When Virginia Lazenby embarked on the path that would earn her a doctorate in education, she had not the foggiest notion that such a teaching pedigree would become so valuable in her second career as a real estate agent in Georgetown, Texas.
Virginia's ED.D. in Curriculum and Instruction launched a career that included the beautiful chaos of instructing a first grade classroom, followed by 21 years at the college level in elementary teacher education.
At the time, it never occurred to Virginia that her finely-honed communication and instruction skills as a teacher would also be an exceptional attribute for a real estate agent specializing in working with seniors and adults 55+.Then she retired and it all started to make perfect sense.
Beginning the Senior Specialty
Lazenby has focused on working with senior real estate clients for a total of six years now, a specialty that came naturally given the large number of boomers and seniors that make the greater Georgetown area a mecca for retirement. Seniors were also the demographic she felt most comfortable serving.
But it was only a short three years ago that she realized an urgent need to “up her game” as a Georgetown real estate agent for seniors.
“I realized that many mature clients had very specific needs that most agents – including myself – hadn't been trained to supply,” says Lazenby.
“My big desire was to offer more coordinated and comprehensive services to downsizing seniors, so I sought out information to help me get better prepared and - wonders of wonders – I found The Seniors Real Estate Institute (SREI).”
Building the Resource Team
Her primary focus was to learn all she could about developing a first-class resource team.
“I really focused on establishing resource team of senior professionals and service providers, all vetted to be part of our team,” explains Virginia. “We have a Client Care Coordinator who fosters relationships with senior professionals and service providers, and assists in arranging for services needed by a seller or buyer.”
This kind of customized, hands-on service is the holy grail of what it means to be a CSHP and a significant part of how agents with that designation stand apart from their peers. Virginia and her team coordinate the entire downsizing effort and, most importantly, she adores it!
“My favorite thing is being able to reduce their stress and bring order to seniors as they face a challenging time,” she says. “I always strive to genuinely serve and provide personal attention to my senior clients.
In addition to Georgetown, other spots in the area include Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, and North Austin, communities where you're likely to find Virginia Lazenby helping a boomer couple navigate a move from Ohio to Texas, or a senior couple prepare to sell their Georgetown home and ready themselves for a transition to independent or assisted living in Georgetown, Texas.
“One of the things that I love about Virginia is her humility,” says Nikki Buckelew, co-founder and CEO of The Seniors Real Estate Institute. “She goes so far above and beyond to serve seniors and yet she never boasts about it or makes it seem like it’s out of the ordinary."
"I also think her long history as an educator is so very helpful. With a doctorate in education and background in teaching, being the source of valuable information for seniors comes very natural to her.”
The Teacher Returns to the Podium!
To that end, Virginia has committed to strengthening her senior client base and chosen to organize and host a series of monthly downsizing seminars in Georgetown called “Seniors Living Smarter,” with the goal of each 'to educate and empower seniors so they can make informed decisions.”
Educational opportunities and outreaches like this go a long way toward not only finding quality clients, but also helping consumers to understand that not all real estate agents come with a disposable mindset.
“Sometimes people want to hire the least expensive real estate agent they can find because they think Realtors are a commodity,” Buckelew reminds us. “The reality is that some Realtors reduce/cut their commissions and then reduce their level of service – Virginia, on the other hand, has added a lot more to her real estate services and doesn’t charge any more for it.”
It may be a good bet that the destiny of Virginia Lazenby has always been to teach. Now, today, the former elementary teacher and college instructor is leading the way and teaching others the fine art of downsizing, selling a home, and transitioning to a new home, late-in-life.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.