Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 5, 2021

Loomis builds on small-town charm

Not content to rely on Soddy-Daisy family and friends to grow business

Debra Loomis is a Realtor with Crye-Leike in Hixson. Although she was eager to leave her hometown of Soddy-Daisy when she was growing up, she remained there until recently and had developed a large enough circle of friends and family members to keep her busy after she became an agent in 2007. - Photo by David Laprad | Hamilton County Herald

When Soddy-Daisy native Debra Loomis was young and brimming with the restlessness of youth, she swore she would leave her tiny hometown as soon as she could and never return.

Instead, Loomis left the impetuousness of her youth behind, and today is known throughout the place of her birth as a go-to Realtor.

“I know a lot of people in Soddy-Daisy, and they know me,” Loomis says. “Of course, a lot of my clients are family. Whenever I get a new listing, people joke that another relative must be moving.”

Loomis laughs at the thought – even though it’s partially true. Her mother’s side of the family – the Hackneys – make up a sizable portion of Soddy-Daisy’s populace, as well as Loomis’ productivity through the years.

But Loomis isn’t giving herself enough credit for reaching outside the comfort of her gene pool and building a business based on honesty, dependability and hard work.

Loomis says these three pillars have guided her since she became a Realtor 14 years ago and served her well. In addition to helping family members with their real estate needs, she’s developed a strong backbone of repeat business from a number of Soddy Daisy, as well as nearby Hixson clients – including one that sounds almost like a second family when she describes their history of working together.

“A couple used me to buy a house when they moved here from Atlanta 10 years ago,” she begins. “Since then, I’ve sold her mother and father’s house, I’ve sold his mother and father’s lake property, I’ve sold both sets of parents a home, I’ve sold her mom’s best friend a property – it goes on and on. He says he needs to put me on his tax returns as a dependent.”

As a result, Loomis has stayed busy through the years and been a steady occupant of the multimillion-dollar circle at the brokerage where she works, Crye-Leike in Hixson.

Her success, however, has not bred a desire for business growth. Instead of hiring an assistant and putting together a team, Loomis has chosen to remain a lone wolf, foraging for herself in the wilderness.

“When you call my number, I’m the one who answers the phone,” she says. “That’s the way I’ve always been and the way I’ll always be.”

Loomis’ achievements have, however, spurred a desire for more knowledge. In an effort to serve her buyers and sellers to the best of her ability, she says, she’s earned several designations, including the GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) moniker, which is widely considered the master’s degree of her profession.

“It covers a lot of ground. I felt like that was the best way I could learn to represent my clients well,” she notes.

In 2020, Loomis added the National Association of Realtor’s C2EX (Commitment to Excellence) designation to her bowl of alphabet soup. She says the class helped her to define her goals for 2021, which include serving her clients better than she ever has.

“My goal this year is to really know the communities I serve,” she explains. “I want to know everything about Hixson and Soddy-Daisy, including what is and isn’t selling.”

Loomis is also adding newfangled tools to her toolbox, including videos of the homes she’s selling. She posted her first video on her business page on Facebook in December after she made a walk-through of the home she was selling for her cousin.

True to Loomis’s down-to-earth nature, when her cousin’s cat refused to move from her spot on the bedroom floor, she cracked a joke about “the kitty not coming with the house.”

“I needed to learn how to do videos, so I asked my cousin to help,” Loomis says. “She got tickled and laughed when her cat got in the way.”

Although Loomis won’t be focusing on achieving a specific level of sales in 2021, she does say she believes this year will be her best yet. Accustomed to selling $3 million-$4 million worth of real estate annually, she sold $1 million in January alone and expects to match that number this month.

“That’s the market we’re in,” Loomis says. “I listed a house on a Saturday, received three offers Sunday and had it under contract Monday. Earlier [in the month], I listed a home on a Sunday morning, and it sold before noon.”

Before Loomis became a hometown Realtor, she grew up the youngest of seven children on 30 acres of country near Possum Creek. She says her hard-working family lived on meager means but was nonetheless happy.

“I was spoiled rotten,” she confesses with a smile. “They called me The Brat. It fit.”

After serving in customer service roles for 30 years, Loomis was facing uncertainty about her future due to her employer shutting down. When a co-worker said she was going to become a Realtor, Loomis decided to do likewise.

“I felt like this was something I would enjoy doing, even though I didn’t have a sales background,” Loomis recalls. “I’ve loved it ever since.”

Loomis says the most important lesson she’s learned since earning her real estate license in 2007 is that her work carries a heavy weight of responsibility. For that reason, she considers herself to be more of an advocate than a salesperson.

“I don’t force anyone to buy or sell. I provide them with the information they need, and then it’s their decision,” she says. “During a negotiation last night, I told a client, ‘You have to decide whether or not you want to sell your home. This is going to impact your life for years to come, so do what you think will be best for you.’”

Although Loomis has a soft touch during sales meetings, she’s reportedly a force of nature during CrossFit class.

Now 62, Loomis’ fellow CrossFitters have told her she’s even outdoing some of the younger participants, which average in the late 20s and early 30s, Loomis says.

“I just get in there and do what I feel like my body can handle, and when I leave, I know I’ve had a workout.”

This workout, as Loomis describes it using terms like “box jumps,” “snatches,” clings,” and “wall balls,” is vigorous and intense.

Loomis rises out of her chair in her office and demonstrates the last exercise she mentioned, first crouching slightly, then jumping and heaving an imaginary 10-pound ball toward a stark white wall.

“People are always telling me I’m going to be hurt, and I do have a torn rotator cuff and a torn meniscus, but I keep going. I love it.”

CrossFit is more than a way for Loomis to stay fit; it’s also her way of claiming the part of her life that lies beyond work rather than letting her work claim her every waking moment, she says.

Her children and large extended family also exist within this space.

“Real estate is my profession, but it’s not my life. I work hard for my clients but I also work hard at enjoying the time I have.”

Looking back, Loomis, who moved to Hixson two years ago, says she is glad she spent more than her youth in Soddy-Daisy, as it was a great place to grow up and live life.

She’s also thankful she found real estate along the way, as it’s given her a steady means of support and a job she loves more with each passing year.

“The longer I’m in real estate, the more I enjoy it. I’ll retire doing this, but not any time soon.”