ATLANTIC CITY — Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, spoke to more than 100 real estate agents Monday afternoon at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
Many in the audience were in their 20s and early 30s. She talked about the changes in the industry over the past 30 years.
“We actually used to hand-write the offer for a home,” she said.
The lecture series, which featured multiple speakers, kicked off the 2017 Triple Play Realtors Convention & Trade Expo, a tri-state (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) gathering that’s one of the largest events of its kind in the U.S.
The convention is sponsored by New Jersey Realtors. About 8,000 people are expected to walk through the doors of the convention center throughout the week to network and learn more about the industry.
Attendees will spend their time sitting in educational sessions with nationally recognized speakers, exchanging business cards with professionals and attending and learning at the trade expo, which opens Tuesday. The convention has been coming to Atlantic City since 2000.
About 100 educational sessions will take place throughout the week, and 300 booths will be set up.
Monday was specifically geared toward a younger audience with a crash-course in real estate.
“It’s the first time we’ve tried this, and we’re gearing it towards ... young professional networkers and getting them kind of a leg-up for the next three days,” said Robert Oppenheimer, president of New Jersey Realtors.
Oppenheimer said the conference is finally starting to see the numbers it saw prior to the recession.
“It has grown in numbers over the years,” he said. “It just affords a great venue for networking, education and advocacy all under one roof.”
Jacqueline Frank is a broker and associate for Century 21 in East Rutherford. She is also a member of the 2018 New Jersey Realtors Young Professional Network Committee.
Frank said this is the first year the convention is focusing on YPN.
“We’re just trying to help these guys getting into the business to build a relationship and build their career because, often, the first-year Realtors fall off because of their age and being new to the business. So we try to help them grow,” she said.
Monday’s three-hour session was capped off with a nighttime cocktail reception at the Wild Wild West bar at Bally’s Atlantic City.
The next few days will include walking from booth to booth at the convention, attending classes and talking to veteran real estate agents such as Sherry Chris to pick their brains for some broker wisdom.
It’s also nice to create relationships with people in neighboring states, Jacqueline Frank said.
“I’ve met so many people from all different states, and it’s a good opportunity for someone from New York or New Jersey to meet someone from Pennsylvania. You never know what type of referrals you can get,” Frank said.