Agent Snapshot: Kelly Stephens, Vice President and Managing Broker, Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta and Atlanta North Fulton

by Timothy Inklebarger

What was your first job in the real estate industry? I started in 1990 with college housing/leasing at an apartment community in Athens, Ga.

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Athens, Ga.

Growing up, what did you want to be? I wanted to be Barbara Walters.  I loved how she got to interview the coolest people and talk to them about their wonderful lifestyles. 

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I love being with my family and traveling through the North Georgia mountains.  It gives me a relaxed escape from the hustle of Atlanta.

If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? Jackie Kennedy. I love being around strong women who also embody so much grace and poise. She dealt with the struggles of being married to a highly influential man. She raised and lost children. She left a legacy and I would love to ask her who she turned to for strength – as she always seemed so strong for everyone else.

Where is your favorite place to hang out? I don’t have one spot. I love the variety offered in Atlanta and always love trying the many new featured spots all throughout the metro.

What do you love most about the industry? That we are helping people with their HOMES. It’s so special because that is their comfort zone and where they make their lasting memories.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? As a managing broker, I try to set myself apart by being accessible and a trusted leader to my agents. It’s a tough industry and you need to know you have a true partner in your broker. That that person has your back and that you can count for encouragement and support.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? I would have to say, losing an agent.  They become family and you help and watch their careers grow. The bond is strong! But they move sometimes or “life happens.” This bond and ability to help nurture someone’s career is also my No. 1 reason I love my job!

Where do you go to network and meet new clients? New clients for me are Realtors. I like hiring experienced agents that are immersed in understanding the industry and what is going on the neighborhoods they sell in. Therefore, industry training events are usually my favorite.

What has been your greatest accomplishment? I would say graduating college. My parents neither went to college nor my grandparents. However, growing up in Athens, and being around the University of Georgia, it was never a thought about not going. I was being raised by a single mother and financially figuring it out taught me many lessons. I had a Pell Grant, a work/study grant, and a student loan. I worked on campus to help pay back that portion of the grant. One of the jobs was working in the administrative office of the campus clinic. As for the student loan, it took me 10 years after college to pay it off. But I did it. I look back now and think how fortunate I was and am so thankful that I had the support of my mother and that spark inside me to make that happen. My degree ended up being housing. With that I had an internship with the Athens City Planning and Urban Development Division. This degree was more government focused and I even thought about lobbying for housing issues. Soon after college, though, I found myself getting my real estate license and pursuing sales. I’m so glad I did as that is what got me to where I am today. But that focus on contracts and the legalities of the industry has been a huge help in finding success throughout my career.

What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I would have to say, Hacksaw Ridge.  I love movies about history and that have a documentary type feel. That movie was so powerful and the story line behind it left such an impression. It left me thinking, how did we fight battles like that?! And how fortunate we are that heroes like that helped fight for our freedom.

What is your favorite restaurant? Hal’s in Buckhead. Best steak in all of Atlanta.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Atlanta? I love the Bank of America Building! It’s such an iconic part of the Atlanta Skyline!

What kind of car do you drive? Audi Q7

What is your favorite city after Atlanta? New York!

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Don’t get into real estate if you think it’s easy!

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? As much as I hate to admit it, Zillow.