The Covid-19 lockdown has provided the keys to unlock a career in real estate for aspiring agents, with more Bay men and women in their 20s keen to enter the profession.
Changing work circumstances and a profession fuelled by a "hot" real estate market could be attracting more people to the property industry, the Real Estate Authority says.
NZME spoke to four agents in their 20s who switched careers, with one saying lockdown was the "silver lining" that got him into real estate.
According to the REA, 45 Bay people - 23 women and 22 men - younger than 30 have applied for their real estate licences since the lockdown last year.
In total, 154 people in the region have applied for their licence post-lockdown.
REA chief executive Belinda Moffat said more people were entering the real estate profession, with 45 per cent more new licences issued nationwide compared to 2019.
At the end of February, there were 15,711 active licence holders, which Moffat said was the highest since 2018.
The average age of someone applying for a real estate licence nationwide was 38 years old, which suggested applicants were bringing skills and experience to the real estate sector having had careers in other fields, she said.
Moffat said becoming a licensee was a serious undertaking and the role itself was hard work.
"Real estate transactions are complex, and it's critical that licensed agents have the skills, training and integrity required to support buyers and sellers to navigate a property transaction with confidence."
Simon Anderson, managing director of the Realty Group Ltd, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said it was exciting to see young people entering the industry operating in a professional manner.
Carlos Del la Varis, 22
Carlos Del la Varis left the fitness industry for real estate.
The 22-year-old joined the Eves Gate Pā office about a month ago.
Del la Varis was working at a local gym when his friend and Eves agent Kale Kirk offered him a job a couple of years ago.
He said he had been thinking of changing careers for a while and then Covid-19 hit.
"It was lockdown that drove me into real estate...it was quite spontaneous."
By the end of July 2020 Del la Varis had enrolled at the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology to complete his certificate in real estate two weeks before the course started.
Del la Varis juggled working full-time at the gym and studying part-time for 24 weeks until he graduated last month.
He was later awarded an Eves Scholarship to kick-start his career.
"At first, the giddiness of being my own boss got to me. But then I realised if I am not working I am not getting paid, so it was back to work."
He said he was not afraid to put in the long hours and strived to be a good agent.
"I'm hard on myself. There is a lot to learn and the learning doesn't stop," he said.
"I definitely want to be known as the more personable sort.
He said there were benefits to having youth in the industry, especially with online and social media marketing of property.
"There's a special place for young people in this industry."
Kane Tebby, 27
Pāpāmoa Tremains real estate salesperson Kane Tebby changed careers in the middle of the lockdown.
The 27-year-old said he has always been "fascinated" by the property industry.
Tebby worked for a company doing double glazing and had a lot of dealings with the Healthy Homes standards.
People would ask him about property, where to buy and why, he said.
"I got so interested in it."
So in the middle of lockdown, the father-of-one applied for his real estate licence through workplace training site Skills and completed it about a month ago.
"I asked myself what was next and real estate was the answer. I am super-happy with my decision."
Tebby said he did not get into the business to chase the money but instead to focus on the people.
"Great relationships create good business," he said. "I want to be known as a trustworthy, transparent and diligent agent and work alongside local businesses and schools."
Branden Lorimer, 28
Branden Lorimer says lockdown was the "silver lining" that led him to real estate.
Lorimer moved to the Bay from Auckland to start his real estate career after the lockdown halted his plans to move across the ditch for a job in business sales.
"I spent lockdown thinking about what I wanted to do."
So the 28-year-old applied for his real estate licence through workplace training site Skills and completed the course during lockdown.
He got his licence just before Christmas last year and has been in the field since January working at the First National Te Puke office.
"For me, Covid-19 has been a silver lining. It got me into something I love."
Since then, Lorimer said he has been "full-on" and has sold three properties already.
"I'm working sometimes 13 hours or more a day. It's not a nine-to-five job but I love it, I've met so many new people."
He has a first-year goal to become Rookie of the Year and a five-year plan to follow in the footsteps of his boss Cameron Hooper.
"I do see myself in the long game. I am genuinely here to help people achieve their goals."
Luke Van den Broek, 23
Luke Van den Broek has been around real estate his whole life.
The 23-year-old left the hospitality industry post-lockdown to follow in his mother Debbie Van den Broek's footsteps.
"I like working with different types of people."
Van den Broek was working on Hamilton Island in Australia when he lost his job due to Covid-19.
Moving back to Rotorua, Van den Broek enrolled at the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and completed his real estate paper within two and a half months.
"I was keen to start working straight away."
He landed his first job at property investment agency iFindProperty before being offered a job at Harcourts Rotorua, where he has been for more than a month.
Van den Broek hoped to grow into an honest, personable and "down to earth" agent who did not focus on the money.
"I don't want to be the one that sees it as another payslip."
Paul McDowell, 31
Paul McDowell is the fifth generation of the McDowell family to make a mark in real estate.
The 31-year-old has worked at Professionals McDowell Real Estate for four years.
Before real estate, McDowell gained a finance and accounting degree at Massey University's Auckland campus and later worked as an accountant for Deloitte.
Following in his family's footsteps, he got his real estate licence through Skills in 2017.
McDowell was in his 20s when he sold his first house.
"It was so exciting."
Since then, he's learned that no transaction, house or deal is the same.
"You're constantly learning. It's always challenging and that's what keeps it exciting," he said.
"No two days are the same."
Becoming an agent
Salespersons must be qualified, licensed and supervised
- A real estate salesperson needs to study and gain a level 4 certificate in real estate before they can apply for a licence from the Real Estate Authority
- Applicants must consent to a criminal history check
- All salespersons are supervised by a licenced real estate agent or branch manager
- Licensed real estate professionals are guided by a code of conduct that mandates high standards of professionalism and client care
- Training and supervision are part of the regulatory regime
- The REA oversees the continuing professional development education programme
- Real estate professionals need to renew their licence every year
Source: Real Estate Authority