Behind the Scenes: Kelly Hude
Kelly Hude has been a licensed real estate agent with RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals (RE/MAX) of Lansing since 2005. Hude has a paralegal background, but her real estate career began in 1999 in Seattle, before she returned to her hometown of Mason, Mich. in 2003. She worked with TMN Builders for two years before moving on to RE/MAX, where she now provides residential services for Greater Lansing.
How many realtors do you think are in Greater Lansing?
A little over a thousand. When I first joined in 2003 we had around 1,700, but when the market took a hit, the number dropped. I believe that number is rebounding now.
How do you compete with over a thousand realtors in the area for business?
Now that I’m more established, I have a referral base, so most of my clients come from referrals from another client. I’m always working on new business. I don’t really look at it as competing; fellow agents are my colleagues. They help me sell homes, too. There is enough business to go around for everyone.
What do you think is the key to your success?
I work very hard. I work seven days a week — but I think it’s because I care. I honestly treat my clients like family. If I wouldn’t move my mom into a house for some reason, I certainly wouldn’t want to move my clients into a home that isn’t the right fit. As a professional, I have the ability to really help people with the most important decision of their lives — not only financial, but personal. It is more of a personal thing for me. I really do care about my clients. I think that is what sets me apart from the rest.
How do you manage a successful work-life balance?
I think that I’ve given myself permission that sometimes there is just not a lot of balance. When it comes to the business, it does go in surges so I do have an opportunity sometimes to take a deep breath, but you can’t just turn your phone off. I’ve learned to juggle, not balance. My assistant Sarah helps me immensely.
You were licensed originally in 1999. How has the industry changed over the years?
The industry has changed big-time. When I was working out west in Seattle, it was easier. You would list a home and have three offers on the table. When I got back to Michigan, it just wasn’t as easy to sell and then the market tanked. So, I had a crash course on making it in a hard market and survived it.
How do you think you survived?
I changed a lot — I adapted my marketing with options. I fought harder for buyers. It was tough, but I really think it was just altering the markets I pushed for. In 2016, I saw an improvement. In 2017, I hit my career high volume of sales and units; that was a phenomenal year.
Do you see any trends for 2018?
I think we are going to remain strong. My phone will not stop ringing. The only thing that I think could change in the market is that we expect interest rates to start rising, which will put a little bit of a halt on supply and demand. Right now, we’re super strong. It’s a great time to buy and sell, but inventory supply and demand is a little low, so it’s becoming a seller’s market.
Do buyers’ and sellers’ markets change with the seasons?
Yes. I call it spring market: the flood. Generally, right before school gets out, you have people who want to move over the summer, so they begin to list in April, May … and then move over the summer. I do have to say that all of 2017 was very busy, but March, April, May, June and July are your hot months.
How has the evolution of the digital world changed your career?
Buyers are very educated. They know how long a home has been on the market, they know how to reach the information they need. Everything is at their fingertips. Buyers are smart, but they still need us – we are big advocates for our clients. There is a lot that goes on in the process … they still need us to guide them and negotiate for them.
Any advice for someone thinking about buying or selling?
Get an agent. Agents are not only there to help you price your home, we’re also there to offer tips on how to make your home more attractive to buyers in order to sell it. We’re here to help clients divide and conquer and narrow down what they need to do.
What would you tell up-and-coming real estate agents about this career as a whole and the industry?
If you think you don’t have to work hard at this career, you are wrong. Up-and-coming agents need to realize that this is a very competitive business. People expect more, consumers expect more and they want an agent that is ahead of the game. Be ready to work hard and be responsive. Today’s consumer wants our attention, and they want it 100 percent of the time.
Any final words?
Real estate is exciting; it’s fun, I love it. I think the market is going to continue to rise. I think if you are contemplating listing or selling – do it this year. This is your year. This is your market, and this is probably when you are going to make the most profit.