Today in our “Meet the Agent” series we get to know Shorty Watkins, Memphis’ newly crowned “Realtor of the Year.” Shorty became involved in real estate after returning from service in Vietnam. He’s been helping buyers and sellers since 1971!
C21: We have to ask, where does the nick name “Shorty” come from?
SW: My parents gave me that nickname when I was four days old. I always said I would have been 6’1” like my older brother but they talked me out of it by calling me that nickname.
C21: You were just named Realtor of the Year by the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, congratulations! What do you love most about this business?
SW: Working with first time home buyers and solving problems.
C21: How did you first get started in real estate?
SW: I came home from Vietnam in 1971 and was having a hard time getting a job, even though I graduated from college before I was drafted. A World War II veteran had a real estate company and asked me to join him in July of 1971.
C21: Do you remember your first sale?
SW: Yes, it was another veteran I had met and he worked with me because I was also a vet. It was $40,000 in 1971 – a very good commission.
C21: When you bought your first home, what made you fall in love it?
SW: The price! It was $12,900 in 1973.
C21: What was the first big furniture purchase you made for the place?
SW: A high chair that came apart to make a small table and chair for a toddler. It was $300 in 1973.
C21: Your area of focus is Memphis, TN. What makes this real estate market special and unique?
SW: We never achieved appreciation as drastic as the coastal areas and we have not depreciated as severely as a lot of the country.
C21: If I only have one day in Memphis, what are the three things I must see and do?
SW: Graceland (Elvis Presley’s home), eat barbeque pork and pork ribs, and go to Beale Street (home of blues and rock and roll).
C21: How do you maintain relationships with clients after they buy a home? It could many several years before they are ready to move again.
SW: I stay in touch with e-greetings and e-newsletters.
C21: How important are referrals?
SW: After 40 years (1971-present) I have made many dollars from repeat customers and their families.
C21: Name the three qualities necessary to succeed in real estate.
SW: 1) Work every day at meeting people.
2) Listen to what the people you meet want and what they have to say.
3) Help solve problems instead of working for only to make a commission.
C21: Our company mantra is “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” How do you embody the mantra in your day-to-day work?
SW: I am glad to work for an organization that challenges me to be “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” as I personally am getting older and fatter.
C21: Are you using social media for business?
SW: I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Classmates.
C21: What social media channel do you find generates the most leads?
SW: For me it has been Classmates.
C21: If you could give one piece of advice to a young person starting out in the real estate business, what would it be?
SW: Commit to the technology that is available, use it to help people solve problems and always care about your reputation more than your commission.
C21: When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
SW: I am a big University of Memphis fan and a season ticket holder for football and basketball.