As an investor with a knack for networking, Rich Steffen had all the makings of a professional REALTOR®. At the beginning of his career in real estate, he and his brother flipped houses. When the crash struck, he began negotiating short sales, and in 2010, got licensed.
Today, he’s the face of the CORE 1 Real Estate Team, affiliated with Keller Williams Key Partners, along with Cheryl, his wife, and an administrative coordinator, Rosa.
“Our name stands for ‘Creative Options in Real Estate,'” explains Steffen, who’s based in Kansas City.
For CORE 1 and Steffen, a divorce real estate specialist, credibility and neutrality is required. With a base of contacts on the legal side, Steffen guides homeowners through thorny transactions—divorce, foreclosure avoidance, bankruptcy—and consistently delivers first-rate service throughout, backed by the help of the team.
Here, Steffen discusses his team, and how he’s building a business designed to help others.
Suzanne De Vita: Rich, you’re experienced in flipping houses and navigating short sales. How does that benefit your clients?
Rich Steffen: My niche is primarily the divorce market, which evolved from my connection to the legal community during the market crash of 2008. I have relationships with several attorneys that send potential clients to me that are involved in divorce, foreclosure avoidance, probate or inheritance and bankruptcy…anything in the realm of family practice law. I have a handle on construction—what it’s going to take, where dollars are well spent and where they’re not. A lot of my clients really depend on that. I love helping people in a way that is above and beyond what most agents have the ability or desire to do.
SD: In that respect, why was it important to start a team?
RS: It allows me to do what I do best—the concierge mentality that I have with my clients, I need all the time I can get to do nothing but serve them.
SD: You’re a coach, as well…
RS: The team format allows me to also focus on what I’d like to do in the long term, and that is life and business coaching. Just about a week ago (at press time), I was asked to assume the role of the Transformational Mindset coach in our office. The position is to help agents discover/develop their niche or work through mindset barriers that are holding them back in their businesses. Keller Williams will be formally introducing Transformational Coaching on a national level in November as an addition to their longstanding Accountability Coaching. My plan is to eventually become a member of the national Transformational team.
SD: Business coaching, helping homeowners in stressful times…how are you active in your community?
RS: We are affiliated with, and raise money for, Operation Warm that provides Coats for Kids. My wife, who is a horse fanatic, is developing her ministry of equine therapy for abuse victims. In addition, I am a coach and mentor for young married couples to help them strengthen their marriages and avoid the possibility of divorce. I’ve been through divorce myself and it’s such a financial and emotional catastrophe. The effect and impact it has on our kids, who had no say in what they are facing, really gnaws at me. I have such a heart for helping people either avoid it or navigate it with the least amount of destruction and stress.
SD: You’ve built your business on relationships and trust. How did you do it?
RS: I’m not a big CRM user—I do keep track of my people, but I’m not an email drip guy. I built two other businesses before I got into real estate—that was back in a time where if you were really on top of your game, you had a pager!—and my business was face-to-face and a handshake. That’s my mindset, and it’s worked well for me.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.