18-year-old Realtor makes her mark in Las Cruces
LAS CRUCES - It’s not common for an 18-year-old to become a licensed Realtor. Nevertheless, Victoria Lareau, a Las Cruces teen, is bucking the trend.
Lareau, who was home-schooled and graduated a year early, decided to pursue a career in real estate — even as her peers are trying to decide upon a career path. She said she’s grown up with exposure to the industry, and has always found it interesting. While pursuing her licensure, she also became a mobile notary public — offering notary services to area residents as a way to make a little money while taking her real estate courses.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, her family moved to Las Cruces when she was 7 years old so her dad could start Calvary Apostolic Church.
She graduated a year early from high school, Abeka Academy, a K-12 homeschooling curriculum offered through Pensacola Christian College. She started at Select Realty Group as a real estate assistant, then became a real estate transaction coordinator — handling the paperwork on the backend of its transactions..
“So, when I was 17, I took a semester off,” Victoria said. “And then I started my real estate school ... But I turned 18 in February. So (at age) 17 (and) 18 is when I did my schoolwork and then I finally made the leap.”
Under New Mexico law, one has to be at least 18 to hold a Realtor’s license.
“College is great, but I personally didn't want to take on a lot of student loan debt or anything like that," she said. "So, I decided to go directly into the workforce instead of going to college.”
“She is very, very professional. Unless you know her age, you wouldn't really know how young she really is,” said Guadalupe Fernandez, qualifying broker and co-owner of Select Realty Group. “She's very disciplined, very goal-oriented; very nice and polite as well.”
While working as a transaction coordinator, she was also earning her Realtor’s license.
“It didn't take her that long to get her license requirements completed,” Fernandez said. “So she's quite excelling for someone (who’s) such a young person — she's very structured and organized.”
And, at age 18, last month Victoria became a certified Realtor.
“Yes, that's through the National Association of Realtors,” added Raul Tellez, qualifying broker and co-owner of Select Realty Group. “We get the Realtor designation.”
A sense of accomplishment
Victoria said that starting her career in real estate — and achieving all she has — has brought about a certain sense of accomplishment.
“I do feel a lot of accomplishment,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to get into the workforce right away. And, honestly, I give all the glory to God, because and my parents. Of course, (they have) helped me through this entire process. They have encouraged me; they support any decision that I make — whether it was to go to college or real estate. They really have supported me along the way and I'm very grateful for that. And actually very, very happy with the path that I chose.”
Tellez said that, upon meeting Victoria, he’d never have guessed she was still a teenager.
Parents instilled virtue
Her employers said that she came into the job with a lot of the so-called “soft skills,” which can be difficult to teach.
“That's a great compliment,” Victoria said. “I think I learned a lot of that from watching my parents, who are business owners. And I learned a lot of my business skills from them. But I also think a lot of it is personality.”
She said, after a lifetime of watching her parents conduct business, her goal is rooted in the Golden Rule — treating others as you’d like to be treated.
Uncommon, but not unheard-of
While an 18-year-old Realtor may be uncommon, it’s not entirely unheard of.
Billie Haynie, who has been a Las Cruces-area Realtor for more than 17 years and is president of the Las Cruces Association of Realtors, said she’s only known one other during her time in the profession.
“My cousin, Austin Tharp, started his career shortly after high school — around 18,” she said. “(He’s) very successful — has a big team over at Keller Williams. Is it common? No. Does it happen? Absolutely.”
At Select Realty Group, Victoria is among the youngest Realtors they’ve ever had.
“As a brokerage, we see the surge of younger realtors,” Tellez told the Sun-News. “We have probably 10 Realtors under the age of 30 out of our total 40 Realtors — with the majority of those probably being early 20s.”
As of September 2021, experts say the average age of a real estate agent is 52 years old.
Fernandez said she hopes Victoria’s story will motivate others to look toward a career in real estate.
Inspiring younger homebuyers
Many believe that younger Realtors may relate better with younger homebuyers.
“We are also seeing first-time homebuyers coming into the market younger as well,” said Tellez. “So there is a trend there. Where there's younger Realtors, and they're working with younger first-time homebuyers."
Fernandez said younger Realtors are also more up-to-date on social media trends.
“Whether it's social media, or just by an internet-based advertisement, it's something that utilizes a different communication," she said. "So it gives them that little bit of competitive advantage as well.”
Haynie said it’s a trend “moving towards new blood, new ways of doing … business — doing things more electronically, using more of the apps. And we see that as a trend nationwide as well.”
Victoria said she’s committed to her career in real estate.
“I'm really big on commitment,” she told the Sun-News. “So I chose the real estate field, and I want to stick with it. I want to become the best Realtor I could be. I want to become the most successful I can be. And I believe I can accomplish that, through God's help, I really, I just want to become the best I can be for my clients.”
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