Two kids, two careers and too much fun on the lake. For Berkshire Hathaway real estate agent Jeff Young and his family, life seems darn near perfect.
A native Minnesotan, Young grew up on the shores of Prior Lake where he, wife Jessica and their children Kendall and Brecken make their home today. It’s a lively and busy household juggling Jessica’s thriving dental career, the myriad activities both children are involved with and Young’s own expanding business, yet they always find time for family. For the Young family, that typically involves something in the wide-open spaces.
“I’m pretty outdoorsy,” says Young. “I was fortunate enough to grow up on Prior Lake enjoying all the benefits.
My sister and I had a great childhood. Now, my wife and I hope to offer our kids that same great experience. We love anything to do with the lake – waterskiing, tubing, jet skiing and more recently surfing.
“Yeah,” he adds with a smile, “we’ve figured out a way to surf behind boats so that we don’t need an ocean.”
As life-long lake resident whose obvious passion he now shares with the next generation, it’s not surprising that Young has earned a reputation as a lakefront property authority.
“There’s so much more to lakefront property than just the obvious beauty and recreational access,” he says. “Having grown up here, I’m familiar with the ins and outs, the day-to-day living experience. Whether it’s maintenance, privacy issues, concerns about water quality or even questions relating to docks, I can help my buyers with first-hand knowledge because I have lived here virtually all my life.
“I can also help them when various issues arise by providing the names of trusted companies I’ve worked with in the past.”
Young did leave his beloved lake for a short time while attending the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology while minoring in coaching. He frequently has the opportunity to apply those coaching skills for many of his son and daughter’s sports teams. After completing college Young established a very successful career as a personal trainer.
“It was something I enjoyed very much,” he says, “and I believe the people skills I developed have been helpful in my real estate career. As a personal trainer it’s essential to really get to know each person; to understand their goals and to a great extent get to know about their lives in general. The same holds true when I’m trying to help someone find the perfect home or prepare their home to sell.”
As much as he enjoyed working with people to improve their physical health, Young’s future would offer a way to help many more people in an equally significant way.
“Buying, or even selling a home, is not a simple business transaction,” notes Young. “I watched my father and how he interacted with his clients and how, with great patience and his vast knowledge, he was able to calmly guide them through the whole process. It can be a very emotional time, and there’s a lot at stake. If you don’t really understand and empathize with the people you’re working with, it can be difficult to really help them.”
TRAINING TO TITLES
Real estate seemed to be a natural transition for Young, whose father Jerry was a successful broker for more than 30 years. Initially Young was spurred on by the numerous referrals he was able to pass along to his dad through his contacts as a personal trainer. But, the more he observed his father’s career and what it entailed the more interested he became.
“I started to think, ‘Hey, why am I sending all these clients to him when I could be building my own business?’,” Young says with a smile in his voice. “Once I decided to get my license my dad was an invaluable resource. He not only passed along his philosophy about the importance of honesty and integrity, he basically showed me the ropes; taught me the day-to-day intricacies of the job that they can’t teach in real estate school.
“He was the best mentor anyone could ask for,” he adds. “Dad is still active in the business, in fact he’s right here at Berkshire Hathaway in a management position.”
Now with nearly two decades of real estate experience himself, Young has built an impressive clientele and thriving business, employing virtually no marketing or advertising.
“There is no advertising or marketing that is a valuable as a personal referral,” he says. “Buying a home is a very personal and emotional experience. I appreciate that my clients trust me with what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest and most important purchase in their lives.
“I get to know my buyers and sellers and they get to know me. As a result, my business has grown primarily by word of mouth. I would say my business is probably at least 90 percent referrals,” adds Young. “Early on, my father taught me that in addition to honesty and integrity, the most important thing in this business is how you treat people and I’ve never forgotten how important those relationships are.
“It can be a very stressful, even traumatic experience, it’s my job to smooth the way, diffuse any situations and make the experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible for my clients. You can’t cut corners, and every client receives my full attention and effort.”
Judging by his burgeoning business, Young has been quite successful in intuitively knowing what each client needs. Furthermore, he doesn’t stop caring once the transaction is complete.
“It’s important to maintain those relationships long after the transaction is completed,” he says. “Many people simply forget about their clients once the deal is done. I genuinely like my clients so it’s not difficult for me to maintain a relationship, but I also make a conscious effort to stay in touch whether that’s making phone calls, sending quick notes or whatever.”
NEW COMPANY, NEW HORIZONS
Late last year Young made an important career decision when he joined Berkshire Hathaway. According to Young, business has never been better.
“The future has never looked brighter,” he says. “As a member of the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate brokerage network, I benefit from their stellar, worldwide reputation as an internationally renown and visionary company. Since joining in October, my business has grown exponentially. In fact, for the first time in nearly 20 years I’m considering hiring an assistant.”
So, how does this successful real estate entrepreneur maintain a healthy balance between work and family?
“It’s really about setting priorities,” says Young. “My wife and I have been able to work opposite hours, kind of like a tag-team, so one of us is always home with our children. We’re very fortunate that we’ve never had to use daycare for our kids. We made parenting a priority and then went from there.
“The same is true when it comes to carving out family time,” he adds. “As much as I love real estate and enjoy working with my clients, my family will always come first. Real estate offers a lot of flexibility, but I’m still firm about determining when I’m ‘on call’ and when it’s family time. My children are growing up fast, and neither I nor Jessica want to miss any of it.”