When it comes to quality and knowledge, Century 21® affiliated agents can’t be topped. In our new spotlight series, get to know Century 21 agents as they share their experiences with the CENTURY 21 System and some of their best advice for reaching the top of the real estate market.
This month, we sat down with Christa Lowry of CENTURY 21 Hometown Realty to learn more about what it’s like to be one of the top agents on California’s Central Coast. Read on for Christa’s story and the great advice she had to share.
Why CENTURY 21?
CENTURY 21: What made you want to be a real estate agent?
Christa: I always wanted to sell real estate because I am a natural sales person. I love business and the home buying and selling process always intrigued me as a buyer. I love to help people and what better way to help people than to assist them in making their real estate dreams come true?! I already had a career, but knew that someday I would transition into real estate.
CENTURY 21: Did you always want to be a real estate agent? If not, what were you doing before?
Christa: I went to college as a business student with a minor in interior design, but I also had an eye for fashion and a desire to own a salon, so after college I received my cosmetology license and had a salon for 23 years. I got my real estate license in 2009 and did both for a while until 2012 when I decided to retire from the beauty business and sell my salon, allowing me to do real estate full time.
CENTURY 21: What attracted you to Century 21 Real Estate?
Christa: I bought a house in 2003 with a Century 21 Agent as my buyer’s agent and a problem arose with a pest company. My agent’s broker, Amy Gallagher, came to my agent’s rescue and faced the problem head on. She impressed me so much that I remember that day telling myself that if I ever did become an agent I would possibly want to work with her because of how she went to bat for her agent. When I got my license, I interviewed every good real estate company on the central coast and decided on a CENTURY 21 Company, not only because I loved Amy, but also because I felt that a CENTURY 21 Company was going to give me the training and support I needed as a new agent. I knew the market was going to get better and I only had a short period of time to get educated before the market picked up and I wanted to be ready. The CENTURY 21 Company was the company to help me do that and it did!!
CENTURY 21: What was it like to sell your first home?
Christa: I’ll never forget the feeling of selling my first home. I sold it to a family my son went to school with and they never thought they could afford to buy a home. I encouraged them to talk to a lender I knew and it worked out!! We found the perfect home for them in the first week and they couldn’t believe how easy it was. What a great feeling to see their dream of owning a home become a reality.
CENTURY 21: Can you describe what it felt like when you handed over your first set of keys to your client(s) on your first sale?
Christa: The morning we closed on the house I made a large basket full of things that I knew they would love (in colors I had noticed they would be decorating in) and also their favorite wine, of course. We met at the property and as I handed them the key they both started crying and their kids were all hugging them. It was an incredible moment and one I will never forget. It was at that moment that I was hooked.
CENTURY 21: Do you still feel this way when you close a sale?
Christa: All my closings have been so different. My clients are all so unique. I still do great closing gifts that are personalized, but not everybody is as emotional about receiving keys to their new home. I would say it is half and half but I still get very excited the morning I wake up and realize that it is the day I get to close another property. I still make a 100% effort to make it as special as possible for my clients.
CENTURY 21: Are you close with any of the families you’ve sold homes to?
Christa: It’s funny, but I would say that my clients are now all of my friends! A lot of the time they are the ones I talk to the most, socialize with, work out with, and meet with for wine or lunch. I get invited to their events and every year I do a client appreciation party at a winery or fun venue. Once someone closes a deal with me or refers me, they are part of the Christa Lowry Real Estate family and get an invite every year so a lot of them have gotten to know each other and look forward to seeing each other every year, which is fun. I am trying to create a community of people that all know each other and remember me when they see each other.
CENTURY 21: Have you had any clients return to you or recommend you?
Christa: I am seeing a huge change in my business in the last year with referrals. I am also starting to work with clients for the second or even third time as the years go by. It’s very exciting when they come back to me. I reward referrals. They get put into a drawing at the end of the year and I give away gifts to those who have referred me, including a weekend getaway at a 5-star resort in our area. Clients eat that up and I think I have gotten some referrals because of that and also the great service I give them and the friendships I retain along the way. Staying in contact is the best way!
Central California Real Estate
CENTURY 21: What is the market like in Central California?
Christa: The market is hot in California. If your home is priced right it will sell within a few days to 2 weeks. I have several homes I have sold in 1-2 days for over asking price this last year.
CENTURY 21: Can you describe the different types of clients you encounter in Central California?
Christa: Clients in California—if you are working in the higher end market such as myself—can be pretty demanding and high maintenance. I treat all of my clients the same whether they are buying a mobile home or a million dollar home. They all get top notch service but I have to say that the higher end can be very needy. I am lucky because I worked with a lot of clients like that in the salon business so I know how to work with those types and meet their needs. I also work with normal middle class families just trying to work hard and make a decent life for their families. I find these to be the most rewarding to be honest although I can’t deny I appreciate the commissions of the higher end market.
CENTURY 21: What’s important to your clients and what are they looking for in Central California?
Christa: Clients here in Central California are looking for a relaxed way of life. They are all trying to get away from the rat race and most people who live here love views and want to be close to outdoor activities such a hiking trails, beaches and natural beauty. They want a good value in a home, but they also know that people who live here get a lot less home for a lot more money and are willing to pay it because of our way of life here and our community and small town feel.
CENTURY 21: What are the challenges you and your clients face in your area?
Christa: One challenge we face here would be the lending process. It can be difficult. I am very blessed that through trial and error I have a team of lenders I work very well with that can make it happen for my clients. We also deal with high prices for smaller homes so sometimes it is hard for middle class families with kids to make it here. Most of the time both parents have to work and that can be hard with small children but most find it worth it because of the low crime and it’s a great place to raise a family.
CENTURY 21 Support
CENTURY 21: What are the benefits of working with Century 21 Real Estate vs. other real estate agencies?
Christa: Systems, support, awards, great brokers, local, national, and global recognition, integrity and awesome conventions with top agent retreats make this company the best!!!
CENTURY 21: How has Century 21 Real Estate helped you establish yourself?
Christa: The brand name has helped because it is a name people trust. Also, on the central coast, the CENTURY 21 Company does twice as much business as the next leading competitor so the brand is very well known and is also known for having the best trained agents in the business and agents who have integrity which is very important to me. They have included me in local commercials and they’ve had great training sessions and seminars to set me up in all aspects of my business and brand.
CENTURY 21: What are the biggest challenges you face as an agent and how has Century 21 Real Estate helped you overcome them?
Christa: I think my biggest challenge right now is a low inventory. It is so frustrating but it has encouraged me to door knock and to be creative by looking at expired listings and thinking outside the box to find the right home for my clients and also to get more listings. Brett Noel, our trainer, is always teaching us ways to work with expired listings, door knocking and really encouraging us to go out and get the business.
CENTURY 21: What is your favorite tool to use as an agent that’s provided by Century 21 Real Estate?
Christa: My favorite tool is probably Toolkit CMA™. I use it all the time. Between the property tour presentations and the marketing and Toolkit CMA presentations that look so professional, I think that is my favorite. THE GOLDEN RULER® is great too and I love CENTURY 21 Business Builder® because it is so easy to send new listings to my whole sphere of influence and also monthly newsletters to keep in touch.
CENTURY 21: You’ve received some impressive awards! How does it feel to be recognized in your field and by Century 21 Real Estate?
Christa: I am so honored and excited to have been able to reach my goals with Century 21 Real Estate and having received these awards and all this recognition has helped not only my confidence, but I use it in my business to help brand myself. I am striving to continue to reach even higher levels every year and have exceeded my financial goals every year since I went full time which is so exciting. I think that working for a company that recognizes your hard work pushes you to work harder and achieve even higher awards. I am sold out for Century 21 Real Estate. I have companies calling me almost weekly asking me to work for them who promise me that I would make so much more money and pay way less of my commission to keep for myself, but Century 21 is my family and you can’t put a price on that. I feel that Century 21 Real Estate has the systems in place to help me achieve my goals and that means the world to me. Working for a company that celebrates your achievements with you and gives you the tools and support to succeed is hard to find and Century 21 Real Estate has it ALL!
CENTURY 21: What would you say to an agent who is considering making the move to Century 21 Real Estate?
Christa: I would say to agents who work for another company to really ask themselves if the company they are working for is making them a better person and agent or if they are just taking from them and using them for the bottom dollar. Century 21 Real Estate is a family and we are all here to help each other and support each other backed up by great leaders and that there is no better place to thrive as a person and as an agent. The tools and support you get as an agent with Century 21 Real Estate are impossible to find anywhere else.
Tips & Advice
CENTURY 21: How do you stay on top of new trends and new technology in your field?
Christa: I work closely with social networks to make sure that I am staying on top of what is new and current in social media. I comb through successful agents’ profiles to see what they are doing and I also watch daily or weekly Tom Ferry posts. I love the updates that Rick Davidson does and I read all the real estate magazines that come in the mail and Google agents from San Francisco and LA to see what they are doing. I was a part of Rising Professionals Network and I can say that single handedly helped me take my business to the next level and I increased my sales that year 3x. Awesome program.
CENTURY 21: What apps do you use to help your business?
Christa: I use the CENTURY 21 app, the Open House App, Ripple app for social marketing graphics, Kings Mortgage app, SkySlope app—all social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
CENTURY 21: What are the qualities that make a successful agent in your opinion?
Christa: The qualities a great agent has to possess are integrity and honesty. Looking out for your client is #1. Treating people with dignity and looking out for their best interests no matter what is key. I also think you need to be outgoing, love people, want to help others, be able to think outside the box, be self-motivated, be able to push through when things get difficult, be a great negotiator, and you have to LISTEN TO YOUR CLIENTS!!! I believe that a great agent has to learn from every mistake and be able to understand that nobody is perfect and that making mistakes is part of learning and growing. I also believe that if you want to be a great agent you have to be balanced so you don’t burn out. Being balanced with your health, your mind, and your spirit is something you need to nurture every day. Making goals, time blocking, and making family a top priority are all must haves if you want to be successful long-term.
Stay tuned for another agent spotlight coming next month!