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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, December 13, 2019

Timing, training help former stay-at-home mom hit real estate goals




Jennifer Catlett is a Realtor with Crye-Leike Fort Oglethorpe. - Photograph provided

Ringgold, Georgia, native Jennifer Catlett forged a quick path to success when she became a Realtor in 2017.

A lifetime of living, working and volunteering in and around Ringgold and Chattanooga had given her an ample sphere of influence, and the tutelage of friend and fellow Crye-Leike Realtor Cindy Nabors provided both instruction and encouragement.

But Catlett’s work ethic took the lead. She was no stranger to the grindstone, having labored in the insurance industry for a decade before taking time off to care for her young children. So, when she was hit with the brunt force of the hectic and demanding nature of real estate, she was ready.

“It was a lot of hustle and bustle. Every transaction and client is different, so you have to be on your game and able to adapt to any situation,” Catlett says. “You also have to be a problem solver. You might have to deal with an appraiser that doesn’t know your area or something might come up during a home inspection.

“Plus,” she continues, “there’s a form for everything.”

As Catlett perfected her marketing skills, furthered her education and learned to uphold the standards of her profession, she tallied $5 million in residential sales and earned high praise from her clients. One testimonial on her website describes her as “a smart and ambitious Realtor who knows how to get the job done.”

Catlett’s clients also applaud her negotiating skills, her working relationships with other professionals in the real estate industry – mortgage loan officers, home inspectors, etc. – and her reliability.

“Jennifer will go above and beyond what you would expect,” reads another testimonial. “She’ll work hard to find you a house or to sell your home.”

When the dust settled at the end of Catlett’s first year in real estate, she was the No. 1 new Crye-Leike agent in sales transactions in her region. She was also named Crye-Leike’s Rookie of the Year for the Greater Chattanooga area.

“I didn’t expect to do that well my first year because I was still learning the business,” she says. “But the market was good. I became a Realtor at the right time.”

Catlett also pursued more education. Her most recent achievement is her completion of the Graduate, Realtor Institute designation, an intensive program designed for agents seeking in-depth knowledge on technical subjects as well as the fundamentals of real estate.

Catlett completed the version of the program offered through Greater Chattanooga Realtors. Susan Barnette, director of career development at Crye-Leike in East Brainerd, taught the 60-hour course, which included 15 separate classes.

Catlett says she now feels better equipped to serve the needs of her clients, which include homebuyers and sellers in and around Catoosa, Walker, Whitfield and Hamilton counties. “Buying or selling a home is a complex and stressful process,” she says, “and I wanted to sharpen my tools.”

Catlett plans to continue expanding her knowledge and skills. She intends to become a relocation specialist to enhance her abilities to serve out-of-town buyers and wants to earn the Military Relocation Professional designation, a certification for real estate professionals who want to work with current and former military service members.

“I’m tenderhearted toward veterans,” she says. “I believe they deserve 100% financing for serving our country.”

Catlett also has her eye on the Master GRI designation, considered the highest educational watermark in real estate. “I want to cover all the bases,” she says.

Catlett was a stay-at-home mom when Nabors suggested she become a Realtor.

“She told my husband, ‘Jennifer needs to get into real estate. She has the personality for it,’” she recalls. “I didn’t see myself doing commission-based work, but the next thing I knew, I had signed up for classes, and now here I am.”

Catlett is more than a Realtor, though. She’s also a wife, mother of two and a frequent community volunteer.

In addition to pitching in at many local charitable functions, Catlett has served as activities coordinator for Modern Woodmen of America, a financial services organization whose members have built wheelchair ramps for individuals throughout the Greater Chattanooga area.

Catlett says her service to her community is simply a manifestation of her love for her home.

“I love Ringgold. I have family in Chicago and have always said I want to move to a big city, but I’m not going anywhere,” she says. “We have everything we need.”

That includes friends, who top Catlett’s list for leisure time fun.

“We stay busy in our community, so when we’re not out of the house doing things, we prefer to do nothing,” she says. “We’ll have friends over and our kids will play together. That’s our idea of a good time.”

Catlett says she also enjoys her work and is looking forward to many years of helping her clients and serving her community.

“I love working as a Realtor,” she says. “There’s nothing else I’d rather do, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so.”