Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 11, 2021

Maples’ success? ‘Treat people right’

Pam Maples is a RE/MAX Hall of Fame inductee, an honor the company bestowed after she earned $1 million in commission. - Photo by David Laprad | Hamilton County Herald

Realtor Pam Maples would like to make an announcement. After working with RE/MAX for five years, she has (drum roll, please) become a member of the company’s Hall of Fame.

What did Maples, 63, do to join these elite ranks, which RE/MAX says includes less than 23% of its agents? Not wanting to sound like she’s bragging, she declines to say.

A quick online search, however, reveals what Maples is too modest to reveal: To become a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame, a real estate agent must (another drum roll, please) earn at least $1 million during his or her career with the company.

It’s a remarkable achievement, but Maples still shies away from trumpeting her accomplishment.

“I have a hard time saying, ‘I made a million dollars in commission’ to get here,” she says, sounding embarrassed about the fuss.

Her broker, Joanna Jackson, however, convinced her it was an achievement worth broadcasting. To keep this news to herself would be like Barry Bonds admitting to being the Home Run King but declining to say why.

Clearly, Bonds sent hundreds of baseballs sailing into grandstands. Likewise, Maples has sold many homes in her particular ballpark – Lafayette, Georgia.

Although the mystery of what Maples did to become a hall-of-famer has been solved, she still has one question to answer: How did she do it in Lafayette, a small town that materializes like a desert oasis out of a long stretch of Walker County woodland?

Here, Maples is quick with her answer: “People in Lafayette are loyal to their agents. Our people are good to us.”

Outsiders might wonder if Maples is suggesting Lafayette and the surrounding county have an insular economy, with neighbors engaging in commerce primarily with each other. But Maples says local Realtors simply earn their customers’ business.

“When my phone rings, I answer it,” she says. “And then I stick to my clients like glue. I take care of people, and they take care of me.”

To support her claim, Maples points to her Hall of Fame credentials, which she says were built on repeat business.

“Most of my business consists of people I helped before; I sold their house and then they called me when they were ready to sell another one,” she says. “If you treat people right, you won’t have to chase after business; it’ll come to you.”

Despite hanging her license at an office that sits on the square of a small Georgia town, Maples says Walker County is actually a commercially rich region with several thriving communities and a population of about 70,000, giving her and her fellow agents at RE/MAX Real Estate Center an ample number of homebuyers and sellers to serve.

“People think of us as a small, silent community, but we’re growing in leaps and bounds, so there’s a lot to do,” she insists.

To ensure her past clients keep her in mind, Maples employs a timeless tactic: greeting cards, delivered via snail mail.

“I’ll send them an anniversary or birthday note, just to stay in touch, and when they’re ready to move again, they think of me,” she says. “People I thought I’d never hear from again have called.”

Maples says her phone rings enough to fill every day of every week with work. While she could do less, she says time translates into earnings in her profession, so the harder she works, the more money she’ll make.

“The sky is the limit in real estate,” she explains. “You can work as hard or as little as you want. If you set goals, stay focused and do your clients right, you’re going to succeed.”

Maples admits her nose-to-the-grindstone approach to real estate might sound old fashioned in today’s fast-paced, tech-driven environment, but she says she’s living proof it still works.

“I’ll say, ‘I want to make this much this year,’ and I can’t remember when I missed my goal,” she claims. “The first year I sold real estate, I made $20,000. The next year, I doubled it. I did that for years and years and years.”

That first year was 1998, when Maples earned her real estate license to facilitate transactions through the building business she and her husband own and operate, David Maples Construction Company. Her first sale set off a chain reaction that’s still sparking business today, she says.

Although Maples is as busy as she’s ever been, she says she loves real estate and rarely thinks of it as work. On the rare occasions when it does feel like a job, she escapes to her motorhome alongside Lake Weiss in Alabama, where a computer, a printer and the internet keep her connected to her clients and others.

“I’m only 45 minutes away, so if I’m there and my phone rings, I answer it.”

Maples also loves her neck of the woods. She’s lived her entire life in Walker County, a span of time that includes growing up on a farm off Highway 51, wrapping presents during the holidays at the Dixie Dime Store when she was 13, graduating from Lafayette High School, getting married in the ‘70s and raising two children with her husband.

She and David built their first houses during the Gulf War, saying the men and women who were serving during the conflict would need a place to live when it was over.

“We were young and no one else was building,” she recalls. “When the war was over, we sold everything we built.”

Maples continues to paint the picture of her life in broad strokes until she gets to her family. Once she opens up about her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she seems to relish digging into the details.

“We’re big family people,” she begins. “My daughter has three boys, including identical twins, and my son has two boys. So I have five grandsons, and my first grandson gave me two great-grandchildren, including a girl. Finally, a girl!”

Given how much Maples loves her offspring, it’s no surprise when she says her favorite thing to do is relax on Lake Weiss with them.

“We spend a lot of time there,” she says. “We like to boat and sit by a campfire and look over the water. It’s beautiful.”

Maples’ swarm of little ones does more than fill her leisure time, it prompts her to note the passing of years.

“When my daughter married and became pregnant, David and I said, ‘We’re not old enough to have grandchildren.’ Then they gave us identical twins. So we didn’t say, ‘We’re not old enough to have great-grandchildren’ because we were afraid they would give us triplets.”

Maples might be a newly minted member of RE/MAX’s Hall of Fame, but she’s not thinking about retiring. She is, however, looking ahead to what she’ll do when that day comes.

Her son, Jason Maples, is also an agent at RE/MAX Real Estate Center, and she says she’ll likely turn her business – and all the client goodwill she’s earned throughout her career – over to him.

But that day has yet to appear on the horizon. Instead, there are more years to work, more homes to sell and more questions about her impressive achievements to dodge.