After 18 years of teaching math and science to mostly fourth- and fifth-graders, Gloria Page was ready for something new.
Although Page was passionate about math and teaching, she says her profession was becoming about more than imparting knowledge to young minds; it was gradually shifting toward pleasing the powers-that-be that were trying to micromanage the education process.
“If it were 100 percent about the kids, I’d still be there,” Page says in a voice that sounds incapable of being anything but sweet – even when she’s being blunt.
Fortunately, Page had another passion: houses. A native of Mt. Juliet, she and her mother enjoyed taking home tours together in Nashville when she was growing up.
The wonder and amazement Page felt while exploring the elegant dwellings stayed with her, and years later, as she contemplated her next move, two words came to her: real estate.
However, as she bravely turned to the next chapter in her life, she noticed the page was blank. She knew nothing about buying and selling houses professionally, so the teacher needed to become a student again.
As a first step, Page reached out to a friend who owned a real estate brokerage and asked for advice.
“I wanted to work for a big name, so it was going to be either Crye-Leike or Keller Williams,” Page remembers. “He told me about a friend who owned a Crye-Leike office. When I sat down with her, she told me half of her office had just went to Keller Williams.
“I figured they knew something I didn’t, so I went with KW.”
When Page told the broker at Keller Williams Realty Chattanooga she was a former teacher, he smiled. “Teachers make the best Realtors,” he said. “You know how to multitask and, at the end of the day, everything has to come together.”
One of the first things Page learned as she began working at Keller Williams was that she was now fully in control of her future. “I design my life,” she says. “The more I work, the better the payoff.”
Page was no stranger to putting her nose to the grindstone; she raised two children with her husband, Jeff Reed, while earning the degrees she needed to teach, including a bachelor’s, master’s and the educational specialist degrees, all at Tennessee Technological University.
So, she rolled up her sleeves and worked hard, attracting clients with her vibrant, energetic personality and winning them over with her quickly acquired expertise and dependable service.
As she applied her training, Page went from being at the top of the teaching profession (according to Tennessee Department of Education evaluation guidelines) to being the No. 1 new agent at her branch. Further validating her career change, Keller Williams Realty named Page Rookie of the Year at the end of her first year as a Realtor.
Five years later, Page says real estate has changed her life. As one of the top agents at Keller Williams Realty, she has already sold more than $20 million in real estate, and past clients are reappearing in droves as they return to the market to sell.
Page’s business is showing no signs of slowing down, either, as nearly $2 million of her career total has come since the beginning of July.
“I’ve worked my tail off,” she points out. “I’ve had five closings this week alone. It’s been crazy.”
Page has been busy enough that her son, Realtor Josh Roberson, has started pitching in. They haven’t formalized their partnership by forming a team, but Roberson is lending a hand wherever and whenever he’s needed.
While Page is pleased with her success, KW made her believe it was possible, so it’s not come as a surprise. Rather, she’s most amazed by how often her new career calls on her to employ the skills of her former profession.
“I’m still teaching, it’s just adults rather than kids,” Page explains. “If you’ve never bought a home, I hold your hand from beginning to end.”
One of the lessons Page teaches her new brand of students is that patience and perseverance are eventually rewarded. She thinks back on the knotty road she recently led a single mother along as they spent three months handling a litany of issues to get a deal to the closing table.
“Even though that was difficult, she’s now in a home with her two children. That makes everything we went through worthwhile.”
Page also donated to her school after the deal closed. “We have to take care of our teachers,” she adds.
As a former teacher, Page understands no one, including her, is ever done learning. This fact is on Page’s mind more than usual in the wake of a deal in which she nearly lost the faith of her clients.
“My clients are retiring up north and moving here. The people who were supposed to do the repairs on the house they’re buying kept canceling, and on the day of closing, there were still things to be done,” Page recounts.
Since the seller’s agent oversaw handling the repairs, the situation was outside of Page’s control. Fortunately, the buyers agreed to close, but only on the stipulation that the repairs be made.
The hardest part for Page came after the closing, when her clients asked her, “Why should we have faith in you now? You didn’t get it done before.”
Page could have debated fault, but instead, she assured her clients that their home was now in her hands, and that the repairs would be made before they moved.
The situation taught Page that she isn’t totally in control when the seller isn’t hers. “When I’m representing the seller, I can make it easier on the buyer’s agent by always coming through and making them look great in front of their clients,” Page says. “If a deal isn’t a win-win for everyone involved, then I have failed to do my job.”
Although Page has enough business to fill her calendar, she also has a desire to serve the people she says have given much to her – her colleagues at Keller Williams Realty.
“I love Keller Williams,” she notes, her face barely able to contain her huge smile. “We’re a big family.”
As one of the top agents at Keller Williams Realty, Page is able to serve on the Agent Leadership Council. The panel makes all the major decisions for the office and acts as the voice of the more than 300 agents who work there. The choices the ALC makes guides the company’s policy regarding commission, ethics, charitable endeavors and more. Page is serving her second year on the panel.
“We’re an agent-run company,” Page explains. “There are no powers-that-be telling us what to do.”
No one tells Page to serve a number of charitable causes, either, but she does it because it’s in her heart.
For more than 20 years, she’s packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, an outreach of Samaritan’s Purse. Each year, OCC sends shoeboxes filled with gifts and necessities to children in third-world countries.
“We’re used to getting a toy when we buy a hamburger,” Page says. “These children have never had anything.”
Page packs several boxes a year and puts a lot of thought into their contents. One item she typically includes is a collapsible bowl for children to take to school. “If they don’t bring something for food, they don’t eat,” she continues.
Page also raises funds and packs medical supplies for Love Without Reason, a nonprofit that performs craniofacial surgeries in India and Zimbabwe.
Now that Page has Josh helping her, she hopes she can accompany a medical team on one of its trips. “At the end of each day, I ask myself, ‘What have I done for others?’” Page says.
At the end of one day, Page was able to say, “Help someone no one else had.”
When someone called the office looking for to sell her home – a dilapidated trailer – Page took the listing, knowing her commission would be small but that she’d be helping someone in dire need of assistance.
“She had called several Realtors, and no one would take it,” Page remembers. “I don’t care how poor you are; everyone is worthy of a Realtor.”
Page had multiple offers by the end of the day, as the trailer was sitting on prime Hixson property. “There are tough things out there, but you can’t help your raisin’ and you can’t always help your situation,” Page says. “But if you need to sell something, you deserve a Realtor who will take care of it.”
Page says she owes her success to what she calls her “three J’s.”
The first “J” is Page’s husband, who tells her daily he’s her biggest fan and never lets her run out the door to help a client without telling her she’s awesome.
Page’s second “J” is her son, who’s been a tremendous help during the busiest season she’s experienced in her career.
“Joshua helps when we have two buyers that need to see a house in two parts of town at the same time. It’s a crazy seller’s market right now, and we’d never risk putting off an appointment until tomorrow. My son is priceless to me.”
Finally, being a good Baptist, Page says her favorite “J” is Jesus. “On my first day of being a Realtor, I gave this job to Him and told Him I couldn’t do it without Him,” she recalls. “He’s changed my life for the better, and I love every single day.”