Nelson Jett earned his real estate license at 19 years old and sold his first house within two weeks of that.
The ambitious St. Patrick High School graduate, who turns 21 next month, hasn’t slowed down from there and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Jett was recognized by U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith for his contributions to the real estate business during a short ceremony in the Great Plains Realty office Thursday morning. Jett was a nominee for an Excellence in Economic Development Award, It is a spinoff of Smith’s Excellence in Economic Development award, which celebrates new and rising leaders in the state’s 3rd District, which the congressman represents.
Jett didn’t win the award but was given special recognition as the plaque he received noted “your entrepreneurial spirit and invaluable contributions to your community and the state of Nebraska.”
The recognition isn’t lost on Jett.
“It means a lot, especially that so many people nominated me for the award without me knowing about it,” said Jett, who is the youngest real estate agent in Nebraska. “It means a lot that they thought that much of me.”
Jett is a partner with his grandmother, JoAnn Perlinger, at Great Plains Realty. As a high school senior, he ran the social media accounts for Perlinger, a 22-year real estate veteran. Roughly a year later, he was sharing an office with her as a member of the agency.
“He always has been ambitious,” Perlinger said, “and it’s great to have all of his technology skills and his love for social media. It’s great to have that, because I’m not as enthusiastic about that as he is.”
The variety and challenges of the job attracted Jett to the real estate business.
“It’s never the same thing every day. It’s always changing,” Jett said. “Different situations come up every week. I like that it isn’t a desk job (working) 9 to 5 ... and you basically get out of it however much you want to put in.”
He went to Mid-Plains Community College and earned an associate degree in business administration. He started working toward a brokerage license this fall and hopes to own his real estate agency someday.
His entrepreneurship qualities were on display as a lifeguard at the North Platte Recreation Center during his high school years.
“Most kids do swim lessons on the side — a couple here and there. I turned it into a business and ran it like a business,” Jett said. “I had marketing and everything laid out. I was probably the only 16-year-old out there running swim lessons as a full-time business.”