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Jergler: A gnarly new voice in real estate

November 08, 2011|By Don Jergler
(Photo by John Keppler )

If you were to tune out the din of numerous voices talking shop this weekend at the National Assn. of Realtors Conference & Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, which is expected to draw nearly 18,000 people in the real estate business from all over the nation, you'd hear some new voices.

"Hey, bra, you check out the latest home price index? It's sweet!"

That's not so far-fetched if you happen to be listening Matt Clements with Prudential in Laguna Niguel. To hear him you'd almost think he was channeling Keanu Reeves' surfer dude character in "Point Break."

But a plus to Clements' laidback persona and vocabulary is it may prove to be a sales booster with the X and Y generations, many of whom are about to enter the housing market for the first time.

And the 35-year-old Orange County local has earned the rights to sport his surfer-dude demeanor and vernacular — and even scarf down some shrimp and fries on Main Street in Huntington Beach.

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As a pro surfer, Clements spent his youth — he competed successfully all over the world from ages 17 to 25, when he retired from the sport — living the Southern California dream.

Ten years later Clements hasn't lost the talk, the attitude, or the love of catching waves. In fact, he hasn't distanced himself much at all from the sport. His handle on Twitter and his gmail address are both: "suferrealtor."

He's taken that mindset, and what he learned as a young surfer who marketed himself and found his own sponsors, to the real estate game. It's a mindset Clements and others feel will increasingly appeal to a new generation of homebuyers.

A large percentage of those in Generation X, defined as adults ages 31 to 45, are now in their prime home-buying years, and many experts believe that when the market does start its turnaround, these will be the homebuyers who take the lead.

Clements, who sits on the board of directors for Orange County Assn. of Realtors, is president of the Orange County chapter of the Young Professionals Network, a national group started by the National Assn. of Realtors' magazine in 2006.

The group has grown to 15,000 YPN members nationally. Orange County's chapter has 178 members and counting.

"They're mostly ambitious new agents looking for some cool ideas from the other young peeps who have managed staying in this business through the downturn and prepare for the up-turn in the next several years," Clements said.

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