Name: Erica Rawls
Role: Team Leader, Erica Rawls Team
Brokerage: NextHome Capital Realty
Location: Camp Hill, PA

Connect with Erica:

Instagram: @erica.rawls
LinkedIn: @ericarawls
Facebook: @EricaRawls

If there was ever someone whose background, passions, and skill set were perfect for real estate, it would be our Agent Spotlight featured agent, Erica Rawls.

This central Pennsylvania real estate team leader and listing specialist has resume highlights like experience as a collegiate athlete, an accountant at the prestigious PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm, and a real estate investor, and that’s just on page one. Her personal strength, professional experience, and nose for business make her a force to be reckoned with, which is why it’s no wonder she’s a good fit for real estate.

Erica’s passion for our industry and for community building, both online and in the neighborhoods of the communities she serves, drives her success every day. With 12,600+ followers on her personal Instagram alone, a biweekly Facebook Live show, and quarterly homeownership workshops for first-time homebuyers and sellers, Erica is building a tribe of informed, excited, and active real estate clients, and bettering her community at the same time.

We sat down with Erica to ask her about her real estate business, the state of the industry, and to pick her brain about the topics on everyone’s mind right now. Here’s what she had to say.

1. Why did you get into real estate? What were you doing before & what were your first impressions of the industry?

I’ve been a licensed Realtor since 2007. Prior to real estate, I worked in the corporate sector as an accountant working for Fortune 500 companies as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers public accounting firm. I initially entered into real estate as an investor, and as I grew my portfolio, my love for the real estate business grew as well. With encouragement from my Realtor, I sought to obtain my real estate license.

I found real estate to be the best of both worlds for me. Real estate allows me the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all walks of life; it allows me the opportunity to be a business owner; to be my own boss; and to grow people.

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2. Which deal are you most proud of & why?

Although my team and I are fortunate enough to work repeat clients—clients who relocate to the area, empty nesters, and people looking to purchase their second home—it’s the first-time homeowners that are most memorable for us because we know purchasing a home is overwhelming, let alone purchasing a home for the first time and not knowing what to expect.

What is most rewarding is handing keys to those individuals who are the first ones to own a home in their family. It gets me every time.

3. What’s your favorite real estate technology tool?

My favorite technology tool may not be real estate-specific in nature, but we are able to cultivate quite a bit of new business using our social media channels, particularly Instagram and Facebook Live right now.

4. What’s your favorite charity & how can our readers donate?

In the climate we’re in today, I’d like to urge everyone to donate to any legitimate nonprofit working to move the needle on effective change concerning the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Donate to NAACP, Color of Change, The Empowerment Program, National Black Women’s Justice Institute, or Black Lives Matter, to name a few.

5. The Black Lives Matter movement is bringing to light many racial injustices faced by people of color in this country. What, if any, effects do you think this movement will have on the real estate industry?

I am hopeful that the BLM movement will bring about positive change for our country as a whole; the real estate industry included.

The real estate industry also suffers from the effects of systematic racism just like corporate America. For example, redlining has been a real estate issue our industry has faced historically and is still occurring today, sometimes without thought.

Casual statements like, ‘You don’t want to live here, it feeds into a certain school district,’ or ‘There’s a lot of (insert any person of color here) living in that neighborhood.’ I’m guilty of brushing it off in the past when I would overhear conversations of this nature taking place; however, ignorance should be addressed or change will never occur.

Although we have quite a few dynamic men and women of color who are successful in our industry, there’s room for more awareness of the opportunity available for all in our industry. We as professionals can do better in making sure that we inform everyone in our community of all the options available, whether it’s for people looking to buy or sell a home or people considering a career in real estate.

The real estate industry has a great opportunity to ensure there is a true representation of not only Black Americans but for all people of color. By doing so, we will be a part of the positive steps forward necessary for eliminating systematic racism found in our country, even in the real estate industry.

It is 2020, diversity and inclusion are important, and it’s time to start prioritizing them.

6. What advice would you give to Black men or women considering a career in real estate?

The best advice I can give to new agents or people considering a career in real estate is to find a great mentor, and remember, that person doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in the business of real estate. Just find a successful business owner and ask lots of questions.

Also, remember to treat your real estate career like a business. Build relationships with people that will be able to assist with setting up your business the right way out of the gate (e.g., accountants, attorneys, and bankers). Set up a limited liability company (LLC) or S corporation (S-corp). Set up a payroll account for yourself. Meet with your accountant on a quarterly basis. Doing this early will set you up for success and eliminate a lot of headaches in the future.

After setting up your business the right way, focus on setting up systems to bring business in the door. Success does not happen overnight—it comes after you have proven commitment, perseverance, diligence, and consistency.

Over to You

Are you or someone you know doing fantastic things in your business and community? Got a story worthy of sharing here on The Close? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us in our Facebook Group: The Close Real Estate Agents Mastermind Group.

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