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Even with all that training, Burton says listening best tool

RIDGELAND — Susan Burton is one of those real estate professionals with an alphabet of letters after her name, indicating a high level of training and certification. She’s a Realtor, ABR, CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) and GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute). The CRS is a designation held by fewer than 2% of the nation’s Realtors. Her training also includes numerous sales and public speaking seminars.

Still, her clients would probably say her best professional attributes are that she doesn’t forget clients and she listens. “I stay in touch with my clients,” she said. “I love what I do. It’s a challenge but I love it.”

Most of her clients now come through referrals and business is good. Some clients come through a relocation company. “I preview everything and don’t have to take people through 30 houses,” she said. “People seem to appreciate it. After spending a day or half day with them, I know their needs. But I must listen!”

Things have changed in real estate and her life since she received her license in 1978. Burton and her family had been in Jackson only seven months when her husband was killed, and she’d had her license only six months.

“I had no background in real estate and was too young to know that was a problem,” she recalls. “I was brand new in Jackson and didn’t know anyone in real estate.”

Burton and her daughter, Stephanie, were encouraged to move home to Mobile where her father lived but chose to stay in Jackson and continue her fledgling real estate career.

“I loved Jackson and didn’t want to go home,” she said. “I still love it and I think I sell Jackson well for that reason.”

And she has sold. She’s been a top producer in all the offices where she’s been affiliated. She was chosen to attend the Mike Ferry Super Star retreat, a gathering of the top 3,000 real estate agents in North America and has been asked to speak at several success seminars.

“For many years after I started, we didn’t have help with paperwork and the office had to open at 8 a.m.,” Burton said. “I would go home and go back at 10 or 10:30 at night.”
Comparing a typical day now with a day years ago, she says, “It’s different from when I was working so hard to put my daughter through college. I can’t talk her into being a Realtor because she saw how hard I worked.”

These days the pace is a bit slower for the award-winning sales producer. She arrives at the office around 8:30 a.m. and is usually home by 6:30 p.m., if not 5 o’clock.

“I work to suit buyers but my days are getting shorter,” she said. “I spend a lot of time in my car but cell phones, e-mail and Web sites make a big difference in this business and save a lot of time.”

Because this technology is easy to use, Burton says there is no reason to show up at a house without calling or to not let someone know you’re running late. She admits that she’s not quite as advanced with a computer as she would like to be. That’s why she works as a team with other professionals at Susan Burton Real Estate, which opened in 1995. That team includes Burton’s husband, Rod Crosby, to whom she’s been married 12 years.

Burton’s day usually begins at 6 a.m. when she has a cup of tea and spends some time playing with her dog, Reesee, a chihuahua and something she had always wanted. She works on Saturday if need be, but tries not to work on Sunday.

“That’s my peaceful day,” she said. “We go to church and breakfast; maybe out in the boat if it’s pretty.”

Although Burton, 58, says real estate is a different world from when she started and there are more people in the business, she is learning to take it easier. “I like the beach,” she said. “Now I can go there and do nothing. I don’t have to take a pager or cell phone.”

She also never misses her weekly manicure. “It’s my therapy. I’ve always done it,” she said. “I go at 4:30 on Tuesdays and I’m so glad I can do it at the same time every week. Since 1980, I’ve been with the same people and they’re like family.”

Burton says the current residential market is tight in the Jackson metro area. “Sellers need to price it right because buyers have too many choices,” she said. “In bigger houses, it better be right.”

She sees the Reservoir area, Flowood, Madison and Northeast Jackson as hot areas. “It is a buyers’ market but in some price ranges, people can’t get there fast enough,” she said. “We are flooded with homes in the $300,000s.”

Burton does what’s necessary to meet clients’ needs, including staying up to date on schools and communities. “They’re my people from beginning to end,” she affirmed. “My desire is to make clients happy.”

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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