Huntsville, Alabama may be the one city in the country where the expression “it’s not rocket science” doesn’t apply. In Huntsville, it kind of is all about rocket science. It’s home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Army Aviation’s Space and Missile Command.
Weichert Affiliate Brenda Elliott, owner of Weichert, Realtors® – The Space Place, is well acquainted with the ever-present missile, spacecraft and rocket themes that run deep throughout the city. Indeed, the word “Space” in her brokerage name isn’t just referring to square footage. Though now an Alabama native, she lived in Georgia most of her life and still calls it home, graduating from the University of Georgia with a BFA in interior design. Her husband Paul graduated Georgia Tech with a degree in Industrial Management and their three daughters went to Auburn University. Now a Huntsville resident for over 20 years, Brenda is intimately familiar with her local real estate market and her passion for real estate is clear.
Life as an Independent Broker
Brenda’s career in real estate actually started in Northern Virginia, in the early 90’s while Paul was stationed at the Pentagon. Brenda decided she wanted to know the real estate side of interior design and went to work for none other than Weichert, Realtors® in Burke, Virginia. The experience of working inside a Weichert Brokerage stayed with Brenda, even though she eventually started as an independent broker when her family moved back to Alabama.
“My family and I were blessed with moving to Huntsville, Alabama in 1999, where I helped start the Executive Group Realtors, an independent real estate company, with three other partners,” notes Brenda. “As we got going, I actually modeled some of our processes after what I had seen at Weichert.”
Brenda became the broker of record for the agency in 2002 and by 2005 helped build the agency to 56 agents working out of one office. Despite her success, with her increasing business responsibilities came the occasional desire for a partner who could provide guidance and help with the recruiting, branding, and lead generation challenges common to independent brokers.
Still when Weichert approached Brenda’s team in 2005, she told them she was too busy to consider an affiliation. “But their follow up impressed me,” remembers Brenda. “After months of small conversations in fits and starts I agreed to go to New Jersey to hear the full pitch.”
Deciding to Partner with Weichert
For Brenda the decision to partner was not easy. Brenda and her team had concerns about affiliation with a national brand in general, as well as affiliation with Weichert specifically. What would that mean for her existing business and how would her agents react? Brenda and her team had heard all the positives about proven processes, coaching and support and lead generation, but frankly, not enough straight talk about the downside of becoming an affiliate.
Brenda decided to make some calls. But rather than call the list of brokers the Weichert team in NJ gave her, Brenda called other Weichert brokers that she selected arbitrarily, from across the country. In fact, inside Weichert Corporate Offices, it is well known that Brenda set a record by calling 29 other Weichert brokers to try and find someone who would say something substantively negative about their Weichert affiliation. On the 29th call Brenda reached a Weichert Broker in Florida who finally gave Brenda what she needed to hear.
He said, “The downside of becoming a Weichert Broker was realizing that I had wasted so much time and money by not doing this years ago.”
Brenda was done. She began her affiliation with Weichert in 2006.
Everyone’s Path to Success is Different
Those who know Brenda, know she is all about her agents. According to Brenda “I didn’t sleep for about two weeks before the Weichert announcement.” Yet Brenda did not lose a single agent once she impacted. “I very quickly showed them the tools, training, and systems that were now at their disposal,” says Brenda. “Having this level of support for my team was great for me as well.”
Consistent with the Weichert philosophy, Brenda was able to pick and choose the benefits that she wanted to roll out in her brokerage. The Weichert processes allowed her to craft a strategy that worked best for her brokerage and that respected her independent style. That meant that agents could continue using the existing methods that worked for them and implement Weichert tools and systems where they needed them. And everyone was able to benefit from the increased recognition that a brand like Weichert brought to the entire brokerage.
During the market crash of 2008, Brenda watched other local brokers go out of business on a regular basis. Brenda credits her Weichert affiliation 100% for her agency survival. “Due to the advantages of being a recognized brand and having good systems and lead generation, we weathered the storm.” In 2011, Brenda finally bought out her business partners and made the decision to go all in on the Weichert Model. “We had been implementing parts of the Weichert Model, but when I became the sole owner, I felt the time was right to really be ALL IN on the Weichert Systems,” says Brenda. “We hired many new agents who fully embraced the model from day one, and that has made all the difference.”
Today Brenda’s team is firmly rooted in the methodology presented by Weichert, while still running things in a way that is appropriate for her local market. Weichert, Realtors® – The Space Places does a little commercial, a little relocation, some property management, but its primary focus is on residential sales.
From one office and 38 agents in 2011, Brenda has grown her team to 3 offices and over 125 agents covering a good portion of northern Alabama. Brenda credits things like the Weichert DOORS™ listing presentation and their recruiting system, which includes “career nights”. Brenda sells at least 2-3 houses a month using their open house process and embraces the WeichertPro CRM for marketing campaigns, and more. “I especially love that while I get amazing support inside the Weichert model, I’m still free to build the systems that work in my area. This is an active and creative partnership with real experts at the other end.”
The Weichert Model
At Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., we exist to help you make the most of what you’ve already built and learned. Brenda is right about partnership we strive for with our affiliates. It’s the kind of partner support you won’t get from any other national real estate brand. When you affiliate, you become part of a supportive family where you’ll never have to wonder what to do next.
For more information, contact the Weichert Affiliates team today at 877-567-3350 or visit weichertfranchise.com.