TOP REAL ESTATE AGENT IN ILLINOIS CARLA GORMAN
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Someone with a background and education in public service fields can see real estate for what it is – a service that allows professionals to help people while also giving back to communities. Carla Gorman, an associate with Baird & Warner, Chicagoland’s largest, locally owned independent residential real estate services company, exemplifies all that and more. After earning her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and her master’s in public administration and higher education, she first worked in corporate event planning and fundraising. “But a few years back, my husband, who is in construction, said he thought I’d like real estate because I love helping people and I’m good at sales.”
Carla gave it a shot, earned her license and committed to two years in real estate, figuring that if she didn’t love it, she could bring her education an experience back to the corporate world. “My first year, I was hooked!” she says. “I loved helping people, going through homes and looking at design options; it made sense for me.” For 2014, as a new agent based out of South Suburban Orland Park, she was named Baird & Warner’s Rookie of the Year. Her second year, she sold 43 homes ($12 million); and by the end of her third year was headed for at least that much with 50 sales.
“The best part is working together with clients. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing something through from start to finish when matching people with homes.” In building her business, she has grown familiar with various parts of Chicagoland, meeting clients wherever they need her. “I’m not against trying anything,” she says. “Some people won’t go out of their comfort zone or go into the city if they get referrals. But I believe that putting yourself outside your comfort zone is how you maximize your potential.” When learning new neighborhoods, she spends time there, speaks to people and visits the coffee shops.
Her clients appreciate Carla’s willingness to think outside the box. “I also pride myself on a ‘No BS’ approach. For example, anyone can underprice a house to sell it more quickly,” she says. “But that doesn’t help anyone. I’m honest. I won’t tell them their neon walls look great; I’ll say that with a little work, we can prepare and stage the house so that people can visualize themselves in the home. The first 30 days are critical.” In addition to staging, professional photography and advertising on the major real estate websites, Carla believes in the power of well-timed, highly-targeted, Facebook posts boosted to specific buyers. “I also maximize brokers open houses by coordinating multiple brokers opens at once.”
Another of Carla’s successes with marketing comes from her eagerness to connect with people and stay in touch over time. She can’t imagine not nurturing relationships with her clients during and after their transaction. Part of the reason she works independently is to offer that high-touch service. “I don’t pass clients off to other people,” she says. “I’m with them from start to finish and sometimes it’s over multiple years, if I’m selling their kids’ houses or their parents’ houses or other helping family members.” Her clients hear from her regularly by phone and with special, seasonal gifts about four times a year. “At Thanksgiving, I bring pies to my past clients; in the spring I did pop-bys with Girl Scout cookies; and I might give sports calendars with the Blackhawks, Cubs or Sox schedules to help stay connected.”
Carla stays involved in local organizations, supporting charities selected quarterly by Baird & Warner. Through her impeccable service and local visibility, by the end of her third year in real estate, she was receiving 70% of her business from referrals. With the goal of increasing her business year over year, and eventually building her own team, it won’t be long before Carla reaches 100% referrals. “It’s important to work hard, but what you put into real estate is what you get out of it,” says Carla. “Passion is priceless.”