Getting to Know Your Local Realtor – An Interview with Suzanne Gelven, Owner of United Realty Express in Raynham, MA
Author: Denise Harvey, BSU student
Suzanne Gelven owner/realtor of United Realty Express, Raynham MA. Suzanne is your local real estate expert, sometimes she is representing a buyer and at other times a seller; her mission is different for both types of clients. Her goal for the buyer is to help them find the best home for their wants and needs and successfully get it at the best price possible. Her goal for the seller is to help them sell their house for the highest amount the market will bear in as short a time as possible. Her years of experience in the real estate market has helped her with becoming an expert in the industry.
Suzanne has been in the real estate business since she was about 18 years old. Suzanne gives credit to her father who was in real estate. Her father owned a lot of multifamily homes in the South Shore area and encouraged Suzanne to get her license at an early age to help him.
Suzanne took a break from real estate, but because of her love and passion for real estate, she could not stay away for too long because it is in her blood. She started back doing real estate part time when her son was getting older. Suzanne loved real estate more than her part time job. It got so busy that she gave up her full-time job and did real estate full time. Going into real estate full time has given Suzanne the flexibility to better accommodate her clients’ schedule.
Having a marketing plan on how to get a clients’ home sold or finding the right home for the clients is very important to Suzanne. These are some of the ways that she markets her clients’ houses. She uses the Multiple Listing System (MLS). (This tool is also what she uses to help determine the market value). She also uses a yard sign, directional signs from the main road into your neighborhood, postcards sent out to neighborhood, social media, Zillow.com, trulia.com and realtor.com to name a few. For her buyers she walks them through the whole process from signing the agreement with her up until closing day!
Suzanne currently lives in Taunton MA, and her office is in Raynham MA. She started her own business in 2010. Suzanne currently has 2 agents working with her. She would like to double her business and have about 5 agents in the next five years. Being very hands on and being an excellent planner has helped her to recruit, train and retain her agents to experts in the industry as well.
Referrals is the best way to bring in customers for Suzanne, therefore, she has developed a database with all her contacts/clients. This database allows her to stay connected with her contacts/clients and has allowed her to send out campaigns as well. Suzanne stays up to date with the latest technology which keeps her ahead of her competition. Also, not having the right tools and technology means missing out on an opportunity. Suzanne also advertises her business on social media platform, like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc., which she has a lot of experience and knowledge with. She has a proven track record to find houses for her clients. All her contact information can be found below.
Visit United Realty Express at: 473 South St., Raynham MA
Contact them via:
See what Sellers and Buyers say about her....
Buying or Selling a Home? Call the Real Estate Conveyancing Firm of Kellem and Kellem in Hingham, MA
Author: Tiana Romans, BSU student
Are you looking to buy or sell a house? Why not do it through Kellem and Kellem. This company was founded in 1984 by Steven Kellem and his father Larry Kellem. Steven grew up in Hull, MA and he watched his father growing up running his own small business doing real estate law. At first Steven did not know what he wanted to do with his future so he majored in political science/history, shortly after he realized that was not what he wanted to do so he did what many people do and followed the family business and went to law school. Steven graduated in 1984 and he was a “law clerk” for Caroline Glassman. Justice Glassman was the first women to be appointed to the Main Supreme court and it was also her first year.
Then in 1984, Kellem and Kellem opened their doors. What made Steven want to start this career was that his father, Larry, had a single attorney general practice in their hometown Hull. Larry did everything that had come through the door from real estate to personal injury. Steven saw joining his dad as a huge opportunity to learn from him and also be exposed to different practices. From the beginning and for a few years Kellem and Kellem was having a tough time keeping its head above water. Larry, the father had a heart attack and was unable to work for a long period of time and then Steven’s brother Dave had joined the family business. In the early 1990s there was a steep decline in real estate prices and sales, people just did not have the money to buy or sell. What kept Kellem and Kellem going was the family’s love for the business, they knew this is what they wanted to do. They were able to still run a business but also still be a part of their children’s lives, and not miss out on their important events and games. I asked Steven if there was anything he could have changed, what would it be? He said, “As strange as it sounds, I’m not sure I would do a single thing different, and to be able to say that is a real privilege.” You can see Steven is really proud of his business and what his family has created, they just love their business and want it to succeed. One of the toughest parts of having a business in 2020 is that for Steven it really is a mix of both real estate practice and a business. He has seven attorneys and about twelve staff that depend on the success of the business to be able to help support their own families.
I asked Steven, if a customer was trying to decide between what company they should use compared to his competitors, what would make you stand out? Steven is very confident in his business and he said, “This one is easy. ‘Been there, done that’ we have many years of experience, have dealt with a wide breadth of issues. If we cannot fix it, then it’s likely it cannot be fixed. I do not think this is true of most of our competitors.” This seems to be true because Kellem and Kellem have been open for thirty-five years. Steven also learned from his father who would do more than real estate, so they do have a lot of experience compared to other law offices.
So far while Kellem and Kellem has been opened they have not used social media and online advertisements. They believe in their business being spread around by word of mouth, that if a buyer or seller has a great experience they will tell people. Then that person will search on their strong website. Looking six months into the future Steven sees his company doing great, but obviously the real estate market is great right now and that cannot be controlled. It was a great experience meeting and interviewing Steven Kellem, and all the staff you can tell they truly want the best for their clients and they will not settle for anything less than that.
Visit Kellem & Kellem at:
100 Recreation Park Drive, Suite 101, Hingham, MA
Contact them via:
Author: Radka Barter, BSU student
Jan Hanzl, the owner of GDI Homes, Inc, is a custom home builder who focuses on building or remodeling unique, high-end custom homes. I asked Jan to tell me about his construction company and what sets it apart from other construction companies in the South Shore area.
Jan, let’s start with: Are you from this area?
I am from the Czech Republic but have lived and operated my business for 18 years in the South Shore of Massachusetts. I just recently moved my business from Weymouth to Marshfield.
Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
GDI Inc. is a custom home building company established in Weymouth, MA in 2001 to construct single family housing. It is a family-owned business, operated with pride, ethics, and concern.
I originally started making and exporting furniture. I always liked working with wood, creating quality furniture for people to enjoy and maybe pass down to future generations.
When did it start? What Year?
It started about a year after I migrated here from Czech Republic in 2001.
What was it that made you want to start this business?
When I came to America, I had a difficult time making money building and selling furniture. I spent a lot of time looking at beautiful homes built between the mid 1800's to the 1920's all throughout eastern Massachusetts. The workmanship in the wood details was very similar to the quality level in the furniture I built. I felt that I can be successful in restoring these homes, so I started a carpentry finish business.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
Well my English was not as good as it is today so that was the most difficult because you need to communicate clearly with customers. I spent a lot of time watching tv with subtitles which helped me the most. The other thing is getting yourself known. I had no finish carpentry pictures to show new customers. I had to sell myself based on my furniture work.
What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
I enjoyed the work. I knew if I worked hard, produced quality work, and was good to my customers I knew I was going to be successful.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
My most difficult challenge was learning the business administrative part of running a business. Knowing what I know now taking business courses would have made operating a business much less stressful.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
Finding good quality people. There is a plenty of work but not enough qualified labor force to keep up with the demand.
If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it, why would you suggest they at least give yours a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
I spend a lot of time with new customers driving them around to see my finished work along with current projects I am working on. I enjoy selling myself to the customer because I enjoy what I do, and I think the customer sees that in my enthusiasm when I talk about their project. I also limit the number of projects to a select few each year. This allows my company and my team to provide hands-on management of each project, guarantees the quality of costumers’ homes, and affords a level of customer service unmatched in this market.
What is the # 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
Word of mouth. I do very little to no advertising. My years of networking with customers, suppliers, and subcontractors has thankfully kept me busy all these years.
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
Not at all but it eventually made it much easier. Instead of carrying photos, the internet made it more accessible to any potential customers to visit my website and view my work.
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
Absolutely, I would like to see if it helps me to find more quality sub-contractors, employees, and potentially grow my business.
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
Well I went from furniture maker, finish carpenter and now a General Contractor. I want to someday get into building small size condominiums or apartment buildings.
Author: Jessica Fuller, BSU student
Question: So, let’s start with are you from this local area?
Answer: I grew up in Whitman then lived in Bridgewater, and I currently live in East Bridgewater.
Q: Tell me about your business.
A: My real estate business is named after my daughter, and we are really focused on families. We mostly sell houses, but also do some rentals and a little commercial. We are not discount at all, which means our sellers get more money and our buyers get better deals. We work closely with related business (such as home inspectors, insurance, flooring companies etc.) to help meet clients’ needs. We also have a close relationship with attorneys because we want our buyers and sellers to have legal representation and be protected. We also have programs with mortgage brokers to help our clients get where they need to be financially to buy a home. We work very, very hard to get our clients the best deals and make them happy.
Q: Where do you serve?
A: We serve a wide area because our agents live all over. We are people based and serve our clients. We mostly serve the South Shore and South Coast but will travel for our clients.
Q: When did it start? What Year?
A: I started in when I was 23, which was in 1993.
Q: What was it that made you want to start this business?
A: From the ages of 13-23 I had a house cleaning business and was doing very well. I wanted to move into a more professional career and my friend suggested that I come be a realtor with her. I started at a big company and had a bad experience, so I moved around to other big companies but wasn’t happy. I took some time off and I decided to go on my own because I didn’t like people telling me what to do. I loved it and kept going.
Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A: We grew slowly and only rented a small office space to start. I was so scared signing that lease. Now, we rent the whole space. I love protecting and helping people so that’s what kept me going.
Q: If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
A: I would have had better tracking systems and contacted clients in a better, more organized manner. I would’ve been better about staying “top of mind.” I also would’ve had bigger goals for myself and my business and would’ve started investing money earlier.
Q: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A: The toughest part of my job is dealing with difficult people. It’s also tough having confidence in myself and the hard work I do and knowing how awesome I am.
Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
A: My team and our genuine care for people makes us stand out. We have better communication, more experience and really care about people. We do what’s in the client’s best interest. We are not all about the money, we truly just want to help people.
Q: What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
A: We bring in new clients by doing a really good job and getting referrals from clients. We love our people and care about them and make sure they have a good experience. If our customers are happy, they will keep recommending us and will always keep us in mind.
Q: Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc.) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
A: Not really, but we’ve been adding to it in the past year. Two of our agents, Missy and Paul Farias, have helped update our website and Facebook page. Most of our business comes from referrals. Only a small amount of our business comes from technology and social media.
Q: Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the right tools?
A: Yes, so we could get more visibility and turn phone calls into deals.
Q: If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
A: I would like to hire two more solid agents. We currently have two and would like to have 4-5. I want to stay small and want to make sure that everyone stays solid. I want all our agents to meet their goals with minimal stress.
Q: Increase or decrease, step away and be more a manager, passive owner etc.? Why?
A: I like where I am now and want to continue doing what I’m doing. I love my agents and love working with clients. I do want to teach my agents to be more independent. I will always be involved because my job is very fun and fulfilling.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Hiring Missy Farias has been the best decision in Brook Realty history. I feels like everything is more organized and I have no stress. Her strengths are my weakness and vice versa. My income has doubled but I am not doing any more work. She is very smart, hardworking, and protects me.
It is hard to believe that for as long as Callahan Construction Managers have been in existence that they are just now finishing only their second philanthropic project for South Shore Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization that is located in all 50 states throughout the United States and also in 70 countries worldwide. The organization aims to make sure that everyone has adequate housing.
There are various reasons why people may find themselves homeless or without decent housing. However, having a place to call home fills a person with a sense of belonging. Through their efforts to provide affordable housing for everyone, they have helped thousands of people get off the streets and into a home of their own.
This was not the first time that they built in Duxbury on Feinberg Bog Road. This was the second phase of construction. The first building project took place earlier in 2019. The project would provide for six families in six townhomes. With the addition of these six townhomes, it would bring the total homes built for Habitat for Humanity to ten in the Duxbury area. South Shore Habitat for Humanity had a dedication ceremony to dedicate the new homes. The families who would occupy the first new homes built were in attendance at the ceremony and were given the keys to their new homes.
The day after that ceremony, Callahan had the responsibility of getting right back to work to begin adding the finishing touches to the homes. The final units were projected to be completed before the end of 2019.
South Shore Habitat for Humanity has been providing affordable, and safe housing for the past 33 years for hundreds of families throughout the area. Callahan and South Shore Habitat for Humanity has been fortunate enough to have the longstanding relationship that they have because it has benefited many in the South Shore area. Callahan is now a Community Builder Sponsor and is very proud of their involvement. They have been involved in four volunteer build days. These four building days have been done at the community sponsorship level.
Some simply don't care about the plight of others. They only worry about themselves. However, it is clear that not everyone feels this way and that some are appreciative of what they have. Those who want to express their gratitude often are the ones who get involved in projects, such as Habitat for Humanity.
Houses built by Habitat for Humanity is made up of volunteers, both skilled and unskilled. This includes known construction companies, such as Callahan Construction Managers. Many who get involved with building projects, voluntarily, admit that it gives them a sense of purpose knowing that they are doing something so meaningful to others.
When local businesses get involved, it puts them in a favorable light with those in the community.