215: A Boutique Brokerage Marrying Real Estate and Design

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Today we are welcoming Katy’s very own broker, Brandy Salbador! Brandy is sharing with us her amazing journey as an entrepreneur starting with owning a business way back at the age of 21 all the way to owning her current brokerage, Southerly Real Estate.

Brandy is a mom of two littles Hayes (5) and Ava Jolie (2). She became a Realtor in 2013 and worked at a large real estate firm on a team. After becoming a mom, she moved to a smaller firm on her own and began to stage many of her listings. She started helping her past real estate clients remodel their homes and would also help with furnishings and decor. Her goal is to be able to provide her clients with a full service experience when they want to make big changes to their home life. That goal is why she built a brokerage that offers Real Estate, Interior Design and Staging services. If you’ve ever considered adding design to your real estate business, then this episode is for you!

Find Brandy here: Instagram @southerly_la Facebook @southerlylouisiana Website www.southerlyLA.com email Brandy@southerlyla.com

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The following is a rough transcript provided by Otter.ai.

Speaker 1 0:02
And I was pregnant. So that was kind of that kind of spurred the move to I was like, I can’t continue at this pace, the

Alissa 0:07
schedule wasn’t gonna work.

Speaker 1 0:10
I decided, Okay, I’m gonna get my broker’s license, but I’m not having any agents. Just because that worked out really well. That worked out. You’re not having to hurt their feelings. Yeah. And I never had to talk to him again.

Katy 0:24
You’re just a third party expert.

Unknown Speaker 0:27
I still to this day, get clients off of Instagram

Katy 0:30
that you don’t know in any way don’t other than they failed you on Instagram.

Alissa 0:36
Hi, y’all. Welcome to hustle humbly. It’s Alyssa and Katie. And we are two top producing realtors in the Baton Rouge market.

Katy 0:42
We work for two different companies where we should be competitors. But we have chosen community over competition. The goal of our podcasts is to encourage you to find your own way in business to stop comparing yourself and start embracing your strengths. Hi, Alyssa Katie. It’s episode 215. And we have a guest today and in studio guests, which is our favorite. Brandy, welcome. Hi. Please tell the people who you are and how we know you.

Speaker 1 1:10
Well, I am brandy Salvador, and I am a broker interior designer. And I’m also Katie’s broker. That’s right.

Alissa 1:20
She’s been waiting for you to say that part.

Unknown Speaker 1:24
Yes, friend.

Katy 1:25
And we’re friends. And we’ve wanted to have you on the show. We’ve actually had quite a few listeners request, you know, every time it comes up, and we talk about boutique brokerage, and where I work and what you do, or people go and find you, especially on Instagram, you’re like you should interview Brandi, I’m like, here she is we interview. I want to say that I just read your little bio before we came on here. And you have had your license since 2013. Yes. And I liked in your buyer. You said your goal was to be able to provide your clients a full service experience when they want to make big changes to their home life. Yes. Because you’re in especially now in the market that we’re in, you’re in a different kind of situation where you’re not just selling real estate, you’re also providing design services.

Speaker 1 2:13
Yes. And I feel right now, especially after COVID Our design is really 80% of my business right now.

Katy 2:20
Okay, we’re gonna get to that. Right. Okay. So, first, tell us a little bit how your business has evolved and where you always entrepreneurial is my question.

Alissa 2:29
Yeah, like were, were What did you do before real estate?

Speaker 1 2:33
So I while I was in school at LSU, trying to figure out what to do with my life. I got a job at a local playing a beach in Perryville. And I was playing a team is playing on beach. A nationwide. Yes, yeah. Okay, wide and they were even international at 1.0. Wow, I did not know this

Katy 2:53
either. Okay, you didn’t know about this. Carry on? Yeah.

Speaker 1 2:56
You got a job with Ashley. Remember Alyssa coming in? And tanning at my point of view?

Alissa 3:00
Yeah, that’s the go to the one on multielement. Yeah, right. But my parents where they live?

Speaker 1 3:04
Yeah. So I started at the one in Perryville. And literally, probably two weeks after I started the manager. Just one day, walked out and left while I was there. She said I quit like Okay, bye. I’m not like she had gotten off the phone with the owner. And, you know, was she just left? And so I called the owner and I was like, hey, what to do now? And he was like, I don’t know what to do. i He is actually a lender. Like a mortgage. A mortgage broker? Yeah. Why? And so he was just like, Could you do you think you could like, kind of hold the ship, you know, to the fort? For like, I can’t even think of the word like, I’m 18 I didn’t even tell him. I was 18. I just said I can try stuff. I mean, the pay was like $5,000 a month. So back in 2000. Wait, wait,

Katy 3:58
backup, you made $5,000 A month working at the planet beach

Unknown Speaker 4:03
managing it? Yes. You were like, oh, hold

Katy 4:05
down the fort, no problem. Figure out how to work 40 hours

Speaker 1 4:08
a week plus go to school. So I had to like cut by my hours at school and manage but I really did enjoy it. Enjoy my job there. And I was like, How can I pass up this much money because I didn’t have like, I was literally supporting myself through college. I didn’t i my i have four younger siblings. I did not feel comfortable asking my dad to pay for anything. Right. And I, I just I couldn’t so I was like, Okay, how long did that last? So I when I was 21. He decided that he wanted to sell that location. He had the other location on old Hammond and he was like, it’s just slammed. I can’t manage. I can’t manage two managers and two businesses, right. So at the time like they when they started building these, they didn’t build them with a washer and dryer. Okay, so Oh no, you were having to like he was having to come and like pick up towels and wash it, take him home and watch us and he was like, This is too much. So the old human location was like booming. The previous location was doing good, but Prairieville wasn’t what it was now back then. Right? It was a very small, quiet rural cow pasture still. So he took on old Hammann. I bought Prairieville from him at the age of 21. For a very good price. Okay,

Alissa 5:30
wow, did you desperately need to do it? Or did you have to do you have to get like a business?

Speaker 1 5:36
I had to take out a loan. I had somehow 2021 divided by that also

Katy 5:44
feels like it’s a pretty fearless decision. You were like, Sure, I’ll give it a go.

Speaker 1 5:50
I tend to be a very fly by the seat of my pants kind of person. I like to think that God’s in charge of when I’m presented with things I’m like, I’ll try it. Sure. I mean, well, I fail. I

Katy 6:04
love that man. Yes. I love that attitude. They’re like, what’s the worst that could happen? Right?

Alissa 6:08
They close down the plane at beach like right? And then what? You’re fine, right? I’m

Speaker 1 6:11
still fine. Yeah, still go find another job. You know, right. So I love how long did you own it? So I owned that one. I think we sold that one in 2000. Probably nine because I bought old Hammond he Oh, old Hammond was booming. So they opened Highland airline, okay. And I was like, Well, that was a mistake, because it’s not a big enough area. Okay. That was literally half of Yeah, a mile. And then everybody who lived in Perryville worked in Baton Rouge. So they’re stopping by the new one. They’re like, well, they have newer beds and newer bulbs and blah, blah, blah, blah. So it was just this thing and I was like, I’m getting out of okay, and then I bought old Hamon.

Katy 6:55
Okay, how did you decide to get into real estate? Was there something in between so tanning bed and so I

Speaker 1 7:01
ended up eventually, I was actually an opening coordinator for Planet beach. I started like opening locations in Florida and stuff like that way would send me to fix locations that weren’t doing well. And then they were kind of doing some things that I didn’t really agree with. And I saw the writing on the wall like this company is going to go down. Like it’s not going to last and it hasn’t. Like it doesn’t exist anymore. No. I mean, I don’t even know if they have any. I don’t know either. I don’t know if they have any. They turn into hot works. Have you seen them? Oh, yeah.

Katy 7:31
Where they do the hot yoga. Yeah, cuz we’re not supposed to be in tanning bed. Yes.

Alissa 7:36
I am a spray painter now. So

Speaker 1 7:38
yeah, so, um, from there, I was like, Okay, I sold that location in 2011. And I was like, I think I might want to be like a business consultant, like go into businesses that aren’t doing well, and show them what they could do to be better. Okay. And then I went to an LSU baseball game with a friend and it was in the suites and cypress title was doing the little. They were hosting, they were hosting got it. And they asked me if I wanted to be their new marketing rep. You’re like,

Alissa 8:10
you do what you do. And you say,

Katy 8:14
hey, what’s the worst that could happen? Right?

Speaker 1 8:16
So I was there for a couple years. And then I kept telling them, You guys, y’all have to open more locations. They only had that one location. Okay, and you have to open more locations after I left they ended up opening but but yeah, so okay.

Alissa 8:32
So working at the title company kind of gave you a map view of

Speaker 1 8:35
really fun of realtors. Right. So my job was to market to realtors and lenders. And you

Katy 8:43
won’t be the first title marketing person that just switched it did to they got their license. Yeah,

Speaker 1 8:48
right. The the lot. Yeah. So I left there. I got recruited to run a buyer’s team. Okay. at Keller Williams. Okay, so there was an agent there and he was like, I really think you would be great at running the buyer side. dopag. So basically, learning how to be a real estate agent, working with buyers only and then teaching other agents on the team how to be buyer’s agent.

Katy 9:14
Okay. At this point, though, you’re actually going out and working with buyers. Yeah, you’ve gotten like

Speaker 1 9:18
before I had my license. I was telling people I was getting my license. I was showing three people. Oh, like land. Okay. Like with with the with someone licensed someone breaking a law. Yeah, I was not breaking. I was showing with someone licensed. But when I did pass my test, I had two closings or three closings, like in a way. Yeah. Oh, yeah. It was great. You don’t hear that?

Katy 9:43
No, very rarely.

Speaker 1 9:45
And it was three people from my sphere that I had just told, Hey, I’m getting my real estate license. Yeah. Okay. So, um, it was great. And it was very high stress, though, you know, literally learning how to do everything on my own. Because the team leader had a ton of business on his own, he didn’t have a ton of time to teach me

Alissa 10:04
that once license, you went straight to being the buyer’s agent leader of this team. Yes. How many people buyers were you managing? Do you remember about

Speaker 1 10:14
how many eight buyer’s agents? Just one? Okay at the time? And then it was the two

Katy 10:20
of you working all the buyers, right? Was it sort of a traditional structure where team leader was doing all the listings? And the two of y’all were doing all the buyers? Yes. And then that team grew?

Speaker 1 10:31
Yes. Okay. But then I happened to there was an agent who referred a builder, okay, who would not work with men, he only wanted to work with women. And so I got sent out on that appointment. And that’s kind of how the design started because he was building a neighborhood behind Park View. And he had built these spec homes. He didn’t want to deal with custom builds, he only wanted to build spec, okay. And his spec homes were not selling. Ah, and so I was like, well, they’re way too masculine. You’ve got way too many dark colors going on. And so I started designing his new construction. And I started I think I was one of the first people to ever virtually stage a property probably in Baton Rouge. Oh, really figured out how to virtually stage the ones that weren’t selling Okay, and got people through the door and that’s you did it on your own like

Katy 11:28
we don’t shy guy or yes, that’s impressive. like Photoshop, like wow, like virtually brownie.

Speaker 1 11:34
Yeah, like, I send it to the builder. And he was like, This is amazing. You’re like, Thank you like, it looks so real. It looks like there’s actually furniture in there. And it got a ton of buyers interested in the neighborhood. The neighborhood was very hidden. Like you couldn’t see it from the street. You had to go through an old neighborhood to get there. But

Alissa 11:50
had you gone to school for design? How did how did absolutely not know that? Is this the first time you discovered you had that edu?

Speaker 1 11:58
I mean, when I was young, I would clean our house and rearrange, like the bookshelves and the furniture. I was always rearranging you’re born into it. Yeah, it was really just something into it. I decorated my family home growing up. Yeah, that’s like my mom was like, I don’t have any interest in writing. You do this? Yeah. Okay. How long

Katy 12:17
were you on the team? We’re gonna try to like, get through the fast forward through the story. Like, how long were you on the team?

Unknown Speaker 12:24
I was on a team for five years. Okay.

Katy 12:27
What made you leave the team? Like, what was the next thing that happened?

Speaker 1 12:31
So it was super stressful. I mean, closing 40 to 60 deals a year. And, you know, on the team, I was making half of my deals. Yeah. So it was bringing in half of the commission. And I had to be at the office every day for 830. But I was also a lot of times working when you’re working with buyers, you’re working evenings and weekends. Yeah. And I was writing contracts until 1011 o’clock at night, and was closing three to four deals a month. So you’re working a lot. Yeah. And then having to be at the office every morning. I was just super stressed out. And I was like, I don’t feel fulfilled. Like this is not so I moved to REMAX professionals, smaller brokerage.

Alissa 13:08
I didn’t know that either. Alissa’s learning

Katy 13:10
so much during this chat, which was a small at the time that

Speaker 1 13:15
40 agents office. Yeah, a lot of and I was pregnant. So that was kind of that kind of spurred the move to I was like, I can’t continue at this pace. The schedule wasn’t going to work. Right. And I, I loved all the experience that I got there. Yeah, I mean, if you want to get a ton of experience in a very short amount of time and real estate, yeah, go. Team life will get you there. Yeah, you will get there quick.

Katy 13:38
Okay. Are you willing to share with us the story that you told me and you can just tell me real quick. But I remember early on when we met you told me you know, I was asking about your background and the team and everything you said, when you were on the team, they they did a personality assessment, and then they told you what you should be doing, like what your optimal function would be on the team. Do you do your member

Alissa 13:58
personality test? Yeah. Do

Speaker 1 14:00
you know that? Yes. So at Keller Williams back when I was there, they were very into personality assessments, yeah, the disc and all these things. And you were kind of like put into positions based on these personality tests. Interesting, right? Well, I took the disc and it fit my role as the lead buyer’s agent. And then the owner of Keller Williams created his own personality assessment. Oh, that, that went out company wide. And so this was I was five years in at this point. Yeah. I took the personality assessment and it said that I should be someone’s personal assistant. And you were like, I don’t know. I was like, I feel completely just unseen right at this moment. Yeah. Because

Alissa 14:45
you’re like I are a leader. You’ve been leading this the whole time

Speaker 1 14:49
the whole time. And I felt like the leader of the team was kind of disappointed in my result results have been labeled out was labeled, and I just felt like, okay, and I was pregnant. And I was like, you know, all

Katy 15:06
this happened at the same time. So maybe it’s time for a little they want to demote you

Speaker 1 15:10
based off of the label. Um, I wanted to be able to do listings I wanted at five years, being five years at doing that many transactions. I was like, I want to be able to take on listings. Yeah, I felt like the leader there needed someone to do that. But he didn’t want to let that go. He had one other agent doing it. But it was like he didn’t want to put me in that role. He wanted me as his buyer’s agent, right. Certainly, because they tried to do away Yeah, someone who was just labeled either, right? labeled an assistant, a personal assistant. See, I

Alissa 15:42
can’t get I can’t. Yeah, at that

Katy 15:45
point, how many people were on the team, and then we’re gonna move on?

Unknown Speaker 15:48
Oh, probably, like

Katy 15:50
a case would have gotten pretty big. And it gotten big. Okay. Yeah. Interesting. Okay, so now you’ve gotten, you know, you’re out on your own, you’re just an individual, you’ve moved to a smaller office still at a big franchise? How did you end up opening a brokerage? Where, like, what is the backstory to this?

Speaker 1 16:05
So my husband got a job in Lake Charles from his hometown, okay. He was working for Exxon, he got moved, or he didn’t get moved, but he got offered a job. And he kind of couldn’t pass it up. So we moved there. And I didn’t really want to leave. Mike, I had so many past clients, I have built this large amount of past clients where I’m like, Look, I’ll just travel back and forth. If I have a client that wants to list I’m going to lists.

Katy 16:32
Okay, let’s, let’s clarify for the people who have no clue where like Charles is, I mean, how long of a drive was it two and

Speaker 1 16:38
a half hours? Okay, so you’re like, a listing appointment, I could do a listing appointment, you know, and I didn’t know if this job was going to be permanent, because he was also like, I don’t know, you know, this company isn’t great, which they turned out to be like, very unsafe, and like implant life came back. So after a year of being there, we came, right. So you basically didn’t want to leave your business here. I didn’t want to leave my business there. But I wanted to start possibly flipping homes and like Charles, like, the real estate, there’s a lot cheaper than in Baton Rouge. Right. And there’s less competition there. Yeah, which smaller town? So I was like, you know, and my husband was like, why don’t you just get your broker’s license, you know, and I was like, Ooh, I don’t want agents like, right? I think the team thing had really turned me off of like, you didn’t want to manage people at the time. You know, how much goes into? It’s a lot. Yeah, it is a lot. Managing people is a lot, right. So to hold another career, I decided, Okay, I’m gonna get my broker’s license, but I’m not having any agents. Which is good. It

Katy 17:41
worked out really well. That worked out.

Unknown Speaker 17:45
So I

Alissa 17:48
see, you’re still at REMAX.

Katy 17:50
Okay, but why didn’t you just go to a brokerage? They’re like, why did you like why didn’t you just join a broker there?

Speaker 1 17:57
Because you can’t be part of right. There wasn’t any there wasn’t a broker that was there. And in Baton Rouge,

Katy 18:02
you had to become a broker in order to work on various okay,

Speaker 1 18:07
because their MLS is completely different. Right in ours, and I had to be part of their board and,

Katy 18:12
and there were no brokers that crossed over because it really is far enough away that there weren’t most people would not work, but

Speaker 1 18:18
it was kind and did say she would join that, you know, yeah, that by MLM husband was like, no, just like, go get your broker’s license to do it. And then you can keep all your commissions Well, right. And you don’t have to pay fees and all this other stuff. So,

Katy 18:34
okay, but what’s the process to get your broker’s license difficult?

Speaker 1 18:37
No, it was essentially taking the test over again, the salesperson test. Yeah. And then at the end, you have like, these word problems, I guess you could say, like, what would you do in this situation? And what would you do in that situation? So that was about an hour, but you’re really just taking the real estate license exam all over again? Right? Plus the broker sec, plus the broker section, which is short. Okay. Um, I would say the hardest part was really like figuring out like, what all do I have to do with Laraque and right GE, like, GBR? Your kind of insurance do I need? Yes. And like ici agreement? So you know, like a,

Katy 19:20
I don’t even know what an ICA agreement is.

Unknown Speaker 19:22
I didn’t give you one.

Alissa 19:24
Oh, okay. And that’s why you don’t know. It’s basically

Speaker 1 19:26
I just don’t know the term. Yeah. So it’s basically an independent contractor agreement stating that, like, you’re not going to steal my brand, and you’re not going to steal my name.

Katy 19:35
I’ve had to sign a contract when I was at REMAX. Yes. Got it.

Speaker 1 19:39
So I’ve been working on my ICA agreement for about five years now. I see. I see. It’s just a fun project. So it keeps getting pushed. But I really need to like just hand it off to an attorney because I’ve learned some hard lessons with not having one Yeah, yeah. Okay. Good to know. Like that’s part of owning a business owning your business. was sotherly born 2017? Okay,

Alissa 20:04
I’ve loved the long time. Okay, almost seven years.

Katy 20:08
So it’s been six years. Did you know when you started sotherly, even though you just wanted to be you? Did you know it would be a design staging real estate firm from the beginning?

Speaker 1 20:19
I did, because I was like, This is great I can do, I can start charging now for because a lot of my past clients, the way that I would sell homes was unique in the fact that I would say, okay, like, you could totally buy this house, take down this wall, Do this, do that. And I will give them a list, right? And the things you can do, here’s some ideas on tile, here’s some floors, here’s this than the other and I was doing all that for free as a buyer’s agent, right? It was a service of your real estate, but yes, and so I also sold a lot more houses that way, because a lot of people don’t have vision, right? And so I was able to have that vision and give that to my buyers. But also the staging started, my brother called me and asked me to sell his house, okay, and when I walked in there, it looked like really, total bachelor pad like every piece of furniture had been handed down to him from some family member. And everything was brown. The walls were lime green, yellow and like neon yellow, and I was like, I can’t sell this. Like we’re going to have to do some painting. Yeah, I’m decluttering some furniture he’s like this all the furniture I have here so I went to court furniture. I rented furniture. Okay, I bought some rugs. And I staged his house and it sold for list price in like five days. Did he like it? He Yes, he wanted to live there after I finished that. Yeah, and that’s the response that I get from so many sellers is now that you’ve done all this we wish we could stay like we almost don’t even want to sell our house because we wish we had done all this for years and we didn’t have the right you didn’t they didn’t know Right? They didn’t know what to do how to do it like this house can’t be fixed. You can fix most houses in two to three months. Okay,

Katy 22:11
so with the market the way it is now and a lot of sellers feeling like they’re stuck Do you feel like you’re in this very good position though with your company to be like, Hey,

Speaker 1 22:22
I do like feel extremely fortunate they started this

Katy 22:27
Yeah, cuz you’re like don’t worry you can’t move we have the service you need just redesign your house or add on to your house or remodel something.

Speaker 1 22:35
I’m in the process right now of redoing our website and having like a full menu of like pre list and if you’re listing with us what that comes with and yeah, staging and all that kind of stuff, because yeah, we can stay we have two giant storage units full of furniture and books and all kinds of things to stage with and yeah, you know, I’ve had so much experience with paint colors. I absolutely love paint. I have a paint guide that I did and it’s actually just started giving it away for free it’s my freebie. Oh, I

Katy 23:07
love that so linked the paint guide yeah oh no. Yeah.

Speaker 1 23:10
Okay guide has a lot of like different paint colors that you can put together that for interior or exterior all of that

Katy 23:18
I love that as people need help with their pain

Speaker 1 23:22
they do I mean, I went into a house recently to do design and they had painted the baseboards one color white and the walls and other color white and like the baseboards are like peach. Oh, and I was like, Oh guys, the baseboards are peach, like I didn’t even want to say it painted the house. Right? We don’t want to hurt me like I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. But, you know, they have to know it was they have to know I’m good. Okay, like we never have picked paint. Shops.

Katy 23:49
Right? Nobody knows. All right. So the design services were all always there. What are the design services actually tell us the structure of the office? who’s like, who’s working there now because we really haven’t touched on the fact that it’s not just you as the designer, right? So tell us about sotherly and how its structured today.

Speaker 1 24:08
Okay, so we have several agents, several real estate agent right and then we have a lot of our real estate agents are interested in staging and design so they like to come help me on projects. So we have Megan who will come help on projects. I have Jennifer who is a retiree but loves interior design and she’s helping on projects. And so I have like a handyman now who comes to all the project love it and can hang curtains and do all the like handy things that we’ve done. Kate Lambert helps us a lot with our new builds. She’s like an expert in new build construction

Katy 24:47
and she has her real estate license right has it really lightly does design work at this

Speaker 1 24:51
she only does design work. She figured she works with so many builders that she was like if a builder wants me to list then at least I have my wife soon, right. And brandy can help me list the property like we could co list together. Yeah.

Katy 25:04
So I mean, that makes sense. So you have designers, you have agents, and then you have some that sort of crossover. So it’s a nice mix, but they all work together anyway. Yeah. And I think having that like, I’ve taken a listing before I’m like, Look, this old brick house needs new, a new front door and shutter colors. Can you like pop over now my clients, being able to tell my seller might look, the design, the design lead from our office is gonna come pick you a color, put it on the shutters, and yeah, once you know, you picked a lovely color and it looked great, great door great shutters, I thought it looked a million times better. They were. They were it was the inheritance. So there was four siblings that were like fighting over how to get the house ready. Yeah. And when they painted them, they were like, oh, no, I think y’all for the record, it was orange before right. It was orange brick morn shutters, orange doors, interior was orange. Everything was hideous. It was bearable. The shutter color you picked was a very neutral, like off white ish color. I mean, I don’t know what I would call it anyway. And the nice like, green blue. It was beautiful. They were like so and so one of the siblings doesn’t thinks that the shutters are too light. And I’m just like, Okay, well, I’ll come take a spin buy in two days. And don’t you know, in two days, they had all looked at it long enough that they were like, Yeah, I mean, because at first I was like, this isn’t mom’s house anymore, right?

Speaker 1 26:25
It’s very hard when people have people have emotional attachment to their home colors. And their mom loved orange. Yeah. So

Katy 26:34
in two days, they were like, you’re right, this looks good. Like, I was so quick, it totally so quick. They made all the right changes. So and I

Speaker 1 26:44
think it’s easier sometimes with sellers, when you have me come in and say this is what needs to be done. Because you’re not having to hurt their feelings. Yeah. And I never have to talk to him again. You’re just a third party expert, you just swoop in and be like swear to God. Right? It

Katy 26:57
really is a system that works. Yeah. Okay. So what if their agents right now, especially in this market that are maybe struggling a little bit? Or maybe they’re just design, you know, interested? Or have that talent or skill? Like how would you recommend someone add design services into their business?

Speaker 1 27:15
Well, I think the best way to start is to charge hourly. So decide what you want to get paid hourly, and tell your clients like, look, I’m charging $50 an hour for design services. Here’s some of the homes that I’ve helped with. Think having pictures of things that you’ve done in the past is really helpful clients, they people are visual, they need to see what you’ve worked on. And if you’ll have the same kind of taste. Yeah, but I think it’s totally doable to charge hourly, and they can Venmo you or you can really get a QuickBooks account. And you know, I when I do charge hourly I list out, you know what I did? That way they can see right, people can tend to forget what you have done. So I think it’s great to like list out I spent 10 hours and this is what I did in those times. Right? And then it’s an extra source of income for a lot of agents are interested in design. But yeah, I love I still love going show well house,

Katy 28:06
it’s the agents that when they got into real estate said, I just love looking at houses and they really meant it. Yeah, like they’re typically a little more designed and like your

Speaker 1 28:15
house, like you’re great at dissolve your houses. You know what I’m saying? Like you’re able to help people right now, a subway tile, or you know what I’m saying? Yeah, like,

Katy 28:26
I mean, every agent that has that kind of design feel has at some point, given a seller or a buyer advice that they took and worked out. I mean, it’s going to be pretty easy to go snap a photo or like Yeah, before and after of a listing where you were like, well, you need to paint this kitchen, ballet white, you know, and then it looked better.

Speaker 1 28:43
And the other thing that I find is that an interior designer is going to charge 250 an hour to give you advice, right? So if you have a realtor in your corner that is good at these things, and can charge 5075 Even $100 an hour. I mean, that’s and is a vandal bot of interior designers that are doing really well they don’t have time to like come help you pick paint colors or help you pick out tile or help you they don’t want an ala carte thing. No, they want like jobs that are $100,000 or more. Yeah, as far as so there

Katy 29:18
is actually a little niche in the market there. I

Unknown Speaker 29:21
thought that was a great niche. Yeah, I

Katy 29:22
agree with that completely. So what design services are you in the office offering now? Like, do you have kind of an ala carte menu or how does that go?

Speaker 1 29:31
So our design services right now are you have to have a budget of at least $15,000 to hire design. Okay on that side. So if you’re redoing your living room, and you want to spend at least $15,000 Then on new furnishing, yes and yes, so not 15,000 for your designer, but 15,000 to do the project, whatever project you’re doing. I do take on smaller projects. On this side, if it is one of my past clients, yeah, if my past client calls me and says I need paint colors, all right, we’ll do that. Or like when an

Katy 30:07
agent in your office is like, can you help me get a paint color for my dining room?

Speaker 1 30:11
Yes, I will absolutely be the eggs. So yeah, I don’t mind doing like small projects for my sphere of people, right, that have helped me get to where I am. And then like a lot of agents like you and Alyssa and other agents have sent me a ton of remodel business. Yeah. So I mean, our design business is majority new build, remodels. Were due doing a lot of Airbnb use right now. So you do like the furnishing, we do read your renovation and furnish remodeling and furnishing. So those hard to sell houses that kind of backup to the interstate or have something funky about them that are just hard to sell. A lot of investors are buying those as Airbnbs right now. And then we’re kind of going in renovating doing light renovations, not you know, our renovation budget is usually under 100k. Okay, for Airbnb, and then it costs usually about 30,000 To furnish it, and is that your contractor? I do have a contractor that I like to use. If my client chooses to not go with his quote, then they can use another contractor. But I’m kind of getting to the point where I don’t know if I might continue to do that. Right. Because like, Andre with

Alissa 31:28
all these horrible, yeah. People to communicate with

Speaker 1 31:31
Well, that and, you know, my contractor knows me, he understands what I like, yeah, he knows when to ask questions and when to just like, get it done. And I know that his work is quality, right? This last Airbnb we did, they decided to go with a really cheap contractor. And when they put in one of the vanities in the bathroom, he was trying to shove it at Oh, no. Busted a line, a very small leak in the wall. So weeks later, I’m like, I see something like on the baseboard. I think there’s water here. And they had to rip it out. We had to tear out the master bathroom. We had to tear out the laundry. Like the walls

Alissa 32:17
do model to go to all of the options because they

Speaker 1 32:21
went with a cheap contractor that nobody knew. You know, it’s like one thing if my client knows them, and they’re Yeah, they’re rely on my friends have used them this is they have great work. But like when you just pick a contractor out of thin air right now which are

Katy 32:34
no you don’t know what you’re getting. Wow, better to have embedded. Okay, can we take a little turn here? Sure. You’re like, I don’t know where you’re going? Because it wasn’t on your list. Oh, man. crapless don’t sweat. I want to talk about your Instagram. Okay, how did you grow it because I think it was a little unique. And people don’t always think about this, but like, tell people what you post on the office Instagram, how you grew it and kind of like the the origin of that.

Speaker 1 33:00
Okay, so I originally started that Instagram when I was pregnant with my son, right when I had switched to REMAX professional, I love design. And I was like, I just want like a page where everything I love is there you are sort of a Pinterest board and like a Pinterest board. It was on Instagram for anybody to actually like go like and see and whatever. It was just me right. And it was kind of like my morning ritual. Like I would sit there with my coffee and like, find things I like and repost them to my Instagram because it was also like, I tend to be like squirrel, you know when it comes to design because I love everything beautiful. I love contemporary I love but I’m also like very much at my roots. I love old houses. Yeah, so I just wanted everything in one place and I just kept posting every single day for five years straight. And then Cameron took over and was posting when I got super busy. You know, I was like I just can’t post everyday anymore and I had like this theme going on Mondays I did one thing on Tuesdays I did transformation Tuesday for you. So she we sat down and she followed that trend for me. So that helped it grow a lot. And she made a post that ended up on like the Instagram homepage. And so that brought a ton of followers and then I made a post was still a repost of so it wasn’t a post of someone’s at

Katy 34:31
least we’re always you are giving credit to the original poster.

Speaker 1 34:34
And I always was like, hey, this house is by this person, this person, you know, right. But I think it showcased my style so that when I did start to attract clients from it, they were they liked the style that I like, right, it was easier, you know, to get clients Yeah,

Katy 34:52
I guess my point for this and where I’m trying to drive you and you got there is that if you’re brand new at this and you’ve never designed anything for any One but if you have a body of work that shows what you like, yes, then it’s easy for someone to be like, Oh, that’s the style I like to write. Did you get clients off of Instagram?

Speaker 1 35:11
I still to this day get clients off of Instagram that you don’t know in any way. Other than they found you on Instagram. They’ve they messaged me, I’m doing a house right now and copper mill furnishing the whole house. And it was based off of her seeing my Instagram.

Katy 35:27
Where are you using? How did they know? Where were you? Like, were you using a local hashtag? Or I always

Speaker 1 35:33
use hashtags. But I saved them in my notes. So I had 30 hashtags, or I had like, 25. Okay, and then I would add five that had to do with that post. Oh, yeah. That was the only thing that I did. Yeah, I never ran ads. Right. I’ve never run. I don’t even know how to run an Instagram ad. Yeah.

Katy 35:52
I mean, what,

Speaker 1 35:53
what does that account like? 1415 16,000 followers, that’s a lot. And the one that the the real that got us the most new followers was I had accidentally let a client’s dog in the house one day. And it was an outside dog. And she wasn’t there. And I let myself into take measurements. And I was like, here’s a milk bone. And the dog was like, No, thank you, ma’am. And then I went got like some cheese crackers. And the dog was like, Yeah, I’ll do that. So I threw him outside. And I did a like a five second reel. And it got 180,000 views. And I you tried to lose 10,000 new followers from the dog video, the dog video. But the point of it is, is I’ve been posting for five years every day, I’ve been consistent, right?

Katy 36:40
So when I went to see the dog video, there was notable houses,

Alissa 36:43
this is

Speaker 1 36:44
a lot of beautiful houses that I like. And so I really just think when it comes to real estate, when it comes to design, that you have to be authentic. Like, don’t copy other people don’t copy other realtors don’t copy other designers. Post what you like, yeah, if you love cheese boards post about cheese board, right? If you love, you know, like whatever it is you love. That is who you have to be Yeah, in order to attract your ideal clientele. Because if you try to be like somebody else, you’re gonna attract clientele that are not like you. Mm hmm. And you’re gonna be miserable. Right? And whatever field you’re in, right,

Katy 37:23
right. I love that. Where do you see yourself going? In the future? You your business, whatever you’d like to share with us.

Speaker 1 37:31
So I see opening two offices side by side, I see a white building and a dark building.

Katy 37:38
Okay. Are the are the evil people? The realtors? Yeah,

Speaker 1 37:43
the dark building is the design, the design, the white building is the real estate guy, then we can all like, I think that this business, what I have created, it’s so it goes so well together, because I have been on a design appointment. And when I mentioned that I’m a real estate broker. They’re like, we’re gonna have you sell our house. Right? And so and this, it goes vice versa, like a lot of my past clients are my design client. Yeah, right.

Katy 38:15
Well, that’s a really nice way to and you can and you can

Speaker 1 38:19
give back and forth to each other by you know, like, you’re Katie. Here’s one in your neighborhood.

Alissa 38:23
Yeah. And then you’re making up with each other without them having to sell their house. Well, right. Right.

Speaker 1 38:28
Because I’m really not. I don’t want to do it. Like I would rather hand something. Yeah, Haiti rather, to somebody rather

Katy 38:35
do the design work at this point? Yes. Okay. But I do like the point that if people are going to start staying in their houses 710 15 years, you’re you don’t want to work with them once every 10 years, right? You’re giving them design services that’s going to come up multiple times in the course of that 10 years,

Speaker 1 38:54
it really has helped my real estate business as far as getting Pat like I in the beginning, I would have past clients that two years in they’re like I couldn’t remember your name to call you. Right, you know, and I I wasn’t always the best at follow up that way. I have not always been the best at long. I know you’re busy

Katy 39:14
and you have lots of jobs. Do you advertise to your like spear? Do you need to at this point, you can’t because you wouldn’t be able

Speaker 1 39:21
to have more business than I can possibly handle handle right now. So I’m trying to figure out how to do all the business I mean, that’s a great problem to have a great problem to have, especially in this economy. Yeah. I am forever grateful for the path that I have been led down to end up here. Yeah. And I want what I want to do is be able to sit down and I’m working on this now with the website revival is do some actual guides on how to stage your home and so that way, like I know that I’m too busy to help everybody so we help more How can I help more people when it comes to that’s why I did the pink Guide. Yeah, I had so many Realtors calling me like, What color? Should I paint this house? And I didn’t have time to sit down and say, These are the colors, you should paint that house. Right. But at least I could do a guide and hand that out to people, you know. So I guides on even like, I have past clients that call me like, how do I stage my console table in my foyer, right? Like, I want to do something like that, ya know, I’d love to have that as a guide. Like, I would love people to be able to go to our website and just click click, click Oh, yeah, get pink colors. Yeah. How do you style your living room and your console and your outdoor area? Yeah, that’s nice. You know, that would be so helpful. Yes, because people need help, right? People. But you’re only one you can only help so many. Yeah. And my style is, you know, everybody’s style is different. Right? You’re gonna give people different advice on how to style a console than I am. Right? So it’s just

Katy 40:48
Okay. And do we want to share before we wrap up, the reason why I came to your office was because you Instagram messaged me and said, Hey, I see that you’re really interested in staging because that’s what I was posting. Yeah, I think you might be a good fit for the office. And I’m like, Well, maybe and you know, that we became friends. And then we talked for a while, and then I came to the office after a while. I just think that it proves that having a niche and then seeking out the other people that will work within that niche can be very successful.

Alissa 41:19
Well, you were very selective.

Speaker 1 41:20
And you want you are one of two people that I’ve ever contacted. Very nice. And that is the hard thing about having a brokerage. Yes. I’ve had to turn a lot of people away, because I think that we don’t align in what they write

Alissa 41:34
and what I what I find that so refreshing, right? Because we’re so used to, you know, quantity of agents. Yeah. Teams. I’m all about growth wise.

Katy 41:44
Yeah, that fast line, right. And I think it makes sense. Because you can then confidently send your agents out and know they’re not going to list a house that is hideous, and you know, not staged and doesn’t reflect the business because you’re putting the same sign in the yard either way, right.

Speaker 1 41:59
And I’ve yeah, I’ve actually had to have come to Jesus moments with people and say, this isn’t a good fit. You’re right. It’s it’s not easy to do that. Yeah, I am not good at hurting other people’s feelings. No, you don’t want to and I don’t want to. But at the end of the day, I think that everybody has a place and everybody has a community. Yeah. And so they just need to find their community.

Katy 42:21
But I like that you’re more selective now about who you take into the office. And it’s better to have a small group, but as long as they it all aligns, then it’s easy for you to kind of keep it consistent.

Speaker 1 42:32
And it’s easier for everybody to get along. Yeah, like when we meet up and do things. It’s not awkward because you have right?

Alissa 42:38
Well, one that’s two different that just never fit in, right. And

Katy 42:41
any one of us would be happy to go and help you stage something and we would be entertain or go back. Oh, you need us to go buy books for the bookshelf. Yeah, no problem. Right to be right on that. So it is kind of nice for that too. Yeah. Do you have any other questions? Alyssa, have you learned so much today?

Alissa 42:58
Yeah. If I’ve been quiet, it’s because I am not a designer. And I’m just fascinated listening to the two of you talk. I actually even thought I was like, I mean, I don’t, I feel like Katie could just interview brandy, because like, I’m not gonna have anything. We’re happy that you were here. I would go interview and she’d be like, listen, you’re just not a good fit. you state your property? You do? She?

Speaker 1 43:27
She believes in it. You also believe in the condition of the property? Oh, yeah. I mean, I get it. Like sometimes you have investment properties that you’re listing. And I’m not saying that ever. Perfect, have to be perfect, right. But you do understand that it needs to be done. They need to be in good condition. And not just but there’s got to be some curb appeal. Yeah, gotta be some judging. Rice. Okay.

Katy 43:54
Did you bring a toast for us today?

Speaker 1 43:56
I did. I wanted to toast Jennifer Henson, who started with us recently over the past couple months.

Katy 44:02
I haven’t even met Jennifer now. I gotta, I gotta see this lady.

Speaker 1 44:05
I know. Okay, well, tell us about Jennifer. So she worked at Blue Cross for I think 20 Something year, wow. retired from there and love it. You know, just was like, I don’t want to sit at home. And she’s done great with her home and picking new colors on her own and doing things and she’s like, I just want to help like, whatever capacity that is, whether it’s ordering furniture or steaming curtains or whatever, she just wants to be in the environment. She wants to be in the environment of it. And I love that and so yeah, did

Alissa 44:40
she approach you or how did that this come to be?

Speaker 1 44:43
Well, we just been talking and just it just, you know, she was she had started working for another company. And she was like, I just don’t think this is for me. Like I just don’t know what to do with my life. You know,

Katy 44:54
but how did you note was she like a personal friend? Yeah, she’s actually

Unknown Speaker 44:57
my aunt.

Katy 44:58
Oh, I love it. Oh, this is good. Okay, well cheers to Jennifer. I can’t wait to meet her now. I’m so excited. And everybody like

Unknown Speaker 45:09
Megan met her and she was like, okay, yes, she’s definitely you’re like,

Katy 45:13
oh my gosh, that’s funny. Okay, any parting words for the audience? No.

Alissa 45:20
This was so good. It would just be spray yourself. It’s great at bat and ice like yourself. You are just taking the opportunities that come to you. Yes, like very much. Yeah, you can buy a plane to beach. Sure. You got to be manager. Sure. You want to be buyers later? Sure.

Speaker 1 45:36
I’m like, oh, you know, I know that one day we’ll have an office and those things. I’m just waiting for the right offer. I

Katy 45:42
like that you’re always in a kind of a growth mode. Yeah.

Speaker 1 45:45
I am very much in a growth mode. I do think that eventually, the company will be big and Empire. I love that.

Katy 45:54
I mean, you’ve only been you’ve only been in real estate. 10 years. You’ve only had this office for six. Yeah, I know. Yes. So

Alissa 46:01
you’re just a baby. Right? You are a little baby

Unknown Speaker 46:04
office is 42 year old baby. You’re gonna get

Katy 46:07
amazing things are gonna happen. Well, thank you for being here. Especially y’all for having me. Very excited. We like to have you here. Okay, so everyone, go check out brandy and look in the show notes for her paint guide. Yes. And they should find you sotherly What’s your Instagram is sotherly underscore LA. Okay, so y’all go check out all of the beautiful houses. Thank you. Thank you. Goodbye. Thank you so

Alissa 46:32
much for tuning in to the hustle humbly podcast.

Katy 46:35
If you enjoy this episode, please go to rate this podcast.com/hustle humbly and leave us a review or drop a comment if you’re listening on Spotify. If you have

Alissa 46:43
an episode topic or someone you’d like to toast on the show, please email us at team at hustle humbly podcast.com

Katy 46:50
Find us on social media at hustle humbly podcast. Don’t forget to find all of the free resources at hustle humbly podcast.com/resources See you next

Alissa 46:59
week. This is the good life

Two Realtors fostering community over competition through light-hearted conversations.



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