In part 1 of a two-part feature, Erika Kurre shares how her career as an Emmy-winning TV news anchor in Nashville helped prepare her for success as a REALTOR®. Here, she offers insight for real estate professionals on everything from body language, the art of silence and counseling clients to repudiating misconceptions about the profession. Stay tuned for part 2, where Kurre discusses safety precautions every real estate professional should be aware of.
A multi-platinum-award-winning agent/affiliate broker with Benchmark Realty in Williamson County, Tennessee, REALTOR® Erika Kurre’s first career was as a 15-year broadcast journalist, culminating as a television news anchor for Fox 17 in Nashville.
Kurre, 40, also appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel and The Weather Channel, winning several awards for investigative reporting and anchoring. She won two Emmys, as well as the highest news journalist honor in her region, an Edward R. Murrow Award.
When she made the decision to change careers a few years ago, transitioning to REALTOR® was no problem.
“My work as an anchor prepared me for real estate, which is a people business,” she says. “Communication is perhaps the most important skill you can have as an agent. You need to know when to talk and when not to talk.
“I don’t think many agents realize the value of being able to perceive body language and communication in negotiations. And many people aren’t comfortable with silence, but knowing when not to talk makes silence okay,” explains Kurre.
“I’ve also had several clients compliment my punctuality and timing—because I have been groomed to meet deadlines! My skills in video, writing, photography and editing have been transferrable into real estate for marketing and listing purposes, and have really come in handy,” she says.
Kurre lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and two children. She volunteers at schools, and is involved with scholastic charitable endeavors. She is a firm believer in giving back to the community.
“I’m a member of Williamson County 100 Women Who Care and give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Nashville,” she notes. “In 2019, I helped local REALTORS® raise money for Tucker’s House, a nonprofit organization in Middle Tennessee that retrofits homes for children with disabilities. Because of this project, and funds raised, two families here are living easier in their homes while they help their children in need.”
Working for over a decade in the high-stress, ratings-driven TV news world before starting a new career in real estate helped Kurre in terms of maturity and being able to handle the personalities, sensitivities and vulnerabilities of people making life-changing financial decisions such as buying or selling a house.
“When I first started with property sales, I wondered why REALTORS® weren’t required to have counseling degrees,” she says. “I still wonder that at times. The buying and selling process can create a lot of anxiety for buyers and sellers—and it’s getting worse with the uncertain economic conditions, increasing mortgage rates and high home prices. Emotions can come into play, and the slightest comment, taken the wrong way from either party, can derail the entire deal.
“In 2021 and the first part of 2022, it was buyers needing the most time and communication. As we finish 2022, sellers are the ones requiring a higher care level as we coach them through the turning market. The majority of my time is spent reassuring clients that they’ll get what they want and helping them stay focused on the right things to get them there.”
Kurre is delighted with how her career as a REALTOR® has blossomed. She knows that what looked like a glamorous life and profession, being on television every day, was not quite what it seemed. Like most jobs, there is the perception and the reality.
“Changing careers was due to a multitude of things, primarily having to do with juggling family life,” she states. “Media is a family-unfriendly business. It’s high-stress and low pay, and the hours are terrible. I always said I’d do it until I wasn’t having fun anymore.
“I’m grateful because when that day came, and it was no longer enjoyable, a friend of mine in real estate threw me a lifeline. I’ve never regretted the move—not for one second. I’ve been a REALTOR® for about four years now and have won a Platinum Award every year, ranking in the Top 2% of agents in our county for volume, production and involvement.”
Of course, Kurre now experiences her new profession from the inside, and just as friends and others once envied her ‘glamorous’ TV job, so too does she now encounter similar mindsets of people who see her with clients.
“To outsiders, guiding buyers and sellers seems like it would not be very complicated, but of course it is, with many variables,” she counters. “The misconception of being a REALTOR® is that when we do our jobs really well, people mistake it for being easy and think it’s all happy times and smiles. But there is a lot of tap dancing behind the scenes with buyers, sellers, lenders, etc., a lot of steps taken to head off drama before it happens.
“And in the times where the unavoidable does happen, there is a lot of damage control required to decrease stress levels. For many of my clients, I handle problems without even putting the issues on their radar,” concludes Kurre.