Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tim and Lori Sojka—Keller Williams-Houston West

A Passionate Client-Service and Marketing Team Who Just Happen to be in Real Estate
By Woodie Stephenson

Husband and wife team, Tim and Lori Sojka of Keller Williams Houston West, are a different kind of real estate team. Tim and Lori, better recognized amongst their peers and clients as the “See Tim Sell” Team, have been married for 14 years and have only been practicing real estate since 2005, but they have quickly established themselves as a driven, motivated, service-oriented force. Utilizing their unique marketing techniques to create an easily recognizable brand for themselves, Tim and Lori have prided themselves most in creating an outstanding reputation for the service they offer their clients. By utilizing their strong marketing skills and focusing on raising the level of service and commitment in the Realtor-client relationship, Tim and Lori are breaking the traditional business mold.

Lori was born in Fairfield, TX, and raised in Pearland, the middle child of three siblings. Blessed with a loving family, Lori recalls growing up with cows, turkeys, chicken, her great parents, younger brother, and older sister. As a young girl, Lori sought to gain lessons and experience attending the same church she calls home even today. Grounded by her faith and principles, Lori would face her first major challenge at the age of 14 when she was diagnosed with Lupus, a kidney disease. Struggling to survive with her rapidly progressing condition, Lori turned to God as she experienced a series of close brushes with death.

“Being diagnosed with kidney disease taught me to lean on the Lord,” Lori humbly says, “When I was 18 years old, I was able to receive a kidney transplant from my older sister, Denise. I never gave up faith and I was blessed.”

Tim’s background was the antithesis of the stable environment that Lori experienced growing up. Tim, the son of a military family, was born in San Diego, CA, but experienced 7 moves at a young age before his parents would divorce. Tim eventually settled in Silsbee, a small, rural, town near Beaumont. Tim stated, “My mother, my grandfather and grandmother always believed in me, so I always felt like I could accomplish anything.” Although he felt very blessed to grow up in a wonderful and nourishing small town, the pull of adventure was just too much. Tim wanted a more exciting lifestyle and set his ambitions on studying marketing and advertising at Texas Tech, over 700 miles away from Silsbee

“I felt I had to spread my wings and try to make it on my own. Most kids growing up wanted to doctors, athletes, or astronauts,” Tim recall, “Ironically, I wanted to be Darren Stevens (from Bewitched), and why not? He had a great job in advertising, a beautiful wife, a nice house, and a little girl.”

It wouldn’t be long before he was living his dream; Tim excelled at Texas Tech and graduated to a job working for Pepsi, a company known for its brilliant marketing strategies. He parted with Pepsi and joined Nestle FoodServices, where he worked for 14 years. While at Nestle, Tim would meet the girl of dreams, although their initial meeting was more comical than romantic.

Lori, who at the age of 23 lived 2-doors-down from Tim in the same apartment building, recalls Tim’s persistence and overzealousness.

“We would see each other around and talk briefly, but never more than a few words at first really,” Lori shares, “One day Tim shows up at my door because he says his nieces came over and used all his toilet paper. I’m talking to my father on the phone the whole time and he shows up again an hour or so later to tell me he’s locked out of his apartment this time. My father tells me not to let him in; so I tell him that I don’t let strange men in my apartment and I shut the door on him. Later on, when I get off the phone, I see him out in the hot Texas sun and I bring him a glass of water.”

Tim remembers being excited and determined when he asked about Lori’s boyfriend only to find that she had recently become single.

“I told her ‘Let’s go out,’ and at first she said no,” Tim shares, “but I’ve always believed that if you’re a true sales person when someone responds with the answer ‘no’ it’s just an invitation for more information. I arranged for us to go out with a group and we hit it off.”

Within just 4 months of their first date, Tim and Lori were engaged and soon happily married. Although Tim’s exciting career was on the rise in Los Angeles, Lori began to yearn for a more stable life and missed her family and church back in Houston. It wasn’t long before Lori’s heart led the young couple back to Houston, TX, where they hoped to begin a fresh start.

Although Tim had experienced success during his stint in the corporate ranks, he always felt somewhat like a square peg. He decided to use his expertise in marketing and sales to found his new foray into real estate. Tim, who had an inactive license from years before, was re-licensed by Champions School of Real Estate.

Tim’s first desire to work in the Real Estate industry stemmed from experiences with his mother at a young age.

“When I was young my mother would show me homes in nice neighborhoods and tell me that someday I would live in a house like that. I was close to my mother, and having her believe in me meant a lot,” Tim remembers, “Growing up, I had never lived in a two-story house and I always equated a nice house with success. When Lori and I got married we would visit open house on the weekends for fun and I always knew that when the time was right for me that I would be a natural Realtor.”

Back in Houston, Tim began experiencing success in real estate. Receiving strong mentorship from the likes of Stacy Sutter, Bob Pollard, Beez Homeyer, Wayne Lohmeyer, the Kink Team, and other Keller Williams agents, Tim fused his experience in marketing with lessons from Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and advice from his mentors.

Tim recalls the satisfaction he received during his first listing transaction after helping a troubled client get what she deserved for her home. The house which had been on the market for over 2 years with major listing agents had expired when Tim approached the homeowner and vowed to give her the proper marketing that her home deserved. Tim educated the homeowner on the value of her home, raised the price from the previous listings, doubled the traffic the home received, and sold the house to his client’s amazement in just 5 days, a feat that two other well-known Realtors had not been able to accomplish in 2 years.

“At first, we built our whole business taking on expired homes,” Tim says, “A lot of Realtors will write a listing contract, stick a sign in their client’s yard, and call it a day. When we put our sign in a client’s yard, we work hard to aggressively market the house and we call our clients every single week to update them on our progress.”

Seeing the drive that he brought to each transaction marketing homes and servicing clients, Lori and Tim’s mother approached him with a plan to expand his new business.

“I had helped Tim found the business,” Lori says, “but I hadn’t really wanted to get involved in real estate until I realized how much I could help him. We knew Tim had a gift as a salesman, so his mother, Margaret, and I approached him told him we wanted to take all the pressure of the paperwork off him so he could do what he loves, focus 100-percent on service and marketing.”

Tim believes the key to his team’s growth and success can be attributed to the presence of two, passionate owners. He also could not compliment his team members enough.

“After Lori came in to help me, I knew that we would experience an unbelievable growth,” Tim says, “We both have different talents that allow our business to thrive; I have an incredible drive and Lori is very detail-oriented. All of our team members have helped out business grow, but our business really exploded when we added Denise Kingham, our listing manager. She is a rock, you give her something and it is done!”

A great contribution to the “See Tim Sell” Team’s success has been Tim’s original vision in marketing. Using guerilla-marketing tactics, Tim has decorated company vehicles with a colorful background and an easily-recognizable cartoon caricature of himself adorned with the slogan “See Tim Sell!” The caricature and the initial inspiration for the marketing plan can be attributed to Tim and Lori’s daughter Abigail, who had drawn the original, stick-figure image of her father.

“When Abigail drew the stick figure of me I asked Lori, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if I put this on my business card?’” Tim says, “It was such a unique idea that we went with it and developed a whole marketing campaign by expounding on her original image. When people started seeing our cars and advertisements they instantly thought we had been in the business for years. People either tend to love or hate our marketing, but it doesn’t matter because they always recognize us.”

A major source of inspiration for Tim and Lori’s business model has been Gary Keller’s influential book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. Tim credits the book for allowing him to achieve much of his success by following the advice of real estate guru Keller.

“Gary’s book was a real watershed moment in my career,” Tim shares, “After I read his book, I came to a turning point in my life where I understood that if did the things in the book then I would achieve the same kind of success.”

In Tim and Lori’s first full-year of business they achieved resounding results while completing 76 transactions. Serving the areas of West Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, and Cypress, the couple took home a slew of awards from their first Keller Williams banquet. Among the accolades the received for their accomplishments were awards for #2 in sold units, #5 in listed units, Office Rookie of the Year, Top-10 in Closed Dollars, and #3 in recruited agents.

Although Tim and Lori’s team has generated much attention for their amazing list of achievements during their first year in business, the humble agents never stray from the task at hand: working hard to offer their clients the best marketing and service. If there is one singular, important figure that speaks for Tim and Lori’s dedication to their clients, it’s the number of listed units they sell. The “See Tim Sell” Team prides themselves in being able to offer their clients the support necessary to move their property.

“I’m proud my team is so developed that we can sell so many of our listings,” Tim says, “We can’t sell them all but we close more often than most the competition. We are so confidant we will sell a client’s home that we write in our contract that they can fire us at any time.”

Tim and Lori’s clients can best attest to the spectacular attention that they put into making each transaction a success for their buyers and sellers. Recent clients Matt and Audrey Markitron were astounded by the service and results they received from Tim and Lori.

“Tim is amazing,” Audrey says, “He sold our house before we could blink! He did for us in six days what another Realtor couldn’t do in 300 days. Lori did a great job with the paperwork. She was even more on top of it than we were.”

“It was a pleasure working with Tim and his team to sell my house in Katy,” clients Bryan and Ora Switzer said, “>From the first time I spoke to Tim on the phone, I knew he was going to sell my house and get the price I needed. I really enjoyed the daily phone calls to let me know what the status of my house was and when a deal was ready to take place. My family feels like a load was lifted from our shoulders.”

Tim and Lori’s colleagues in the real estate business understand what sets their team apart from the pack. Stacy Sutter of Keller Williams-Cinco Ranch, a mentor to Tim and Lori during the first days in the business, recognizes several characteristics in the couple that have allowed them to achieve rapid success.

“Tim’s marketing skills are as good as any I’ve seen in our industry,” Sutter says, “With his background in marketing, Tim came into the business with a set plan, followed his plan, and was never afraid to take constructive criticism. Tim’s work ethic, coupled with his ability to market, has made him one of the finest real estate agents in the city today.”

Wayne Lohmeyer, Keller Williams-West Houston’s Team Leader, respects Tim and Lori’s contributions to their market center and to the community.

“I’ve never seen a husband and wife team work together so well,” Lohmeyer says, “Tim is a visionary in our business and Lori is extremely detail-oriented and diligent. Tim and Lori are not your average Realtors; they are community-minded, fair with their clients, and they give back so much to the community and their peers. Last year they raised $4,000 for our KW Cares charity. Tim also supports his market center here at Keller Williams; he takes the time out of his schedule every week to teach new and veteran agents classes on his unique techniques in guerilla marketing.”

Carlos Fernandez of Ameripoint Title values the effort Tim puts into making each transaction a success.

“If Tim and Lori are selling your house, start packing,” Fernandez says, “They do whatever it takes to market a house, get it to standards, and they never fail to close. I’ve dealt with a lot of Realtors and mortgage companies and nobody comes close to Tim and Lori. Recently, we had a buyer who would not close until the home’s garage was cleared of junk. Tim rushed to the house, took off his shirt, and worked with family members to clear everything. We closed the transaction by 1 o’clock the same day!”

When Tim and Lori are not working hard to surpass their client’s expectation, family time is #1 on their list. The couple enjoys spending quality time with their daughter, Abigail, who they adopted from China in 1999.

“You don’t realize how much you can love something until you have a child,” Tim says of his strong marriage, “When I see Lori with Abigail, I love her more and more every day.”

Lori believes the secrets to their strong marriage are their communication, faith, and family time.

“We communicate with each other and never hold back,” she says, “We can talk for hours every day. If we spend two hours talking and it never seems like long enough.”

“A great marriage is a long conversation that seems too short,” Tim adds.

Every Sunday Tim cooks a breakfast of blueberry pancakes or summer sausage and fried eggs for his girls. Tim, Lori, and Abigail make the best of their time together taking walks, swimming, and sleeping in late on their Sundays together.

“Our clients expect a lot from us,” Tim says, “but we try to keep Sundays excluded for family. On Sunday morning I love to cuddle up with my two girls in bed, wake up beside them, and cook them breakfast; it’s the best thing in the world.”

If agents want to achieve the kind of success that his team has generated, Tim advises them to read Gary Keller’s book, learn the Top Producer software, Arch Telecom, and strive to make their clients feel special.

“I really think we did some of the right things early,” Tim says, “I came in with a marketing plan, I found some great business partners through a West Houston BNI Chapter (Business Networking International) I helped to launch. I also found great mentors outside Keller Williams like Al Menconi of Statewide Financial Group, Ed Wiesner of Wiesner Custom Homes, and Renee Beilue and Rob Stewart of the law firm Bielue and Stewart. There are also hundreds of other people who have helped us that I cannot even begin to thank.”

Tim also contributes his success again and again to Gary Keller’s amazing book.

“Gary’s book will teach you how to generate leads, surround yourself with capable people, and have a good spending model,” Tim says, “However, most important of all, you have to make your clients’ needs your top priority always. If they come to you with a problem, it’s your job to take that away from them.”

Lori believes that keeping your word is an important aspect of a Realtor’s reputation.

“Picking up the phone will get you clients,” she says, “but what it really comes down to is keeping your promises; if you tell somebody you’re going to do something, you better do it.”

The future looks bright for Tim, Lori and their diligent team at Keller Williams. Tim is only two classes away from receiving his broker’s license and Lori is diligently studying real estate law at Champion’s in an attempt to learn every aspect of the business. The “See Tim Sell” Team has thrived in the real estate business because of their unique, aggressive marketing and superlative client-service ethics. However, it has always been Tim and Lori’s innate desire to work hard to surpass their client’s expectations.

“Lori and I both love real estate; however, we know, first, we must focus on clients’ needs. Second, we will market our clients’ homes as hard as we can. The fact that we are realtors come last,” Tim jokes.

At the core of their business, Tim and Lori’s rock-solid marriage and ability to communicate so well has allowed them to offer their clients a level of service that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Although they have accomplished an amazing list of achievements during their short tenure in the business, the Sojkas always remain humble and focused on what’s most important to them.

“The most important award in the world to me,” Tim shares, “is to come home and have my family be proud of what I’ve accomplished.”

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Monday, August 13, 2007

A YouTube Interview with Gayla Skates, Re/Max Realty Center

Steve Levine interviews Gayla Skates of Re/Max Realty Center at her cover story reception at "On the Border". Gayla is August Cover story honoree.

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An Interview with Ed Kampf, President of Wholesale Mortgage

Steve Levine interviews Ed Kampf, President of Wholesale Mortgage at Gayla Skates cover story reception at "On The Borders" mexican restaurant, 8/10/2007.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Houston Home Show Radio Interview of Patty McCracken

Patty McCracken goes into the studio with Steve Levine to be interviewed on CNN 650AM, Houston Home Show 8/3. We were able to capture all of the interview on YouTube.

Houston Home Show with Kevin Price, Welcomes Steve Levine and Patty McCracken

Steve Levine Welcomes Patty McCracken to the Show

Mark Jeffrey and Kevin Price Ask Patty about the Pearland Market

Steve Levine Explains the Criteria for Cover Story Selection of REE Magazine

Patty McCracken Explains How She Survived the Real Estate Crash of the Early 80's

Patty McCracken Explains the Market Conditions in Her Market of Pearland (Beltway 8 and FM288 region)

Patty McCracken Talks About Trends in Real Estate

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gayla Skates-RE/MAX Realty Center

A Kindhearted Agent Nurturing Her Vision to Reality
By Woodie Stephenson

Gayla Skates, Broker/ Owner of newly launched RE/MAX Realty Center in Cypress, TX, is taking all the necessary steps to build a successful franchise while investing in people before anything else. The former top producer has always had a vision of an office where Realtors could receive all the support they needed to succeed in a nurturing, family-like environment. Utilizing the strengths of RE/MAX’s powerful training programs, Gayla is encouraging her new staff to invest in themselves and the agents around them. Due to her tremendous effort and support, Gayla’s franchise is experiencing a tremendous growth as she nurtures her unique vision to reality.

Born in the mill-town of LaFayette, Georgia, Gayla grew up with her older sister, Denise, and her hardworking parents. Her mother, a bank teller, and father, a shift supervisor at the local mill, encouraged Gayla to follow her interests in music, playing piccolo and flute in her school’s marching and concert bands.

“I learned to negotiate from my father…his first answer was always no” Gayla recalls. “So I learned to make my case early on”.

Gayla married her childhood sweetheart, Ricky Skates, who grew up in the same small town. Looking to start a prosperous, new life together, the young couple would relocate to Houston, TX in 1979.

“I’ve never even thought of not being married to him,” Gayla says about her husband of 31 years, “We grew up together and he has always completed me.”

The move to Houston would be relatively short-lived. In 1985 the couple would return to Georgia after Gayla’s mother was given less than 6 months to live. Sadly, Gayla’s mother passed just 5 weeks after their return. While remaining in her hometown to bond with family while grieving her loss, Gayla was inspired to make a career change. Lured by the potential to determine her income through hard work, Gayla set to work pursuing an education in real estate.

“Real estate can be the highest-paying hard job you will ever have or it can be the easiest low-paying job you’ll ever have” says Gayla. If you put your clients’ thoughts and needs first though, you will always be rewarded in so many ways.”

Gayla first got her feet wet working in the Georgia and Tennessee markets under a small “mom and pop” company. Determined to succeed in a late-80s market with high interest rates and inexpensive homes, Gayla put in long hours and went out of her way to please her clients. While most of her peers were content working in just Georgia, Gayla saw fit to get a license in Tennessee so she would be able to help families who sought to relocate across state lines. Despite the market-obstacles she was faced with, Gayla quickly found success selling over $750,000 in property in just her first 6 months in the business, an achievement that got her notice, the Rookie of the Year award of the local board, and an invitation to join her first RE/MAX office. Determined to educate herself to the fullest, Gayla’s next move was acquiring her Broker’s License in Georgia, a grand accomplishment.

Deciding to follow a lifelong dream, Gayla and her husband moved to the town of St. Augustine off the Atlantic coast of nearby Florida. Enchanted by the beautiful beaches, the couple settled into their new home and Gayla worked to re-license herself in the Florida market. Gayla would spend every possible moment at the ocean.

“I love to watch storms come in over the ocean,” Gayla says, “I’d hurry to the beach sometimes during thunderstorms to watch the clouds roll in over the coast. The ocean and its waves center me.”

As fate would have it, Gayla and her husband would once again return to Houston. Discouraged by their series of daunting moves, Gayla took a “four walls” office job rather than reemerging herself in real estate.

“The task of having to learn a whole new city was frustrating for me at first,” Gayla remembers, “Houston seemed more intimidating than other markets because of its size. I didn’t want to have to learn more streets, and a whole new market while building my database all over again.”

As it turns out, working in an office and staring at the same four walls on a daily basis just wasn’t satisfying. Convinced that moving back to Florida would be the best solution for happiness, Gayla called a well-known Houston Realtor to sell her house. Rather than list her property for her, she was hired by him to join his team and give the Houston market a shot. The decision would pay off handsomely for Gayla, who found Houston’s growing market well suited for her skill and expertise.

After a successful 2-year run producing astounding numbers and building a vast database, Gayla decided she was ready to embark upon her most ambitious mission to date: acquiring her own RE/MAX franchise and building a successful office from the ground up. Despite some challenges, it is now a vision that has come true.

“I wanted to build an office that promoted a winning environment – full of synergy where agents would look forward to working alongside one another to achieve success,” Gayla says, “I wanted it so badly and I took a leap of faith; although I didn’t even have my Texas Broker’s License yet, I jumped on the opportunity to buy the franchise and sign the lease for the office. Knowing I just had to make it happen then—the timing seemed so right. I studied hard and 632 hours of classes later I had my Broker’s License, and we were in business.”

Brian Ladewig who worked with Gayla for the past two years states, “Gayla and I had worked together as a team so, I was excited when she made the transition from agent to Broker,” Ladewig remembers, “Gayla has great ethics and leadership; she’s upbeat, good-spirited, helpful, and she is an excellent trainer and mentor to her agents. A lot of great agents have walked through our door since we began and it’s in Gayla’s nature to go to great lengths to make sure they’re successful.”

Another important member of Gayla’s team is Sharon Carver, RE/MAX Realty Center’s office manager. Carver, a RE/MAX veteran and Cypress Creek Lake resident, has contributed her great experience and diligence to help Gayla’s agents.

“Sharon is a godsend,” Gayla says, “She walked in the office immediately after we had opened and I knew it was meant to be; she’s worked previously for RE/MAX offices, lived in our area, and thoroughly knows the business. She has put her license on inactive status to focus 100-percent on aiding our agents in every possible way.”

In less than 6 months of business, Gayla’s visionary office has grown to over 30 agents who are buzzing about the great, new environment they have been blessed to work in. Richard Filip, CEO of RE/MAX of Texas, feels that Gayla has taken advantage of the resources RE/MAX offers to quickly build an environment that attracts Realtors.

“Gayla’s transition from top producing Realtor to Broker and Owner has been very impressive, and she’s generated a lot of energy in her office that is highly attractive and contagious to Realtors,” Filip says, “Agents are looking for an edge, an advantage in competing for business, and an environment that provides the best technology, training, Internet presence, and platform for their success. Gayla has quickly taken advantage of the enormous resources RE/MAX® provides, combined that with her own aggressive scheduling of speakers, training events, and other activities at her office, and has created a vigorous atmosphere of growth and productivity."

The agents in the office are quick to recognize the immense support, synergy, and camaraderie that are present in their new home at RE/MAX Realty Center. “I am thrilled to be a part of RE/MAX Realty Center’s success,” agent Ann Marie Gargano-Parks says, “Gayla is focused on a vision that many agents have been searching for over the years. I believe she is pioneering a path that will lead not only her to prosperity, but also to those of us who believe in her.”

“This is the 3rd office in of my career and I love this office the most,” Melissa Seureau says, “The environment and staff at our office are awesome. Gayla's new office is a step above the competition; we have a state-of-the-art office with flat screen TVs, wireless Internet and an excellent phone system. Our technology impresses clients increasing our success. Gayla is always thinking about how she can promote the agents in her office; she is not a competing broker which means she has the ability to focus on our success. The best part of RE/MAX Realty Center is every agent has something different to offer the group, we all enjoy each other's company, we specialize in all things real estate, and we want to see each other succeed. Now that's a rare combination.”

“I have been selling real estate for over 25 years and I have never had a more supportive, enthusiastic, honest, and caring broker,” says agent Paulette Blackwood Tate, “Gayla always makes you feel that your problems are her problems and genuinely tries to find a quick, equitable solution. Although many competitive workplaces can become selfish, self-centered environments, Gayla has assembled a group of caring and sharing agents that all work harmoniously.”

RE/MAX Realty Center’s associates are proud of the accomplishments that Gayla has achieved in such a short while and look forward to growing with the franchise in the future. Lisa Barker, Marketing Director of StarTex Title, believes Gayla has all the traits necessary for a leader in her industry.

“Gayla has the unique capability of combining gracious charm with perfect professionalism,” Barker says, “She will impact every life she encounters, personally and professionally. I believe this special combination of gifts will lead to great success for Gayla and for her associates.”

“Gayla doesn’t brag about herself,” Katie Jennings of Home Warranty of America says, “she gets the impossible done and continues to lead her office with results and a great attitude.”

When Gayla is not assisting her agents and working hard to build on the strength of her office, she enjoys spending time with her husband in Galveston. Gayla also loves singing and dancing, although she humbly admits, “I’m not that good, I just love it.” Gayla feels that although real estate is a demanding business, it’s important to set aside time for family and relaxation.

“You have to remember to take some time for yourself,” Gayla says, “There’s a lot of pressure in this business to be available 24-7, but it’s important to take time for yourself, family, friends, church, and hobbies.”

Gayla’s number one passion, family, has been a real blessing for her these days; for the first time in her children’s adult lives, they are all able to call the same city home and spend time together on a regular basis. Gayla considers her greatest personal achievements to be her strong marriage and her two great kids. Gayla’s son, Daniel, works as an RN, clinical liaison for IT and her daughter, Stacie, as a Marketing Rep. Gayla, the ‘Grammie’ of 3-year-old Tyler, was recently blessed with a granddaughter, Kelsea.

Gayla’s family has been an amazing support to her vision. She credits her husband as being her “biggest fan and supporter.” Ricky, who works in construction, helped Gayla to manage the construction of her office’s interior. Gayla’s son, Daniel, has been her “IT Guy,” helping to install flat-screen Plasma TVs and high-tech networking systems and computers. Meanwhile, her daughter Stacie helps her to stay on top of paperwork.

The warmth, love, and pride Gayla has for her family is often likened to the manner in which she nurtures her agents in the office. The Realtors at RE/MAX Realty Center often describe their new home as feeling like a family. Gayla, a certified Brian Buffini Mentor, enjoys imparting her knowledge and experience to the agents who join her ranks. She encourages agents to become involved in industry functions so they can expand their social network.

“Believing agents should value being involved in the real estate community,” Gayla says, “I encourage agents to attend as many HAR and WCR functions as they can. Meeting people you may do future business with will give you a good rapport immediately.”

Gayla advises her agents to never stop educating themselves, to remain organized, and to protect their reputation at all costs.

Most important of all in this business, always protect your reputation by doing the right thing.”

Gayla also encourages her agents to give back to the community. Although all RE/MAX franchises are affiliated with The Children’s Miracle Network and Susan G. Komen, the level of involvement is left up to each office. Gayla has made sure her franchise is one of the select that are committed to 100-percent participation. Recently, Gayla organized a visit to Texas Children’s Hospital with over half of her agents in attendance.

“We took an art project with us—6” square pottery tiles and paints which we used to imprint their hands; this helped us to connect with each child. These tiles are glazed and framed in our office as a reminder of our day. This type of activity is something we plan to continue. Our office is also a contributor to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We have mobile mammography scheduled for our office and will be available to the agents as well as the general public. This is something we plan to do annually.”

Gayla seems most intent on preserving the synergy that agents are experiencing at her office.

“I want to maintain the climate where agents are always helping each other,” Gayla says, “I love seeing more seasoned agents helping newer agents. We have agents helping other agents by holding open houses for them; it’s a wonderful thing.”

Gayla’s vision is becoming reality day by day as she takes the time to mentor and nurture her colorful and diverse group of agents. Whether they’re dancing in the conference room after work or having pizza parties together for dinner, the Realtors at RE/MAX Realty Center are developing an amazing kinship together that is transferring over into their daily work. Watching the relationships of her agents develop while her office grows everyday couldn’t make Gayla and happier.

“I’m having a ball!” she says.

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