I don’t think any truer words have been spoken than when it was said to me the other day:
Your dreams are really grandiose and they change all the time.
Nail. Hammer. Head.
When I started doing work in real estate, way back at 18, 19 years old - I always knew it would be the thing I would do with my life in some capacity in the long term. I look back on having been licensed and educated in real estate, property management and appraisal all in one sitting and I think - what kind of CRAZY PERSON does that?!
Talk about having no direction.
I just really wanted to be equipped to choose whatever path seemed to fit the best and at that age the only path I knew that didn’t fit, was the one where you go to college and follow a well thought out plan through life. I never wanted to follow the lines on the graph and for some reason I never felt the need to obtain the safety and security of the things that came along with all that structure. I always wanted to set my own trends, too... but, appraisal is a tricky field and the education and experience required to obtain a license takes a long time. So, for a long time it was the constant education of appraisal and the pieces of those puzzles that kept me excited and intrigued by our industry. I never thought I would want to sell real estate but at the end of the day the work I was doing was never going to build up the dreams I have bouncing around in my brain - dreams full of grandeur and excitement. I obtained my real estate license in 2013 because I wanted to help close family and friends and also make a little money to supplement my income. I didn’t want to sell so I hung my license with a broker that really only wanted success for me and never really asked anything of me. At the time the thought never occurred that I may be able to make a real career out of selling homes. Fast forward to the year 2017.
After working for who I consider to be one the best appraisers in the state, Rick Bertram, I learned more and became more confident in my abilities than I ever had but I was BURNT OUT. I was finally licensed and able to practice on my own and Rick had empowered me to be confident enough to run my own little appraisal firm. I had fun, I didn’t go out of business and I stumbled into the networking organization, BNI along the way. I had no idea what a perfect storm was brewing way back then. I remember looking at Rick and saying, “I just don’t think I want to do this anymore, it doesn’t bring me JOY.” He said, “Jamie - If I were you - I would sell real estate. You’ve got nothing to lose.” Rewind to 2013 - my husband, parents, friends and loved ones alike have always pushed me to do sales - ALWAYS referring to my outgoing personality as my bartering chip for a successful climb to the top of the sales force. But I always resisted, fervently telling my husband I spent too much time in the industry to cave in to the peer pressure. As those words from Rick replayed in my mind, and I laid eyes on the format for BNI and I realized the power of innovative marketing and branding - I was on the edge of finding my true passions and bringing those giant dreams back to mind. Enter Kristen Kennon and iRealty Arkansas.
Kristen is an empowering and kind leader. She and Janet are so, SO special to me just as the whole tribe is. They believe so fiercely and love so deeply, the agents they onboard, that they empower them to believe in themselves in return. I remember when I met Kristen, one year ago last Thursday, and thought - this girl is going to do BIG things! I never imagined that for me, that was possible too. I spent the next year pouring my heart and soul into that company and those people and trying my hardest to pay them back for the love and support they gave me, my first year in the game - slinging real estate and having a blast. My time at iRealty will FOREVER remain among my favorite memories and those people are woven into the fabric of my life for sure. My decision to leave iRealty came solely from a desire embedded so deeply within me, that when an opportunity was presented to me that made sense, I saw my big vision replay in a split second - I knew I had to step out on the ledge while I was feeling inspired because it's terrifying! .... And equally thrilling.
You see, I come from the other side of this country, and I come from very little, if anything. I have only lived in Arkansas for 11 years this August, and coincidentally, my son will be 11 in August. I was fairly young, 21, when he was born. I raised him mostly on my own with little, if any financial or emotional support. I met Joey Taylor when Hunter was 5 years old. When we fell in love and they met, my world ignited in fireworks. I have never been so fiercely protected, so loved in my crazy, rare form and oh so unapologetically. I have learned a million things from Joey but I am mostly grateful to him.... that he has always made sure I was a priority to me... he taught me that my dreams do matter, and that I don’t have to apologize for their size or audacity. From him and also from the school of hard knocks, I learned that money was a tool and one that I would likely never have a grasp on if I didn't open my mind and embrace the possibility of wealth and growth, abundance. I never thought it possible for someone like me, who never knew what it meant to have “extra” money, to get anywhere in that department. After all, I was the first member of my family to obtain any degree above a high school diploma and only recently did I complete a college degree that I felt was needed, to be legitimized among my peers. I never dreamed that people would want to hear what I had to say, let alone listen. But then that brings me back to BNI —
No one tells you in school that networking is literally the entire basis of a business when you are in really any field that relies on the public opinion. Rarely does anyone you network with take time to invest in your life, either, with their main concern being financial gain - sound about right? BNI flips the script a little and I hate to sound like I am selling something here but maybe I am! The givers gain concept is something we should all live by. Do a little something for your neighbor and maybe they turn around and help someone else who needs it. It’s pretty much kindness training with a business application. My point is, it can massively impact and grow your business when you operate it correctly. When I went after my chapter - I went after it with my HEART. I poured my time, energy, love and attention into ever detail. I threw parties and I did business with a TON of people. I got to know THEM and their WHY. I found out what drove them and it drove me to find out more--- about more people and more things and the list just kept getting longer. As I grew my chapter, I grew the iRealty brand. In every gym tank top, T-shirt at the grocery store, sunglasses, banners, festivals and stickers - I lived and breathed and waved the iRealty flag and I loved every minute of it. In the back of my mind, the dream kept growing and the reality set in for me, that I would never have the chance to make my own mark on our industry.
At the end of the day.... we all have our own vision. We all have our own spin on how we want the dream to play out ...regardless if we try to wrestle that dream to the ground or just wait for divine intervention, it is OUR dream nonetheless.
When I met Zach Dennis through BNI, I thought I had hit the jackpot of landscapers. When I dug a little deeper as I began to use his services for our clients, I found that he was actually AMAZING at irrigation, landscape and landscape design, maintenance, he can get the roof cleaned the backyard fixed up, I mean there is nothing they don’t do and WELL - in a timely manner. That was enough for me. After I got the pleasure of helping he and his beautiful family buy a home, we started to hang out from time to time. I helped his brother too, and over time we got to be friends with both families. Zach and his wife, Anna, had a way of inspiring my little family to hold on to each other a little tighter. It seems like time just moves slower at the Dennis house, like simple things in life we all take for granted sort of just resonate out of their homes. That stuck with me, every time we hung out. It inspired me to look at how long and often I work, how much I sacrifice for the benefit of my clients. Something told me that they and we were going to do something together, I just had no idea that it was going to be this - or this soon!
After an eventful dinner out, we came to an agreement about a vision we shared. I wanted a company of my own to concentrate on the skills I spent over a decade developing. I wanted a highly technological firm that focuses it’s energy on taking properties from one condition to another by restoring their charm or redesigning them for a new family in a different time. I also want my current clients and my retail clients to know MORE about real estate. I want them to never consider listing their property without having accurate measurements done and making sure it makes sense to them why their house is listed for X price and why it won’t be listed for price that doesn’t yield a result for them. In combination, my husband also wanted my dreams to be realized. He talked about me opening a brokerage the weekend I got my license in 2013, and I laughed it off. I told him no time and again and he patiently waited for the moment I gave him the other night when I turned to him and said, “Okay. I REALLY want my dreams to come true but I am scared to death and the only way I jump is head first with you.” He hasn’t looked back since. He is calculated and smart and supportive, he fits his role within the new company perfectly and I cannot wait to watch this all unfold. Zach’s wife, Anna is like our crown jewel, though she would prefer I never mention her or shed light on her classy, tactful self. She will soon learn I do not do well at being quiet. She is magical, full of ideas and it’s really fun to watch her eyes light up when she talks about a floor plan, a wall move, a specific feature... She is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met, she is graceful even in jest! In short, It is an honor and a privilege for our family to have the opportunity to partner with the Dennis family. And, we originally planned on just opening this flipping brokerage (no pun intended), but my dreams sure are grandiose... and they do seem to be ever-changing.
Sergio Convers and I met when I first got my license and hung it up with David Bolick and Network Real Estate in 2013. We got along, he knew my husband well from their years playing soccer in the ARSCA, I always liked him, he made me laugh, and he was always about the details. Me, not so much. When I left to iRealty, he was not far behind me. I think mostly because we really have always loved to work together and it just seemed to make sense, since we do see each other twice a week at soccer anyways. I had actually already transferred my license from iRealty, back over to Network real estate to explore the flip company with the Dennis’ when Sergio told me he was ready to make a move on his own. He said he wanted to use his broker's license and his experience and I explained that someday I would have time to earn a brokers license, but until then I was going to sit tight and wait my turn. I about fell out of my chair when he offered to broker for us. It made perfect sense. Someone I can count on with enough experience and strong desire to be a broker, all these years of friendship... it suddenly became clear that he was the missing piece. Why wait? Let's go ahead and JUMP OFF THAT LEDGE!
So, I present to you, today, OFFICIALLY:
The bluebird is a symbol of joy and happiness. A symbol of good tidings. My dream, my whole vision, is a complete experience in real estate that moves you to see it as more than just a home. Real estate is an investment, it’s a memory with your loved ones, it’s a path to a better life, it’s a way to feel safe from economic insecurity and I know so much about it. I believe in the ethical, educated ways of a licensed Realtor. I trust the educated appraiser and the qualified mortgage lender - I am their advocate but above all the advocate of my client. I am loyal and honest to a fault and I do believe the best in everyone I meet, so this transition has been bittersweet... to leave such a happy time in my life to explore the option of infinitely more happiness - I feel selfishly triumphant.
For the reader, this has been my explanation. A pick up your jaw, I really did do it! I am out here on my own with a real estate company explanation. It may not be needed for everyone... but it’s needed for me. As a member of the public and a trusted advisor to my clients, I am charged with the requirement to be honest in all of my actions - this one is no exception.
My dream and my vision, is nested in BlueBird Realty. I am blessed with an opportunity to use my unique experience and advanced training to assist my clients and help them to be successful in each of their real estate endeavors. We as a company, seek to take you under our wing, and help you to spread yours in real estate too, revealing what it holds for you and your destiny too.
Thank you for all the love and support, kindness and consideration that has been handed to us in our new endeavor. We wish all of our colleagues, clients and friends in the industry, all our best.
See you out there!