As Ingram Trexler grew up within earshot of waves lapping the Gulf Coast in Southern Mississippi, she dreamed of someday basking in the lights of Broadway.
Trexler didn’t see her name being in those lights but thought she could be the one to turn them on. Instead of performing, she wanted to help conjure the behind-the-scenes magic that makes an evening at the theater a memorable occasion.
Trexler, 37, enjoyed being one of the wizards behind the curtain in productions at Elon University in North Carolina, where she studied theater from 2002-2007. But when she became a Realtor in May of this year, she found herself thrust into the limelight.
Suddenly, Trexler was front and center of her own business venture and her name was on everything, including her social media pages and other marketing materials.
Trexler says she felt confident about her prospects as she settled into her new profession, partly due to the quality and the quantity of the training available at her brokerage, Keller Williams Greater Chattanooga Realty on Lee Highway. But she soon decided to join one of the established teams at the office.
“I’m not a lone wolf,” she says. “I’ve always liked collaboration. That’s what theater is. So I joined a team.”
Trexler enlisted with what she calls “a perfect fit” when she met Linda Erikson, founder of the Erikson Team, during a class.
“She’s knowledgeable, helpful and kind,” Trexler offers. “We hit it off.”
Trexler is now part of a joint effort but also still in control of her fate as an agent. As she looks ahead, she sees a marathon rather than a sprint.
“I haven’t landed my first listing yet, but I’m on the cusp of it because, man, do I make a lot of phone calls,” Trexler laughs. “I have several potential clients who aren’t ready to buy today but will be in a few months. So, I’m playing a long game.”
Trexler was pouring her heart and soul into another behind-the-scenes role – that of a stay-at-home parent – when she decided her and her husband’s 5-year-old son was old enough to allow her to return to work.
Trexler had worked in a series of box office positions for Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina after graduating from Elon, but she wasn’t eager to return to the theatrical world or another office job.
“I’d done arts for a really long time and was burned out,” she says. “I really wanted to do something else.”
Trexler also wanted to be free to set her own agenda.
“As a stay-at-home parent, I’d become accustomed to working from home and doing things when I wanted to or was able. I didn’t want to be stuck in a cubicle.”
She says her mother, a retired accountant, and her father, a former optician, provided the inspiration.
“My parents have done real estate and property management since the early 70s. They were always buying personal investments.”
Trexler watched them work, sometimes as she did her homework in a rental house they were painting or cleaning. When she told them she’d decided to take a page from their book and pursue real estate, they were excited.
“They said it would be a great fit and told me I should’ve done it years ago,” Trexler chuckles.
Although Trexler welcomed the support, she was already feeling optimistic about her new endeavor. The market was beginning to dip, she says, and interest rates were inching upward, but the lessons she’d learned from watching her parents make investments encouraged her.
“No matter when you enter real estate, there will always be something going on,” she explains.
Not only that, but Trexler says the cooler market gives her more time to find the right homes for her buyers.
“It feels more like what I saw growing up.”
Trexler and her family moved to Chattanooga in 2017 when her husband accepted a position with Tennessee Valley Authority and quickly grew to love the temperate climate.
“I loved the coast,” Trexler submits. “And I still love to visit. But I like Chattanooga better. It’s not hot all the time.”
Trexler also enjoys hiking and traveling to other pleasant climes with her husband and son. (A recent trip took them to Yellowstone.) And she’s still drawn to the performing arts, although as a patron, not as a participant.
Trexler has even learned to enjoy stepping into the spotlight – as a part of an ensemble. The parishioners at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church can hear her sing as part of the choir on Sundays, as will those who attend this year’s holiday pops concert by the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Chorus.
An alto, Trexler is especially looking forward to performing the holiday classic, “Carol of the Bells.”
“It’s intense and it requires all the parts,” she says.
It will not, however, require her to work any behind-the-scenes wizardry. She’ll be saving that for her buyers, who she says will soon be needing the magic only a Realtor can provide.