TOP REAL ESTATE AGENTS IN INDIANA LAURA & MANNY HERNANDEZ
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Laura and Manny Hernandez got into real estate together, getting their licenses in 2006. “I got started when I was about 21,” says Manny. “My cousin had a mortgage company at the time and I started working with him, doing mortgages. When the market crashed in ‘07, I didn’t really want to continue doing the mortgage thing and clients were always asking if I could also help them find a home, so I started selling real estate full time.” Laura and Manny have been working together since 2006, with Laura activating her license 5 years ago.
Today, the Hernandezes are building their team and systems. Manny is a sales and negotiation specialist and provides sales training, while Laura focuses on listings and marketing, as well as building team systems for optimized workflow. They also have an assistant and an OSA who specializes in helping buyers find homes. “We’re looking to grow our team to help keep up with the amount of business coming in; our vision is to hire two ISAs, four or five agents and a listing/marketing assistant in the next two years…we’re hiring now.” Laura says.
Team Hernandez serves Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. Manny estimates that about 80% of their current business is repeat and referral. “I believe it’s just doing right by them, providing great service and helping them meet their goals, whatever they may be, whether it’s buying, selling, or investment properties,” he says. “We try to treat our clients like friends and family, and look out for their best interest.”
“Manny, in particular, has a knack for networking,” Laura says. “A lot of times, our listings are sold before they even go up because we have this big database of buyers and we know exactly what they’re looking for. We have a system where we meet with our buyers first before going out [to the property] to make sure they’re really educated on the process and that we really understand what they’re looking for so we’re not just sending them a bunch of houses that don’t really match their needs. Manny’s good at taking them out and really listening to them and pinpointing what they’re looking for. Many times he’s able to pick home to show them that they would never think to look at — clients love that.”
“I’m the house whisperer,” Manny jokes.
Manny and Laura are currently working on a system to stay in better touch with clients, which will include video emails and personal calls. When it comes to the marketing, Laura says, “Right now, we’re building and tweaking a whole bunch of our systems.” She’s particularly interested in virtual staging, which creates a digital model that shows the potential of a home. “We also have a nice network of what we call ‘buyers in waiting,’” Manny adds. These are people who may not be actively looking, but Manny and Laura will contact them if a perfect match appears on the market.
Manny’s favorite part of real estate, he says, is the joy of helping people. “I know it sounds cheesy,” he says, “but it’s just a Kodak moment when you help someone going through a stage in their life, and just having them be grateful for everything we’ve done for them and finally get into their new home.” “What’s unique about us is that Manny and I have complementary strengths and personalities, so we’re able to divide our role as team leaders,” Laura says. “He gets energy from talking to people and meeting people, and I get it from the creative and business side.” Real estate is such a great industry to be in because we can be authentic and creative in building our business and have the freedom and flexibility to be with our kids.
Real estate has also allowed them to give back.” With the previous brokerage we were with,” Laura says, “we donated a portion of our profits to the Children’s Miracle Network.” Since joining Realty Executives in February of this year, they’re looking for a new charity or charities to be involved with. They’re even considering starting a charity of their own to help local families and children in need. “We’re very dedicated to helping our community, especially kids,” Laura says.
Their other goals involve business growth. “We’re looking to hire more administrative staff and agents to make sure our client’s experience is as stress free as possible,” Manny says. Educating the client is also hugely important,” he adds. “I feel like the more you educate them up front, the easier the process will be for everyone.” “We’re also always educating ourselves to keep up technology and improving our business as a whole”
“We’re really down-to-earth people,” Laura says. “We’re not all about the sales. We really value meeting people and building relationships over money; the sales success is just an end product of doing what you love, working hard and authentically helping people.”