Age is the biggest challenge for the brokerage community, according to a new poll of top real estate executives.
More than 40 percent of respondents of the 2013 Imprev Thought Leader Survey said finding new talent was directly affecting their bottom line. That ranked higher than physical space costs at 39 percent and commission splits at 35 percent.
One-third of the executives cited "too few quality prospects" as one of their biggest recruiting challenges. They also said finding enough time to recruit is a major hurdle, along with an inability to get their teams to help recruit and finding agents that fit the company's culture.
The average real estate agent is 57 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, the average American worker is 41 and the typical age of a first-time buyer is 31.
"Over the last five years, the average age of real estate agents has almost moved in lock-step with the calendar," said Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, a real estate marketing firm.
More veteran agents are choosing to stay in the business and not retire. They also are less likely to make a move to another firm, according to the survey. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they were "not able to get top producers to apply" with their firms.
On competitive challenges, 49 percent said competitors offering a better commission split. That was followed by competitors offering lower costs for affiliate, having more market share, offering signing bonuses and providing more leads to agents.
Brokerage executives said support staff costs are the next biggest profitability challenge, followed by the impact of discount brokers and technology costs. Benefit costs were cited by less than one in 10 executives, according to the survey.