Brittney LaHayne’s move to Omaha not only marked the start of a new adventure in a new city, but it also marked the start of her real estate career. After building her business from the ground up, the Papillion, Nebraska-based Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Good Life Group agent is now the No. 38 ranked agent in Nebraska the 2023 RealTrends + Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professional rankings, after closing 48 transaction sides and $15.053 million in sales volume in 2022.
RealTrends recently caught up with LaHayne to discuss how she started her business from scratch.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Brooklee Han: Can you tell me a bit about how you got into real estate?
Brittney LaHayne: I got into real estate when we moved to Omaha. My husband is in the military, so we moved here from our hometown in Indiana. When we moved, my husband was like, ‘You are really good with sales, you should try real estate.’ The agent that we worked with to buy our house was starting a team within the military community, so I joined her team and figured I would see where it goes. My goal was just to add a little bit of extra money to our pocket because military families don’t make a ton, and now my husband is working with me instead of in the military. We support the military community here still, but these are our full-time jobs.
BH: Being good at sales is definitely a great skill to already have when entering into real estate. Where did you first develop those skills?
LaHayne: I did everything. I don’t typically stick with things for very long. I like learning about a ton of different things and then I feel like OK, I learned how to do this now I can move on. I did hair and then newborn photography and other types of family photography for a while, so I am good with people, so it made sense that I went into something that is about working with people.
BH: After jumping around with different careers, what about real estate has held your attention?
LaHayne: I love how different every day is. I love the problem solving between the different transactions and what people need, and then there are the fun parts like working with first-time homebuyers and home sellers, just getting to walk them through the process and then at then end being able to see how excited they are that we got through it together is always so fun.
BH: What are some challenges you have faced as you have built your business?
LaHayne: The hardest part of building my business when I first started was that this is not our hometown. A lot of people grow their business based on their sphere of influence and friends and family, but we knew no one here when I got into business. So I just started setting myself up on some of the social media groups in our area, especially those geared toward the military community. I put myself out there. I was very vocal that we are a military family and that we know and have gone through some of the stuff they might be going through, that a non-military related agent might not be familiar with. Once I got set in my business there, I focused all of my marketing and advertising toward my clients. We give back a ton to our clients throughout the year, like client appreciation events. We give [them] little gifts because they are our biggest referral source. The people that know us want to work with us again.
BH: What are three things you regularly do, that you feel set you up for success?
LaHayne: I time block, so I try to do groupings of things throughout the week. Once a week, I sit down and go through my social media and see what is going on in my clients lives, and I write notes or send gifts depending on what they are going through. Monday mornings I usually spend time prepping all the clients’ gifts. Then, once a week, I schedule out all of my social media — that one is really hard for me because I like being face to face with people and not on social media, but I know it is very important so I try to make time for it.
And then I also try to take time for myself to mentally recharge. So, I do a lot of running and personal reading. I know a lot of agents will focus on reading books about business and personal development, but I like to recharge and make sure I am spending time with my family. I don’t want my entire life to be just real estate, that might sound terrible, but you have to have some separation to recharge yourself or you’ll burn out really fast.
BH: What is your best piece of advice for new agents just starting out?
LaHayne: Focus on the people that you already know and taking care of them. I think a lot of agents really focus on paying for leads to grow their business, but you don’t have to spend all of that money or do all of that marketing if you just try to focus on the people that are close to you and taking care of them and treating them well. We have gotten a lot of referrals and a lot of client s by doing very basic things like sending clients a cupcake on their birthday or recognizing when they had a baby. It doesn’t cost a ton of money, but people really look at that like you care about them as a person and that it is not just about the paycheck.