Top photo by Julia Brymer

While real estate is a second (or third, or fourth) career for about 95% of all real estate agents, for me, it was dream job #1 right from the get-go. I’d learned from the experience of shopping for a home for my then-family of four, that something every agent seemed to forget somewhere in the process that I was more than a commission. I was a real-life person with big dreams about what the right home could mean to my family.

After graduating at the top of my class from Regis University, a world of opportunities awaited, and I could’ve chosen any number of paths. But, I knew where my calling lied. I still dreamed of treating others as I wanted to be treated at every step of the home shopping and buying experience, and I knew that the need was still there. I knocked on builder’s doors, trying to get in on the ground floor of selling new homes. It was a time of tireless hustle, but I was glad to do it because I knew that it would only take one “yes” for me to hit the ground running.

After lots of calls and some gentle stalking, I convinced Richmond American Homes to let me start as an assistant. It was all I needed. I quickly earned a spot as a Sales Associate, then earned the title of Sales Associate of the Year, as well as National Sales Trainer. By any measure, my career was in full swing, and I should’ve been walking on air.

Photo by Jenn Hernandez

However, while I’d reached the top of my career in new home sales, my marriage had reached its bottom. To make matters worse, it’s 2011, and the real estate market is imploding. Despite my success in sales and training at Richmond American, my department began to shrink, then disappeared altogether. In 6 months, I short sell my house, file for divorce, take three weeks’ severance and three family transactions, and launch into being an independent agent.

When I told my husband that I wanted a divorce, he gave me an exceptionally lovely parting gift. He looked me right in the eyes and said, “You know, Stephanie, no matter where you go, there’ll you’ll be.”

As the dust from that tumultuous six months began to settle, the real weight of those words revealed itself. Although I’d gotten to the point, after several years of deliberating, that I didn’t much care what Mr. Mercer thought of me, I realized that I thought the world of what my then 10-year-old daughter thought of me. I became hyperaware of what I was modeling for her and thought to myself, “I’ll be damned if she’s forced to live between two houses, and I get to stay the same.”

Which, in hindsight, is just another way of reminding myself why I got into this business in the first place, and why I am one of the 4% of all agents who have made it their first and only career.  As I’ve built Inleit, I’ve made it a point to study self-development and business skills in equal measure. I voraciously read every book I can get my hands on about relationships, connection, authenticity, and vulnerability. At the same time, I’m also learning as much as possible about  how to build, maintain, and grow a business that provides exceptional value.

What has emerged from all those intervening years of studying two distinct ways of thinking is a uniquely empathetic and strategic method of approaching real estate. Although it continues to evolve, my strategy begins with my deep understanding of all the emotions buyers experience during pivotal and stressful situations around finding and purchasing a home.

At Inleit, we base every interaction with our clients around empathy, to understand where they’re coming from and where they dream of being. We then proceed with a smart strategy to provide the best position we can.  As my team and I grow as people, it is our distinct privilege to serve our clients and community with our people-first mindset.