There is incredible opportunity in the real estate industry. A real estate business can be very profitable and impactful on the world. On today’s show, host Chadwin Barley and guest Tiffani Reynolds discuss the Houston real estate market. Tiffani is a Keller Williams real estate agent. She gives us an in-depth description of this market along with her experiences with becoming and being a real estate agent.
Heart and Sold Group is a social extension of the Heart and Sold Austin Real Estate business powered by Keller Williams, the Luxury Division.
Listen to the podcast here
Moving To Houston And Have Questions About Real Estate?
Chadwin Barley & Tiffani Reynolds, KW Houston Real Estate Agent
I have the pleasure of introducing to you a real estate agent in Houston, Texas that I met. She has already given me so much new information and allowed me to learn from her in many different ways. Her name is Tiffani Reynolds and she has a Master’s degree in both Percussion Performance and Educational Leadership. She was a high school band director for nine years and it was her goal to be a principal and Fine Arts director. Throughout that journey, she made an about-face and chose to go into real estate full-time just overnight. Real estate allows her to give back to the educational field in a bigger and more impactful way than being a teacher ever did. In July of 2019, she is starting her third year in real estate and is learning and growing more than ever. I love that you have a background that is so unique and interesting. It speaks to the incredible opportunity that is in the real estate industry. How you can take your dreams, goals and your favorite hobbies and turn them into a following that leads to big business in real estate that can be very profitable and impactful on the world. Tiffani, thank you for joining us.
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
It’s my pleasure. My favorite thing about this show is having the opportunity to take time out of my day that’s uninterrupted and have an opportunity to learn from you more than I already have. Tell me about the Houston market. Houston is a huge town. I always say that specific is terrific. If you can work in a specific area in Houston and never have to leave that zone, tell me what that would be and what your perfect client looks like.
If I could work specifically in an area in Houston, it would be out in the Katy area. We have a super robust school system and it’s nationally known. We get a lot of people here. That one specifically is Katy. It doesn’t matter if their kid is highly involved in sports or if their academics are at the peak of what they’re interested in what their kid is doing. Katy can meet all those needs. It sounds almost too good to be true, every home in Katy usually sells quickly and many years are getting top dollar for their prices. Out here in general, in the Houston area, we have a lot of oil and gas as you can imagine with our refineries. We’re right near the ship channel. We get a lot of oil and gas people. We get a lot of the healthcare industry and then a lot of biomedical fields as well. Right down the road, we have NASA. We have a big science community, big healthcare and big oil and gas. A lot of people in some other cities think, “Oil and gas, it’s great,” until it tanks. Overall, that’s what keeps Houston healthy, though we have this other balance of healthcare, biomedical and then NASA with all these scientists here. We ended up being well-rounded and just because one industry tanks, it doesn’t tank our whole housing market.
We were there with my sons. I have two boys in high school that is considering different universities. We went and took a look at the University of Houston. I was also shocked to hear about all the job opportunities that there are and engineering is a big field as well.
There are lots of oil refineries here or just refineries in general. NASA attracts a bunch of engineers as well as tons of other places around here.
Houston is growing and booming. Let’s talk about Katy and how that would be your sweet spot to work in if you didn’t have ever to go anyplace else. Tell us about the local area school districts within Katy and any information that you can relay about how the schools are rated.
First off, inside Katy, there’s only Katy ISD, Katy Independent School District. It’s the dominating district. It’s the only one. There are about eleven high schools. All of the schools are at least 3,500 students or more in high schools. That is at least 3,500 students in each high school. There’s got to be at least 60,000 students in Katy ISD if not more. I know that number because I used to teach in a neighboring school district. We’re also a similar size and had about 60. It’s got to be at least that academic-wise on the Texas STAAR tests. They’re always outperforming others. Regardless of that, Katy has gotten awards in regards to Academic Placement, AP classes. They’ve gotten awards in regards to that. They have some of the top-performing SAT scores. It is phenomenal and it’s not one specific high school. There’s a multitude of high schools that consistently outperform others across the entire state.
I would think that if you’re looking to move here from another market, a different state and you’re looking to set your kids up for success, one of the things that were shared with us during that visit to the University of Houston is the plethora of internships that are available for young people. That’s cool and very compelling. I love your story and I loved reading about how you were in education. I had a passion for education and then a unique sector of education as well. Tell us your story on how that all happened. How did you leave such a rich environment and to go into this roller-coaster world of real estate and why?
It was no single event that happened in teaching that made me want to quit. There were things over the course of time that added up. I loved my students. I love the parents I work with. After nine years, things we do as a band director started to be a drain. If I could never have to get home at 1:00 AM from a high school football game again, that would’ve made my life a lot better. Once we got home than waiting until 2:00 AM for all the kids to be picked up. Things like those were the reasons why after nine years, I wanted a change. I love teaching. I got paid to teach drums. How much better does that get? I love playing the drums. I love teaching drums. That was fun. At the end of the day, I wanted opportunities to make a little bit more money for myself. I didn’t mind having to work all those hours. I wanted to be able to put those hours in something else that maybe could give back a return on money and rewards if that makes any sense.
That totally makes sense. People talk about how real estate agents are 24/7. That job that you described sounds like more than 24/7.
It was a lot, but I enjoyed my time. I learned so much about it. I guess one of the things that led to the change was there’s a joke amongst other band directors of like, “Are you going to quit and go sell real estate?” Because a lot of band directors do it and it’s funny. After around maybe year seven, I was thinking like, “I don’t know if I want to change. I’ll go ahead and get this license anyway.” Around year eight, I got the license. I still hadn’t thought of it another year and I didn’t do it on the side as people say, “Do it on the side for you to get started.” As a band director, there was no side time here in Texas. The band is king and it’s a big deal.The good news about Facebook messaging is the consumer is going to answer back when they can. Click To Tweet
Even our Saturdays are taken up with band competitions. Wherever I could in my eighth year, I was sticking in classes wherever I could to finish my license. Pretty much many things came to a head in July of 2017. I had a lot of support around me that was encouraging me like, “If you want to quit, you quit and let’s go do this.” What happened is overnight I was like, “I’m not dealing with this anymore. I’m out.” I quit on July 7th and I went and signed paperwork at KW on July 7th. That was a Friday in 2017. That next Monday I started to ignite and I was off. I was in it.
You’ve been full throttle from the start. Have you already surpassed your band director income?
Yes, I did.
That’s fantastic. Congratulations.
It certainly wasn’t easy as this business is not just you start tomorrow and make a ton of money. I started on July 2017 and pretty much right away I had my first listing, which got me a little overconfident. I’m like, “I’m going to be the world’s greatest real estate agent. I got my first listing.” Even though we all know, “Calm down.” I pretty much sold that listing right away and then reality set in. It went for a few months with no business. I’m sure you can imagine that I quit being a teacher overnight. I walked away from that steady paycheck going into this new thing, then reality hits. There was no business for a few months. I’m having a lot of coaching and a lot of real conversations with my coach. I’m like, “I feel like I’m doing the things you’re telling me to do. What’s going on?” It was around April of 2018 that I had an explosion. All those conversations that I’d been having finally hit. Pretty much from April to December 2018, I did 26 transactions all in there. It was a humbling experience. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to encourage other agents and tell them like, “Don’t quit. This business is a long game. It’s not a short game.” It also taught me to be real. I wasn’t doing everything KW told me to do.
I wasn’t calling expired. I wasn’t going after for-sale by owners. I wasn’t doing the low-hanging fruit now business, because even though they’re simple, they’re not easy. Calling expired is not easy. What I was doing well at is going after my sphere. That still is what I do well. I’m aggressively in front of them and almost all of my business has come from my sphere. The other thing I do well at is following up. Once someone comes on my radar and they’re in my database, I follow up like crazy with them. I feel like maybe through good questioning and good scripts. I’ve even been able to turn people that were looking for leases into buys easily.
For anyone who might not be familiar with the term sphere, because we’re talking to agents here but we’re also talking to the general marketplace. The sphere is something that we refer to like the people that we are in flow with all the time who like, know and trusts us. Whatever that friend group may comprise of, that’s what we refer to as our sphere. What Tiffani is telling us is that she’s talking to the people that already have authentic relationships with her and asking them how she can be of service to them in their real estate related needs. I am always impassioned to learn about the follow-up systems and that’s because it’s my weakness, not my strength. I love to hear from other agents on anything that they’re implementing that helps them to be organized and to follow up with those people who reach out to us. Real estate is a long game. It isn’t something that you decide you’re going to sell or buy a house overnight, get ready, jump in the car and go look for homes. It can take a few months or even up to a few years. What are your follow-up systems?
Even for people that I’m connected with on Facebook that maybe haven’t said they want to buy anything yet, but I know if I build a better relationship, they will use me. I’ll stay top of mind. For example, what I’ve done is everybody that I’m on Facebook with, not agents but everybody that’s a consumer, they’re on a quarterly Facebook message. Every quarter, they get a Facebook message from me. It’s generic, “How are you doing?” I don’t talk about business at all because 95% of the time they will ask how business is going. Consumers ask that all the time and that will start the conversation alone. I follow-up by just asking about them again. That already led to a lot of things in 2018. I had a guy that I hadn’t talked to since high school. He lives out in California. I did that same, “How are you doing?” I kept him on a quarterly conversation since July 2017. Finally, it was around September of 2018 he said, “I want to buy my first investment property there in Houston.”
Do you have this automated? Are you intentional about your calendar?
I’m intentional. It is not automated. The good news about Facebook messaging is the consumer is going to answer back when they can. I might blast out a whole bunch of messages, not in a mass format but just one after another, “How are you doing?” Throughout the day, responses are coming in and because of the nature of social media, you can answer back when it’s convenient for you. I might have some conversations that stream out even for a whole week, because by the time I answer them, they answer me and so forth. It’s a good way of remaining top of mind because when they do have a real estate question, they’re going to think of you and come back to you. That’s what I do with my Facebook and that’s been paying off.
In regards to the people that do display, they want to make a transaction. If they’re hot and want to do something in the next 30 to 60 days, I am following up rigorously. Often at minimum, a weekly call and probably more often if they want to do business that quickly. I’m making sure they’re paired with a quality lender. I vet at a very high level what lender they choose and I asked them a lot of questions about their lender. If they’re using a lender that I don’t know, I’ll probably make them question their lender, which I want them to in a way. We all know lenders are not created equal. I learned early on about how a lender can kill a deal and how a lender cannot tell the client the right things in regards to saving for a down payment.
Early on I had a lender that told the client, “You have a down payment. You’re good to go.” When it came time to make the purchase, they didn’t have enough to pay the lender fees. They had enough to make the down payment on the cost of the house. I learned early on that I need to ask better questions. With that now, I don’t let up when I meet a new client. That doesn’t mean I drive them away from the lender they’re with. If they’re a great lender and if the client can answer those questions to me, then I know their lender has well-prepared them.Lenders are not created equal. Click To Tweet
I tell all my business partners and clients the same thing. We are paid problem-solvers and we cannot solve problems if we’re not asking the right questions and gathering the right data in order to circumvent the pitfalls that we get to see every day that we can help them to overcome or step aside from. I love that you’re doing that. I appreciate you relaying that to our audience because it may be something that they haven’t thought about themselves. That helps. You talked about Facebook and how you follow up there and you talked about someone who is on a quick turnaround. What about someone who tells you they want to make a change but they’re not sure? They haven’t figured out where their next steps might be. What does that look like for you?
When I had the initial conversation with them and they tell me they want to buy in a year or two, I tell them right away. I’m like, “I’m going to stay in touch with you. Is that okay?” Some people tell me, “You shouldn’t ask them if that’s okay.” For me, I do want to ask them that. I want to know if they are the type of people that are okay with me checking in or if they’re the type of people that say, “No, I don’t want you to call me.” I want to know that too because it’s going to change either my decision to work with them or my decision not to. If someone was telling me, “No, calling me every few months is too often,” I may choose to not work with them. The reason I say that is because I realized that in a short time in the business that consumer’s plans change all the time. A consumer that may say, “We’re going to buy in a year or two,” they may sometimes in fact buy in a few months. I set that expectation with them, “Thanks for telling me that you’re going to buy in a year or two. Would it be okay if I give you a call in a few months? I want to check-in. I want to reach out.” I feel like 95% to 98% of the time they say yes, hardly ever do they say no.
When you lead with authenticity, that’s the best policy. If someone tells you that they don’t want you to follow up with them that frequently, I believe it’s best practice to respect that. I appreciate that you’re doing that. It makes your job so much easier because then you do not have to pick up the phone with a big mystery on the other side wondering are you a nuisance or are they welcoming your call? If you ask them from the get-go what their follow-up plan should be based upon their criteria, then there is no fear at all.
From there, if they don’t answer those quarterly calls, I don’t take it personally. I keep reaching out and when it gets closer to their timeline, usually they will answer at that point.
Keller Williams has a big component of our company that believes in philanthropy and giving back. I don’t think of philanthropy all the time in the traditional sense of the word. In a lot of ways, agents are the most generous people on the planet, whether they financially give because of our servant-minded hearts. It’s a service-based job. Tell me what your definition is of philanthropy, how you’re implementing it in your business there in Houston. If you have anything that you’re supportive of or passionate about, I’d love to hear what that is.
I’m passionate about band and music because that’s what I did. As we all know, schools don’t have as much money as they need to. One of the ways that I’m able to give back in a unique way is each July, the high school I used to work at, I still know the new percussion director that they’ve hired. Each July, I reach out to that percussion director and I do one week of work for free for them. Normally they would hire a drum instructor for about $1,500 for the week. I do that one week for free to help give back and it gives the kids instructions. It keeps me in touch with the program and in touch with that skill. It’s not that I want to go back, but in terms of that was my passion. I enjoy teaching kids drums and it’s fun.
I get to do that and in a way, it’s not of any cost to my pocket. It marriages with where I’m at in my business where I have not been able to spend too much money at this time. I still get to do that for kids as well as now that I’m starting my third year with that same high school, I’m working on a scholarship program for some of the percussion students that they would play a piece. They’d audition for the scholarship towards the end of the year. In that way, that’s where my business is. Ideally what I envision is being able to find some band trips for students. That’s what I’d like to be able to do for some of the students that can’t afford those types of things in the future.
I teach a class called Leveraging Your Passion for Building a Big Brand and a Big Business. That’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re surrounding yourself with people who have like-minds, like-hearts and talents that you both share and passionate about. Thank you for sharing that with us.
Thank you. With that, on social media, I’m branded The Drumming Realtor.
Tell us what drives you and what your dreams are for the future.
Both of my mom and dad, my parents, they’re stereotypical. They’ve had one job their whole life. They’ve never changed. My mom is an elementary school teacher. She’s been at the same elementary for many years. She’s still teaching. It’s the same with my dad. He worked at the same chemical plant for many years. They both had this approach of one job is all they’ve known. They were not super excited when I told them, “I quit my job. I’m going into real estate.” They were not super excited for me. They were scared as any parent would be, but more so from their own programming. They didn’t have the entrepreneurial spirit. They didn’t have that thought. They were scared out of it.
For whatever reason, I wasn’t yet. One of the things that I envision is to be able to change their life. I want to be able to give them a better retirement. They did so much in my life raising me. They helped me go through college and so many other things that good parents do. I want to be able to give back and help them have a better retirement because now they’re on the other side of it. They don’t have everything they want in their retirement. With that, I’d like to be able to change some students’ lives in music because I can’t tell you how many times over nine years, I did have a student that was very passionate about becoming a music educator, but their parents would not let them study that in college. That’s on my mind too. I would like to be able to give a robust scholarship that can provide for students that have a knack for it and want to do it so that they could go and study that.You’ve got to get your mind right before your business will be better. Click To Tweet
Those are huge dreams and very attainable. I know that you’re going to achieve those goals. I’m excited to hear you taking the bull by the horns and owning your own life so that you can create the life that you want to live through your business. They do tell us at Keller Williams that the purpose of business is to create the perfect life and you’re definitely doing that. I also want to touch back on a point that you made about the fear that your parents had when you left your job. Speak to that because a lot of us go to our quickest frame of reference when we’re looking for guidance and advice and those are the people that love us and care about us the most.
I want to challenge the audience to continue to do that and add a couple of layers on top of that as well. Because the most well-meaning individuals in your life, they have limitations also. We want to pursue education through books, podcasts and classes that challenge those thoughts and beliefs as well. Meditation is super important to listen to the voice inside your own head and heart, and your own gut instinct. To seek the advice of professional coaches that can take you to a level that you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise because you don’t have any insight to be able to pursue it. I can tell that you’ve invested in yourself that way. Touch on that a little bit. What did you do that allowed you to jump out on the limb and change careers? That’s a radical move for a lot of people that may be reading this and had ever considered doing something like that.
There’s no way around it. It was radical. Even my other colleagues in the band director profession were like, “What? You quit?” It was sudden. No one knew it was coming except for the guy that I worked with directly. He knew that I was unhappy, but he didn’t think I was unhappy to the point of making a change. Even he was a little bit shocked like, “You did this.” One of the things is my stubbornness to want better for myself. I was like, “I’m out. I’m making a change,” but beyond that, once I made that change, I knew from the numbers in the business that this would be a tough business. I knew that I would need different coaching because I was at a negative place in my life from being a teacher.
Not the teaching, that’s not what I’m trying to say. I was at a negative place at the time that I knew if I’m going to go into this, I need to be surrounded by somebody that can crack into my mind and can make me a better person. Right away, that was part of my choosing the market center I chose because there are three other market centers near me that I could have chosen. I chose the one that I did because the people that were there and I’ve had a tremendous coach, his name is Crispin Reyna. He has done a lot to crack through my mind, to change my mindset and to make me a better person. That’s how I can describe it.
I wasn’t in a good place as a teacher and even though I should have been in a better place as a teacher, now I’m in a better place than I was. He turned that around for me and helped me to think differently about others and my self-worth. It’s indescribable and I can tell you that anybody that knew me as a band director would never describe me as someone like a touchy-feely person or a person that would even have this type of discussion with you. That’s why I’m so thankful for this career. It has impacted my life. It’s made me think differently. It’s made me treat those closest to me differently. A lot of that is due to Crispin. You’ve got to get your mind right before your business will be better. Crispin, I owe a lot to him for making that better. I am at a better place than I can focus on improving my business now that my mindset has gotten there.
Mindset is super important and it’s also almost a heartset. That’s why I named my business Heart and Sold and I always use the #HeartWork. Heart work doesn’t mean I’m working hard at my Heart and Sold “business.” Heart work is I’m transforming my heart so that I can support and serve my clients in a way that the old me could never have done. I totally resonate with what you’re saying. In fact, you’re making me tear up because this business has empowered me spiritually and turned me from the inside out as well. I know that it does to a lot of people because you do so much soul searching to find those inner strengths so that no negativity can even impact you. That has to come from within. I hear that in your voice as well. Why don’t you leave us if you have something in mind of a favorite book or quote or affirmation that you refer to often? That way the audience can have something like a leaf behind to get to know you better through learning some of the things that you have learned.
My newer coach made me write some affirmations and the best one that I came up for myself is, “I am surrounded with an abundance of opportunity.” That’s something that when I had to refresh my mindset and make things better, before I did not look at things in terms of opportunity that I’m surrounded with. Now I realize I am surrounded by an abundance of opportunities. It’s on me to fight for that opportunity and to look for opportunities in every conversation that I had with people.
That is so impactful. My San Antonio friend and agent, his name is Ernest. He said he does a lot of coaching and training in his own market center to give back to newer agents. He mentioned that one of the agents said to him one time, “Ernest, why are you telling us all of your secrets? You’re giving your business away.” He said, “If you’ve ever flown on an airplane over our city of San Antonio and you’ve seen all those houses. There might be 15,000 agents in San Antonio, but there are millions and millions of homes. The only competition that you have is yourself. The only person I compete with is my numbers from last year.”
I love that. What you said reminded me of what he said. My vision in this show is to bring generosity back to the face of real estate. A lot of consumers have had negative experiences possibly or for whatever reason have come to think of our industry or business in general as being greedy. The truth is that the agents that I’ve met are the most giving and generous people that I’ve ever known. I wanted to give a voice to that and I heard it in your voice. I appreciate that. You’ve inspired me in my own business. I can’t wait to be a better follow-up driven person so that I can come back to you and tell you about some of those achievements as they come to pass, hopefully. Tiffani, tell us how we can best get ahold of you should we have friends or family moving to Houston that can use your help?
I’m pretty Johnny on the spot with my phone at all hours. You can reach me at (713) 303-8903 or my email is TiffaniReynolds@KW.com. Either of those ways is the best way to get ahold of me. On social media, you can Google #TheDrummingRealtor and that should take you to everything. That should take you to my business Facebook page. It should take you to my Instagram on there. I also have a Snapchat and Twitter with that, although I’m not utilizing those as much. Definitely Instagram and Facebook, you can find me there and Google.
Thanks again, Tiffani, for your time. You’re an amazing agent and I can’t wait to work with you some more in the future.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
- Tiffani Reynolds
- Keller Williams
- Crispin Reyna
- Facebook – Tiffani Reynolds
- Instagram – Tiffani Reynolds
- Twitter – Tiffani Reynolds
About Tiffani Reynolds
For 9 years I worked as a high school band director. I led a group of outstanding individuals to become the best people they could be, individually and as a group. Many students went on to pursue careers in music and several are successful in other careers as well. All of them learned how to think independently and learned the reward of hard work and delayed gratification. Building leadership and teamwork was at the core of everything we did.
As a certified principal, I enjoyed building students’ skills that served beyond the scope of the academic classroom, and I sought to prepare my students for the interpersonal skills necessary for today’s working environment.
My goal is to help sellers and buyers determine the correct selling price, provide stellar marketing, sell and buy quickly, manage the transaction all the way to close, and provide service to your home long after the close. I believe communication is key in achieving this goal. I follow up with showings, ensure all necessary documents are prepared, assist with a buyer’s loan process, and make sure to eliminate issues that could delay closing.
Resourcefulness and authenticity are very important to me. This means I will use all the tools that I have, in the best way possible, to position your house to sell, or to position your offer to be chosen
I am committed to turning our working relationship into a partnership. I will be available for consultation and will serve as a resource for finding other service professionals long after this transaction is completed. Ultimately, I want to be your REALTOR® for life. I want to earn your referral.