Above, the Teresa Hamilton Team. Hamilton, second from left. Kimberly Lafleur, left.
Named Rookie of the Year in her first year in real estate in Lafayette, Louisiana some 40 years ago, Teresa Hamilton built her career on a platform of dedication, enthusiasm and expertise.
So, it is no surprise that when she established her team (Teresahamilton.com), in 2000 with the company known today as Latter & Blum, she launched it with Sharon Henderson, an experienced agent committed to the same core values, at her side. That Henderson is still an active team member 23 years later, and that those who have since joined it exhibit the same kind of enthusiasm and loyalty, says much about the merits of shared ideals.
“We are first and foremost about six core values,” said broker associate and team spokesperson Kimberly Lafleur. “We function with a servant’s heart, dedication, mastery, collaboration, grit and reflection.”
Serving the nine-parish Acadiana marketplace, a wide area defined by the Louisiana legislature as stretching from just west of New Orleans to the Texas border along the Gulf of Mexico coast and 100 miles inland, the team of five plus supported by one assistant sold 205 units last year, producing more than $56 million in sales volume in a market where the average sales price is just over $249,000.
Barbara Pronin: Kimberly, your team racks up consistently high production numbers. What do you think is your differentiator in the huge Acadiana market?
Kimberly Lafleur: Teresa is a great inspiration, and between the five of us, we have a combined history of more than 100 years of real estate sales experience. Interestingly, all four of Teresa’s additions to the team have backgrounds in the helping professions; nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy and accounting, so listening–really listening–is in our DNA. Also, our experience has been mostly in the markets we serve, and where we have lived for most of our lives–so I would say that what separates us from the competition is our longstanding reputation for excellence and customer commitment, plus our expertise in every aspect of each transaction, from negotiation to customized marketing to step-by-step involvement in every deal to ensure a smooth and timely transaction.
BP: You have an assistant, but not a transaction coordinator?
KL: That’s right. As their agents, we like to stay with each of our buyers and sellers throughout every phase of their transaction.
BP: How is the team organized?
KL: We are proud to have our own Latter & Blum office in Lafayette, with all the support and national exposure that comes with being part of a respected brand. As a team, we are not divided into buyer’s or seller’s agents. We each manage our own book of business with the understanding that we can rely on one another for assistance as needed–and we do. In that way, every customer gets the full commitment of five specialists instead of one.
BP: How do you communicate as a team so that you are all on the same page?
KL: We have formal meetings every other week to make team decisions, confer on issues, and bring everyone up to date. But we always have each other’s backs, so to speak. In between meetings, we do a lot of text messaging and phone calls to be certain every deal is on track–and outside of the office, we enjoy each other as friends, which is one of the reasons we work so well together.
BP: You mentioned your commitment to customized service. What are some of the extras you offer?
KL: A moving truck, for example, for use by our clients. It adds value for them, and it has our logo and our team picture on it, so it’s easily recognized, which has marketing value for us. At the same time, we have a long history of giving back to the communities we serve.
BP: In what ways?
KL: We host several galas and fun events each year to raise funds for local organizations dear to our hearts. Among them are Maddie’s Footprints, a non-profit that helps families who have experienced miscarriages, stillbirths, or the loss of an infant–and Acadiana Animal Aid, a no-kill animal welfare organization for dogs and cats in our area.
BP: Is the team open to expansion?
KL: Yes, we are open to agents who share our commitment and core values.
BP: What advice do you have for teams just starting out?
KL: First, be sure the team is made up of people with the same core values and the same dedication to working hard for their customers. And second, understand that this business is not about the commission. It’s always all about people. If you focus on relationships–and on helping people realize their goals–the rest will all fall into place.
For more information, visit https://www.teresahamilton.com/.
104 Stonebridge Drive