212 Degrees Realty and Keller Williams Capital Properties
Years in business: 12
Size: 2 offices, 1 agent (herself)
Regions served: Seven counties in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
2020 Sales Volume: $11 million
2020 Transactions: 18
As the principal broker of 212 Degrees Realty, Melanie Gamble has enjoyed a successful solo career representing buyers and sellers throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C.
This past October, she expanded her business, taking a role as lead associate broker at Keller Williams Capital Properties in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and has been wearing both hats in 2021.
Gamble fell into the business after two questionable real estate events in her life: witnessing land owned by her stepfather basically get stolen after his death; and having land she thought she owned unknowingly whisked away. To prevent events like this from ever happening again, Gamble set forth to learn the ins and outs of the business.
Your reason for getting into real estate is unusual. Tell us more…
Melanie Gamble: My grandmother had left some land in Alabama to me, and in 2000, I found out that my mom had never paid the tax bill and the property was sold. When I came back to Maryland, I did some research on how something like this could happen—that’s when I learned about tax sales. I ended up taking a class and decided this was something I wanted to do for a living so that other people didn’t fall victim to this sort of thing.
What led to you starting your own brokerage?
MG: In February 2009, the firm where I worked closed. In March 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I was ready to go back to work, my husband convinced me that I should just open up my own brokerage. I’m licensed now in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Through his encouragement, I opened up 212 Degrees Realty.
How did you grow your business early on?
MG: I went to all these conferences and met people and learned so much. I made very little in the beginning, but a few years later, I was the No. 3 agent in Prince George’s County, primarily selling foreclosed homes. In the height of coming out of the recession, it was one of the biggest counties in the country as far as foreclosures.
What efforts have you made to help women get interested in real estate?
MG: My passion is helping people. I teach classes, and I coach and mentor people. I get great joy out of seeing people succeed. For eight years, I had a non-profit organization called Esther’s Closet designed to donate prom dresses. We also had a mentoring aspect for young women—it was about preparing yourself for the future. I believe we were able to make a nice impression on some people.
What are your expectations for your market this year?
MG: Everything is on fire right now. There’s limited inventory, interest rates are still super-low and there’s so much demand that if you’re a seller, it’s great. I do believe that within the next nine to 12 months, when these moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures lift, we’re going to see a shift.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received in this business?
MG: Here’s something I say to my agents all the time: “Some of something beats all of nothing.” Another one is, “documentation beats conversation, because it’s never a problem, until it’s a problem.”
Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.