BABE #306: LAUREN SCHELLHASE - REALTOR®
Lauren is a Phoenix, AZ-based REALTOR® and GREEN Designee® working tirelessly to guide people through the home selling and buying process. In the ever-expanding digital age, Lauren prides herself on providing excellent, timely service—without removing the element of human connection. This hustlin’ babe is no stranger to the grit and resilience it takes to succeed in the competitive real estate industry, and she does it all through a sustainable practice and an authentic approach.
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Current city: Phoenix, AZ
Alma mater: Mesa Community College
Very first job: Hostess, Souper Salad
Current job(s): REALTOR®
Babe you admire and why?
I admire Georganne Bryant, owner of Frances Vintage (@shopfrances) in Phoenix, AZ. She balances her thriving business, a long-term marriage, motherhood and leadership like a champ. She never wavers in her ideals. She shares her experience with younger women to help build them up, rather than tear them down. Her badassery is inspiring.
How do you spend your ‘free’ time?
Reading, friend dates, exploring Arizona with my kids, concerts, and watching TV with my husband.
Favorite fictional female character? Why?
I have a few! Hermione Granger: she was never ashamed to be a smarty pants. Arya Stark: she bucked the stereotypes that applied to her “position” and trained herself to be what she wanted. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot): she spoke multiple languages, led by example and let love guide her decisions. Olive Hoover from Little Miss Sunshine: tradition be damned, she rocked that stage when it was her time to shine.
Current power anthem?
It will forever be “Army of Me” - Bjork.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
The Kalua Pork Royale from Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe—no sprouts, fried egg on top.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
My Grandpa Ed. I miss him so much.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
My karaoke rap game is HOT FIRE.
What tools + resources help you in your day-to-day work?
I have multiple apps on my phone that allow me to do my job from wherever I happen to be. Social media helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in Phoenix. I meet monthly with a group of other business babes and we keep each other in check. We bounce ideas off each other, share our personal and professional goals and lift each other up.
Tell us about your hustle, providing an overview of your job and roles.
I am a REALTOR® and GREEN Designee® in Phoenix, AZ. I guide people through selling and buying homes within the Metro Phoenix area. In an age when things can be done entirely via app, I strive to make human connection a big part of what I do. People choose to buy and sell for very personal reasons. I work hard to provide excellent service for my clients without removing the human element.
What does your typical workday look like? Which various ‘hats’ do you wear throughout the day?
When I get out of bed, my kids get my first few hours. That time is sacred. We snuggle, I make lunches and then I drop them off at school. I’ll then make a list of what needs to get done and I complete them in order of potential income production. Some days, I show houses. Other days, I meet with clients. I often do both. I don’t have a “typical” workday, but I’m usually answering emails and engaging on social media at a local coffee shop. I’m a huge proponent of handwritten notes, too.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in real estate? What did your journey look like?
A career in real estate was a natural progression for me after my background in property management. When I had my second child, I made the switch so I could make my own hours. It was a gritty rookie year of balancing a newborn and trying to get my fledgling business off the ground. My time management was terrible and I assumed clients would fall into my lap the minute they found out I’d become a licensed real estate agent. Not the case, ha. I made very little money. I took every class I could and stayed on my grind. I took a more personal approach to my client interactions and that change, along with my gained experience, helped my business take off.
What area(s) of AZ do you work in and what types of homes do you specialize in?
I work in the Metro Phoenix area and I specialize in architecturally charming, older homes. Pre-1979, typically, but I sell all kinds of homes.
What resources do you use to stay on top of the local market/industry trends to ensure you’re giving your clients the most up-to-date information?
I regularly attend classes that offer insight on current market trends. I follow the monthly statistics shared by our Regional Multiple Listing Service. I also pay for subscriptions to various publications and real estate data services to keep myself in the loop.
What motivated you to run your practice in an eco-friendly manner and maintain your GREEN certifications? How has this decision impacted your work and professional journey?
Years ago, I worked for a commercial property management office that didn’t even have a recycle bin for paper. I saw how much was going to waste—and our office only housed 5 people! I decided that I would take whatever action I could to be a part of the solution, rather than the problem, so I started an initiative within our office to collect all the recyclable materials. Every Friday, I’d bring it home and dump it into our recycle dumpster. Seeing how much waste was diverted from the landfills with my small actions really struck a chord with me. When I started my own business as a REALTOR®, I vowed to run it as waste-free as possible. I use an online platform for digital signatures to avoid printing contracts and hefty paperwork, my business cards are made from recycled t-shirts, and I use recycled office supplies every chance I get. I recently started giving branded, reusable closing gifts to my clients, too. When I saw that the National Association of Realtors offered a GREEN Designation, I was immediately intrigued. I was already doing what I could within my business to be greener, but I wanted to take it a step further and learn how I could help like-minded homeowners. I love helping clients understand how they can make their homes “greener” and getting them top dollar for their eco-efficient improvements. I pride myself on being a good source of information for my clients and this is an added element of service that I can provide. Not to mention, I feel good about the waste that I’m keeping out of the landfills. My hope is that my passion for eco-awareness rubs off on people and they feel inspired to make some changes, as well.
How do you develop trust with your clients to help them with the personal decision of buying/selling?
I try to be authentic in everything I do. I share my market knowledge and experience; but by allowing myself to interact as a real human being, it frees them up to connect with me. The conversation flows easily from there.
How have your past professional and academic experiences prepared you for the work you do today?
I lean on the lessons from my past professional experiences constantly. Regardless of my job title, I have learned that you have to work hard. Fancy credentials don’t matter much to people if you aren’t busting your ass for them. Also, integrity is important to people. I do what I say I will do. If I screw up, I own it and make it right.
What would you say is your biggest career milestone to date and why?
I had a “Million Dollar Day” in 2015 when I helped my client simultaneously sell and buy two homes on the same day. It was a time-sensitive situation and if one deal fell apart, they both did. I successfully closed them both at the same time, while getting him list price for his home after 16 days on the market. The median home price in Phoenix is less than $300k, so I felt proud to sell over a million dollars in real estate in a 24-hour period.
How would you say being a woman has affected your professional experience? What can we do to create more equal, uplifting (and well-paying!) spaces for women in your industry?
When I was in commercial property management, it was evident that I wasn’t being taken seriously as a professional. I was young, I was a woman and I started with very little practical knowledge. Needless to say, I was talked down to regularly. Not only did I want to be taken seriously, but I wanted to have the knowledge to back myself up. I walked the roofs of shopping centers with roofing contractors, I walked parking lots with asphalt contractors, I spent time with city officials, leasing agents and store owners. I paid attention to what was going on and eventually, as my knowledge increased, I was treated with with more dignity. However, nobody offered to help me with any of those things, I reached out and took them for myself. During those years, I also learned that a strong handshake with meaningful eye contact is still a very valid way to make someone pay attention to you.
What’s the gender ratio like in your industry? Do you see it evolving? Why or why not?
Residential real estate is dominated by women. In 2018, women outnumbered men in real estate by 26%, according to NAR.
What are some common misconceptions about your job? What are some struggles we might not see?
I think people assume being a REALTOR® is easy. People have said things like, “I want to drive around and look at cool houses all day!” I’d love to do that, too. My Instagram feed is full of interesting architecture and highlights from cool events, but those are only a small part of what I do every week. I’ve also heard, “I want to make my own schedule so I can work less.” In my first year of business, I learned the (very) hard way that if you don’t hustle, you don’t close any escrows! I work hard for my clients, but it’s an active, daily choice, and it’s how I feed my kids. I’ve learned that my effort and attitude are directly correlated to my sales volume. A struggle that outsiders may not see is that I could put 40 hours of work into something that falls apart right before it is supposed to close. I don’t get paid unless the deal successfully closes. Of course I knew that going into this career, but would you do 40 hours of work at your job without getting paid for it? It’s a part of the job, but you definitely don’t see that on Instagram.
Who are some women in your field that you look to for inspiration?
Truthfully, being a real estate agent is intensely competitive. I am trying to pave my own way. Having said that, I’m inspired by any woman who lives their life with ferocity and integrity.
What does your approach to work/life balance look like? How do you unplug and unwind?
I grind hardest during the hours when my kids are in school so I am available to them in the afternoons. When I feel my mental stability unraveling, I ask my friends to meet me for cocktails or coffee. Thankfully, my husband is really supportive and helps keep me sane between cocktail hours!
Career and/or life advice for other babes (both inside and outside of you industry?)
When I first started in real estate, I had a very stiff blazer and was armed to the hilt with data for anyone that talked to me. I remembered the sting of not being taken seriously as a young woman in my earlier jobs and I wanted to avoid that right out of the gate. I discovered, however, that I wasn’t being true to myself at all. I have a big personality. I’m sarcastic. I joke a lot. I’m covered in tattoos. In cramming market data down people’s throats, I wasn’t allowing any of the real me to shine through. I have worked hard to achieve a balance between being knowledgeable within my market and being true to myself. The second I let go of the idea of what I thought a professional REALTOR® should be and created my own, my business exploded.
In partnership with: Catch
Catch is a personal benefits platform that believes you shouldn’t need to be a financial genius to understand what you need and how to get it. Handling taxes, retirement, time off, health insurance, and student loan refinancing all in one place, Catch believes that the freedom to work how you want should be met with the power to tame volatility — because life is about more than money.
*This is an affiliate partnership. That means when you shop using the links we provide, a portion of your purchase comes right back to us, so we can continue creating content that matters. Of course, we only promote brands and products we genuinely stand behind. Thank you so much for your support!
Interested in advertising with us? Email us!