We’re excited to continue our bi-weekly series, spotlighting two HAAR Board Members, their advice, and otherwise critical information they want to share with Realtors. Today’s entry covers Directors Robert Simons with Keller Williams and Heather Batchelor with Coldwell Banker.
A transplant from Tyler, Texas, Robert and his wife, Susan, moved to Huntsville in 1986. That same year, he attained his real estate license and began practicing business brokerage and commercial real estate. In 1991, Robert moved into full time residential sales. Robert joined Keller Williams in 2005, its second year in Huntsville, as Qualifying Broker and Team Leader.
Since joining HAAR, Robert has served as a state director, a chair of several committees, and both a director and President at both HAAR and ValleyMLS.com. He was named Realtor of the Year in 2007.
Robert and Susan have three children who have blessed them with seven grandchildren, ages 3 months to 11 years. They are active members of Willowbrook Baptist Church.
A native of Tennessee, Heather has lived in the Tennessee Valley for more than 20 years. She works with a wide variety of real estate clients in North Alabama including new construction, resale and first-time homebuyers. Her extensive knowledge of the housing market, negotiating techniques, sales experience, community expertise, continuing education, home staging techniques, and use of technology allow her to effective research and market homes for both buyers and sellers.
Heather has received her Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation, Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation, and Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). She is a member of the 2017-2018 North Alabama Leadership Class, and enjoys serving as a state director for the Alabama Association of Realtors (AAR) as well as on both HAAR and ValleyMLS.com boards. She has worked alongside her colleagues on several HAAR committees and our Realtor panel that interviewed local City Council, Board of Education, County Commission, and Mayoral candidates to find out the candidates’ views on Realtor and community issues.
What inspired you to be a real estate agent to get into this business?
Batchelor: As a former small business owner, I had been able to set my own hours, and real estate offered that same flexibility. Also, I have always had an interest in homes, architecture, and real estate, so this was a great match!! (I became a Realtor in 2008).
Simons: Real Estate is a people business that has no ceiling for success. I have always had a desire to connect with and help people succeed, as it’s very gratifying to know we can make such a big difference in their lives.
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give about your business?
Simons: Great communication is one of the most valuable tools – and can be one of the weakest links – in our society today. Find a way to create to win-win situation and you’ve made not only a deal, but a follower. I have always valued a quote from our founder, Gary Keller, “Don’t let small thinking cut your life down to size. Think BIG, aim HIGH and act BOLD to live a LARGE life.”
Batchelor: It is important to learn the real estate business inside and out! Today’s consumers have numerous ways to get information about real estate, and it is important for Realtors to remain the experts in the industry to be able to guide their clients.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing a new agent today?
Batchelor: The real estate business, like any industry, can have its ups and downs, so new agents should learn to stay the course and to expect the unexpected!
Simons: There are so many things to learn. Technology tools, contracts and negotiation skills will make a huge difference in your success. Our business isn’t overly complicated, but it requires total commitment to reach mastery.
How do you spend your free time?
Batchelor: I do more than sell real estate! I am equally passionate about life as I am about business! I enjoy discovering new places and cultures with my family and friends, cooking and eating great foods, participating in 5ks, and spending time at the beach. With a son who plays collegiate golf, I spend quite a bit of time at the golf course. I also enjoy being involved in the community and serving in leadership roles. I was an active volunteer with Bob Jones High School, serving on the College and Career committee, the golf booster club, and the PTSA Board. At Asbury UMC, I have volunteered as an instructor for English as a Second Language, play in the orchestra, and direct the handbell choir. I have also served as a choreographer for various regional theater groups including Ars Nova, Footlights Theatre, and Asbury Dinner Theater. I currently serve as President of the Tennessee Valley Handbell Association (TVHA), play handbells for The Heritage Ringers, and served as a substitute teacher for Madison City Schools.