Tell us about yourself?
I am the founder of Energy Realty, a small boutique real estate company. I opened my first office 10 years ago, and now I have opened my second office in Katy.
With over 45 agents on my team, I provide myself on leading a team of professionals that is changing the way we do real estate in Houston.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
I have always believed that no one can sell your business or service better than the owner of the company, so you have to be present.
That holds true today and I don’t leave my business to employees to run. I lead by example.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Take a long vacation before your start your own business because a long vacation is more difficult when you are running your own business.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
Absolutely- when it is your business, it is hard to leave it in the hands of someone else. I also believe that we work better when we have an occasional break.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
The name, logo, and orange branding was my idea (with the help of friends) and has made us distinctive since I opened 10 years ago.
I am the kind of person that I just jump in and figure things out and I have continued to improve what I offer as a broker and a Realtor every year.
Last year, I signed up with a technology brokerage out of California and i am able to compete with large brokerages with my technology package.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
White Glove Service no matter what price our clients are in. We stage every house that we list at our costs as part of our marketing package. In order to sell a home you need the right presentation and the right price, and our presentation is always top notch because of staging.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
I have continued to grow every year, and last year was our best year ever. I advise that you have to continue to set goals and evolve with the industry and market.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
I have overcome many challenges since I opened, including the year that Harvey flooded my two homes and my office. I set up a temporary office and then kept on working. Agents needed to work and out clients needed homes.
What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?
No Income Tax so the cost to run a business in Texas is fairly low.
Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?
The summer heat makes showing homes difficult.
Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?
I love the diversity in Houston and because we specialize in relocation and we speak over 10 languages in my office, we work with a lot of international clients. Since I also speak some French, Energy Realty is well-known in the international community.
It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?
I keep politics out of my business. I do not want a client to make decision to hire me or not based on my political affiliation.
With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?
A home is a commodity that will not go away, just like food and gas. Everyone will need a place to live–the question is will they rent or buy. We will have to continue to educate our agents and our clients as interest rates change so they know how to pivot with the changing market.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?
Open a second office closer to town and have 100 agents.