For a group of real estate agents new to the industry, Frederick County is more than just their place of work.
The Young Professionals Network, a subset of the Frederick County Association of Realtors that is geared toward new agents, is aiming to not only help but also engage the community.
Over the past year, the group has held several fundraisers and events to meet this mission, including a date auction and a bowl-a-thon, according to Peter Murray, the chairman of the Young Professionals Network.
“We want people to know we’re there to help them, and we want to be a part of the community,” said Murray, an agent with Re/Max Results in Frederick.
At an end-of-year happy hour last Wednesday, the leaders of the Young Professionals Network presented a $4,250 check to Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County and another $4,250 check to the Students Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick County.
“We worked hard to be able to give them those checks,” Murray said, noting the funds came from the group’s sponsors and the money raised at their various events.
The Young Professionals Network is the brainchild of Realtor Magazine. It was launched at the national level in 2006 to “help the younger generation of Realtors build a stronger link with the magazine and the real estate industry,” the magazine’s website states.
The typical demographic of a real estate agent in 2014 was a 57-year-old white woman. However, the number of agents with less than two years of experience grew from 13 percent to 17 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The local chapter formed four to five years ago for “anyone that is new in the industry to get them engaged, get them to care about their job and get them involved in the Realtor association,” Murray said.
Amanda Addington, who is also an agent with Re/Max Results, was the first chairwoman of the group.
Through the Young Professionals Network’s bi-monthly meetings, Addington said she has “met a lot of people with the same values and same drive.” This has allowed her to not only expand her connections, but also learn best practices of the trade and ways to “kick business up a notch.”
“Realtors sometimes get a bad reputation … events like this give us an opportunity to make a positive presence on the community and change perceptions,” Addington added.
To raise money and hold networking events, the Young Professionals Network asks local businesses and organizations to sponsor the group and make a financial contribution.
Lawyers Signature Settlements was one of several organizations that sponsored the group this year. Katrina Hallein said when the real estate group asked her company to sponsor, she couldn’t say no.
“I think they’re such a wonderful group. … As a business owner, you have to give back to the community,” Hallein said. “It helps you sleep at night,” she joked.
Hallein could not recall the amount Lawyers Signature Settlements donated to the Young Professionals Network in 2015, noting the firm contributes to many charitable organizations in the region.
Murray said he joined the Young Professionals Network a few years ago when he was new to the industry.
“I can say, from my own experience, had I not gotten involved, I would not be in real estate today,” Murray said. “It’s a tough job … (Young Professionals Network) helped me care more about the industry. And whenever you care about something, great things happen.”