Consuelo Stewart is the broker and co-owner of Shelton and Stewart Realtors and is the 2015 Master Brokers Forum “Legacy Award” Honoree.
Why do you stay independent when there are so many great franchises to join? Because you still have to do the work and I do not want to compromise my independence. I have built a broad client base and a technological platform that allows me to compete with the larger franchises.
When did you decide to launch your independent brokerage and why? I decided to go independent and join a partner because it was up to me to be successful on my own.
What factored into that decision? I realized early in my career that if you worked hard you were going to be successful.
Why did you think it was the right time and the right move for you? The right time for me was when I felt comfortable of my ability to work with people and make more sales.
How old is your brokerage? The present real estate company is independent for the last 35 yrs.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting your brokerage off the ground? The challenge has always been and is until now that you have to work smart, know the business and be available 24/7.
What was the easiest part of getting your brokerage off the ground? The easiest part was that I felt confident that I knew what I was doing.
What’s your approximate agent-to-staff ratio? 106 agents to 10 staff members
Are you part of an independent brokerage network? Yes, Global Leverage R.E.
What’s the quirkiest thing about your firm? We all feel like a family.
Describe your office. Where is it located? What does it look like? Located in South Miami close to Coral Gables with easy access to Pinecrest, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, etc..
What kind of floor plan do you use? Open spaces with some offices and conference rooms.
How many agents, offices do you have? 106 agents, one main office.
How do you recruit new agents? We do not really, they come to us.
Where and how do you market your brokerage? Locally and international realtor websites and print media.
Do you have office parties? What are they like? Yes we have office parties. We celebrate the staff and brokers’ birthday with lunch and anybody who is in the office can assist. We also have baby showers for the lady associates and a Christmas party where husbands and wifes get invited and is done at the Country Club.
Describe your brokerage’s digital presence. Do you have a website? What publishing platform do you use? While our goal is to provide a very personalized service using traditional marketing channels of communication, we recognize that the use of technology also plays an important part in the continued success of the firm. During the past 12 months, our staff has been working hard on improving some of the technology we currently use as well as adding additional services. Shelton and Stewart Realtors launched a new redesigned website and mobile-friendly website.
We recognize that in today’s market this may be the first point of contact a potential client has with our firm. We have now a more robust and dynamic site compared to our previous website. SEO is of extreme importance since the ultimate goal of any website is to not only maximize the number of visitors but also the time each visitor spends at our website. In addition, we are very active with social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Social media accessibility is paramount for our realtors and clients. Through detailed analysis, we have learned which social networks perform the best, and the formats that should be used when posting.
We also have a very strong digital presence throughout channels like YouTube and/or memberships and affiliations. As member of LuxuryRealEstate.com, LuxuryHomes.com, Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Homes.com, HomeFinder.com and LeverageRE.com, our properties are enhanced and featured with banners, broader description, more pictures and a video.
Are you active on social media? Which channels? As mentioned above, Shelton and Stewart Realtors has a strong presence in social media networks. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Social media accessibility is paramount for our realtors and clients. Through detailed analysis, we have learned which social networks perform the best, and the formats that should be used when posting. In January, 2015 Shelton and Stewart started the year with 144 “likes” on Facebook. Now, Shelton and Stewart has over 1,000.
What would you say are the biggest advantages to operating as an independent brokerage versus as a franchised firm? What are the biggest challenges? The biggest advantage of an independent brokerage is that you can control your expenses and your marketing dollar. Inspiring your associates to work hard and do better and keeping your expenses down are the biggest challenges.
What sets your brokerage apart? What makes you different from your competition? Our brokerage firm has a very personalized relationship with the buyers and the sellers.
What’s the biggest business improvement you made last year? What’s the biggest improvement you have planned for this year? Improve the website. Shelton and Stewart Realtors launched a new redesigned website. Our SEO strategy involves elevating sheltonandstewart.com in the Google organic search hierarchy. To this end, we have engaged an online marketing company to help us with this process going forward. As time goes by the search results involving sheltonandstewart.com should only improve.
Leverage Global Partners Shelton and Stewart Realtors was invited to become a member of Leverage Global Partners. Membership in this association consists of independent real estate brokerage firms from around the world. The key word is independent: all members are boutique firms and not associated to any national firms. The goal of Leverage Global Partners is to grow the membership in order to develop an international referral network and the opportunity to feature top independent real estate firms and their properties on a global platform. We invite you to go to www.leveragere.com where you will find information on Shelton and Stewart Realtors, including four featured properties as well as numerous other boutique firms from across the globe.
Have you ever worked in another city/metro? If so, how did you end up where you are working now? No.
What’s your favorite thing about working in your community? My favorite thing about working in South Miami/Coral Gables is that we are in the middle of all the nice residential areas and still available to work the entire region. It is the areas that we specialize and work with buyers and sellers.
Is there an area of your community in which you specialize? We specialize in Cocoplum, Gables Estates, Coral Gables, South Miami, Coconut Grove and Pinecrest.
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