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Homes make dreams come true

For Judi Starliper working as a realtor with Realty Executives Associates is not just a job, it’s a dream come true.

Starliper’s career began as a part-time real estate agent in 1974 soon after her son was born. A few years earlier, as a recent college graduate in North Carolina with degrees in math and education, she said she tried to get into the business then but was told: “You’re too young and you’re a woman. Come back in a few years.”

“When I graduated from college, women were not in real estate, believe it or not,” she said.

Starliper said she wanted to be a real estate agent since she was a little girl.

“When I was growing up, my father was a developer who bought and sold real estate. He wasn’t a real estate agent, but he just did that on his own, in addition to having restaurants, and so, I would go with him to auctions and sales, where he bought and sold lots of land and farms. So all growing up, I always wanted to be a real estate agent.

“As a child you don’t think much about it, but that’s what I was doing as a child,” Starliper said.

Starliper worked as a part-time agent until her son was 16.

“I wanted to spend time at school and be with him and not be away from him all the time but, yet, have something to do to make me feel good about myself,” she said.

“Of course, I didn’t realize you can’t do it part time, but, that’s when I got into it,” she added. “So, after he was sixteen and didn’t need me to drive him around anymore, then I went full time, and when I say full time, you have to be full time in order to do a good job for your customers. It’s a seven-day-a-week job.”

Starliper said a typical day for her, or any real estate agent, begins at 8 a.m. and isn’t over until about 10 p.m.

Between showing houses, going on “walk throughs,” making listing presentations, closing on houses and paperwork, Starliper still finds time to be active in the community.

She serves on Knoxville Opera board of directors and is working on “Salute to Lady Vols” for the University of Tennessee, a fund-raising event for the Lady Vols. She also is a member of the Knoxville Museum of Art and a member of a women’s investment club fittingly called the Stock Club.

She also finds time to serve as a Downtown Rotarian, enjoy the symphony and help preserve James White Fort and the Tennessee Theatre.

In the real estate world, Starliper is a certified residential specialist.

“You have to take excess education courses and then you have to be approved to get in it, so what it means is that you’ve gone to extra schooling to be a specialist in residential sales,” she said.

“They call it the P-H-D of real estate,” Starliper added.

Starliper said with about 3,000 agents in town, “there’s a lot of competition,” so her agency focuses on customer service.

“I have a team of fifteen, we are all about customer service, getting the house sold as quickly as possible with as little inconvenience to the seller,” she said.

She added, “What I’ve found over the years is what it takes to sell the hardest house, and that’s what I do for all the houses, in case it could sell the first day, but in case it won’t, this is what it takes to sell the hardest house.”

She said her agency is able to give personalized attention and her customers are “not just a number.”

“I have what other customers have called a ‘well-oiled machine’ and you actually get so much more attention than what one person can give you because I have six customer service people in the office all the time and they are instructed to help the customer in any way and if they can’t, to have me paged and I always call back in ten to fifteen minutes.”

Starliper said to be in real estate, “you’ve got to like people in this job.”

She added meeting new people is why she loves her job.

“I meet new people everyday, from all walks of life, that’s what makes this so interesting.”

Starliper doesn’t plan to stop working any time soon.

“I love it, that’s why I’m still in it. My husband is retired, but I think I’ll just work till I die, I guess, or until I can’t get around,” she said.

For more information, call Judi Starliper at 865-693-3232.


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