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Teenage realtors make big splash on Oklahoma real estate scene

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Jake Hartzog (left) and Matthew Hogan (right) are the youngest active Realtors with the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors.
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OKLAHOMA CITY- At age 19, many high school graduates are starting post-high school education or still debating on what kind of career they want to pursue. 

Matthew Hogan of Oklahoma City, however, is working to help residents buy and sell homes, dealing in properties valued up to $900,000 and closing on homes throughout the metro. As Realtor with Keller Williams, Hogan may not be of legal age to drink a celebratory glass of champagne, but he’s experienced enough at age 19 to be one of the company’s most successful realtors. 

In Norman, Jake Hartzog is also a certified Realtor. Only 19 as well, Hartzog chose to launch into the world of real estate instead of attending college, and it’s a decision that he hasn’t regretted yet.

Both Hartzog and Hogan are the youngest, active Realtors with the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors (OKCMAR), and they are joining teenagers around the country who opting to earn their real estate licenses early. 

Most states require people be at least 18 years old to get their real estate license, but many states allow teenagers to take real estate classes and the test before they turn 18. Though many say becoming a real estate agent at 18 isn’t likely, ambitious youths throughout the nation have done just that.

Hogan knew he wanted a career in real estate when he was a high school junior. An outgoing, high-energy sociable person, Hogan said he never let his age deter him from becoming successful.

"I decided this is what I wanted to do in my junior year of high school," said Hogan. "I had always had an interest in it and I did not want to do the college thing at all. I wanted to see what my interests are. My grandparents did a lot of buying and selling down in Lawton, and their realtor clicked with me. Between my junior and senior year in high school, I started real estate school."

At age 17, Hogan was able to attend the school, but he had to be 18 to take the final test. He finished in August of 2015 but had to wait until November when he turned 18 to take the test. He passed the state test in December 2015 and then graduated high school in May 2016.

"The test was very hard," Hogan said. "The week of the test, I studied from 11 a.m. to 11 at night every night."

Being the youngest student in the real estate class was also a challenge for Hogan.

"It was odd and super weird," he said. "People my parents' age and a lot older were there, but I always clicked with older people. I started with a clean slate and not with a cocky attitude. I had never bought a house, so I had a completely clean slate to learn from instead of thinking I knew anything."

By February 2016, Hogan had his first house under contract with Keller-Williams. 

Hartzog was lured into the real estate world by an older friend and mentor who he played golf with. Each time Hartzog played, the man kept asking him to stop by RE/MAX Elite Norman to see what the industry was all about.

"He kept asking me what I was going to do, and I told him I planned to go to college. I  blew him off at first, but one day, I went to the office," Hartzog said. "I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but real estate seemed like a good way to make a living."

Like Hogan, Hartzog was the youngest student in his class, but his age didn't deter him either. Since the beginning of the year, he has closed more than nine homes worth more than $1 million while also running a video production company, Waterfowl Insanity, that focuses on duck hunting.

"I focused. I worked hard, and I think people are surprised at first when they meet me," he said. "But I have the knowledge to back it up. It’s how you represent yourself. I’ve been able to support myself and sell homes, and that is what I present to people.”

Hogan said his age is also a surprise to some of his clients., 

"They always ask how old I am, and I tell them, but I also tell them, 'You can't think of me or treat me any differently,'" Hogan laughed. "One challenge I've run into is that you build relationships and clientele through your friends. My friends are all 19 years old. They cannot afford it right now.  

"So, that is one thing that was so hard. I go to my friends' parents now. A lot of my clients are my friends' parents, aunts and uncles. That's how you do it and you have to make them realize that you're not some dumb 19-year-old. Now, most of my clients come from referrals."

Since earning his license, Hogan closed at $4.5 million in sales this year alone and earned a record for a top sales price for a $900,000 home in Choctaw.  

"It takes a lot of work," Hogan said. "It takes a lot of hard work and time. If you're considering real estate school, you need to know that it is a lot of work, and it's not 'the easy way out.' But if it's something you're interested in, go for it, go for it, go for it, but realize how much work it is."

Hartzog echoed the sentiment.

"It was a challenge," he said. "College may still be in my future, but right now I'm completely invested in real estate."

 

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Heide Brandes

Heide Brandes is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 18 years of experience....

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