After a brief hiatus (shooting new Live Where You Love videos and moving to our new office!!) “Meet the Agent” is back! This week, we chat with Deborah Rutter. One of the first agents to join the Nest Realty team, Deborah has moved many, many times over the years and puts that knowledge to work for her clients. Learn about her transition to real estate, her love of tech and how she may need the help of a medium to help her dream celebrity client find his perfect home!
Nest Realty: You were quite the world traveller, did that affect your choice to get into real estate?
Deborah Rutter: As a kid, I moved around lot; midwest, west coast, the south, even overseas. Moving was in my blood. Even as an adult, I moved around a lot. With every move, I had a lot of exposure to home buying and selling. I watched my parents, who’ve owned a lot of properties, to see how they worked with agents. It seemed like a natural fit. At the time I got licensed, I had been working for a small, employee-owned company in which I spent half the year traveling outside the U.S., so I was ready be home for a while.
NR: Wow, that seems like a great foundation for a career in real estate. What was the first property you ever sold for a client?
DR: It was a remote property in rural Maine. My clients were great. And they became an incredible referral source; I helped them buy and sell, helped their daughter buy and sell…
NR: I imagine relationship building is part of why you love being a Realtor. What else do you love about your job?
DR: The freedom to live and die by your own decisions. Being a Realtor means swimming alone much of the time, helping people navigate huge decisions that have impacts on their financial well-being, their families, their careers. It’s exciting to have that kind of impact, but to be able to do it in a self-directed way. I get to decide with whom and how and when I work.
NR: Why did you join the Nest team?
DR: When I bought a house in Virginia, I used a Nest agent as a buyer agent (yes, even agents use agents), and it became pretty clear that their approach to client advocacy and their philosophy about using technology and service to stay relevant and meaningful was in line with mine. I wanted to join an agency that was looking at the real estate business as a business, looking outward to other industries to identify what worked, how other business sectors succeeded, and then implementing those ideas. Real estate has changed very little; it’s a service industry, and as consumers have an ever-higher expectation for expertise and relevancy. I knew Nest was on the right track.
NR: You’re pretty tech-savvy, how has technology changed the way you do business?
DR: I can do more in more places. That sounds like a nightmare to a lot of people, but being able to work anywhere is a good thing. I am not tied to a desk, a computer or a location. If I can get a cell signal or have electricity, I can work. That means I don’t stress about work piling up; I can take care of most problems wherever I am, and a lot about being in real estate is predicting and solving problems.
NR: What trend should we be on the lookout for in the Central Virginia market or in the real estate industry in general?
D.R.: We should be keeping an eye on buyers becoming much, much smarter about understanding how decisions they make today impact their future choices. Liking a property isn’t enough anymore…location, resale value, financial savvy are all part of the buying and selling process and have always had an impact, but buyers are now coming to the table understanding more upfront and I expect that to continue exponentially. It’s going to take a lot of hustle on the part of (good) buyer agents to bring value to the transaction.
N.R.: What about a first-time home buyer? What’s the one thing you would tell a new homebuyer to keep in mind throughout the process?
D.R.: That you make money on the buy, not the sell. Every decision you make when you buy has a direct bearing on what happens when you sell; the desirability of the location, the financial outcomes, everything. You can’t change market conditions, but buyers can put themselves in more-optimal positions by paying attention to the things that matters the most, to the most people.
N.R.: We’re hitting the home stretch here…what’s the most important room in a house? Why?
D.R.: For me, it’s the entryway. It sets the stage for how you feel every time you come home; it’s the place where you’re organizing yourself and your family for the next day, it’s the place where friends and family are greeted and has an impact on how welcome they feel. It’s underrated.
N.R.: Good answer. Give me a great entryway bench and I’m happy. Dream celebrity client?
D.R.: Probably Carl Sagan (you didn’t say dead or alive). He is the reason that I am fascinated and interested in the universe, physics and all things science-geeky. His curiosity was infectious, and I love to think I might be able to pay back someone who taught me so much.
N.R.: You are right, I didn’t specify! Last question, you’ve lived in many different places…what’s YOUR idea of the perfect home?
D.R.: No visible neighbors; enough land to create a barrier so that it can’t be seen from a road, and a home where every room and space is used. Completely off the grid with wind, solar, geothermal…I lost power for 10 days and I’ve had enough of that. And a huge garage. That’s where all the fun stuff is stored and where all the adventures begin.
Want to connect with Deborah?