Myra Cochran doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she wears it on the lapel of her turquoise blue jacket. The heart-shaped pin, which matches her outfit, makes a simple statement about her: she loves being a Realtor.
Cochran’s lapel is also home to a second pin consisting of a single word spelled in all caps: “EXIT,” the name of the real estate company for which she is the broker of record. If her heart is in real estate, then her mind is focused on making the newly launched EXIT Realty Scenic City a place where other Realtors can thrive.
“I take the time to teach my agents,” she says. “If someone says to you, ‘I’m not going to list my house with you, I’m going to go with someone else,’ what do you say? It took me years to figure that out. If I can pass that along to you now, you’ll be successful sooner.”
Cochran is a seasoned Realtor who’s done just about everything there is to do in real estate. She began by flipping houses, which stirred her interest in becoming an agent. Next, she became a broker and started her own company. During this time, she began teaching real estate and became heavily involved in the local Realtor association.
Although Cochran has had her fingers in a lot of pies, she says heart is in teaching and “the legal side of things.” Katherine Woodburn, owner of Exit Realty Scenic City, thought these qualities would make Cochran a good broker for her company, and pursued her relentlessly.
“I was poised to sell four million dollars at Keller Williams this year when Katherine called and asked me to be her broker,” Cochran says. “It was a difficult decision for me.”
Cochran says her loyalties were with the people at Keller Williams, who had stood by her after the tornado that hit Ringgold, Ga., in 2011 devastated her family’s home and farm. But Woodburn saw in Cochran the kind of broker she believed Exit Realty Scenic City needed, and persisted.
“We met several times before I said yes,” Cochran says. “She kept talking about everything Exit has to offer. They’re not about getting agents in the door, they’re about making the agents they have successful.”
Woodburn worked as a mortgage loan officer for 17 years before purchasing an Exit Realty franchise. Based in Ontario, Canada, the company claims $2 billion in revenues and more than 5,000 employees. Woodburn liked their earnings model.
“We offer residual income,” she says. “If you sponsor someone, you can make ten percent off their transactions.”
Cochran explains further. “If you introduce me to an agent, and he or she joins our office, then you earn ten percent of their gross income as long as they’re working for this company,” she says. “If you retire or take a leave of absence, you still earn residual income from the agents you brought to the company.”
Woodburn was also drawn to the company name. “Founder Steve Morris did a lot of research on words, and he discovered that the word ‘exit’ is used in every country in the world. No matter where you are, you’ll see the word ‘exit’ on doors,” she says. “I like it because you’ll be thinking of my company every time you pass an exit on the freeway.”
Exit Realty Scenic City is located off exit 7A-B at 7610 Hamilton Park Dr. The long red and blue sign outside makes the building easy to spot, as does Woodburn’s tiny light blue Smart Car, which is covered – front, sides, and back – with Exit Realty logos and contact information.
The use of blue continues in the refurbished interior, which sports new carpet and paint and decor that encourages a relaxed atmosphere. On one wall, Woodburn combined the words “LOVE” and “EXIT” to create “LOVEXIT,” which she’s painted in large, mostly white letters against a red background. Only the “E” is blue.
Woodburn has big plans for her currently small company, which consists of her, Cochran, three agents, and an inside lender. She hopes to have 25 agents in place by the end of the year, and to eventually expand into Hixson and North Georgia. But first, she needs her broker to make the agents she has successful.
“I want people to wonder what’s going on here,” she says. “Once that happens, the rest will fall into place.”