Above: The Robinson Upshur Team: Top L to R: Cory Hudson, Alan Upshur, Leon Robinson; Bottom L to R: Arlene Marshall, Nancy Hargrove
Real estate was a natural calling for Baltimore native Leon Robinson, who knew, from the day he graduated from the city’s Western School of Technology, that he wanted a career in a business that offered a flexible lifestyle and unlimited opportunity.
Licensed just four years ago in both residential and commercial real estate, Robinson quickly teamed with varsity teammate Alan Upshur and today leads the five-person Robinson Upshur Team under the auspices of Coldwell Banker Realty, serving greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Between them, the two entrepreneurs have already racked up significant honors. Robinson has twice received the Coldwell Banker® International Diamond Society Award, placing him in the top 10% of the brand’s agents worldwide, and has been recognized as a Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® Rising Star.
An Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), Upshur is a licensed mortgage loan officer named a Rising Star by Real Producers and Agent of the Year by Black Wall Street Baltimore.
“But accolades are the icing on the cake,” said Robinson. “The real satisfaction comes from leading a team that helps more buyers, sellers and investors realize their American dream.”
Barbara Pronin: Leon, who are the other members of the Robinson Upshur team?
Leon Robinson: We are fortunate to have three agents—Cory Hudson, Nancy Hargrove and Arlene Marshall—who have the same drive and commitment to excellence that Alan and I share. Our goal is to provide high-impact marketing, cutting edge technology and truly personalized service to every client.
BP: What do you see as the best part about teaming?
LR: You can only go so far by yourself. There is power in uniting. With a team, you have accountability and trust—not to mention mentorship, greater flexibility and the ability to scale your brand.
BP: How do you make sure you are functioning well as a team?
LR: For one thing, we have a real sense of camaraderie. We each have areas of specialization, but we are always pulling for each other, celebrating one another’s successes and sharing ideas—and we meet every Saturday at noon, like clockwork, so that we are all on the same page and can step in to cover for one another if we need to. We also work with visiting coaches and presenters at these Saturday meetings, so we’re always learning and growing, both as individuals and as a team.
BP: Lots to keep track of. Do you have administrative help?
LR: We do. We have our own executive assistant, Trinere Robinson, plus the administrative support of the Coldwell Banker team.
BP: How do you differentiate yourselves from other teams and agents?
LR: We are very competitive, we have extensive knowledge about every inch of the communities we serve, and we have a proven track record of providing value. When we say we offer concierge-like service, we mean it. Every client is special to us and gets a full complement of care and attention, plus our full suite of cutting-edge technology and targeted marketing to ensure they have a productive and satisfying real estate experience.
BP: You’re also active on the commercial side.
LR: Right—and I’m fully versed in zoning regulations, taxation and financial analysis, so that I can help investors make smart decisions based on the most current data.
BP: What, if any, are the issues you are facing right now?
LR: Painfully low inventory. People want to move. They want to invest. But there are just more buyers than we have properties available to show them.
BP: How are you dealing with that?
LR: We are expanding our networking on social media and staying close to past clients, trying to stay in touch with as many potential sellers as we can—and we are experimenting with some new tools to help get listings. The business is out there. We just have to stay competitive and make use of every tool and resource we can to make things happen for as many people as possible.
BP: What are the goals you want to reach by the end of 2021?
LR: Our goal is to sell 100 units and/or do $10 million in sales volume by the end of the year. It’s an uphill battle, but we’re doing our best to stay on target. Also, we’d like to grow the team by three agents, if we can find people who are a good fit with our competitive and hard-working team culture.
BP: Do you have a personal goal?
LR: I do. In many ways, this is an underserved community, but it is not without resources. My personal goal is to provide the kind of real estate education and assistance that helps more people grow their personal wealth through the strategic buying and selling of property.
Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia.