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Front Page - Friday, September 27, 2019

Scenic City 2nd chance flips script

Texas transplant Rosales was ready to head for home, until ...

Realtor Yadi Rosales understands as well as anyone the challenges, uncertainty, apprehension – and especially the heartbreak – that comes with starting over.

Born to Mexican parents and reared in Houston, Texas, Rosales thought her feet were planted in Lone Star soil for life. She had a good job with a nonprofit, was surrounded by a large family and many close friends, and loved the home she and her husband, Jesse, had made for themselves and their three daughters.

Then, in 2010, Jesse’s employer transferred him to a city that was unfamiliar to both of them: Chattanooga.

Separated from the life she knew, Rosales struggled to find her footing.

“I didn’t know anyone and I couldn’t find a job that paid what I had made back home,” she says, her words carrying a rich Latino accent.

The despair Rosales felt surged after she returned to Chattanooga from a holiday visit to Houston, where the time with her family and friends served as a heart-rending reminder of what she’d left behind. Not long after the trip, she collapsed in tears as Jesse returned home from work.

“I told him I was going back to Houston,” she recalls. “I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Jesse embraced Rosales and made a suggestion that would eventually transform her disillusionment into newfound purpose: Become a real estate agent.

His idea had precedence. While living in Houston, Rosales had turned a passion for decorating homes into a hobby. Whenever a friend or family member wanted to brighten their home, they would turn to Rosales, who would select new furniture and decor and then convert their space into something vibrant and beautiful.

Rosales also saw the real estate profession as a conduit for helping people whose lives had been uprooted.

When she and her husband had moved to Chattanooga, the relocation department at Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty had found them a home, good schools for their daughters and more. Also, when the couple were at the office to submit an offer on a house, the company’s owner, Peggy Pryor, had welcomed them to Chattanooga and set their minds at ease.

“She prayed for us and told us everything was going to be OK,” Rosales says.

Bearing these things in mind, Rosales said, “Maybe.” But the more the notion of becoming a Realtor germinated in her mind, the more it intrigued her.

When Rosales called TREES on a Friday to inquire about taking the class that started the following Monday, the person on the other end told her someone had just canceled and that there was one spot open.

Believing a higher power was at work, Rosales took the leap.

Nine years later, she’s helping her clients make the kind of jump she and her family made when they transferred from Houston to Chattanooga.

As a member of Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty’s relocation department, Rosales assists incoming transferees with the kind of compassion and understanding that comes only with a firsthand experience.

“I know what they’re going through,” Rosales says, “and I feel honored when they place their trust in my hands.”

Rosales does everything she can to make the process go as smoothly as possible. This includes recreating the reassuring experience she and her husband had when they first met Pryor. “I let my clients know they’re not on their own,” she says. “I tell them I’ll be with them until the end.”

As a Realtor licensed in Tennessee and Georgia, Rosales also assists local buyers and sellers. Her ability to speak fluent English and Spanish has made her particularly popular with Hispanic clients, who welcome the opportunity to have someone who knows their language guide them through the complex process of purchasing a house.

“When you talk with someone who doesn’t speak your language, you can only hope and pray you’re understanding them,” Rosales says.

Rosales’ bilingual skills have allowed her to contribute to Pryor Realty’s long history of embracing diversity, Pryor says. “We have sales associates who can speak German, Korean, French, Spanish and several Indian dialects. Yadi is a great asset in our company.”

The positive word-of-mouth generated by the residential clients Rosales has served has expanded the circle of people who rely on her and helped to make her one of Pryor Realty’s top producers. In the last 12 months alone, Rosales has sold more than $5.5 million worth of real estate.

This is more than Rosales imagined doing when she launched her career at Pryor Realty. “I told Peggy, ‘I don’t know a single person,’” Rosales says. “I didn’t know how my business was going to do, but I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

Pryor and many of the other agents at the company told Rosales she didn’t need to have friends and family in the area to sell property; rather, she should simply learn as much as she could and then apply herself.

Rosales did just that. She took extra classes, earned certifications and joined the Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Council of Realtors, La Paz Chattanooga and other local organizations in a bid to become visible.

Even then, Rosales was skeptical right up until she made her first sale. This key moment came while she was on floor duty at her office for the first time. A couple called about finding a house, Rosales showed them a foreclosure, the couple put in an offer and then they closed on the home.

“That encouraged me because it was my first time doing floor duty,” she says, smiling at the memory. “It usually takes longer than that to land your first client.”

Today, Rosales’ fellow Realtors and many other people in the community can’t turn their heads without seeing her. She’s served on committees at Greater Chattanooga Realtors (including the Community Involvement, Diversity Inclusion and Leadership Development committees), completed the association’s Leadership Academy and taught home buying seminars at La Paz.

“Yadi is very involved in making Chattanooga a better place to live through seminars, training, counseling, and selling and listing real estate,” says Pryor.

People have noticed. When La Paz announced the nominations for its 2019 Latino Leadership Awards in July, Rosales was on the list for Entrepreneur of the Year. During the two months that followed, she received nearly 1,500 votes, making her this year’s winner.

Rosales learned about her victory during the awards ceremony, held Sept. 16 at the Chattanooga Convention Center. “I was surprised because everybody on the list deserves the award,” she says. “We all work hard.”

Angela Garcia, director of business development at La Paz, says Rosales is a deserving winner.

“Yadi goes above and beyond to help newcomers and local families find the resources they need to call Chattanooga home. Serving as a bridge between communities and earning people’s trust, she’s become one of the city’s top Latinx Realtors, earning well-deserved respect in the community.”

“Having embraced her Mexican culture, Yadi is an example of true entrepreneurial leadership,” Pryor adds.

Although Rosales could rest on her laurels, she’s instead driving her business in new directions. In addition to closing her first commercial deal this year, she’s also launched a new construction project with a residential buyer and has earned the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors, which will allow her to serve the housing needs of older clients.

Rosales is also looking forward to exploring the world with her husband. Trips to Mexico and Spain have only whet their appetites for more, and suddenly, there doesn’t seem to be enough time for every destination on their wish list.

“Now that we’re empty nesters, we want to travel more,” she says. “We’re looking forward to the next stage of life.”

Though there was a time when Rosales couldn’t imagine living anywhere but Houston, she now says Chattanooga is her home.

Her business is thriving, she and her husband have made many friends and they love entertaining at their East Brainerd home.

In other words, everything turned out OK, just like Pryor said it would.

“I want to thank my clients, family and friends who have supported me, especially my husband and girls. Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” she says. “Real estate is not my job, it’s my passion. The happiness on the faces of my clients when we close satisfies me in a way money can’t.”