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Exploring Life & Business with Jennifer Proulx of Coldwell Banker Advantage

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Proulx. 

Hi Jennifer, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My story begins when I was in college and went to a real estate tax sale auction with a friend. We bought several waterfront lots together using student loan money that I had to pay back. By my early twenties, I was working as a high school counselor and wanted to start investing in real estate at a higher level so my husband and I bought a second home in upstate NY. My mentor, John Droz, inspired me to use the vacation home as an investment property so we rented that out to snowmobilers. We made enough money on the sale of our first home and several rental properties to pay off our debt including our student loans. Although my Master’s degree was in Counseling, my undergraduate degree was in Business Economics and I had always wanted to own my own business. The opportunity to start a business came when my family moved to North Carolina. I decided to pursue real estate full-time. I became licensed in North Carolina as a residential broker in 2006 and was a top sales agent my first year, earning an all-inclusive trip to Cancun. Since my husband, Ken, and I were married in college, this was our first trip together and was a very exciting opportunity. Essentially, I caught the real estate fever and fell in love with my new career. 

My goal has always been to offer premium service to families by not only selling them a home but teaching them how to invest wisely in real estate. I have assisted over 300 families buy and sell their primary homes and pride myself in treating each client as family. When possible, I bring investment opportunities to my clients to show them how to invest in real estate. Many of my clients have enjoyed investing in multiple rental properties to build their wealth. Recently, one of my favorite clients/friends messaged me from their vacation home telling me that they would not be in enjoying their financial freedom without my support and assistance. 

I find it peculiar that so many realtors do not own their own homes or even know how to invest in real estate for profit. My husband and I own several rental properties as well as a beach home and a river home that we use for pleasure and as rentals. We have also taught our own children how to win in the real estate market by investing in properties. Our daughter just sold her first home and made enough to pay off her student loans. Our son bought his first home when he was just out of college and just purchased his first rental property. He says he loves to watch his cash flow increase and plans to buy another rental property soon. 

After 30 years of investing in real estate and assisting other families learn the secrets to finding and buying real estate, I have found that being a realtor is more than just a career for me. It is a way of life that has allowed me to spend time with my family, enjoy a flexible schedule, and to earn money while enjoying the use of our vacation properties. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way? 

The real estate business is far from an easy endeavor. There are times when I have so many listings and sales opportunities that I must work twelve hours a day to balance my family and workload. I want to be available to provide full qualify service, but that means sacrificing personal time. Although I say I have a flexible schedule, that also means that I am on call nights and weekends to show properties. Some of my clients expect me to take their calls as early as 7:30 am or as late as 10 pm which interferes with my family time as well. Another challenge that is frustrating with the real estate business is that there is no one to cover for you unless you hire an assistant. It is challenging to take time off for sickness, family emergencies, or vacation time. There are times that I get very overwhelmed, but most of my clients are friends or referrals from previous clients and they already know and trust my experience. I prefer to have a personal relationship with my clients than to send them off to work with someone they do not trust. That also means during the ebbs and flows, I may have several clients all at once or only a few so I never know when my next paycheck is coming. Working in a field that is commission-based, that can be a financial hardship if you don’t have a second source of income. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I chose Coldwell Banker Advantage because they are recognized internationally as one of the top-selling real estate firms with a reach in 49 countries and territories. We take pride in offering quality customer service, adhering to strong values, and offer fiduciary responsibility to all of our clients. As an independent agent for Coldwell Banker, I have worked diligently to adhere to high customer satisfaction and have earned international recognition every year as a top sales agent. I pride myself in gaining the trust and respect not only with the people I service, but in my community. I believe in giving back to my community through volunteer service in local schools and the Megs Smile Foundation. I personally donate to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Disabled American Veterans, the Raleigh Rescue Mission, and Clothed in Hope. Ken and I have sponsored and attended two mission trips to Peru. 

How do you think about luck?
Some people are born lucky and some have to create their own luck. I feel like I have enjoyed a combination of both. I grew up on a small farm in Heuvelton, New York where my parents taught me the value of having a strong work ethic at a very young age. I watched my parents struggle at times to make ends meet, but I also was able to see the results of their hard work as they created a unique buffalo ranch that grew to over 120 buffalo. Our family embraced the mantra, “Work Hard, Play Hard” and we have passed that along to our own children. My parents also valued education and encouraged us to go to college. I apply this strategy to my real estate business by adhering to my own set of high expectations. As an independent contractor, I am essentially my own boss. Although I spend a lot of time on my work, when I take time off, I have enjoyed traveling to some of the most amazing cities in the world. 

Over the years, my husband and I have had to overcome several major obstacles to get where we are now. Luck may have placed opportunities in our path, but the choices we made along the way were what made us successful. We have shared this vision with our children and have watched as they seize their own opportunities. Our son, Brian, studied at University of Beijing Language school to learn Mandarin and graduated from UNCW and the Kedge School of Business in France. He currently resides in France with his wife, Elodie, and they are expecting their first child. Our daughter, Alexis, studied in France her junior year in high school, attended the Disney College Program in college and graduated from North Carolina State. She just finished earning her Pilots license and is one of the youngest female pilots flying commercial airlines. Our daughter Cassidy decided to wait to finish college so she can focus on raising her son, Woodrow. She works at an attorney’s office in New Bern. Jamie just graduated and is attending EU University in Barcelona, Spain. We taught our children that education is essential, but to think outside the traditional box. We are proud that they have each chosen their own path as they learn how to embrace opportunity, achieve success at college, and to reach for their dreams. 

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