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Front Page - Friday, October 27, 2023

Today’s to-do list: delegate tasks

Bolinger wants to free Realtors to focus on sales

Keller Williams agent Erin Bolinger is launching a Realtor concierge service called Follow the Signs LLC that will help Realtors whittle down their lengthy to-do lists. - Photograph provided

Keller Williams Realtor Erin Bolinger was serving as the director of operations for another agent’s business early this year when she noticed the always-lengthy nature of the individual’s to-do list. Now matter how industriously the agent worked, there was always more to do.

Sometimes, it was a sign that needed to be planted in a seller’s front yard; other times, it was a meeting with a contractor who needed to update the agent on a home build. It could be anything, but it was always something.

As Bolinger contemplated the never-ending inventory of incomplete errands, an idea hit her like a triple espresso: She would start a business that would tend to the countless small tasks that can pile up when a Realtor is busy.

Bolinger will launch her brainchild, Follow the Signs LLC, in November via a website and app for smartphones and tablets. Available to Realtors doing business in the greater Chattanooga area and Northwest Georgia, it will begin with planting signs, end with localized closing gifts and include everything in-between.

Essentially, if it’s a task with which a Realtor needs assistance, Follow the Signs will tend to it.

Signage services will include not only delivering, picking up, cleaning and storing the customary yard signs residential Realtors use but also building and maintaining the “loud and proud” signs to which commercial agents are partial.

“I’ll even bling them out with solar lights,” Bolinger boasts. “People will notice your property.”

Keeping true to its name, Follow the Signs will even change residential and commercial signage to mark milestones such as a pending sale or a property going under contract.

When Bolinger became a Realtor in 2021, she gained momentum by hosting open houses for busy agents. Now Follow the Signs will offer open house packages tailored to promote the hosting agent’s brand, Bolinger says.

“There will be water bottles with your photo, snacks, cold drinks, bubbles for kids, and other bougee upgrades that will sell your property,” Bolinger says excitedly, as though the ideas are coming to her and spilling out as she speaks.

Bolinger seems just as enthusiastic about her closing gift packages, which will include products sourced from locally owned business, including woman- and minority-owned businesses whenever possible. For example, when the buyers of a house in the Glass Street neighborhood in East Chattanooga enter their new residence, they might find a gift basket packed with items from Allgoods Used Books and Coffee and an Ace Hardware gift card.

Bolinger even plans to market Follow the Signs to homeowners who are trying to sell their own property, or the “FSBO crowd,” as she puts it.

“Instead of going to the store to buy a Sharpie and then scribbling your phone number on a cheap red and white for-sale sign, let me place an attractive sign in your yard that contains the information you want people to know and print a brochure potential buyers can grab.”

From there, Bolinger says, Realtors can think of their to-do lists as a catalog of the services Follow the Signs will provide. “We want to be your support system, whether you need someone to open a door for a contractor, or take notes during a home inspection.”

Clients will be able to select and schedule services with Follow the Signs through a website (FollowTheSignsRealty.com) and a custom app for smartphones and tablets. Memberships will be available to brokerages that want to offer a suite of services to their agents.

Bolinger assures Realtors she won’t hone in on their territory as she swoops through to drop off a closing gift or swap a sign. Instead, Follow the Signs will be a transparent part of the work the agent is doing on behalf of their client.

“I don’t want any of our amazing Realtors to think I’m going to bring my business into their business. That’s not what I want to do. I want to elevate each Realtor as they have gaps in their service and earn more of their business.”

Follow the Signs is the culmination of two decades of work Bolinger has done in service-oriented positions in the banking, construction and financing industries. In addition, she’s employing the skills she acquired while earning an undergraduate degree in communications at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to promote her business and is summoning the magic that enabled her to be a multitasking parent of two children.

“I’ve been of service to others in one form or another since the age of 16,” she explains. “It’s a big thing for me. It fills my cup. And my experiences have prepared me to work with anyone, from a roofer to a top tier executive. It’s what I like to do.”

Bolinger says she believes Follow the Signs will help her to carve a unique niche in the Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia real estate market.

“Chattanooga already has a lot of brilliant Realtors, so I’ve decided to help my fellow agents keep their noses above water. I hope they’ll allow me to be of service.”