What was your first job in the realty industry?
An agent with a small company called MK Luxury Homes.
Where did you grow up?
The suburbs of Houston.
What is your favorite free-time activity?
Traveling, reading, socializing and golf.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
Growing up, what did you want to be?
You won’t believe this, but it is true – I wanted to be a Realtor. My family had always invested in real estate, and during family drive trips, mom and dad would be discussing various strategies for making money in real estate.
I was fascinated, and first began investing in rental properties, then went to school to get my license. But as everyone knows, it takes a lot of money to get started in the business, and just before I was to take the test, my husband and I parted ways. So, I went to work as a paralegal in the real estate department of a law firm.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
That would probably be Kathy Wetmore, a top Realtor in Houston and with my firm. Kathy came to Houston knowing no one, and quickly became one of the highest producers in the city, and has held that position. I want the formula!
Where is your favorite place to hang out?
Starbucks in Bellaire. I love to watch the people coming through, chat with friends, meet new friends, have time to think, etc.
What do you love most about the industry?
Strategizing on how to meet the goal of either selling my clients house, or helping them get the one they want, regardless of what is going on in the market or the issues of the house.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?
Follow through, follow through, follow through. I am amazed at how just doing what I think is the basic, professional way of doing business, in a cheerful manner, brings one above the majority. You truly have to have a passion for this business and lots of energy.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Making time for myself. In my first several years on the job, I burned myself out because I worked 24/7 and obsessed about my clients’ needs. I now am far more relaxed and manage my time so that I can, mostly, take a day off each week. That one little thing has made me such a better Realtor and keeps it enjoyable for the long term.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients?
I am VERY involved in the community through my organizations and volunteering. Since I actually really enjoy doing these things, I sometimes have to remind myself that this is also part of my job.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Surpassing my law firm management salary doing what I love. That was an exciting day for me.
When I told my husband that I had resigned my high-paying management job to go into real estate, just as he had put his son into college, he almost had a coronary. By the second year he had a different view. Now he is a bit embarrassed as he tells people how successful I am and proud of me. I don’t know why he was so surprised. I knew this was what I should be doing.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read?
My husband and I do a date night every Friday, and we usually go to dinner and a movie, so we see a lot of movies. We loved Hope Springs with Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. We see anything that they are in. The last good book was “The Violinist’s Thumb,” which is the history, politics and stories of the discoverers of DNA. Fascinating book.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Haven right now. Underbelly might be my new favorite soon. Or, it could be the Eatsie Boy’s new restaurant when it opens. I LOVE the restaurant scene in Houston!
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Houston?
Really old buildings in Houston are so rare that I tend to favor them, although we have some fabulous examples of contemporary architecture. Probably St. Paul’s Methodist Church is my favorite. Such a rare and gorgeous example of Gothic architecture and so perfectly designed inside for sound.
What kind of car do you drive?
Lexus RX350. How unique, huh? When I first started in real estate I was determined to be very green and had a small Toyota sedan, but after almost drowning it several times in those Houston flash downpours, where it is only raining when you and the client walk into a house, and then flooding when you walk out, I decided that six inches higher was really useful and prudent. That, and my brother-in-law sold Lexus cars, so it was not a hard decision.
Smartphone or paper?
Paper for my calendar. In a prior life I was the region’s “First Things First” representative for Covey, which is now Franklin Covey. I taught it, I sold it, I did it. Still do. Everything else is smartphone, though.
What is your favorite city after Houston?
This year it is Whistler in Canada. We went there the end of August for our annual golf trip with friends. We play a different city every year. Last year it was San Miguel. Whistler is the most beautiful area I have EVER seen. Wow!
What is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Don’t even THINK of not doing it full-time. You can’t do this business right and do it part-time or halfway. Your first three years will be mostly money going out. There are a lot of expenses in this business. If you are going to sell homes, you may as well work with the best and sell high end.
Be picky. You want to rub shoulders with the best so you you can learn from the best. You want to work with a company that provides ongoing training, supervision/coaching, and does things first class. It’s your reputation. If you don’t like to socialize, then this is not for you. EXPECT to work at least 6 days a week, and evenings, so you must be passionate.
To serve your clients well, you have to spend money, and that can mean giving a bigger split to your broker for better marketing of your listings. Expect it to take five years before your business really kicks in. It is better to do an excellent job with three clients, than halfway with 10. Those three clients will help you build your business. Ten unhappy clients can destroy it.
What’s your favorite Real Estate iPhone/ Blackberry app?
I really only use the HAR app, so I am not much help on this one. I have a Droid and seem to have a problem every time I try to find or download an app. My next phone will be an iPhone. I am told they are so much easier. I had nothing but problems with my Blackberry.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter?
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