What was your first job in the realty industry? Leasing apartment homes in the early ’90s in Metro Atlanta. Working my way up to vice president of a large multifamily/development company before becoming full time in residential sales in 2004.
Where did you grow up? I’m an Atlanta girl born in South Dekalb. I moved to Gwinnett County in 1982, then made my own family roots in Newton County and Rockdale County.
Growing up, what did you want to be? I’ve always dreamt of being the boss from a young age. Networking and talking were my best assets. So working in sales and real estate was a perfect match.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I go to the water. It’s my happy place. Beach, lake, or river. It is a place where I can de-stress and and get re-energized!
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? My mom! To me and everyone that knew her she was a star! She was very well known for her quick wisdom and great business advice. She passed away in 2003 from breast cancer. We spoke every day – I miss that so much.
What I’d give to have the opportunity to talk with her now. I would love to have her as an agent on my team. She’s my role model for being the best I can be every day.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? Any place with a group of friends. I love people! I love to laugh and just have fun. So many people are so serious and forget we only get to do this once. I want to do it right and enjoy every day.
What do you love most about the industry? The best part of working in real estate is meeting new people and solving buyers’ or sellers’ goals together. Their biggest investment is normally their home. I prefer working with sellers – designing a plan that fits each seller’s goal is fun and rewarding.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I am a great negotiator and deal maker. With every client, I take on the role of making them my personal priority and protecting their interest in the transaction. Real estate is a people-to-people business. I take a personal approach and detail out the process and timeline. I can proudly say 90 percent of my business is from referrals – that tells me I’m doing it right.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? As we all know, real estate is always changing. There have been many changes in the past 10 years. Now we are seeing buyers and agents dip back in, not willing to educate themselves or the client on the “now” of real estate. Buyers should be better prepared and have loans ready before looking for a home. It’s our job to constantly train and prepare buyers. This is a BIG fail currently. Lenders issue too many “pre-qual” letters just to hold on to the buyer, and they never check credit or income. Sellers think once they get a contract it will close on time – that’s not always the case today. Try explaining that to a seller packed and ready to move!
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Every day I dress for success! As a top agent in the market, you get recognized and clients look to work with professionals. When I’m out, I wear a name tag and it automatically sparks new business and referrals. Also, be active in your community. Get involved – you can’t be a secret agent. I believe in standing out. “PMA” is my motto! (“Positive Mental Attitude”)
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Getting two kids through college with degrees and they have no debt, for their educations. Also my marriage of 29 years. These are the greatest awards to me!
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I love romantic comedies and anything with Madea! The last book I read, “Listing Magic” is an old book from the 1970s. I believe in going back to the basics.
What is your favorite restaurant? Houston’s is my favorite place! Also Lenox, West Paces, or Peachtree – I love them ALL!
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Atlanta? I love the state capital. From I-20 it just makes me so proud to be from Georgia and Metro Atlanta. It’s radiant.
What kind of car do you drive? Mercedes-Benz products only. I feel safe and love the technology. In car wifi, MB apps, and navigation help so much in real estate. With so many new roads I couldn’t live without my real-time navigation.
Smartphone or paper? My Note 7 is perfect. I can handle all of my business on the go! I’m a tech geek and love to experiment with new apps for production and sales tracking.
What is your favorite city after Atlanta? Covington – it’s growing but still feels like a small town. We spend a lot of time on the town square enjoying new shops and restaurants. The houses around the square are antebellum and full of history. Just about every month a new TV show or movie is being filmed here. I invite you all down to visit.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? List, List, List – it’s the lifeline to success!
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? My own “leannelong” app of course! Next would be Realtor.com.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? Fox News, to keep up to date with what’s happening now; WSB in Atlanta, Atlanta Now;
Inman News, for real estate stories; Georgia Football – Go Dawgs!; RichonTech, to keep up on all the tech trends.
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