Fort Worth’s premier realtors give advice for young women on the cusp of professional success.
Wilco Realtors arrived in 2013 to permanently reshape the west Fort Worth realty market. This multi-purpose outfit, spearheaded by Julie Wilkins, broker and president, and Margaret Coulborn, stands as a sterling example for young women who want to control their own destinies through hard work and excellence.
The Wilco treatment emphasizes the importance of connection with each and every client — a valuable lesson for any young business-owner. We spoke with Julie and Margaret about what it was like getting their business off the ground, and what advice they have for young women on the cusp of professional life.
What kind of background do you each come from, and what was it like getting Wilco Realtors off the ground?
Margaret: I’ve been in realty for 23 years. We decided at one point that real estate needed a more modern take, with an emphasis on personal attention. Many brokerage firms at the time were focused on the brokerage. We wanted to make it about the client, about our buyers and sellers. We pursued a small, more modern approach, and we’ve kept it small.
Julie: I graduated from TCU in 1996 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. If that sounds like strange preparation for a career in realty, you’d be surprised by how much fashion marketing translates into real estate. All of my jobs taught me that dedication, a solid work ethic, budgeting, and the development of a solid business plan are the keys to success. I’ve now worked in real estate for 16 years, and getting Wilco off the ground was so fun and exciting.
How has the agency grown over the years, and how have you defined yourself in comparison to other realtors?
Julie: We began as a small residential sales boutique, and have grown through a fabulous referral system. We place a high value on our service, and we also build on relationships we’ve established with other agents throughout Fort Worth. I like to say that we’ve created an atmosphere like a neighborhood living room. We appreciate when clients pop in to say hi, and we strive to make each and every client feel special.
Margaret: We’re truly a one-stop shop for realty. We do home sales, residential, and commercial. We have a property management division, and do HOA management, farm, ranch, and commercial. We work with our clients to figure out their immediate needs, then take them from step one to the finish line. We don’t just say “call me after you get pre-qualified”. Our number one goal is to take the time to listen to clients’ needs.
Were there any particular challenges you faced as women in realty?
Margaret: Real estate is a women-based industry. Our main challenge was getting our name out there and sharing our mantra. Our focus is the client: we’re there before they start looking, we help them find the perfect house, write the contract, and stay with them every step of the way. With the bigger brokerages, the busier you get, the more you hand off to assistants. We stay focused on the clients.
Julie: We’re fortunate enough to work in a city where our business has gotten the support of family, friends, clients, and other professionals in our market. Fort Worth supports its own. We try to repay that through our work with other local business partners.
What advice do you have for young women just getting started in their careers? What are the particular rewards and challenges of realty?
Margaret: The challenges are balancing family-life and work. You’ve got to start strong and stay strong. Real estate, in particular, is hard to do 50 percent of the time. You have to stay on top of your industry, and the rules and regulations. There are so many people who get into it thinking they’ll make a million bucks their first year. Staying knowledgeable is a full-time job, and the more knowledge you have, the better you can serve your clients.
Julie: The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce is a great place for young professionals to get acquainted with other business owners and executives. Real estate is a non-stop career. The rewards are enormous, and come from helping others solve challenges. We serve our clients from the moment they walk in our door, to the moment they sit at the closing table.
To learn more about what Wilco Realtors have to offer, visit them online at www.wilcorealtors.com.