A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Rachel has always called North Carolina home. Now a Raleigh resident for more than six years, she has experience selling a wide variety of properties all over the Triangle, including in Raleigh, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Clayton, Holly Springs, Durham and Chapel Hill. She prides herself on working at every price point, with experience buying and selling homes anywhere from $100,000 to nearly $2 million.
Rachel attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a fourth-generation Tar Heel, where her love for helping others drove her to accept a Teaching Fellows Scholarship. Upon graduating, she moved to Raleigh where she was a math teacher in the public school system for four years. She taught at both Ligon GT Magnet Middle School and Mount Vernon Middle School. Rachel’s selfless nature and loving spirit have allowed her to maintain the many impactful relationships built during her time in education. Working with such a diverse community of people made her fall in love with Raleigh and the surrounding areas. Her love for the buying and selling process, along with a desire to serve the community on a larger scale, inspired her to venture into a career in real estate. As a former educator, she has a sense of calm about her and an ability to make people feel comfortable as they navigate the home-buying and selling process. Rachel lives in Raleigh with her husband in the home that they renovated from top to bottom. In their free time, they love traveling with friends and family and vacationing to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, where Rachel spent many summers growing up.
Start us off with your journey that led you to real estate?
I’ve been in North Carolina my whole life. I grew up in Greensboro, N.C, which is a little more than an hour from where I am now in Raleigh. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Teaching Fellows Scholarship. This scholarship paid for my tuition throughout college in exchange for teaching in the state for four years upon graduation. I absolutely love education and will always be very passionate about it. I was fortunate to work in extremely diverse environments in which I had the pleasure of teaching a wide range of students. As a young professional, I found myself consumed with the lives and well-being of my students. I loved my job and my students to the point that I wasn’t able to separate my job from my personal life. I found myself spread too thin; I wanted to do more than one person could. I wanted my relationships with students to be genuine, and I felt it was important to keep up with them year after year. But teaching close to 130 students per year makes that nearly impossible. I felt like I was making a big impact at first, but then I found myself so caught up in the day to day of my students’ lives that it was all I could think about. I knew I wanted to help on a larger scale.
During my third year of teaching, my husband and I purchased our first home — a complete, top-to-bottom renovation project. Our realtor was incredible, and I continued to connect with her over the next year, meeting for coffee to chat about her experience and picking her brain about all things real estate. As much as I loved teaching, my own personal desires and goals had been pushed aside for four years as I poured into others. I knew there had to be a way to do both — achieve success in my own career while also giving back to a community that I love so much. Real estate allowed me to work in a field that is limitless, but getting there is all about how hard you work for other people. I knew I could be successful, and I took that gamble on myself in the summer of 2019, when I left education to become a real estate agent.
What was your goal with real estate?
My goal was to completely immerse myself in real estate, and once I felt established I would find a way to get back involved in the world of education. Last year, I was approached by a trusted friend and former colleague with an opportunity to serve. He asked me to be a member of the selection committee for a local non-profit organization, whose mission is to support young people from seventh grade through their first year of post-secondary education with real-time mentoring to help them navigate their evolving academic, social, intellectual, emotional, and practical needs.
One of the main focuses of this program is access; providing each and every student with exactly what they need to make them successful. Whether it is private therapy to work through a traumatic event, eye glasses to correct vision, or tutoring to provide additional academic support, this program finds a way to provide the scholar with exactly what they need.
My next hope for my involvement in the program is to make connections between the students and the community members I have relationships with. I have developed so many valuable connections working in real estate, and I work hard to foster those into meaningful relationships that go beyond business. For example, there is a student in the program who loves mowing lawns. The only problem is that is currently all he knows — he has never seen how you turn that into a career or a business. I have a wonderful relationship with a local landscaper, who I know would be thrilled to introduce him to the landscaping world. So I am constantly thinking of ways to connect these scholars with members of the community.
As an educator, I was so caught up in the moment — the right now of these students’ lives — that I couldn’t see the big picture. That is where I really want to help. Taking a step back and getting involved in the community on a wider scale has allowed me to do just that. I feel so empowered by this opportunity and the value I hope to offer in the future.
Is it fair to assume that helping other is something that has always driven you and has become your purpose?
Absolutely, but I feel very strongly about service for others being genuine. Whether it is mentoring students or advising clients, I work very hard to make sure that my guidance is never viewed as charity or something I need to do. It is something I feel honored and proud to do.
What is your vision for yourself in real estate the upcoming years?
I would love to build a small team so that I can better serve my clients and expand my business. I recently hired a fully licensed broker to join my team and she has been a fabulous addition. I would ideally like to bring on one or two people in strictly administrative roles.
I am too involved in my business to build a large team; if my name is on something I want a direct hand in it. I am very particular about how I handle my real estate transactions and how I interact with people, and I can’t risk losing that. My vision is to create a close-knit team that allows us to maximize our business while maintaining an extremely high level of customer service.
What areas do you service?
I serve the Triangle region as a whole. My main focus is Raleigh, N.C., and all of the immediately surrounding cities.
What are some of the best places to invest in right now and what type of properties should people invest in?
Anywhere and any type! If you are living in the Triangle and can afford to buy, you should. The demand we have seen recently is absolutely insane, and it is driving prices up fast. You really can’t go wrong in the Triangle as a whole, so it all depends on what you are looking for. You can’t buy much for a “deal” these days, so all buyers need to be smart about their intentions when purchasing. Can you rent it? For how much? Would you get a return on your investment if you renovated? If you prefer new homes with bigger lots, I would suggest looking in North Raleigh to Wake Forest. If you want to enjoy more of a city life, then look in areas like Five Points or Oakwood near downtown Raleigh. If you are looking for a more affordable price point in a convenient location, look toward Clayton, Garner, and Wendell. There are truly so many great options in our area, there is something for everyone and it is hard to go wrong.
What advice would you give a younger realtor that is just starting out?
One of the most important things I realized is that your path doesn’t have to be linear. Life simply doesn’t work like that. If someone told me four years ago that I would be building a successful real estate career, I would have never believed it. You end up in certain positions and in front of certain people for a reason; allow yourself to find that reason. You don’t have to stay in a particular field because it is what your degree is in, or because you are good at it; there may be something else out there better suited for you than your current job. Find something that fulfills you, pushes you, and allows you to be yourself.
What differentiates you from other brokers and why do you think people choose to work with you?
First and foremost, I try to be incredibly decent in all that I do. Being in sales, I have made it a priority to never put a dollar over decency. For me, making money is not — and never will be — as important as doing the right thing. But do not mistake this for passiveness in my career. I am not afraid to hustle, and I will do whatever I can to find the right property for my clients. If the typical method of house-hunting isn’t working, I will shift my efforts to finding off-market properties. I believe you can be a forward and strong business woman without compromising your personal morals.
All Photo Credits : Jillian Clark
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