Tabitha Richardson agreed to speak to my Charm School about the importance behind making smart decisions and how those decisions can lead to a smarter lifestyle. Although the eyes and ears listening were between the ages of 10 and 17, Tabitha made it a point to attracted them with appetizing references about wants and needs as well as renting and owning.
What the children didn’t know was Mrs. Richardson was reaching an audience of renters and dreamers. Parents in attendance realized they could own their dream home if only they followed the right steps towards their goals.
I wanted to know how she got started in the business of real estate because you have to be a special “kind of something” to be a woman (let alone an African American woman) in a male dominated business like real estate.
- How is she received by her customers?
- Are men harder on her than women (or vice verse)?
- Does she specialize to just one genre or can anyone purchase a home/business?
I was so excited when Tabitha decided to set aside some time from her busy schedule to grant me with this interview. Enjoy!
Are you from Baltimore?
No, I’m originally from the Bronx, NY. I transferred here with my job Verizon in 2002.
What is your occupation?
I own a real estate brokerage, Premier Homes Realty, in Owings Mills, MD. I started out as a part-time Realtor in 2005 and then eventually went full-time.
Did you go to college (where/major)?
I did two year of college in New York at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and then I finished my Bachelors of Science in Management with the University of Phoenix.
How long have you been in this profession?
I’ve been in sales since I started working out of high school. However, I’ve been a licensed Realtor since 2005 and a Broker/Owner since 2012.
What is it about this industry that struck your interest?
I initially got into this field by accident. After I bought my first home in Maryland, I had a few friends and colleagues ask how they can buy a home too. After I referred a few friends to my Realtor, I realized instead of referring people I could become a Realtor myself. After working with a few clients, I realized I enjoyed helping families become home buyers. It is a rewarding experience to be able to give someone the keys to their first home!
Are there challenges in this industry being a woman? Or an African-American women in this industry?
I believe every industry has its own challenges, however being a woman in real estate has many advantages. As a Realtor, you are an independent contract which allows you flexibility. In any sales job, your success is determined by ability to market yourself to your sphere of influence. As an African-American woman, I feel this is a great industry to be in.
What is the biggest misconception about the real estate company today?
Some of the misconceptions of being a Realtor is the amount of time, work and energy needed to be successful. Some people believe they can get their license and the business will come. However to be successful you should have great people skills, have sales experience, know how to promote and market yourself effectively, have excellent follow up skills and be able to manage/maintain paperwork.
How easy/difficult is it for families to buy a home or commercial property today?
After the real estate market declined, it was very difficult to purchase a home. You had to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get financing. A lot of safeguards have been put in place so we do not have another real estate crash. Today, the market is doing well. More and more people are purchasing homes again and become first-time home buyers. There are several first-time home buyer grants available to assist families with down payment funds to buy a house.
What are your techniques in helping families obtain a home/commercial property?
The first step in purchasing a home is to get pre-qualified for a loan. A prospective home buyer would need to contact a lender to start this process. The lender would pull the homebuyers credit to see if they can be pre-qualified now or if additional steps are needed before pre-qualification. Based on what the lender says, will determine how to move forward. I encourage anyone thinking of buying to contact a lender to see what is need to purchase a house. Things to consider are credit score, financial investment and timing.
What is the biggest upset that you encounter while performing your job? (ex: when clients don’t follow through, lack of knowledge, etc.)
As a Realtor, we are 100% commission based. We do not make any money until the client closes on their home. If the client does not purchase, we do not make a commission. With that said, as a Realtor we spend a lot of our time and money to assist our clients with finding a house. The biggest disappointment is when our clients do not respect the time and effort we give to them.
There have been many times when I was at a house waiting for a client to show up and then they call at the appointment time to say they cannot make it. It is a disappointment, however we have to maintain our professionalism and continue to provide the best customer service we can. At the end of the day, the goal is to make our clients happy!
Do you have another business/hobby that takes your mind off of your demanding job? If so, what is it?
I have another company I started called Kurly Gurly. It is a line of satin lined baseball caps designed to help reduce damage to your natural hair when wearing hats. I create this line while going through my own natural hair journey. I felt if this was going to help me, then maybe there are other woman who would be interested in a hat with a satin-lining too.
Why did you decide to take up this particular “hustle”?
I am a serial entrepreneur so if I see an opportunity, I am going to explore it. I love the process of starting a business and developing it. With Kurly Gurly, it was just something that I thought would fill a need in the natural hair industry.
Do you recommend most women take up an additional hobby/trade/career for fulfillment?
Managing one career as an entrepreneur is hard enough! I think before anyone starts another job, career or hobby, they should first make sure they are successful in their main field. However, if taking up a second hustle helps to make you happy and feel more fulfilled, then I say go for it!
How does your professional career/interest help the community?
I really do enjoy what I do! I help people who never thought they could buy a house realize that that dream is available to them too. I help to educate my community on the real estate industry so they are equipped with the knowledge to make educated decisions. I get so excited when I get messages from people asking me to help them buy their first house. I try to provide useful real estate information on my Facebook page on a weekly basis.
With owning my real estate brokerage, it give me the opportunity to help people who want to become Realtors by training them and assisting them to become independent Realtors.
Where do you see your career going in the next five years?
My goal is to continue to build my real estate brokerage to help those who are seeking a career in real estate and to help more people buy and sell houses. I am also seeking to get certified to offer new license training for prospective Realtors.
What advice do you have for a college student looking to work in your field?
This is a great field for a college student. It will offer them additional income and allow them the flexibility to create their schedules around school. They also have a huge lead source of people/friends that are looking to rent houses and buy property. There are many college students that are real estate investors looking to buy houses to rent out to other college students.
How do you maintain a positive attitude while working in your field?
There are a lot of things that can frustrate you in any job, however I always try to look at the bigger picture of what I’m trying to accomplish. I also like to keep positive people around me that help to build and motivate me.
Describe an amazing success story (for either profession if not both).
I find joy every time one of my clients get’s the keys to a new home. But I love the feeling I get when a new Agent I’ve trained has their first closing. I love the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!”
What is something about you that no one knows but you’d be willing to share?
I am an early bird!. I wake up early in the morning (weekends included) and I love to read motivational books that inspire me to be a better wife, mother, friend and business woman. I also go to bed super early. By 10pm I am knocked out because I need 7-8 hours of sleep to be able to function the next day.
Best advice someone ever gave you was…
Just do it! Many times we get caught up in the details of things and it hinders us from moving forward. I can be a bit of a perfectionist so sometimes I’ll get caught up in making sure all details are perfect instead of just moving forward. This trait can be a curse and a blessing. One thing I’ve learned is that everything does not have to be perfect to be good.
(Finish the sentence) “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for….” the grace in God. Trusting and believing in God for he has been an integral part of the success I’ve achieved!
(Finish the sentence) “In order to finish this ‘race’, I need to have…” an increased faith in God along with the close support of my friends and family.
Best quote that gets you through…
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
For with God nothing should be impossible.
How can you be reached? (social media, website, email, etc.)
Phone: (443) 415-4215
Premier Homes Realty
Office: (410) 363-1535
Fax: (410) 363-1536
11240 Reisterstown Rd
Owings Mills, MD 21117
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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