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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, December 25, 2020

Happy client or commission?


Ossmann draws on experience to to make sure deal suits all parties



Ronda Ossmann is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty in Ringgold, Georgia. As she serves homebuyers and sellers, she draws on a pool of experience in previous careers. - Photograph provided

As a former counselor, Ronda Ossmann knows the importance of listening to people. The only way she could help her clients, she says, was to pay close attention as they voiced their problems or aspirations.

Ossmann is now employing this same skill as a Realtor. As her buyers discuss what they want in a house, for example, she listens carefully in order to be able to find them a suitable listing.

More often than not, this works well, Ossmann says. But on at least one occasion, the solution eluded her no matter how intently she listened to her clients.

“I showed a couple 25 houses. They put in offers on four of them, but in each case, there was a hiccup,” she says. “I knew something was going on, so I suggested they put their house on the market since they were going to have to move anyway.”

The moment the “For Sale” sign pierced the couple’s yard, the woman started to cry.

“Most sellers are excited when I put a sign in their yard,” Ossmann continues. “I sensed that he wanted to sell their home but she didn’t.”

When Ossmann suggested as much, the woman opened up and shared her feelings, which she had been keeping to herself.

Even though the couple took their house off the market and canceled their search for a new home, Ossmann was pleased with the outcome of their association, she says, because it’s her job to make sure her clients end up where they belong.

Like many Realtors, Ossmann became an agent after working in other professions. As such, she’s able to draw from varied experience as she serves her buyers and sellers and builds her nascent business.

Among Ossmann’s past professions include a lucrative stint as a Mary Kay sales director. After she left her counseling practice when she started to have children, someone told her she could make extra money selling the company’s skin care products. Since Mary Kay had cleared her skin, she says she felt good about selling it.

Ossmann rose through the ranks of her unit to become her director’s top producer. She then became a successful director of her own unit on the strength of her persuasive recruiting.

“I’d be on an airplane and would have a signed agreement by the time I disembarked,” Ossmann says with a laugh.

Instead of being an assertive salesperson, however, Ossmann let her customers express what they wanted. She takes the same approach as a Realtor.

“No one wants to be sold a house,” she explains. “Instead, I find out what my buyers want and then find it for them.”

Ossmann also did a stretch in higher education. After moving to Ringgold, Georgia, to be near family, she spent two years teaching psychology and business classes at Virginia College in Chattanooga. She says this job also provided her with experience that’s proving useful to her as a real estate agent.

“I worked with a family that didn’t have the funding or a clue about how to buy a house,” she remembers. “As they saved money and we searched for a house, I walked them through the process from start to finish.”

While Ossmann frequently draws on her past experiences to help clients, there is one thing she does that’s simply a part of her inborn nature: She makes her homebuyers a handmade gift.

Referring to the clients she walked through the home buying process, she says, “They didn’t have much, so I made curtains for them. I wanted to give them something personal.”

Ossmann became a Realtor two years ago after heeding the advice of people who said she’d make a good agent. Following a year with a small boutique brokerage, she joined Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty in Ringgold.

“They tried to recruit me before I was even a Realtor. I was talking with one of the agents here because my husband and I were looking for a rental home, and he suggested I become an agent,” Ossmann recalls. “I hadn’t even thought about real estate yet, but that stayed with me.”

Ossmann, who’s licensed in Tennessee and Georgia, says she likes being a part of the Coldwell Banker family and says the brokerage has helped her business to thrive.

“I love the camaraderie in the office and how willing everyone is to answer my questions,” she says. “The training has also helped. When I was with Mary Kay, I taught hundreds of women how to run a business, and now I have that here.”

Although Ossmann is enjoying the small-town life in Ringgold, she grew up near Tampa Bay. After earning a degree in psychology at the University of Southern Florida because she was “interested in what makes people tick,” she began working for Charter Hospital.

When Ossmann hit a ceiling in her career, she earned a master’s degree in counseling and then continued with Charter, her work bringing her into contact with “every kind of population imaginable,” she says.

Ossmann eventually married, entered private practice and moved to rural Pennsylvania for her husband’s job. While there, she opened two church-based counseling centers. When one of her children needed to be home-schooled due to learning disabilities, she stepped back from that work.

Although Ossmann’s three children are now in their twenties, they’re all still at home – which suits her fine. Her middle child is studying pre-med at Emory University in Atlanta online, while her oldest and youngest are working locally and considering their options.

Ossmann doesn’t just have a full nest, she also has a full life outside of work. She and her family attend Redemption to the Nations Church in Chattanooga, where she sings in the choir and volunteers with outreach efforts.

Ossmann spends her spare time reading, playing tennis and hiking. While she misses skiing in Pennsylvania, she says the abundance of outdoor activities in the Chattanooga area helps to fill that void.

Circling back to work, Ossmann says she enjoys drawing on her past experiences as she serves her clients, and compares her life to an intricately woven tapestry in which the individual sections form a complete picture.

“I’m in that next stage of life – even though I’m not an empty nester,” she jokes.

“I want to be where God wants me to be. I want to help families find a home where they’re comfortable and safe and can flourish.”