Earlier this month we shared a guest post from agent, trainer and blogger extraordinaire Heather Elias of CENTURY 21 Redwood. Today in our “Meet the Agent” series we learn how Heather first got started in the business, her personal journey through designing and moving into two new construction homes and why blogging has taken her passion for real estate to the next level.
C21: How did you first get into real estate?
HE: When my twins were just about a year old, we relocated to Loudoun County when my husband took a job here as a PGA head golf professional. I would drive around with the little ones in the car to learn the area, and I fell in love with the neighborhoods and the architecture. I got my license after being a ‘market addict’ for the first few years.
C21: Do you remember your first sale?
HE: I actually listed our own home for sale the day my license number came in; it was under contract in less than a week. It was great to be able to cut my teeth on my own sale; it was a smooth transaction but of course, a learning experience.
C21: When you bought your first home, what made you fall in love it?
HE: We bought a new construction townhouse for our first home; watching it sprout up from dirt into the place that we called home was magical. We enjoyed the process enough that our second home purchase was new construction too, designed to look like a historic Queen Anne Victorian. I’m still madly in love with our home.
C21: When did you join the CENTURY 21 System and what brought you to us?
HE: I came to CENTURY 21 in 2008 after four years in the business. I had kept up with a friend who took Principles of Real Estate with me, and he was raving about the firm he’d joined in Ashburn and how I just had to meet the broker there. I joined within a week or two of my first visit. The energy in our office is amazing.
C21: In addition to your role as an agent, you recently became a CENTURY 21 trainer. What does your new role involve and what do you like most about it so far?
HE: As Redwood Realty’s training director, I’m teaching agents in our Ashburn, Arlington, and D.C. offices. Social media topics like blogging and Facebook are always popular, and it’s great to see agents putting tips and tools into practice for their business.
C21: Your area of focus is Loudon County, Virginia. What makes this real estate market special and unique?
HE: Loudoun truly has something for everyone. The eastern part of the county is more urban, with walkable communities, public transportation, and easy access to D.C. There are bedroom communities further out, and Leesburg sits as the heart, with a vibrant downtown and historic district. Western Loudoun retains its small town charm, although now we are graced with many wineries and vineyards in addition to family farms and equestrian estates.
C21: Your office services both Virginia and D.C. People often ask – I’m working in D.C. should I live there or in Virginia – how do you advise?
HE: I always advise clients that they need to find the neighborhood and location that matches up with their lifestyle and the way that they spend their free time. A lot has to do with where they will be working, and how much time they want to spend commuting. We see folks commuting into D.C. from as far away as West Virginia.
C21: Name the three qualities necessary to succeed in real estate.
HE: 1) Dedication
C21: Our company mantra is “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” How do you embody the mantra in your day-to-day work?
HE: Probably the most obvious way is my commitment to constant learning and growth; I read a lot of books, attend a lot of conferences, try to stay abreast of technology changes that affect my clients, and interact with some of the brightest minds in the business.
C21: You write a blog called LoCoMusings which has received quite a bit of attention! Your blog posts are now featured on the Washington Post! How did you get started?
HE: I started blogging to be a resource to my consumers; they weren’t getting their questions answered through traditional ‘static’ real estate websites nor through the mainstream media.
C21: What do you like about blogging?
HE: It allows me to combine my love of writing with my real estate career.
C21: What’s the one tip you would give a fellow real estate professional looking to start a blog?
HE: Decide who your audience is, and make sure that your genuine voice comes through in your writing.
C21: You recently attended Inman News’ Real Estate Connect and presented on a panel at the conference. Why do you personally attend these types of events?
HE: I want to stay on top of the issues facing our industry, and have an opportunity to listen to (and ask questions of) the best and brightest in our industry.
C21: If you could give one piece of advice to a young person starting out in the real estate business, what would it be?
HE: Find several people who are running their businesses in the way that you’d like to run yours, and pay attention. Pick their brain, take notes. Then decide how to do it your way.
C21: When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
HE: I have four fantastic children (with exceedingly busy lives) who get every free minute I have: 14 year old twins Wil and Erika, 9 year old Madeline, and 8 year old Natalie. Life is never boring here!