Teamwork, service add to the bottom line
"Real estate, like nursing, is a service industry," Lee Reeves says. "If you don't provide good service, you don't get referrals, and that's where the business comes from." A sales associate at the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate office in Cape Coral, Reeves has been working full time in real estate since mid-2006. The bottom fell out of his yacht charter business after September 11th. "We went from 20 to 30 calls a month to zero. Nothing. I dusted off my nursing license and worked in an emergency room for almost five years."
Managing broker Tom Gunkelman is impressed with Reeves' focus. "Lee began his real estate career by making personal contact with everyone he knows. He believes strong eye contact, a firm, warm handshake, together with a smile can form an important bond between client and agent. Lee transacted 20 closed properties totaling more than $5,200,000 in his first year."
Reeves missed out on, as he calls it, the luxury of easy deals. "When I started, the market had already turned. I've been extremely fortunate – more than I deserve." He's now working through even more drastic changes in the market, as he begins to handle bank foreclosures in an already inventory-rich market. "It's a good time to be buying," he says.
Reeves uses every tool available to succeed, from technology to old-fashioned manpower.
"Lee believes in the team approach to real estate sales," says Gunkelmen, "and has formed a team of agents to further elevate the level of customer service provided. Ideas are shared, advertising and marketing dollars are pooled."
Reeves works with agent Erika Rodriquez, for example, who aids with the growing Hispanic market and "is 10 times more organized than I am," Lee says.
"I wish I'd been in real estate 25 years ago," Lee said. "It's certainly my calling." Reeves carries a laptop with a Verizon wireless card to access forms and the Internet from wherever he is located, and he has a printer installed in his car. "I work seven days a week. If the phone rings I answer it. If I say something, I do it.
"I haven't yet learned the ability to say 'enough is enough'."