Keller Williams Realty New take on industry
3780 FOOTHILLS ROAD • 575-635-3773
By Rachel Christiansen
Real estate is something Laura Szalay has known her whole life, being the third generation of trusted names in the business in Doña Ana County, from her grandfather Al Socolofsky, to her mother Elaine Szalay and now Laura, who helped open a franchise of Keller Williams Realty in 2010.
“The most rewarding aspect for me is helping families get to where they want to be with what their goals are,” Szalay said. “It’s an emotional process, and it’s great when people feel they can rely and trust you to be their point person.”
Operating under the Keller Williams Realty umbrella has helped tremendously, Szalay said, because of the company’s emphasis on training and technology as well as how to build a team.
Sharing ideas and working together on a larger scale allows for the team members to focus their energy on what their strengths are.
Szalay now solely focuses on selling property, and recently brought Realtor Dan Kubiak on board to focus on helping buyers.
“We focus our energy in becoming experts in our individual fields, instead of spreading our attention in two directions,” Szalay said. “When you focus on one thing, you are more effective in your area of focus.”
Maybe the team is on to something. Although the past few years have been notoriously difficult in the housing industry, Szalay said her personal production has been at its highest.
So why haven’t more companies embraced the model of working as a team?
“I think it’s hard for some people, because we hand each other business that would’ve been our own,” Kubiak said. “It’s hard to hand that trust off to someone and know they will do a good job.”
Marketing Director Bonnie Thorkildsen said she also benefits from the concept of sharing ideas.
“The Internet is a big place to compete,” Thorkildsen said. “But the flexibility and technology is my favorite part.”
Thorkildsen keeps up with what is going on around the country by attending “webinars” and online discussions about how to stay on the cutting edge.
“It’s funny how when you start channeling your energy it just seems to snowball,” Kubiak said, adding that his business quadrupled in the first six months under Keller Williams.
Transaction Coordinator Joanne Leiser said from her experience, success has to do with keeping it stress free throughout the process, not just at the beginning or end.
“Coming in this door where they actually want to get all the way to the end, not give up and just keep doing what they do best until it closes, that means a lot,” Leiser said. “That is the difference between a realtor and sales person.”
“Sometimes it can get hectic, but when it’s all said and done and you sit at the closing table, they get a key and they’re happy, you’ve just created a relationship,” Kubiak said.
Since each client has individual needs and goals, it’s something new every day. Szalay said it’s about going above and beyond for each of these needs.
“If you’re doing your job well, they won’t know half of what’s going on behind the scenes,” Szalay said.
What makes Las Cruces as a whole stand out from outside markets, Szalay said, is the quality of the construction.
“Any of our custom homes here that are $200,000 would be easily $400,000 in another market,” Szalay said. “The quality and artisanship of the woodwork and overall finish, you just don’t see that in other places.”
Maintaining a strong team will be Szalay’s goal headed into 2013, as well as keeping relationships with community members.
Mission: “May every action we take make a meaningful impact on every tomorrow.”