Real estate. It’s not just about a home sale, explains broker Tiffany Sears in our recent interview. Building clients’ local community is an essential part of a real estate career, she tells me. I love this approach to helping clients build connections and networks, building a lifetime connection with them. And Tiffany knows what she’s talking about, growing her brokerage The Sears Group to have a large repertoire of clientele. Find out more about Tiffany Sears and her community-minded approach.
Disclosure: This sponsored interview is a typical one for real estate. NC-based realtor and broker Tiffany Sears of The Sears Group focuses on integrating families into new neighborhoods and relationships, which is so refreshing.
Interview with Tiffany Sears, broker, realtor, and owner of The Sears Group
Tiffany Sears is an educator turned real estate broker whose specialty is relocations and luxury properties. She is a Charlotte native who formed The Sears Group with her husband, which now serves North Carolina and South Carolina. Let’s get to the interview with this inspiring woman!
How did you come to form The Sears Group?
Forming The Sears Group was not anything I ever imagined I would do. I actually fell into real estate. I went to an interest meeting with my husband’s cousin as she was interested in becoming a Realtor and I decided to take the class.
When I passed the test and had to decide on a Firm to join, my intention was to never have a team or own a firm. A newer agent that I befriended actually convinced me that since I spent so much time mentoring and supporting other agents, forming a team was an ideal next step.
From that, I realized that I could do more to support agents by branching off and starting my own firm with a focus on supporting agents and helping clients in their pursuit of home ownership. This has all happened during the five years I have had my license!
I love how you support Realtors and clients. What is the overarching goal of The Sears Group?
The overarching goal of The Sears Group is to provide impeccable service to our clients. We don’t see what we do as a transaction but as helping people navigate the world of real estate. For those new to the area, we are more than just your agent; we really see ourselves as your first friends in the area and are here to help you become a part of the community.
I personally am licensed in NC, SC, and GA but primarily service the greater Charlotte area (this includes the border SC towns). We are a full-service firm so we have agents that can assist with not only residential transactions but commercial and land deals.
You have multiple roles at The Sears Group. What are they, and how do you balance them?
Multitasking has always been something that I have been proud of, but as I have gotten older and am in this new role, I realize that I can’t take on as much as I used to all at once. Currently, I am the Owner, Broker in Charge, and Lead Realtor for The Sears Group.
I am also a wife of 29 years, Mom of 4 adult children, Gigi to an amazing 8-month-old grandson, and daughter to an aging mother, so my hands are full! When I was younger, I tried to do it all. I wanted and needed to do everything for everyone. I felt I had to prove myself.
As I have gotten older, I have learned that I must prioritize and that includes things I do for myself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
So, time blocking is critical in my life right now. From 6:00 am until 9:00 am, I try and set aside time for myself. I need to ease into the morning. Starting off with coffee (a must), a little news, and exercise. Then we can dive into the day.
I try and end my work day by 6:30, so I can have dinner with my husband. Naturally, things might shift a bit with evening client meetings and showings, but I try very hard to make sure to take time for myself and my family!
Interview with Tiffany Sears Cont’d:
When representing clients, what is one thing many Realtors get wrong?
One thing Realtors get wrong is talking more than listening. Being able to understand what your clients need is so important to getting this real estate thing right.
Again, real estate is more than just a transaction. It is about relationships.
Listening allows you as the Realtor to really focus in on their wants and needs. Sometimes agents are talking more than listening then miss key components that are important to what someone needs to really have the lifestyle that they want and desire.
Let’s talk next about clients and the community. What does the word “community” mean to you?
Great Question! Community is more of a feeling. It is having a sense of belonging and connection. Community can be found almost everywhere if you are willing to look.
It really is about having a network and feeling as if you are supported and can offer that same level of support. Our agents are a wealth of knowledge about life in the Charlotte area and are ALWAYS full of info on local groups and activities to get folks connected.
How has the pandemic changed the sense of community for many people, in your opinion?
For a lot of people, I think they turned inward. It became harder and harder to venture out and join anything. It is hard to feel a part of something from your living room.
I joined the Junior League of Charlotte right before the pandemic, and what was supposed to be a very dynamic event-filled first year turned into volunteer project hours done at home and Zoom meetings. For me, I am so used to being with people that it was hard.
But at least I still had some level of engagement. Those people that didn’t have any social groups or family struggled even more. So, as people are starting to really emerge out of this, some are still struggling with being around other people, so having a virtual option is incredibly helpful.
We love virtual book clubs and trivia game nights. It gives people wanting and needing to be connected a way to dip their toes in before fully needing to be fully engaged. You can find your tribe if you look for it!
Why is building local community with clients important as a realtor?
We are better as a society when we are willing to connect and support each other. So as a Realtor, we are out in the community every day, and our agents try and support local businesses as much as possible. So, when we support and share info on community events and businesses with our clients, it goes back into supporting the community as a whole.
It can be as simple as dropping off cookies from a small bakery to clients. Those clients start using that business, and the business and community will thrive. There is also the obvious that when clients are happy and feel connected, they in turn will refer their family and friends to us.
Wonderful. What would you suggest as a first step for a woman who wants to form a company?
My advice may not be what you think… Believe and bet on yourself.
Women are strong, smart, and more capable than we are given credit. We can find the resources for small business loans and grants, education, and training, but without the internal belief that we are more than capable we won’t take that first step.
Once you know that you can do this… Find a mentor. The Small Business Administration has Women’s Business Centers in most major cities that offer a wealth of resources, including business planning, mentoring, funding resources, etc.
But first… You must believe that you can and you will!
Self-belief is essential, as you say. Why do we need more women in executive roles?
It goes back to representation. Women need to see other women in leadership roles to really believe that they should and can be there as well. Women are typically incredibly rational and are natural negotiators.
One more question! Where do you envision The Sears Group in 5 years?
Our goal isn’t to be the biggest real estate firm in the area. Our goal is to be the best!
I see The Sears Group as the real estate firm that people recommend when someone asks who is the best and who will provide them with impeccable service. It isn’t about numbers for me… It is about reputation. And in 5 years we will continue to have THE best reputation in the area.
Connect with Tiffany Sears and The Sears Group online
Find out more about The Sears Group here. From info about the agents to testimonials and neighborhoods, there is a lot of information on the business website.
The Sears Group, LLC is on Linkedin too. Be sure to watch their brand video too on YouTube above.