Eight years after Kathleen Baylies launched a real estate business that works only with buyers, folks are still scratching their heads, wondering why she chooses to skip the seller’s portion of the business.
“Buyers are the happy side of the transaction,” said Baylies, owner of Just For Buyers Realty, Inc. in Wilmington. “Buying a house usually represents a personal milestone: a promotion, that first home, retirement. Sellers are ready to move on, and the listing agent stands between them and the next phase of their life.”
Although Baylies’ professional background is in marketing, she’s had plenty of experience in real estate – as a buyer herself — since her husband’s career took them all over the country.
“I have lived in six different states, and in each move I made the decision as to what house to purchase,” she said. “My experience taught me the importance of having an agent who listens. I also had a few negative experiences buying a home from the listing firm. It’s like asking a lawyer to represent both the husband and wife in a divorce case.
”Baylies entered real estate after she and her husband moved to Kure Beach 11-½ years ago. When the value of their home doubled in a very short time, she decided to develop a small real estate portfolio as an investment, and earned her real estate license.
“Pretty soon, friends started asking me to show them properties, then they began asking me to negotiate contracts and collect checks for them,” she recalled. “I realized it was a lot of fun and exceptionally rewarding to guide people through an expensive and complicated process to find the right place.”
Baylies named her venture Myrtle Realty and worked out of her home at first, but moved to the Cotton Exchange as her business grew. Soon she realized she needed a name that would better communicate the aim of her business and help differentiate her from the other 1,400 members of the Wilmington Region Association of Realtors.
With its new name, Just for Buyers Realty, and an additional agent, the agency continued to grow. Then, three years ago, Baylies’ husband was killed in an accident. She realized that her income, which had always paid for the couple’s “extras,” was going to have to sustain her.
“I had to rethink my life,” she said. “I realized I was doing what I wanted but not as effectively as I might. One thing I needed was a more visible location, so I purchased office space just off Carolina Beach Road and added agents.”
She looked for people who were good listeners and understood the importance of customer service. The team currently includes agents Linda Mehner and Dave Chiprut, and operations director Carol Adams.
Typically, 70 to 80 percent of the firm’s clients are folks new to the Cape Fear area or planning a move here. They learn about Just For Buyers through friends in the area, or through exclusive buyer’s agents elsewhere, or they go online.
“We invest a lot of time on our online presence, because that’s where the buyers are,” Baylies said. “As people become more educated about the buying process, they see the value of having an exclusive buyers’ agent. Once they see that, they are ours to lose.”