To outsiders, a real estate agent’s job seems pretty sweet. They’re almost always smiling, dressed well, driving nice cars and simply showing houses to people who want to buy one. What’s so hard about that?
Stacy Cole admits she had that misguided mindset when she decided to become a REALTOR®. She was working as the director at a church daycare facility near her Saraland, Alabama, home a few years ago and figured she’d tinker with real estate on the side. “I was thinking I was just going to close a few transactions every few months and be a part-time agent. Well, there’s no such thing as a part-time real estate agent.”
At least not if you want to be truly successful. Cole, with Realty Executives Bay Group, followed her own advice and has flourished. She won Agent of the Year at her company in 2022 in her first year on the job, and is scheduled to win it again this year. To top it off, she was recognized as RISMedia’s 2023 Real Estate Rookie of the Year, in addition to being the Regional winner for the south. Sponsored by industry education leader, Colibri Real Estate, the award was designed to honor new-agent success and professionalism. She accepted the honor, presented to her by Colibri Real Estate Director of Partnerships Rachel McGuire, at RISMedia’s 27th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner, held recently in Anaheim, California. She achieved an impressive $10.7 million in sales volume and 54 transactions in 2022.
Quite lofty numbers considering real estate was not on Cole’s radar for most of her 38 years.
After earning a degree in psychology from the University of Mobile (Alabama) in 2006, she taught middle school math for a few years. When her now 15-year-old son was born, she took a few years off, and also had a daughter, now 12, with husband Josh. When she decided to go back to work, it was part-time at her church’s daycare. A three-month interim stint as the full-time director stretched to four years, when she went to a real estate school now under the Colibri umbrella.
Always a people person, Cole used her connections to launch her new career.
“I knew a lot of people, so the first thing I did after I passed the exam was send them individual messages,” she relates. “I told them that I had recently gotten into real estate and that if they ever had a need for an agent to let me know. My business really took off from there.”
A fortuitous break has provided Cole with even more referrals.
“My kids have been part of the city school system ever since they were in kindergarten,” she says. “Our son plays varsity football and our daughter is on the middle school basketball and soccer teams, so we’re really involved in that community. All of my friends’ kids and the parents of our kids’ teammates know that I sell real estate, so of course I get some clientele from that. But it doesn’t all come from that. There’s a lot from word of mouth as well.”
Cole’s first closing typified her knack for one transaction leading to another.
“After I got my license, my very first sale was an eight-acre piece of land I messaged a friend about,” she says. “She had told me they’d been looking for land, and if I came across something to let her know. So when this plot came up for sale, I sent it to her. They loved it. We wrote up an offer, it was accepted, and then I was able to list their house, too.”
James Henderson, a brokerage leader at Cole’s Realty Executives office, has played a key role in her achieving so much so soon. They have a connection established long ago.
“He is really, really good,” she says. “Anytime I text him, he responds, including weekends, nights or early mornings. He’s always there to answer any questions I might have. He helped me a lot with paperwork in the beginning, making sure I was doing everything right. He’s been there to help me every step of the way.
“I actually used to work for him at an insurance office when I was in high school, so it’s come full circle with him.”
Cole acknowledges one thing above all else for the many closings she’s had in two years.
“The North Mobile County area is doing very well because we have a really good school system,” she says. “And that is bringing people to our area. Our market is still holding strong now. It has slowed down just a little bit, which is expected with the rise in interest rates and stuff, but houses are still moving.”
As for her opinion on the recent Burnett trial and how it may impact her as a buyer’s agent in the future, she’s not very concerned.
“To be honest, I’m in my own little bubble in South Alabama, and that’s where I stay,” she admits. “God has blessed me, and I’m not worried over anything. I love meeting new people and establishing relationships with my clients. It’s not just about a paycheck for me. It’s about developing long-lasting relationships with each transaction.”
Cole says she’s often asked about what it’s like to work as an agent by people considering a real estate career. She doesn’t sugarcoat her answer.
“Real estate is hard work,” she says. “Early mornings, late nights and working on the weekends. But the hard work pays off. You must keep yourself in front of your customers and clients, and follow up, follow up, follow up. Also, developing a relationship with clients is important, as my business has grown with word-of-mouth referrals. I strive to work hard and make a lasting impression.
“I tell people who think they may try this to be prepared to work because it’s not a part-time job. You have to build your clientele. Nothing is just handed to you. I tell them that it’s hard, but they can do it.”
On stage at RISMedia’s Power Broker event accepting her Rookie of the Year honor, Cole expressed gratitude for what’s happened to her professionally.
“As a small-town girl from Alabama, I never expected to be in California accepting this award,” she said. “I’m incredibly grateful for where my real estate career has taken me in just a few short years.”
Asked what she might win next after two local Agent of the Year awards and one national Rookie honor, she thought for a few seconds before answering with a big smile. “I don’t know. What options are out there?”
For more information, please visit https://www.rismedia.com/rookie-of-the-year-2023.