In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

Melanie M. Hayes

Six years ago, an accomplished TTR Sothebys International Realty agent offered to mentor an on-the-fence wannabe agent who was unhappy and had plateaued in her financial services position.

Within six months, Melanie M. Hayes got her license and went full time as an agent.

Fast-forward to today — whether helping D.C. buyers navigate the fast-moving (and uber-competitive) Georgetown market or helping sellers make the most of their market advantage, Hayes adds value with second-to-none market analysis and a serious content marketing strategy.

Now, she looks to carve out a niche in Georgetown where she lives and works, and she’s sharing a lesson she learned in her career with Inman readers.

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?

It is crucial to have the right people to call. From the broker in the office to a title attorney, home inspector, lender, plumber, etc. The information I am able to obtain and provide to the client is critical, and that means knowing all of the best pros in the area. Real estate is definitely a collaborative effort.

How did you learn it?

I was the listing agent for a condo in Georgetown and responsible for obtaining a notarized affidavit that the tenant did not wish to purchase the condo in compliance with D.C. tenant laws. This document was also needed for the new owner to get title insurance.

The problem? The tenant was now living in Norway. The title attorney the buyer selected insisted I get the affidavit notarized and have the former tenant go to the U.S. Embassy in Norway. This was not realistic.

I contacted a brokerage manager within our firm who connected me with a title attorney who was able to figure out a solution and issue title insurance.

This was all taken care of behind the scenes — the client never knew. And I went on to do three more transactions with that client.

What advice would you give to new agents?

This probably goes without saying: be as prepared as possible, and offer the client meaningful information they cannot find on Zillow.

Cultivate good relationships with the other professionals you work with such as title attorneys, lenders and home inspectors. If you know the right person to contact when you run into a problem, you’ll be able to quickly offer your client a viable solution and keep the deal moving forward.

Are you an agent with a story everyone can learn something from? Reach out to us ( We look forward to featuring more of our best agents and brokers in a future edition of “Lesson learned.”

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter

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