Young Sold On Real Estate

November 15, 2002
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GRAND HAVEN – Ask him what’s the craziest thing he’s ever done, and Jeff Young will tell you it’s going into real estate.

Not the career change, mind you. It’s way he did it – without a net.

He quit his job as manager of a Spring Lake furniture store and jumped into his new career with both feet before he got his real estate license, enabling him to devote his full attention to learning the profession from a relative who owned a real estate firm in Grand Haven.

“I just quit cold with no safety and no guarantees,” said Young, who at the time had a 9-month-old daughter at home. “I wasn’t going to do two jobs at the same time. I was going to sink or swim.”

He certainly didn’t sink.

Seven years later, Young manages Holland-based Woodland Realty’s Grand Haven office and closes about $5 million annually in real estate transactions. He was also just named 2002 Realtor of the Year by the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors, an organization he helped to create two years ago through the merger of associations in Holland, Grand Haven and Muskegon.

Young, a 37-year-old father of two, ventured into the real estate business from retail management, a move that represented a career change yet kept him in the field of sales management. He previously worked as manager of the former Accent Furniture store in Spring Lake for seven years, and before that was manager of a music store in Holland.

In each of the career changes, he has always found himself gravitating toward sales management.

“It’s being fortunate enough to find what you’re good at and where you skills seem to work,” he said.

But simply being good at selling real estate isn’t enough. Young has been heavily involved in the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors and, before that, the former North Ottawa Association of Realtors.

That involvement keeps Young on top of industry trends and provides him good insight into what’s occurring, as well as giving him a role into the development of policies and initiatives that affect Realtors.

“I love selling, but I have to do more things to keep that challenging all the time,” he said. “If you’re part of the process, you can make it work better for yourself and for others.”

Perhaps the biggest initiative in which Young has been involved was the 2000 merger of the three real estate associations into one. The creation of the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors – the eighth largest real estate association in Michigan, with about 1,100 members and affiliate members – stems from a view that a single, larger organization could do more for its members than the three smaller, individual groups.

Young, the present president of the association’s board of directors, says the merger has fulfilled it promises. He cites as examples the association’s new headquarters in Grand Haven Township that includes an education center for Realtors, as well as the ability to organize certain certifications seminars that the three organizations were too small to afford or could not generate enough participants to receive on their own.

“The whole has a quality that the separate parts don’t have,” Young said. “We have accomplished all of the goals we set out for the merger with incredible success.”

In addition to the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors, Young served on the board of directors of the Michigan Association of Realtors in 2000-2001. He now chairs the state association’s Equal Opportunity and Fair Housing Committee, as well as serves on the National Association of Realtors Member Policy and MLS Jurisdiction Committee.

While he enjoys the work of the associations and serving as manager of Woodland’s Realty’s Grand Haven office, Young doesn’t stray too far from his primary role as a real estate agent. Leading homebuyers through the process and coordination the transaction remains the most enjoyable aspect of the profession, he said.

“You couldn’t pay me enough not to sell,” Young says. “I wouldn’t do it without that.”

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