Monday, January 05, 2009

Veronica Mullenix of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors

Reaching the World from the Heart of Katy
By Kate Sullivan-Conlan

Veronica Mullenix, broker associate at Coldwell Banker United, Realtors®, lives and works in Katy, Texas, but she impacts the real estate industry far beyond her city and state. Her own business is intensively Internet-based, so she can serve clients anywhere in the world. She also champions the use of the Internet to other real estate professionals, teaching and supporting them in developing their enterprises for maximum effectiveness. Her commitment likewise extends to numerous leadership positions with the Texas Association of Realtors and the Houston Association of Realtors.

Veronica infuses these three facets of her professional career with her warm enthusiasm for life, an enthusiasm that radiates from the foundation of her strong family life and her core belief in deeply held principles. Her favorite passage from Proverbs 24:3-4 applies both to her personal life and to her approach to real estate: “By wisdom is a house built, by understanding is it made firm; And by knowledge are its rooms filled with every precious and pleasing possession.”

An Internet-intensive Real Estate Practice

Ten years ago, when Veronica discovered her natural talent for real estate, she told Charlotte Goeters, her first sponsoring broker at the former Henry S. Miller Realtors, that her business plan would not be limited to sending out post cards and holding open houses. Her intention was to launch an all-internet business and specialize in residential long-distance relocations as well as local moves. “All I talked about was the Internet,” exclaims Veronica, who adds that

Charlotte “squished up her nose skeptically and remarked, ‘That’s up-and-coming, but how about today? No one buys houses on-line.’” Veronica was adamant: “But that’s what I intend to do!” Wisely, Charlotte supported Veronica on the condition that she meet with Toni Nelson, who was responsible for computer education at the company. Veronica took Toni’s class, and “while listening to her talk about real estate on the Internet, it was as if a beam of light shone directly on me, like I was the only one in the class! I was where I needed to be. I was all-in, hook, line, and sinker.” Today, Charlotte says, “Veronica has set a rare example of success for the new agent in new times! Veronica is a solid leader who has an accurate eye for recognizing and implementing productive pathways.”

Can a real estate agent using the Internet give the personalized service that has been the backbone of the industry for so many years? “Absolutely,” declares Veronica. “We can have high-tech and soft-touch!” Veronica uses her own webpage and the tailor-made webpages she creates specifically for each of her clients to show “I’m here to help. I’m here to step you through the process. I’m your eyes and ears in Houston.”

Through her website,, Veronica offers a comprehensive, incredibly user-friendly gold mine of information for both buyers and sellers from all across the country and the world. Her links include such pertinent topics as Real Estate News, Dream Home Finder, Your Home’s Value, Buyer and Seller Tips, and MLS Home Search. With families in mind, she has added extra sites, such as Here’s Houston and Community Links. The Wilsons, who relocated to Houston from Maryland with Veronica’s help, wrote to her: “… we are extremely blessed that we were able to find you, with your bubbly and positive personality, professionalism and well versed knowledge of the Houston area all wrapped up in one. Your website is the most unique and user friendly site that I have ever encountered.” Steve Barnes, president/CEO of the Houston Region of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors®, agrees, “Veronica exemplifies the type of agent who understands the needs of consumers by investigating new technologies and marketing programs – servicing future buyers and sellers today.” Bob Hale, president/CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors, adds, “Veronica’s commitment to customer service is second to none, and she is constantly finding ways to incorporate new technology to the benefit of her clients.”

For her personal buyers and sellers, Veronica maximizes the capabilities of the Internet to provide one-on-one service and around-the-clock accessibility combined with engaging friendliness and warmth. “My Internet service is always permission based,” says Veronica. “When clients contact me, I always ask if they would like to proceed from the comfort of their own homes. Almost always they respond, ‘Yes, can you show me how?’ We may eventually meet in person, but not always.”

Veronica helps her buyers make sense of the plethora of information available on the Internet. “Many of my clients are computer savvy, and they know information is out there, but it can be overwhelming.” She sets up a password-protected webpage for each client who wants one. She takes the information a particular client needs, organizes it, updates it, and makes it state-specific. She guarantees them, “You’ll have only what you need. Everything on your webpage will be relevant to you and never outdated.” She teaches them step-by-step and at their own speed how to navigate and use the information. “I help them make sense of it all.” She also sends them videos and still photos, even using her cell phone to beam photos to them for on-the-spot updates. “I may sometimes find it necessary to write my clients whole dissertations of information!” Veronica says. “But then I write on the subject line of the email how long my message is and how many minutes it may take in order to view everything. It’s a little extra touch so that my busy clients can know how much time they will need to set aside.”

The Garcia family, after moving to Katy from Florida, said, “It is a challenging process to buy a home as a long distance transaction; however, Veronica made it an efficient and easy process….Veronica was there to answer all our questions from start to finish.” Eric Spillane, also from Florida, trusted Veronica to handle three transactions back-to-back for him: “Her ability to work with all parties involved – other Realtors, contractors, escrow agents, lending reps, and of course myself, was amazing… She won me over right away with her ability to work with a busy professional by sending out meeting agendas, accurately gathering all the facts in our conversations, and by making herself available when I had questions… her online presence and knowledge of the World Wide Web made everything much easier as well.”

The Youngs, with their three small boys in tow, traveled from San Diego, California, and had only five days to find the perfect home. They loved how she “e-mailed homes to preview so we could focus on only the best during our house-hunting trip.” After Veronica helped Morgan Stagg, a senior civil/structural engineer, purchase a home in Katy, Ms. Stagg went on to buy two additional investment properties through her. “I can attest that Veronica has been influential in not only finding us a home, but in being a friend, a guiding light into the community, an asset in shaping my family’s financial investments in real estate, and a good neighbor.” Clearly, Veronica has mastered using high-tech applications to create highly personalized service.

Veronica provides a similar personalized service and webpage for her sellers. Many of these sellers she has never met in person, for they may live as far away as The Netherlands and Ecuador. “Through our Internet connection, I make them feel that they are involved.” When anything comes up regarding their real estate transaction, she posts it on their webpage. “I make them feel that they are here.” From Washington, DC, Liban Jama writes, “My home was marketed by a local Houston real estate agent for a number of months with absolutely no success. I then switched to Veronica and just a short time later my home was sold! Veronica was always cheerful, friendly, and most importantly, professional with all dealings with me…. She went extra miles with everything she did!”

Bob Hale, in praising Veronica’s pioneering of technology in real estate sales, says, “Veronica has been a staunch proponent of the online video home tour as an effective marketing tool for some time. She recently introduced us to the Flip video camera that, for less than $150, enables REALTORS to quickly and easily produce videos of their property listings and really bring those properties to life online.”

Lu Haas, vice president and branch manager of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors® in Katy, sums up: “During my years in residential real estate I have learned to identify a true professional. Veronica Mullenix is one of the best.”

A Lifelong Commitment to Excellence in Teaching and Learning

In college, Veronica earned a B.S. degree in elementary education with certification as a reading specialist. She taught for ten years, once being voted Teacher of the Year at Roberts Elementary School in HISD. “I loved the kids. I loved teaching!” she says. When Veronica set her sights on a career in real estate, she may have left the elementary classroom, but she never stopped expanding her knowledge base, and she never left teaching. Guiding her is another of Veronica’s favorite passages, Proverbs 23:12: “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

As Bob Hale says, “Veronica is a natural teacher.” Informally, her door is always open, and she takes time out to counsel colleagues in Internet business development and email etiquette so that they can perfect their Internet proficiency and online entrepreneurial skills. Bob Hale adds that Veronica demonstrates to her fellow agents that “technology is available, affordable, and easy to manage – and that’s critical in these challenging economic times.” Formally, Veronica teaches pre-licensing course work at the Champions School of Real Estate, west campus.
Her advice to her colleagues and students: “Try it! Don’t be afraid of technology.” Her words of wisdom are based on the advice that Charlotte Goeters gave her when she was first starting out: “Don’t let what others say about you bother you. Do what you want to do.” Because she was the “Energizer bunny for the Internet,” she sometimes felt criticism from other agents who were wary that the global reach of Veronica’s Internet-based business encroached on their territory.

Her innovations were met with comments like, “You do too much for your clients,” and, “You have to show your homes in person, not on a computer.” Charlotte supported her in those early days, and now Veronica takes every opportunity to support and teach others. “When you’re breaking new ground, others may criticize you,” she counsels, “but just try it anyway. Get on Facebook and You Tube, use the web. The contacts you make today through social networking could later lead to referrals and new clients.”

Not only does Veronica teach others, but she also takes classes and expands her own certifications. She has earned seven major real estate designations, including GRI, ABR, and CRS, and she was one of the first in Houston to become certified as an e-PRO Internet Professional by NAR, and is now an NAR e-PRO Internet Trainer. She is a Texas Real Estate Commission Pre-licensing and MCE instructor and has her Quality Service Certification.
The QSC program is one that Veronica is particularly committed to, for it offers in-depth training for real estate professionals on a “disciplined approach to service delivery” so that, as Veronica says, “giving excellent service to our customers is not a random act, but a series of predictable, critical service steps that we follow with every client.” QSC also provides “accountability and transparency” because once clients of QSC-certified agents close their transactions, they rate their agents on a number of service criteria, and QSC posts those ratings on their website. Veronica consistently ranks at the Platinum level, the highest level of service satisfaction.

Veronica is most proud of her recent graduation, after an eight-month study, from HAR’s inaugural class of the Texas Association of Realtors Texas Realtors Leadership Program.
How does Veronica find time to keep up with her many commitments? She took the eight-week Star Makers S.M.A.R.T. Selling course in time management offered by popular real estate coach Floyd Wickman, and now lives by her Outlook calendar. “We learned to block out our time, starting with our personal time, then our money-making time. I color-code these blocks of time in my calendar and make appointments with myself! If I schedule forty-five minutes to work on my website, then at the end of that time, I stop and move on. I learned to be focused and disciplined when it comes to my business.” Veronica also has the support of her staff and colleagues, including Patti Lacy, with whom she shares office space; Barbara Ross and Elizabeth Pickens, her office administration assistants; and Rachel Noblitt, the office receptionist and appointment manager.

Her many years of training augment Veronica’s natural propensities for analyzing problems, developing and simplifying procedures, and quickly finding innovative solutions, skills that she contributes to every situation that she becomes involved in.

Leadership in the Real Estate Community

As an active, dynamic professional, Veronica loves the variety in her day, devoting her energy not only to her own real estate business and to teaching, but also to volunteer leadership roles at several levels. “My goal,” says Veronica, “is not to be number one in sales, but to be balanced in my life and do as many things as I can with my real estate license.”

Veronica’s leadership responsibilities enable her to direct the policies that affect 28,000 Realtors in the Houston area. She serves as a Director on the Texas Association of Realtors Board of Directors, and this month joined the TAR executive committee as a Region 14 Vice-President for 2009-2010. She also is a member of the TAR Professional Standards Committee for 2009 and has served on numerous other committees.

Veronica serves on the Houston Association of Realtors Board of Directors for 2008-2009. She was also the QSC Chairman in 2007 and has served on the Technology Advisory Group, the Communications Advisory Group, and the MLS Advisory Group, among others.

Strong Foundations

“Eight is great,” chants Veronica with a grin, the youngest of eight children. “We’re one, big, happy family. We always look forward to our times together, and we still get together for holidays. My close-knit family formed my personality. “ She and her high school sweetheart Michael both ended up at the same college, Southwest Texas State University (renamed Texas State University). She suspects her parents probably worked behind the scenes to get them there together since at first she would not tell Michael which college she had chosen. She wanted him to go to school where he wanted to go because “I wanted to make sure that our relationship would last. If it was going to work out for us, it would.” Twenty-three years and two children later, Michael is still the love of her life. “He is my soul-mate. He supports me. He lets me go to pursue my dreams. As long as he has healthy food and clean clothes – at least in the laundry basket – then he’s good to go!” Her secret to a successful marriage? “Talk to each other – all the time – about everything,” says Veronica.

Her secret for raising healthy, happy children? Veronica answers, “God.” When people comment that children don’t come with a parent manual, Veronica rejoins that the Bible is her parent manual. As she has told her son, “The Bible gives us basic instructions before leaving earth (acronym B.I.B.L.E.).” When her daughter was a preschooler and she was acting up, Veronica would tell her, “Be a good girl for mommy,” and quote Philippians 2:15, “The obedient sparkle like the stars in the sky!” She adds, “I didn’t make my children memorize Bible verses; instead, we lived by them. The Word lives in our hearts.”

When asked what is behind every successful real estate agent, Veronica quickly replies, “A good book!” She reads as much as she can, as often as she can. She even loves reading textbooks for fun, in particular McGraw Hill’s textbook, Principles and Practice of Marketing. While other women are sitting under their hair dryers at the salon and reading People magazine or Vogue, one can find Veronica with her heavy tome on her lap. “Okay, so I’m a nerd!” she laughs. When she is not reading or working, Veronica loves sleeping – and also biking on the nature trails in the early morning in Cinco Ranch, working out daily, practicing yoga with her daughter, and traveling with Michael and her family. “I love being outside. It’s one of the other great things about real estate – it’s both an inside and an outside job!”

With “ancient words” as the foundation of her personal life and her real estate practice, Veronica sums up her career: “My biggest strengths as a real estate professional are my faith in God, my honesty, sincerity, and overflowing enthusiasm. My clients can see and feel my positive energy when I respond quickly and enthusiastically to the challenges of their real estate transactions. But most of all, what I hope comes across is my true joy in serving others.”