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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, June 1, 2018

English launches Scout Realtor Group




Scout Realtor Group consists of Misa Ankar, Brian Erwin, Becky Cope English, Derek English and Lisi Chavarri. - Photograph provided

Spurred by a desire to focus more time and energy on her family and community, Realtor Becky Cope English has formed Scout Realtor Group, a collective of like-minded agents who are pooling their knowledge and resources to serve clients more efficiently and effectively.

English says this, despite already being highly effective and very efficient.

For example, the announcement of the new endeavor arrives on the heels of English being named Realtor of the Year for 2017. Courtesy of the Greater Chattanooga Realtors (GCR), the award recognizes her contributions to the real estate industry, the Chattanooga community and her local and state associations.

“[Becky] has not only been an active member of the local association but also participates in civic activities to better causes in Greater Chattanooga,” fellow Realtor Sabrena Smedley said during GCR’s awards reception in January.

English has served on many GCR committees, including Budget & Finance, Community Partnerships and Governmental Affairs. She is also serving as an RPAC trustee.

In addition, English participated in the Tennessee Realtors’ Spring Conference and Annual Convention as well as the National Association of Realtors’ Legislative Conference.

English has been just as productive in her community. Until recently, she served as a board member for Skyuka Hall, a school for students who have struggled within a traditional learning environment.

English is also a trustee to the advisory board for the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

What’s more, English engaged in these activities while fulfilling the commitments of a top-producing agent.

“Service is who I am, and I’m happy to be a part of so many wonderful organizations,” English said upon accepting the award.

Even as English was overwhelmed with the honor, she was putting in motion plans to launch Scout Realtor Group, which rose out of an epiphany she had in 2017 as she took inventory of her life.

A lot on her plate

English saw many things on the horizon as she looked ahead to 2018.

There was her work on Riverton, a 210-acre development on the Tennessee River that will likely feature walkable neighborhoods, a town center and numerous recreational amenities.

While the master plan is not complete, it is estimated Riverton will consist of several hundred home sites. English is a partner with Riverton Development Group, the local residential and commercial development group that’s planning and will develop the property.

English also saw how other projects throughout the Greater Chattanooga area were going to require more of her attention in the coming year.

“Everything was going to pop in 2018, so I started asking myself how I was going to do all of it without spreading myself too thin,” she says.

These ruminations coincided with English’s mounting desire to spend more time with her family. Her parents were slowing down, and she wanted to take them on trips while they were able to travel.

“My parents made sacrifices for their family and never treated themselves to anything because they were always taking care of everyone else,” English says. “So, I want them to do the things they never were able to do.”

English also wanted to spend more time with her husband, Derek, who also is a Realtor. “We were talking about traveling and going on mission trips, but we didn’t see how that would be possible,” English says.

As English thought about the things that mattered the most to her, she stopped worrying about how much money she was making. But she never stopped thinking about her clients or how she could continue to take care of them.

“I’ve been blessed with steady business, which I built by providing great service,” English says. “Most of the people who come to me are referrals. I care about the person who made the referral and I care about the new client.”

English knew the answer rested in changing how she did business. Since becoming a licensed Realtor in 2001, she’d always worked alone – even after Derek became an agent. But now she was thinking of hiring help, or partnering with other Realtors, or even scaling back her business.

And then something dawned on her.

“I realized other people in this business must be feeling the same way – people I love, admire and respect, and who are good with their family and generous with their community,” English says. “If I was struggling with these things, they probably were, too.’”

The team idea

English first heard of the team concept in 2007, but the idea didn’t draw her interest. Instead, she labored alone.

“For years, I never took vacations. I never saw my family and I would sometimes be up all night just to keep up with the work I had to do,” she says. “That’s no way to live.”

As English contemplated the shift in her career, she researched the team concept. She discovered that working with or leading a team works well for some agents but would not be a good fit for her.

“Teams work well for people who are coming into the business and need a push. Working within a team environment gives new agents stability,” she says.

“On the other hand, when you work for a team, you lose your identity; you’re not able to put your name out there and you can’t claim your production.”

English didn’t want to create a business model that prevented anyone from building his or her own business. Instead, she wanted to create an environment in which the agents thrived individually but also nurtured one another.

English also wanted her group to remain unified – and she didn’t believe the team environment would foster loyalty. “If you have someone on your team who’s strong in sales, are they going to stay with you? Generally speaking, no,” English says. “I don’t want someone using Scout Realtor Group as a stepping stone. I want to retire and see others carry it forward.”

So, English drew up a concept in which Realtors with varying skillsets pool their knowledge, time and, to a certain degree, resources under a single banner. Even though she founded the group, no one person would lead it, but every agent would be an equal partner, contributor and decisionmaker.

While choosing the people who would form the initial group, English looked for agents who had one vital thing in common with her: strong commitment to charity and community.

“We’re going to give back,” she says. “We’re going to decide as a group which charities we’re going to work with and then we’re going to give those charities a portion of our checks.”

An agent’s community involvement could take any form, English says, whether the person is engaged at the political level, a member of the school board, or volunteering with another civically-minded organization, such as the Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

English didn’t want her name to be in lights, either, so instead of calling her venture The Becky English Group, she called it Scout Realtor Group.

“I’ve always said, ‘I’ll scout that out for you,’ so that was the first name that came to mind,” English says. “The girl who handles my marketing said it sounds great. It’s one syllable, it’s easy to spell, people know what it means and it means what we do – we find people the best homes and properties.”

To test the waters, English approached two agents at Re/Max Renaissance, where she works: Misa Ankar and Brian Erwin.

“Brian has been very involved at the Realtor association. As he’s served as chair of the Community Involvement Committee this past year, I’ve seen a leader emerging, and he’s only 29,” English says.

“And Misa walks with integrity, has a generous heart and is a good-spirited person. I’ve always been drawn to doing business with her.”

English was second-guessing her concept even as she sat down to present it to them, but she bared her soul anyway.

Initially, Ankar and Erwin didn’t get it. “They were confused. They asked me how much they would have to pay me to join the group, and how much money I would take from their sales,” English says. “I said, ‘I’m not taking any money from you. If you agree to team up with me, we’ll share our skillsets, information and resources.’”

Ankar and Erwin have since come on board, as have Derek and Lisi Chavarri, making for a founding group of five. They meet every Wednesday to share information and offer each other assistance, and each agent’s vote carries the same weight when it comes to adding members to the group, hiring staff and marketing.

In addition, they’re all equal in their roles as Realtors, with each one working with buyers and sellers and acting as consultants.

English is also excited about each agent’s specialties and what they bring to the group in terms of experience. “Brian, Derek and I have received specialized new home sales training. And Misa and Lisi have an eye for relocation, as both relocated here,” she says. “So, we’re all bringing something unique to bring to the table.”

That said, Scout Realtor Group is still in the building phase, and English has a list of agents she’d like to add to the group to fill more niches.

Above all, English believes Scout Realtor Group is going to give her schedule the breathing room it’s needed for years. “When one of us takes time off, other members of the group can cover for us,” she says. “I couldn’t trust anyone more than the people I’m working with. From their experience, to their knowledge, to their integrity, I know they’ll take good care of my clients when I step away for a moment.”

The future

Some Realtors have described English as “a dynamo of energy that exemplifies service to others and leadership” and “a shining example of what we want our members to be in the community and our profession.”

Other have said English “does what’s best for the community, not for personal gain” and that she “puts herself last without even realizing it.”

Now, with the support of her fellow agents at Scout Realtor Group, English can continue to provide the same level of service to her clients and community and still have time left over for the things that matter most.

English and her mom are talking about the trips they’d like to take, and since news of Riverton broke, more organizations than ever are seeking her out – including a women’s group, which invited her to speak.

While this places more on her plate, she feels ready to take on the opportunities that are coming her way. “I don’t have the angst I used to have,” she says. “I no longer worry about how I’m going to clone myself.”