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Real Estate Magazine’s 3rd Annual Realtors on the Rise 2007

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Honoring 50 of the industry’s  up-and-coming agents

By Stephanie Andre 

Over the past five years, the real estate industry has seen many things: the best market ever; a progression to a more balanced, more competitive market; and a rush of newbies greater than anyone’s seen before. To that end, this year’s crop of Realtors on the Rise winners reflects a sizeable showing of quality agents who have entered the market within the past five years.

From their impressive sales figures, to their innovative marketing strategies, to their community involvement, Real Estate magazine’s editors have chosen 50 Realtors on the Rise, selected from hundreds of candidates. We congratulate this year’s winners on stepping up, pushing forward and committing to the real estate marketplace. 
 
Sandie Acord
Liz Carter & Team Realty
Katy, Texas

Starting ’em early: Acord began working at Liz Carter & Team Realty at age 18. A family affair: Acord is the third generation of broker/owner Liz Carter’s family to work on the team. Multitasker: Acord is also the contract negotiator for the team and has “gotten our list price-to-sell-price ratio for our sellers to 99.3 percent,” says Carter.

Acord is the third generation of broker/owner Liz Carter’s family to be part of the Liz Carter & Team Realty. She started as the company’s “runner,” then progressed rapidly to listings manager, contract negotiator, and two years ago, became a full-time listing agent and prospector for new business. She still does all the negotiating for the team on every file.

Diana Beam
RE/MAX Leaders
Indianapolis, Indiana

In real estate: More than 20 years Fight for their rights: Beam is an advocate for seniors and their families. “These clients need a broader range of services than other demographics and are much more likely to rely on someone they trust. I never wanted to say no when asked for additional help.” Self proclamation: Beam proudly admits she is a “card-carrying member of AARP.”

Two years ago, Diana Beam launched a senior resource site, www.SmoothMovesForSeniors.com, to help older adults and their families handle the challenges of later life. These “RightSizing” services help prepare the senior for their next phase of life—whether that means aging at home, buying a smaller home, or electing for more assistance-intensive living quarters.

Miguel Berger
TechValley Homes Real Estate, LLC
Albany, New York

Career span: 22 years in real estate Known as: “The New York technology real estate broker.” Quotable: “I love what I do…We are just beginning to see the market here start to bloom and I find that exciting.”

Miguel Berger is a leader in his region and in his industry through professional and community board service, speaking engagements, interviews, generous donations of time and resources, and hands-on work with charities and projects. He uses cutting-edge technology, including: 360-degree virtual tours; podcast listings; and on-call agent after-hours.

Brandon Buckley
Vanguard Realty Inc./GMAC
Jacksonville, Florida

Early drive: During high school, Buckley attended antique auctions, catching the attention of some mentors who helped him learn the trade, while profiting from his discoveries. These experiences were the foundation of his negotiation skills. Sole traveler: The summer before he began college, Buckley took a trip by himself across the U.S.; for 53 days, he explored the East Coast for antiquities. Merry Christmas: Last December, Buckley traveled to Brazil where he dressed up as Santa, and delivered food, toys, and clothing to the homes of two families he adopted.
 
Some may not perceive Brandon Buckley as a traditional Realtor. He says his business model is based on relationship development and customer service, rather than the traditional methods of the real estate business. Buckley does not personally market himself through the customary means of advertising—his business is only through referrals; he bucks the current trend by not having a large Internet presence.

Ken Butler
Billy Isom GMAC
Oxford, Alabama

In real estate since: January 2006 Double duty: Butler works “part time” in real estate as well as full time as an electronic technician. Movie magic: Butler advertises at his local movie theater on 12 screens.

At times, Ken Butler says it seems overwhelming working two jobs, both of which are essentially full time. “Even though I am considered part-time at my real estate office, there is nothing part-time about real estate. I work seven days a week and still have to balance my family (wife and two children) and two jobs.”

Shannon Byrdsong
MetroBrokers/GMAC
Atlanta, Georgia

In real estate since: 2006 Multimedia presence: Byrdsong hosts a radio program, has a Web site dedicated solely to that radio show and has an Internet simulcast and downloadable podcasts of each program. Speaking engagement: Byrdsong has been invited to join MetroBrokers/GMAC’s speakers bureau and is a regular guest speaker and mentor for PHD (Partners Helping Develop Good Business Practices).

As president and CEO of Byrdsong Marketing, Shannon Byrdsong knows the importance of effective sales and marketing practices. Byrdsong utilizes multiple mediums to promote her business and generate and pursue leads: an e-mail marketing plan to promoting her listings; her radio show and her appearances at special events; and an automated voice-messaging system for promoting upcoming events.

Fortunato Campesi
RE/MAX Real Estate
Oradell, New Jersey

In real estate since: 2005 First-hand knowledge: Before ever getting involved in real estate, Fortunato Campesi was an investor, purchasing a total of five homes. In control: Campesi decided to leave his Corporate America job two years ago.

After watching his sales commission rate get cut two years in a row, Fortunato Campesi decided it was time for a change. “Since I wanted more control over my income and my career’s fate, I decided to pursue real estate full-time.” Now, still new to the industry, Campesi is ranked number 94 in the state of New Jersey for 2007 in gross commission earned.

Robert Commodari
RE/MAX Elite Realty
Baltimore, Maryland

In real estate since: 2001 Word of mouth: Commodari does business only by referral. Speaking engagement: Commodari recently visited a prison to speak to some pre-release prisoners. “It was an event where I did a presentation and the inmates had to evaluate me. The message was all about hope for a brighter tomorrow. It was a phenomenal experience.”

Robert Commodari says some of his success can be attributed to the fact that “I show up as me. I do not put on a false mask in hopes of trying to impress people.” Commodari says he focuses on educating people about the process of buying and selling. He adds that he doesn’t look at the client as a transaction, but more as a relationship for life. “I listen and I care.”

Brian Copeland
Village Real Estate
Nashville, Tennessee

In real estate since: 2006 Good job: Copeland received the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors “Rookie of the Year” in March. Tennessee first: He launched the state’s first real estate video Web casts of his homes, showing not only the home’s features, but full videos of the surrounding areas and the home’s daily life intersections.

Brian Copeland focuses on children in the home-buying process. He has designed and developed a kid’s interactive scavenger hunt for each day out in the buying process. Little girls receive a garden watering bucket with seeds and information on “green” living. The scavenger hunt also includes a kids’ guide to buying a home, which Copeland developed with the use of some savvy 9-year-olds. Not to forget the boys—they have a pirate chest complete with pirate’s hat and scope.

Andy Dubino
Vanguard Realty Inc./GMAC
Jacksonville, Florida

Packing/unpacking: Dubino is the son of a Navy Commander, so growing up, his family relocated often. Start in real estate: Dubino first began in commercial real estate. Free time: Dubino is an usher at an 8,000-member church.

Andy Dubino prides himself on giving customers the personal touch. “I always try to initially meet with my customers personally and take the time to listen to them as carefully as possible. Listening enables me to provide the best possible match and make the best possible recommendations.”

Mary Beth Eisenhard
Long & Foster Realtors
Gainesville, Virginia

In real estate: Close to 14 years Repeat business: Because of her husband’s work transfers, Eisenhard has started her own real estate business three times. Family business: Eisenhard’s daughter joined her in the business two years ago.

Mary Beth Eisenhard started a network group three years ago—the Prince William Business Referral Group. “The purpose of our business referral group is to build business success through quality referrals. We are dedicated to maximizing the use of our time, energy, and resources to give and receive good business referrals.”

Joshua Gonzalez
Realty Executives Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona

In real estate since: 2004 Prior to real estate: Gonzalez had more than 10 years of small-business ownership and management experience. Double duty: In addition to his real estate business, Gonzalez is working on a consultant level to research, develop and implement a new initiative for the Realty Executives International franchisor that will launch sometime in 2008.

While recognizing—and embracing—the importance technology plays in real estate, Joshua Gonzalez finds it is more valuable to emphasize the importance of taking a “hands-on” approach with his clients. He acknowledges that with technological advances he is able to efficiently service his clients’ needs but that the real opportunity to make an impression lies in taking time to personally meet with each client to assess their specific needs.

Bryant Green
Prudential Georgia Realty
Atlanta, Georgia

In real estate since: 2002 Prior to real estate: Green served for 33 years with BellSouth Telecommunications, retiring as assistant vice president of operations. Area served: North Georgia and Northern Metro Atlanta

The success Bryant Green has achieved in five years in real estate is a classic example of achievement in a prior career transferring to success in real estate. “The experience and training I received during my corporate career has been invaluable in building a successful new career. The interpersonal and leadership skills have been the most important…I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
 
Amy Hall
Metro Brokers/GMAC
Atlanta, Georgia

In real estate since: 2004 Prior to real estate: Hall worked as a U.S. Army Drill instructor for Metro State Prison. First-year numbers: In her first year, Hall’s sales volume was $3 million.

Some time ago, Amy Hall had to have emergency surgery. “I never realized what an impact I had in real estate until I was admitted into the hospital,” she says. Despite both arms having IVs and other medications attached, Hall still managed to oversee all of her deals. “Almost 90 percent of my clients came to visit me—even those from out of state—and most of those still wanted me to put in contracts for them while I was lying in my hospital bed….I love real estate.”

Carolyn Heckman
John L. Scott Real Estate
Seattle, Washington

In real estate since: 2003 On track: Heckman is on track to produce over $20 million in sales this year. Giving back: Heckman donates both her time and money to the John L. Scott Foundation for Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

Carolyn Heckman is always looking for new and creative avenues to promote her business. She specializes in the luxury home market. In promoting her listings, Heckman’s marketing campaign is impressive, and includes her exclusive custom Web site—www.LifeByDesignInc.com.

Dave Henderson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
San Diego, California

In real estate: More than 20 years Summertime ritual: Every summer, Henderson sponsors free “Concerts in the Park” for families to come together and enjoy great music and community involvement. Philanthropist: Henderson and his family are actively involved with Scripps Ranch Community Assn., Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and Dingeman Elementary School in the San Diego area.

Beginning in 2005, Dave Henderson was an early adapter for using video home tours as a major component of his marketing strategy. The video home tours help him showcase a property in the best possible way, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by having the home both visually shown and audibly explained to the viewer. Additionally, to load and deliver the video home tours quickly, Henderson replaced his Web site with a real estate Web television (reWebTV) broadcast channel.

Donna Hogan
Metro Brokers/GMAC
Atlanta, Georgia

In real estate since: 1987 Personal motto: “A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating the heart is at home.” A day that she’ll remember: Hogan experienced Sept. 11 firsthand, fumbling down 36 flights of stairs in the dark at World Trade Center and witnessing the second tower crash. “It was too much to comprehend.”

In 2005, still witnessing military men holding rifles outside of her New York office and orange alert threats were constantly being implemented, Hogan and her husband decided to move. Hogan admits that, “No matter how much you achieve in your career, there comes a time when you must balance out your spiritual journey, your career and your life.” In October 2005, they moved to metro Atlanta.

Kevin Hyde
Gasparilla Properties
Boca Grande, Florida

In real estate since: 2003 Prior to real estate: Previously, Hyde worked in telecommunications. A big move: In 1992, Hyde and his family relocated from Florida to Alaska. “We moved to Alaska for the adventure of it,” Hyde says.

The small community of Boca Grande, Florida, is not an easy place for a new agent to break into. Everyone knows everyone and while a new face and talent is welcome, Kevin Hyde quickly learned he had to build trust and become a familiar face. To that end, Hyde takes the company’s team philosophy to another level. No matter how small the request, if someone walks through Gasparilla Properties’ doors, Hyde may likely be one of the first to offer up directions, recommend a restaurant or hand out a map.

Tim Judge
Judge & Associates
Greenwich, Connecticut

In real estate since: 1992 A large presence: The eighth child of 11, Judge’s large family taught him how to negotiate, be competitive and still give back to the community. Special cause: Judge is most proud of his work with Habitat for Humanity. With other members of his family, he has raised nearly $30,000 in the past five years.

A tech savvy broker to say the least, Tim Judge says, “My goal is to develop a site that offers direct access to the most important asset in the real estate business—the listings.” Using his site, HomeSearchTV, visitors can have listings sent to them via e-mail as they come on the market. Says Judge: “The key to the site will be the video.” 

Traci Kasparian
Real Living Lifetime
Northborough, Massachusetts

Claim to fame: Kasparian opened the first Real Living franchise in the Northeast. Great intellect: In addition to being a broker, Kasparian is also a doctoral level psychotherapist. In her spare time: Kasparian donates her time working in the mental health and substance abuse field, lecturing on substance abuse and treatment and caring for a child or family member with mental illness.
As the owner of the first Real Living franchise in the Northeast, Traci Kasparian brought an entirely new brand to real estate in Massachusetts. She approached the decision to open a company of her own with a “no-risk, no-reward” attitude that failure was not an option—something that has always been a mantra for her personally and professionally.

Karen Lambert
Weir Manuel Realtors
West Bloomfield, Michigan

In real estate since: 2004 Sphere of influence: Lambert’s real estate business comes from her extensive and diverse networks, which include everything from her interest in motorcycles to her involvement with charitable organizations. Making it personal: Lambert says she develops a personal relationship with her clients and takes a personal interest in their families, friends and whatever is happening in their lives—“The personal relationships are so important.”

Like many in Michigan, Karen Lambert and her husband were facing numerous financial challenges when she first joined Weir Manuel Realtors. Rather than adopting a “poor me” attitude, she embraced this challenge with energy and enthusiasm, became skilled in the business and adopted a work and service ethic that attracted clients.

Dawn Laneis
Professional Realty Group
Las Vegas, Nevada

Double duty: In addition to her full-time work as a broker, Laneis is also founder of the HOPE (Housing Opportunity Programs and Education) Program. Award-winner: Laneis’ company recently received a Congressional award for their work with the HOPE Program. Educating the masses: Laneis’ brokerage holds several home-buyer workshops throughout the year to help educate consumers on the home-buying process and the many government programs available to assist them in financing.

After 15 years in an abusive situation, Dawn Laneis found the courage to leave the place that kept her captive physically and emotionally. Homeless and living in her car, Laneis gained strength from her situation. She developed a program that would help people who never thought they could buy a home. By helping them, she says she helped herself. Over the past three years, Laneis and her partner, Cynthia Bologna, have helped more than 300 families buy homes in the Las Vegas area.

Lucas Lechuga
Real Living Properties
Coral Gables, Florida

In real estate since: 2005 After graduation: Prior to getting involved in real estate, Lechuga worked as an on-floor options trader at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. Finding your niche: Lechuga found his specialty by working with out-of-state investors; he was able to clearly convey why they should or should not buy a certain property.

Lucas Lechuga not only works with investors, condominium foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, short sales and pre-construction, but also local buyers. What’s more, by using video in his marketing practices, Lechuga has been able to close transactions where the buyer has not physically seen the property. His expertise in videography is self-taught. Lechuga produces, narrates and edits all his property videos.

Jimmy Littlejohn
Vanguard Realty Inc./GMAC
Jacksonville, Florida

In real estate since: 2004 Prior to real estate: Littlejohn spent 13 years in the grocery business. As a rookie: In 2005, Littlejohn sold 23 sides and achieved $3.99 million in sales volume.

Jimmy Littlejohn attributes much of his success to his length in retail management, customer service experience and Vanguard GMAC’s team mentorship program. He goes the extra mile for his customers—“people don’t realize how much stopping at the hardware store and picking up a door stopper for a seller can mean. Little things take five minutes, but they save a seller a whole lot of time and frustration.” About 90% of Littlejohn’s business comes from a referral base of past customers and contacts.

Neal Mansfield
Excite Realty
Seven Points, Texas

In real estate since: January 2007 Prior to real estate: Mansfield worked in the information technology industry. You may not know: Mansfield serves as a sixth-grade substitute teacher.

In his first week in the office, Neal Mansfield built his own Web site—CCLake.biz. His site has received more than 9,000 visits in the last 90 days. On the listing front, Mansfield finds every opportunity to provide exposure for his client’s listings—he posts them on seven other Web sites. He also works with the agents in his office to improve their success with the Web.

Sally Masters
Coldwell Banker R/E
Naples, Florida

Proud to be an American: Masters became a U.S. citizen in May 1999. Balancing life and work: Masters uses coaching through Buffini and Company to help her balance her life. Giving back: Masters helps her local high school with donating and raising funds for their JV and varsity soccer teams.

“Above and Beyond” is how Sally Masters says she treats all of her clients—from making sure their cable is hooked up, to making a doctor’s appointment for one client who was traveling into Naples for three days from Africa. Masters also has a program called the “care program,” includes small gestures such as personal notes to stay in touch, popping by with a gift to say hello when I’m near their home and phone calls to see how they are doing.

Brian Murtha
HER Real Living
Pickerington, Ohio

In real estate since: 2006 Personal motto: “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Spare time: Murtha coaches a youth baseball team.

When Brian Murtha first began working as a Realtor, he didn’t have many listings so he tried developing business the old-fashioned way—knocking on doors, contacting FSBOs, networking just about everywhere. By the end of his first year, Murtha generated $5 million in sales.

Stephen O’ Hara
RE/MAX Real Estate Services
Monarch Beach, California
 
In real estate since: 1976 Leader of the pack: O’Hara ranks 14th among RE/MAX’s 119,000 associates. First taste of success: At age five, O’Hara operated his first business—a Kool Aid stand.

These days, you’ll find Stephen O’Hara helping other agents understand and utilize the Internet as he provides opportunities for qualified agents to become a certified Local Partner of the Parent Relocation Council, a company O’Hara recently launched, and that went national this year with Local Partners in over 11 states. The PRC Web site
links to a Realtor program that gives agents the opportunity to utilize the PRC business model to position themselves as the “go-to” person in their community for real estate-related services.

Leo Pareja
TPI Real Estate
Herndon, Virginia

Age: 24 Life-changing story: After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Pareja decided to delve into real estate. Young entrepreneur: While still in college, Pareja purchased his first investment property.

Following the lead of his principal broker—and while still in college—Pareja jumped into real estate investing on his own and bought his first condominium. He moved into the condo and rented out the extra rooms and soon discovered that the rental income more than paid for his monthly mortgage payment.

Maribeth Peters
Ellen Terry Realtors
Dallas, Texas

In real estate since: 2003 Award-winner: Peters was named one of D magazine’s “Best Realtors of Dallas” for 2005, 2006 and 2007. Love of the arts: Peters has been involved with the Dallas Museum of Art for the last 10 years, actively involved in the Museum’s Junior Associates.

Maribeth Peters is an agent who believes in mentoring new agents and is always generous in sharing her knowledge to the real estate groups who invite her to speak. She is especially eager to share her knowledge on the use of technology which she uses extensively to better serve her clients and expand her real estate business.

Jonathan Polino
Highland Real Estate
Winthrop, Massachusetts

In real estate since: Age 19 Having faith: Polino is a Eucharistic minister, which allows him to participate at mass regularly. Giving back: Polino is active with Habitat for Humanity, helping in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Long before graduating from business school, Jonathan Polino says he knew exactly where he wanted to apply his background in finance—to his father’s real estate company. Licensed at 19, Polino decided to join his family’s business after his first year of college. “By using my sphere of influence and spending many hours following, observing, and modeling the top-producing agents in my firm, I was able to close five transactions in my first three months as a real estate professional.” The following summer, Polino upped that number to seven.

Tina Potter
Prudential Georgia Realty
Atlanta, Georgia

In real estate since: 2003 Parental influence: Potter credits her parents’ successful retail businesses for giving her an early arena for learning business and customer service. Who’s number one: Potter was the number-one agent for Prudential Georgia Realty in 2006

Tina Potter has a definite faith-based center in her life and she makes no apologies or excuses for it. “I believe that life is all about serving others. It seems the more that we help others and do for them, the more we are blessed ourselves. By serving others, we unleash a limitless potential in ourselves. Everyone at Prudential knows where my priorities are. After God, my relationship with my family is first.”

Stefanie Pratt
Coldwell Banker Devonshire Realty
Champaign, Illinois

In real estate since: 2003 Award-winner: Each year, Pratt has made the President’s Circle for Coldwell Banker, ranking in the top 10% or higher for sales internationally. Giving back: Pratt donates $100 to a local not-for-profit organization for every home her team sells over $100,000, “which I started in 2006 to honor Coldwell Banker’s 100th anniversary.”

Stefanie Pratt uses a variety of methods for marketing: a monthly billboard; monthly seed packets—postcards with either recipes or funny cartoons; and at least twice a year she works with local businesses to send out coupons to past sellers and buyers. “I am currently doing a radio promotion called the Ultimate Open House, which consists of hosting three different types of homes open, with over 12 vendors promoting their services for homeownership.”

Ron Reed
First Weber Group
Madison, Wisconsin

In real estate since: 2006 Slogan: “Everything I touch turns to sold.” Quick study: Reed was named member of the President’s Club Top 25 for January 2007, a monthly club of elite First Weber agents.

Ron Reed was named semifinalist for the Real Estate Apprentice Foundation’s fifth season, winning grant funding and real estate products and other communication tools. “Ron distinctly understands the significance of a strong brand and continues to use marketing and public relations to his advantage—this alone is a key ingredient to successful real estate practices,” says Tom Weber, a manager with First Weber.

Michal Rhodus
Real Living Team One
Tampa, Florida
In real estate since: 1997 Philanthropist: Rhodus participates in Relay for Life for the Susan G. Komen Foundation Keys to success: Rhodus says she listens and captures her customers’ needs, which helps her determine the best method to reach their goals.

Michal Rhodus dreamed of owning a real estate business and how it might look. One of the first things she did as an owner was to ensure the name embodied what she is about—team. Thus, Real Living Team One. The name states the vision for all to embrace. This impacts how she markets her company, works with her agents, and shepherds her clients. Her team concept results in the highest level of professionalism between agents, clients and affiliates.

Andy Sachs
Coldwell Banker
Newtown, Connecticut

In real estate since: 2006 On referrals: “It is the ultimate thank you.” The most important advice he’s received: “Provide truly remarkable service.”

After a brief career spent traveling around the country and commuting for three hours a day to New York City from Connecticut, Sachs’ wife turned to him and said, “Quit. Find something that makes you happy.” “I did just that,” says Sachs, “and over the last year I found and fell in love with real estate.” Sachs says he and his company approach marketing and technology holistically. “It is the sum of the parts that creates an effective marketing plan we have implemented to promote our business and sell our client’s property. The knowledge that a buyer can come from any corner of the earth requires a comprehensive plan to capture them.”

Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado

In real estate: Three years Giving back: Scharf hosts the Gingerbread house table at her church bizarre where she pre-creates accessories, brings candy and accessories for participants to make Gingerbread houses.

Janna Scharf took over the entire advertising and marketing responsibilities of her office because the office’s image was “at best blasé.” She negotiated print media contracts, improved the overall image in print and Internet exposure, giving the company a positive and impressive image.

Jace Schmitz
JACE The Real Estate Company
Port Angeles, Washington

In real estate: About 20 years Eye on education: Schmitz teaches college-level real estate courses. Giving back: Schmitz founded the local “Everything But Food Drive,” that collects non-food items like shampoo and toothpaste for distribution throughout the community.

Community service is paramount to a life of balance and Jace Schmitz’s includes sponsoring local youth sports teams and hosting the end-of-the-season parties with gifts, pizza, and sweets for the young athletes. Recently, Schmitz sponsored a two-month show at the local Fine Arts Center.

Tim Seibold
RE/MAX All-Stars
Austin, Texas

In real estate since: 2005 Multitasker: Seibold attends college full time and works as a Realtor full time. High goals: Seibold plans to make RE/MAX’s 100% Club for 2007.

Tim Seibold became licensed in Texas in March 2005—at just 21 years old. Still a full-time student at Texas State, he will graduate at the end of this year with a degree in business management. In his first nine months in real estate, Seibold sold about $1 million, still attending school full time and changing brokerages after just six months.

Hal Sheeler
Century 21 Energy Shield Realty
Hanover, New Hampshire

In real estate since: 2001 Prior to real estate: Sheeler was a music educator. World traveler: Sheeler’s music career took him all over the world, helping him develop an appreciation for relocating people.

As a former educator, Hal Sheeler has successfully applied the people skills learned in the classroom to his new occupation as a New Hampshire and Vermont Realtor. Over the past few years, Hal has often been the top producer for his company, Century 21 Energy Shield Realty in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Sharon Silva
Palm III Realty
Fernandina Beach, Florida

In real estate since: 2004 Family affair: Silva recently took over custody of two of her grandsons.

Since coming on board full time at Palm III Realty, Sharon Silva’s broker says that working with her is like “watching a freight train on full steam, full speed ahead.” Silva has created three Web sites and invested in several lead-generating tools. “You can be successful and happy as a Realtor—even in the slow market.”

Vanessa Simmons
HER Real Living
Columbus, Ohio

In real estate since: 2005 Before getting into real estate: Simmons interviewed five brokers before signing up for her first class. Educator: Simmons conducts first-time home-buyer seminars for the Urban League and Columbus Housing Partnership.

Vanessa Simmons is a founding member of OFIS (Ohio Foreclosure Intervention Specialists), a group of Realtors that come together from various brokerages to help address Ohio’s foreclosure problem. The group has been very successful and has collectively been able to share information and resources to serve many customers and clients who may have fallen to foreclosure.

Kimberly Sperling
Edina Realty
Lakeville, Minnesota

In real estate since: 2004 For the future: Sperling holds a fundraiser each year (in her deceased father’s name) to provide a college scholarship to a hardworking graduating high school senior.

Kimberly Sperling says she stays ahead of the trends and offers clients added value items that other Realtors don’t. Last year, she became accredited in staging and now offers consultations and staging services to sellers as well. She carries inventory that clients can use in their home and has furnished entire, empty homes for quicker sales.

Jon Terry
Realty Professionals of America
Golden, Colorado

Started as an associate broker: In 2006 My other job: Terry is also an attorney. Sales this year: So far, Terry has closed more than $4 million.

Jon Terry is building his business with the goal of generating at least four referrals from each client he helps to close a transaction. In short, as both a Realtor and an attorney, he provides comprehensive market knowledge and legal expertise, and he takes the worry out of buying and selling real estate. 

Claudia Tringale
M&M Real Estate and Mortgage
Elk Grove, California

Working as a Realtor: Since 2005 Multitasker: Tringale also serves as a senior loan officer. Motto: “Quality vs. Quantity”
 
According to Claudia Tringale, “the secret to being a good real estate agent is being a very good loan officer first. Pre-qualify your clients, show them their financial picture, be realistic about their goals and then go look for their home in their budget.” She says this saves a tremendous amount of time searching for homes.

Wayne Turner
Wayne Turner Real Estate Company
Hendersonville, Tennessee

Learning from your mistakes: Turner says that he truly believes that looking back on the challenges you had earlier in life influence who you are and will become. By the numbers: 44% of his business is from repeat business and referrals.

According to Wayne Turner, if you are helping people get what they want, then you’ll be taken care of and have abundance in your life. This is Turner’s philosophy every day. He values integrity, honesty and practicing what he preaches. Friends and colleagues will also say that “he is always willing to lend and share a hand.”

Shelley Watkins
RE/MAX Affiliates
Menomonie, Wisconsin

In real estate since: 2001 Great sales: Watkins is now showing a 381% increase in volume, compared with last year. For the community: Watkins and her husband are building a full-size hockey rink with locker room facilities on their own property to provide ice time to local youth.

Shelley Watkins is devoted to her children and supports their development in sports and social activities. There is rarely a day where Watkins isn’t attending a game or event with one or both of the children, and often this requires long drives, but she still meets the demands of the real estate customer, including showings at night and early in the morning.

Renee Weinberg
Prudential Douglas Elliman
Long Beach, New York

In real estate since: 1998 Top of the class: Weinberg is in the top 2% of all Prudential Douglas Elliman agents. Survivor: Weinberg is a two-time cancer survivor and is now a strong advocate for Memorial Sloan Kettering and raises funds for them whenever she can.

Renee Weinberg has doubled her business from all of 2006. To that end, she was the first Realtor in Long Beach to form a team of five because of her high demand. In this year alone, she has sold 33 units and still has five pending contracts (at press time). She manages approximately 25-35 listings at a time and sells about 75% of them on her own. She estimates that 90% of her business comes from referrals and word of mouth.

Jamie West
RE/MAX of Naperville
Naperville, Illinois

In real estate since: 2004 Desire for more: After 10 years in the computer industry, West decided he wanted a more flexible schedule and greater control over his own earning potential.

Jaime West keeps his online approach simple. Rather than relying primarily on his own Web site, he concentrates on leveraging the power of the most popular national and regional sites, such as www.Realtor.com, www.remax.com and www.illinoisproperty.com. West finds that when consumers search the major Internet sites, they note which agents have multiple listings in a given area, and are most likely to give those agents a call.

Katrina Williams
John L. Scott Real Estate/LML
Lynnwood, Washington

In real estate since: 2004 Projections: Williams predicts $34 million in gross sales for this year. Number-one priority: Spending time with her two children.

Katrina Williams firmly believes that the buying or selling of a home does not need to be filled with stress for the client. So, she goes out of her way to ensure that the client has an exceptional experience. “My goal is for each and every one of my clients to walk away from their transaction with a ‘whew, that was easier than I thought’ and know that the skill and professionalism demonstrated by my team is what made this all appear and feel effortless.” RE

Coming Soon…The Power Team Report & Survey

Don’t forget to watch out this December for RISMedia’s first annual Power Team Survey. Similar to its annual Power Broker Report & Survey ranking the nation’s top 500 brokerages, the Power Team Report & Survey—scheduled for release in February 2008—will rank the nation’s leading agent teams according to closed transactions and sales volume. Results of the survey will be published in Real Estate magazine, RISMedia’s Power Team Report and online at rismedia.com.
Power Team Surveys will be available online for agent teams to complete in December of this year. Teams will be asked to provide third-party verification of all financial information reported. The survey will also poll agent teams on the key trends and issues most affecting their business. To receive the Power Team Survey directly when it becomes available, please e-mail Executive Editor Maria Patterson, maria@rismedia.com.

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