Guy, and now Director of Industry Outreach and Social Media at Zillow. He had 1 million visitors to his blog in 2011. Jay came to real estate a few years ago and started blogging his heart out; relentlessly addressing every facet of the real estate business and the local Phoenix market. Jay’s family owns an independent real estate brokerage and he will undoubtedly make a huge impact at Zillow. Still wondering if content and engagement matters? Jay built his brokerage business and was offered his new position at Zillow because of his excellent use of content and effective use of social media. Jay’s proven that diligence pays off. Why are you still waiting to post relevant content on your real estate website? It works! It’s not a mystery. Learn how to communicate with your audience. Jay walked in the door a few years ago and started doing this better than people who have been in the business for 25 years! Cool fact – Jay deleted all of his posts from Active Rain when the network made a change to their subscription model that he disagreed with. This is the type of integrity that moves mountains.

Michael McClure

CEO of Verified Agent, partner at The Frugyl Club, Real Estate franchiser at Professional One.  Michael’s company, Verified Agent is an interesting service in which “Only experienced, full time real estate professionals with clean records of ethical conduct and proven track records of client satisfaction qualify to be VPA”. In short, validation requires 24 sales in a 3 year period, 10 client references, and 3 outside agent/broker references. Read this recent blog post on VPA that inspired my post. What is amazing to me is that Michael has built a great brand that is specifically tailored for his demographic. Verified Agent is all about having time and experience in the industry (and a few grey hairs don’t hurt either). This is such an innovative move by him. He is adding value to an older generation of agents. He is also “raising the bar” for the industry. I love it. Also, his participation in real estate Facebook groups is unmatched. I’m sure he enjoys the engagement involved with social media – but look folks, this is how you learn about your audience and do market research. I admire this guy.

Marc Davison

Founder of 1000watt Consulting, co-creator of “Nudge”, regular Inman News columnist, and sought out speaker. Is there even enough room in this column to write about him? Marc is a Princeton graduate, a talented musician with a background in media who found his way into real estate in 1998 when working with his client, Inman News. 1000watt Consulting is a force to be reckoned with. Their business model is to empower real estate brokers, brands, media, and technology companies through interactive marketing and networking. Their entire existence is about making their clients better at what they do – and their passion about this job is infectious. Take note real estate agents, you should be treating your real estate clients with the same level of passion that these guys offer to their clients. 1000watt just realesed an app, Nudge, which in Marc’s own words is “a simple, quick, efficient way to share a snapshop of what you know in a proven digital format”. Forget about ridiculous excel graphs and hard to interpret data – Nudge does the job very well, in a way that real estate agents and consumers have been wanting for a long time. You should check it out. Though they push the envelope in marketing and technology, I find their blog more fascinating than anything. The discussions that ensue from their posts is mind opening.

These 3 gentleman have set the bar very high for the next group of innovators in the real estate industry.


The Young Guns of Real Estate

Who will lead the way for the young guns in the real estate industry? I am not curious about who will have the highest sales volume or who who will create the most lucrative product to sell. I’d love for a young gun to bring a disruptive radical change forward. Marketing on Twitter is not what I mean by radical (and besides, “The Guard” is doing this better anyway).

Changing the way consumers find real estate and the way compensation is determined for our services could be a radical change to consider. These ideas are being tackled as I write this. Can a young gun beat the big boys to the punch? What if someone redefined what it means to be a real estate company? Is it just about buying and selling houses or is it about more than that? What other considerations could bring real change to an industry that although dynamic – is a little stale?


I’m challenging the young guns to make a radically swift push to revolutionize the real estate industry. “The Guard” continues to dominate, capitalize, and expand their reach. The “big boys” slowly inch closer towards massive market penetration with products and services for the masses. But young guns are changing the world in hundreds of other industries on a daily basis. Why shouldn’t they do it in the real estate industry too? I think the time has come. And what’s best – I think “The Guard” would welcome them with open arms…

About Greg Fischer

Greg Fischer is a real estate broker in Fort Worth, TX. He is also the head of partnerships at Doorsteps. He loves barbecue, football, spotify, Dr. Dre, TCU, and everything Fort Worth.

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  • JeffRiber

    Great thoughts Greg… 

    I.E. Would love to see an online platform (that doesn’t suck) for offer submission/negotiations. 

    I think the lending industry could use some innovation as well.. 

    • Thanks Jeff. I agree with you on the negotiations platform, but I have been using Cartavi lately and it’s pretty powerful – have you seen it yet? The CEO is incredible, really wants user feedback so he can improve the product.

      I just keep thinking a group of real estate agents, brokers, or a re team has a better model to bring forward. The tech is great – in fact, there is more than enough innovation in tech and marketing. But you and I, we have to bring the advantages of all this to our clients and to the public.

      I think the public wants something different from us. I’ve really opened myself up to feedback from people that talk to me about real estate, especially in my time as a broker, and I think there is room for some of us to drastically differentiate our scope of services in a positive way.

  • Okay, so I skimmed your headline and went right to the profiles and thought, “young guns?” I just saw two of these guys last week at RETSO and neither were… young.

    Anyway, I get your point now. Yes, there needs to be a fresh crop of innovative thought leaders who are under 35… and I hope to see some of them presenting at next years RETSO conference.

    • Doug, how funny.

      You know, i really wanted to present the idea that what these 3 guys (and others) are doing is incredible and there are some talented young minds in real estate technology and marketing of note, but I haven’t necessarily heard stories about brokers/agents in this demographic (aside from the referenced NAR article) being radical. I would love to though…

    • Doug, I’m really only 23 years old. Real estate will age you. 😉

  • Greg,

    I am really honored to be included in the same mention with Marc and Jay. Thanks so much for the recognition…

    Michael McClure

    • Michael – you deserve the recognition. The premise of verified agent is very powerful.

  • Great piece Greg!  All the guys you mentioned in “The Guard” are guys who inspire our team to wake up everyday and innovate.  I think there are some extremely talented up and coming guys that will reshape our industry.  I think your challenge is right on.  Really enjoyed reading this piece… keep em’ coming.

    • Gabriel, interesting concept you’re working on over there, very unique. Thanks for the comment.

  • This needs to be an organic process. These types of people don’t just sprout up overnight..takes a lot of work to accomplish what those three have accomplished.

    That said, what brokers/agents/marketers/techies are on the cusp?

  • I love your stuff Greg, it’s educational, inspirational and bright.  Yes, arms wide open, bless the young guns, blaze away, we need you.

    • Thanks Ken, that means a lot. I’m amazed at what can be learned and applied from the examples in this post. Simply put: serve your audience/customers what they want (Jay), conduct yourself in a manner that is beyond reproach (Michael), and stay ahead of/be unique from your competition (Marc). 

  • pruthvi raj

    Nice post , many information help me..

  • Good piece, Greg.  Most of the successful young people in real estate that we see are just hard-driving sales people.  Once they get their business to a successful plateau, they start trying to make technology innovations in the industry, but many are not so young at that point. 

    Ben Kinney is a great example of a young guy who’s really become an RE star.  His system is honestly more about how hard his agents pursue leads than anything else.  Craigslist ads and non-stop sales contacts aren’t particularly tech-driven, but he’s turned it into a huge business.

    • Thanks Sam. And thanks for pointing out Ben. One thing that it seems he is doing very well is staying in touch with interested consumers. I think the #1 complaint from people I’ve talked to about their experiences in real estate is about the “lazy agent”. To be honest, I’m not too hyped about hard sales either – but if you had to pick one side to be on, it should be the one who is organized, follows through, and follows up.

  • I’ve been following these great people in real estate just for a year and I can tell that I’ve learned a lot from them. Great article and informative content. Thanks!

  • Awesome post!!! Definitely caught our attention!

  • Part 2 to this post is being finalized right now

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