By Maegan Carrasquillo, Staff Writer
Diane Farr, Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty of the Smokies in Kodak, TN, didn’t always work in the real estate field. She joined the United States Air Force right out of high school and copied morse code during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. Two things remain the same according to Diane; patience and organizational skills are a must on the job both then and now.
During a recent interview she explained some important lessons she learned as a US Air Force Veteran, why she stuck it out in real estate during the recession, and how she and her agents do what it takes to be strong during a global pandemic.
“When you’re entrenched in a military environment it’s all about watching out for each other and helping each other to reach the full extent of your abilities for the group to succeed,” says Diane, and she believes the same can be said when you’re in real estate with EXIT. “It’s never about one person being better than the other; we are all in it together.”
Although Diane loved being part of the Air Force, when it was time to be discharged her life moved in a different direction that led her to Sevier County. Living in the tourist capital of Eastern Tennessee, she thought selling timeshares made sense, but soon wanted something more, so she got her real estate license in 2005 and then her broker’s license during the recession of 2008.
More than anything Diane wanted to open her own EXIT office, but in the midst of a financial crisis it just didn’t seem timely. She persevered with her motto of, “Stand for what you believe and believe in what you stand for,” and after many years in the business she was able to make that ownership dream a reality in 2017.
“Choosing an EXIT Realty franchise was essential for me. There’s so much involvement from the top down that we’re all destined to succeed,” she explains.
She learned early on as a franchisee, that it was key to stick with the decisions you’ve made and make them work for you. Having taken her office from a sole agent operation to a group of 13 dedicated and compassionate agents fills her with pride.
“Our office is a great mix of people who LOVE what we do! Those who are more tech savvy reach out and help the ones who want to learn, and we take the time to nurture and help each other grow. I have three agents who received their e-Pro® Certification from the National Association of REALTORS® as well as two more who received their Freddie Mac CreditSmart® Certification during the COVID-19 quarantine. It just goes to show how serious we are when it comes to education and being the best we can possibly be for our clients.”
As someone with a military background, her advice to other veterans looking to pursue a career in real estate is to find an agent or broker with whom you connect and take the time to share a few of your military stories.
“We were all similarly trained, and the bottom line is you get what you focus on. Joining an office with fellow veterans can help you keep your focus on your goals, which includes that feeling of esprit de corps you had while in the military,” Diane says.
So, what does the future hold for EXIT Realty of the Smokies? Big dreams, with even better views according to Diane. “I would love to think that one day our office will have a panoramic view of our namesake, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has over 12.5 million visitors annually and I would love to be able to talk to each of them,” Diane muses. “I do believe our office will continue to grow and flourish just like the last few years, and we’ll continue to be one of the offices other agents look forward to working with because of our due diligence and love for what we do.”