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Tallmadge -- When Steve Mosholder started in the real estate business, he worked so hard he literally wore a hole in his shoe.
At the age of 19, when many teenagers spend their breaks from college at home, with friends or on vacation, Steve Mosholder was treading snowy pavement in a residential neighborhood in the dead of winter, strategically trying to drum up business and get some experience under his belt.
Now at 29 and an associate broker at Mosholder Real Estate Group/Mosholder Realty, located at 10 Northwest Ave., the 2002 Tallmadge High School graduate hopes the memory of his cold, wet sock from that day translates into an anecdote that helps him land a spot in REALTOR Magazine's "30 Under 30."
He, and 50 other young, top-performing real estate agents across the country, are finalists in the magazine's annual competition. He's the only agent from Ohio who's still in the running.
Typically, about 500 agents enter the contest each year, he said.
"It would definitely be the largest professional accomplishment I've had," he said about possibly being chosen for one of the spots.
"I hope to make it into the top 30, but if not, I'll look back on the experience as both very rewarding and something that I can be proud of," he added. "It's very humbling to be held in the company of some of the best [real estate agents]."
The finalist who earns the most online votes automatically will secure one of the spots, and a panel of judges from the magazine will choose the other 29.
He'll learn the results of the competition April 2.
How to vote
Voting for REALTOR Magazines 2013 30 Under 30 contest ends at 11 a.m. March 29. To cast your vote, go to realtormag.realtor.org. Voters may cast one vote per electronic device per day. Multiple votes per voter per day are permitted.
It runs in the family
By the time he graduated from high school, Steve Mosholder knew he wanted a career in real estate. He watched his father, the owner and principal operator of Mosholder Realty, and a great aunt, an agent at the business, work deals. Another aunt and her husband are agents in Florida.
"With real estate, you take your work with you everywhere. You take calls at home. You work when other people aren't working. Your family gets exposed to it," Steve Mosholder said.
That exposure, as well as his own work experience that centered on customer service and sales, contributed to his vision of his career.
He said if it weren't for growing up around people in the business, he wouldn't have even thought about pursuing it.
Immediately after graduating from high school, he earned his real estate license and purposely chose college classes that would help him.
During school breaks, he chose work over fun.
"I tried to convince people to let a 19-year-old try to sell their house, and I typically sold about three houses every summer," he said, adding that none of his clients told him he was too young or inexperienced to sell their homes. Instead, he said they were impressed he was determined and hungry to make it in the business.
After graduating from the Miami University in Oxford with a bachelor's degree in business management in 2006, Steve Mosholder started his a real estate business with his brother, Danny Mosholder, who is a year older.
As the business grew and he read about the magazine's competition every year, he thought about applying but didn't until now -- the last year he'll be eligible because of his age.
"I was always really impressed by [the competition] and intrigued by it, but I didn't know if I would ever apply because I didn't think it was in my reach," Steve Mosholder said.
He didn't know how the magazine's staff would rate his accomplishments as an agent in a suburban Midwest market when compared to those in more lucrative areas, such as California and New York.
But now he feels he has a better chance of being chosen for one of the spots because has more successes to show off, including that for 2012, he was the fourth-most producing agent in Summit and Portage counties, behind agents selling bank-owned properties.
And he also has an inspirational personal story of being a teenager who proved he had what it takes to make it, even in a "crummy" housing market that started in 2008.