Ask the Innovator – What Does It Take To Innovate in Real Estate?

Each month, Texas Innovators sits down with an innovator from a specific industry in Texas and discusses how they are able to innovate in their field of work.

For some, it could be developing a new product or process. For others, it could be as simple as being able to make a lasting impression on an individual.

This month, we sat down with Cheryl Boyland, owner, and founder of Boyland & Associates Realty, LLC. We discussed the current real estate market in Texas, and how someone who has been in the industry for over two decades is still able to innovate for their business and clients.

Q: How long have you worked in the real estate industry?

A: It’s been a little bit over 20 years. My husband and I started off in investment, as investors, and we came to the realization that even though we were investors, it was something that limited us because we didn't have access to certain things, or the flow was a little bit difficult because we felt like outsiders. One day I said, “I'm really thinking about getting my real estate license, I think that will open up the door for us a little bit, more freedom to do some things." Of course, I went for it and became an agent, and from there, I went on to become a broker.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important thing a real estate professional must consider in 2021?

A: We really have to be aware of our skillset and where we are, assessing our knowledge. Because now, technology and specifically, information is just a fingertip away. So, some of our buyers and sellers, and even some of our investors have a wealth of knowledge, but how to apply it is the piece that's missing. With that, we must make sure we're honing our craft, daily. Making sure we are up to date on legislation, making sure we're up to date on the guidelines and ethics of what's expected of us, and carrying out our fiduciary duty to our clients, and things of that nature. Lastly, we must make sure that we are practicing and upholding what the state expects us to do as licensed professionals.

Q: What impact has the pandemic had on the Texas real estate market?

A: It seemed like a blessing in disguise. I know that may sound strange, even though we don't like the environment around COVID, who wants to be in this type of environment. The way it suddenly just hit us, we had to pivot very quickly. But one thing that was to our advantage as professionals here in the state of Texas, I was so thankful and my other colleagues were talking about it when it happened last year, is that Texas considered us as essential workers. So even though the lockdown occurred, we were still able to go about and do business, while following the safety protocols. We have families as well and wanted to be cautious for everyone’s safety and wellbeing, but with that, we were still able to buy and sell and do what we needed to do as real estate professionals because they valued our work and understand how our profession contributes to the marketplace and the economy.

Q: In your eyes, how do you define someone as being innovative in real estate?

A: From my personal experience and talking to other professionals in the field of real estate - because it's not just the agents, we have so many other individuals/entities such as title companies, lenders, inspectors, appraisers, etc. - it is the way all of us must pivot and be relevant. Even if COVID didn't exist, we have to be transformational as we move through the marketplace and meet the demands that are before us. So, being relevant and current, and knowing how to reach our clientele, where they are, and helping them to reach their real estate goals. So, when you think about that, it's about listening. A lot of people think it's all about the sale. It is about the sale, don't get me wrong about that Judge, but it's also about listening. Right now, I don't have any agents working with me, but when I have agents, I will let them know to always listen. Do not go in assuming and making decisions for your clients, listen to what they need, and try to meet their needs. Then, give suggestions and listen, and allow them to have a voice in the process, that's critical. Some people feel like, "oh I didn't know that, or you didn't explain this to me, or I didn't have a say about that." So, giving them the opportunity to have a voice and make a connection in the process, and having a relationship is imperative because that's where your repeat business comes from. Value your client's opinions, their voice, and their decisions.

Q: I have to ask, what is your innovation in the real estate market?

A: I will say it's a combination of my approach and the value I place on relationships. But also, I come from a family of educators and I'm an educator myself. So, with that, it's about understanding how the clients process information and being willing to teach them. Even though my husband and I own Boyland & Associates Realty, I'm also a co-founder of a consulting firm called Connection Capacity. We do professional development, webinars, and specially designed training with companies who primarily seek out consultants about learning how to connect and sustain human connections with others to enhance life experiences in the workplace, or the classroom, or life in general. I believe this is important, my innovation is understanding that even though with our up-and-coming agents and some of us as seasoned agents, you may know your field of work, but do you know how to get along and work well with others? Do you have empathy, show empathy? Even though it's about the sale, once you make a connection, build a relationship and credibility with the client, the sky is the limit.