Ramsy Shuffield grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a bustling town nestled in southwest Arkansas known for its abundant hot springs, lush valleys, scenic trails, and pristine lakes.
Living in the cradle of the Ouachita Mountains stoked Shuffield’s love for the environment and sustainable living — something he’s been able to infuse into the real estate career he started six years ago.
Although Shuffield’s father and grandmother were real estate agents, the former electric car advocate didn’t seriously consider a career in real estate until a chance encounter with Chase Rackley, the person who’d become his mentor and broker at the just-budding Rackley Realty.
“I had just taken the GRE and was looking at grad schools because I wanted to enter into a master’s program for city planning,” he said after noting he studied environmental science and planning at the University of Central Arkansas.
However, Rackley’s pitch pushed Shuffield to reconsider his plans.
“When he asked me if I ever considered going into real estate, I said, ‘Honestly, I have,'” he said. “I had been exposed to the business at a young age and I knew a lot about it. I knew there were aspects of the business that I would enjoy since I’d go show properties with my dad as a kid.”
A week later, Shuffield made up his mind — he would ditch his graduate school dreams and pursue creating a team with Rackley. He quickly earned his license and took on the role of an apprentice, until he took on his first set of clients almost a year later.
Even though Shuffield had left his life as an electric car advocate in Los Angeles and would-be city planner behind, he never let go of his love for the environment.
“[Sustainability] still remains a passion. California has led in solar [energy] and the way they think about environmental issues, and I’ve brought that back with me,” he said. “Now, I have the ability to work with buyers and help them know what’s actually going to pay off for investing in the energy efficiency or sustainability of a home.”
When it comes to finding sustainable housing, Shuffield said it can be a difficult task since homes, unlike cars and LEED-certified commercial properties, don’t have a label specifying how environmentally friendly it is.
“You could have two homes, side by side, priced for the same amount, but you don’t know if one builder did a better job in making that home more energy-efficient, in either choosing a higher efficiency HVAC or energy-efficient windows or insulation,” he explained.
To better serve buyers, Shuffield has forged relationships with builders who are at the forefront of the sustainable housing movement and become heavily involved in the Little Rock Sierra Club and Little Rock Sustainability Commission.
“In 2018, the City of Little Rock started the Little Rock Sustainability Commission,” he said. “Every year, there’s a team that directly works with the mayor to come up with different initiatives for the city.”
“One would be the city providing curbside recycling to areas that didn’t have it or converting stoplights and street lights to LED,” he added. “One of the big ones we’ve been doing recently is promoting builders who are building new homes to be rated [based on energy efficiency].”
“That’s we’re pushing for in the Little Rock market, and not only for us to catch up with other markets, but to lead in any way that we can.”
Shuffield’s passion for sustainability and growth doesn’t only apply to the environment, but it applies to his community as well.
When he’s not helping buyers or attending environmental group meetings, Shuffield diligently serves at Fellowship Bible Church, a multiple-location congregation in Little Rock. When his church revealed plans to open a location in the city’s Midtown to reach underserved residents, Shuffield was quick to help.
“We noticed there was a need for a church in downtown Little Rock,” he said while noting many of the churches in the area had declined as their congregations got older. “We wanted to be involved in the heart of the city and we wanted to bring a new energy.”
“We wanted our church to be a place where people who are homeless could come and get coffee, get a Clif bar and get some water for free, and of course, stay for church if they want to,” he added. “I even purchased a home on the edge of downtown so I could be deeply involved with my community.”
For agents who want to activate their green thumb, Shuffield said it’s as simple as educating yourself and buyers about simple ways to help the environment (e.g. recycling) and staying on the cutting edge of sustainable building practices.
“It’s about being aware, asking questions, and soaking up all the information around you, so you can move your community forward and make your city a better place to live,” he said.
We’re highlighting agents with extraordinary stories through a new series, Agent Plus. Do you know someone who should be highlighted for their work inside and outside of the office? Send your nominations to AgentPlus@inman.com.