REAM: Why did you decide to become a real estate agent?
HB: I used to be an early childhood teacher. All I ever wanted to do was teach, but when our son was a baby we struggled with his severe asthma. He was constantly being admitted to the PICU days at a time. I was forced to resign and choose something where I could be home if he needed me. It was the best decision I ever made for our family. Not only did it make it easier when he was sick, but it made our family stronger.
What first drew me to the real estate industry was the flexibility. I needed something that I could plan around my husband’s job, attend the kid’s events and still be able to tuck them in at night. But little did I know it takes hard work and years to get to that point. Only 13% of Realtors stay in the industry after five years because it is tough to gain clients and build an empire. You have to make sacrifices.
REAM: Tell us a little bit about the “empire” you’ve built.
HB: I was originally licensed in Massachusetts but knew I wanted to get my Connecticut license. I do equal business in both states and plan on getting my Rhode Island license in the next few weeks.
I recently transitioned to a larger company where I now lead The Blais Group at Gallagher Real Estate. I built myself from the ground up. My whole business motto is to give the people around me a resource whether they are another Realtor, a client or an affiliate. It’s all about who you know and what everyone can contribute to make sure the client is getting the best!
I pride myself on being super easy to work with as a co-broker and as a loyal Realtor to my clients. It took a long time to find the right boundaries.
My plan for The Blais Group is to have qualified Realtors whose focuses are to be good problem solvers who understand the local markets and honor our Code of Ethics. Knowledge is power, especially in the current market!
REAM: What are some common misconceptions when it comes to buying real estate?
HB: People are afraid to buy because they feel like it’s cheaper to rent and they are afraid of the hefty down payment. In most cases, 20% down payment isn’t needed! I always recommend for people to invest in themselves and build equity in a property they own. This is where my good resources come in. I pair up with great lenders and insurance agents who are not only good tools for my buyers, but continually teach me. Every single transaction is different, so I never stop growing as a professional.
REAM: Tell us about your work with VA loans.
HB: I have many skill-sets as a Realtor, but I pride myself on knowing VA loans in and out. In any market VA loans are a challenge to navigate, but in our current market, they are the bottom of the totem pole. A lot of procedures that used to make these loans difficult have changed, but they are still a strict loan that guarantees the buyer is getting a solid home for their money.
Listing agents and sellers have many misconceptions about the liability that can prohibit an accepted offer for my buyers, so I set aside a lot of time for my buyers to see homes. To overcome it, I will do requested appraisal repairs by myself or have my husband help me if we get pushback from the sellers. He’s been a great asset and support to my business.
Our military community deserves so much more than rejected offers. I am trying to slowly change that cringe people get when seeing “VA loan” at the top of a preapproval.
REAM: What does the future hold for you and your work?
Every single day is different and everyday holds its own count for success. I see on average about 15-20 clients a week from all different areas, military backgrounds and price ranges and scenarios. I’ve been seeing more overseas clients moving to New England after a deployment or our military families moving back home after being stationed out of state.
I’m excited to grow with my new company and build up The Blais Empire more. I’ve had a tremendous amount of support from my husband. Without him sacrificing personal time and taking over primary parenting, this would have been impossible. We both invested tremendously into my clients and my business.
The future of the market is up in the air, but a lot of people have their own predictions for what will happen. My suggestion is always prioritize yourself by investing in real estate. The market will always ebb and flow, but if you keep buying properties, they will sustain themselves. There’s never a wrong time, especially with a good Realtor to back you up.