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Community Highlights: Meet Tabitha Richardson of NextHome Leaders

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tabitha Richardson.

Tabitha, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am originally from the Bronx, NY and I moved to Maryland in 2002. I moved to Maryland as a single mom with my 2-year-old daughter because I was seeking a different quality of living. The communications company I worked with at the time offered relocation packages to employees. I did not know anyone in Maryland except for the group of 20 people who also relocated during that time. I was fortunate to meet so many new people and grew to love Baltimore and the many friends that are now like family. I also later met my husband, who we will celebrate seven years of marriage soon.

In 2004, I decided it was time to purchase my first house since Baltimore began to feel like my home. Although I was not a first-time homebuyer, it was the first house I bought on my own in Maryland. After my purchase, several of my co-workers asked me questions about my experience and the home buying process. Of course, I was happy to help and share what little information I had. But after the 3rd referral to my Realtor, I thought getting my real estate license would be a great way for me to both help my friends and earn extra income. In 2005, a year after I bought my house, I took sick leave from my job and signed up to take the real estate pre-licensing class for eight straight days. The following month I officially became a licensed Realtor! My very first client was a friend who waited for me to get licensed so she could be my first client. Now that is how you support your friends!

Things were going well for the first couple of years with my part-time real estate career. In fact, it was going so well I quit my job to pursue my real estate career full-time in 2007. If only I had a crystal ball to foresee the events that would take place in the next few months, I probably would have made a different decision. After the 2007 housing market crash, I had no choice but to get a job to support my family until I was able to jump back into real estate full-time again. It was a scary time for me, but I do not regret any of the decisions I made because it ultimately brought me to where I am today.

By 2012, thankfully, the market was on the road to recovery, and I decided to get my real estate broker’s license to start my own real estate business. I started my entrepreneurial journey in May of 2012 when I opened the doors to my company, Premier Homes Realty LLC, located in Owings Mills, Maryland. Over time, I grew the business to approximately 50 Agents and then in 2019. I decided to become a franchise owner of NextHome and NextHome Leaders was born.

One of the best decisions I have made was aligning with a franchise that mirrors my own beliefs and values. I love being a part of a bigger organization but still feeling like a boutique brokerage. I like that I am not with an organization that is so big that the leadership team does not know my name. I love that NextHome pours so much into their franchise owners regularly to be better business owners, leaders, and change-makers in our communities.

I am proud to say that I will be celebrating my 10-year anniversary in business in 2022. Over a 16-year career span, I am most proud of the families I have helped and the Realtors who I have taught and assisted in growing successful careers in real estate!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am not sure there is ever a smooth road or direct path to success. Throughout my years, there have been bumps and bruises on the path that has led me to where I am today. My experiences have taught me so much and have made me be a better business owner and leader. Oftentimes, you just have to figure things out as you go along. It’s the “figuring it out” that teaches you how to get through the tough times and keep going. There will always be storms and cloudy days, but you have to remember the sun will come out again! Stay the course and push forward!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Currently, I own a real estate brokerage in Pikesville, Maryland. I have approximately 10 Realtors who are affiliated with my company and work under my license. Our primary role is guiding our buyers and sellers to ensure they fulfill their real estate goals. We mostly work with first-time homebuyers, but as of lately, we have been working with a lot of return clients.

The current seller’s market we are experiencing has many of our clients cashing out the equity in their homes and either upgrading or downgrade their living situation. The historically low mortgage interest rates have also encouraged more buyers to want to purchase homes over renting.

Our clients love working with the Realtors at NextHome Leaders because we are known for having highly trained and knowledgeable agents who are equipped to handle any situation. One of the company slogans is #humansoverhouses and we take that to heart. We put the needs of our clients before our own! The other thing that so many people like is our mascot, Luke. You can find him next to our yard signs at a house near you!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
When I first started as a Broker, there weren’t many African American women owners to model after or seek mentorship. There was one person I contacted, but unfortunately, she did not seem interested in sharing any information with me. After that encounter, I never reached out to anyone again. Much of what I have learned was through trial and error and then trial and error again. Thankfully for those who desire to start their own real estate companies now, there are so many more resources available online to provide a framework to get started.

The best advice I can give to a newbie Broker is to really take time to think through the type of business they want. I recommend either creating a business plan or just putting their vision on paper. When you write your vision, it will become real! There are so many things to consider when starting your own company, like your business structure, marketing, financials, staffing, systems, location, and much more. If you are only seeking to be a small boutique brokerage, that looks much different than a large multi-location model.

I would also recommend finding and connecting with other Brokers in your area to build a good support system. No matter where you are in the country, most real estate companies experience the same growing pains. It is always easier when you have a tribe of supportive peers to bounce ideas with. If you aren’t able to find an existing tribe, build one!

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Image Credits:

Vernon S. Davis Corey Culbreath

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