(photo credit: Bobby Quillard)
As an experienced and leading broker, Leneiva owns Nashville's top performing real estate management company, Welcome Home Realty with a mission to help every person buy and keep their homes. After her nightmare first home buying experience, Leneiva was inspired to create her own real estate solution to help first-time homeowners into the home of their dreams and guide them every step of the way. Leneiva's specialties include Residential & Commercial Leasing and Sales, HUD/VA/REO Properties, short sales, standard sales and creative financing. Leneiva Head's experience and knowledge has allowed her to share her experiences in several ways. A couple of those include being awarded spots as a First Time Home Buyer Class Educator for the New Level Community Development Corporation and as a certified Achieve Global Leadership Educator. One of Leneiva's biggest priorities is staying on top of cutting edge information in order to protect, service and educate her clients to the best of her ability. Over the years, she has taken an excess of 350 credit hours to complete numerous designations and is GREEN certified by The National Association of Realtors, as she received advanced training in green building and sustainable business practices which enable her to seek out, understand, and market properties with green features. Adding to her expertise Leneiva has received her Accredited Buyer's Representation designation, which is the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation. Only a few agents in Nashville have their ABR designation, giving clients added protection of experience and knowledge when purchasing a home. Additionally, she is a graduate from the REALTOR Institute. She always provides clients with education and guidance throughout every home buying and selling process.
How did you get into the industry?
I got into real estate as a result of my own nightmare home buying experience. Instead of forever complaining about how the first-time home buying experience should be better than my personal experience, I decided to be the change that I wanted to see. I had a horrible first-time home buying experience. I literally cried almost everyday from contract to closing. I used a real estate agent that I'd met at an open house for a different property. My agent seemed to either be afraid of or working for the listing agent. Everything that I wanted to ask for, he told me not to - including getting a home inspection. The things I did ask for (home warranty and cleaned carpet) required follow up for completion. He wouldn't follow up - unless I insisted. The lender sent me a list of 28 items needed in order to close my loan. I now know it was a conditional loan approval; however, it never should've been sent to me. I immediately burst into tears because I didn't know what the items were, how to get them, and felt hopeless. Of the 28 items on the list, only two were items that I had control over. The rest were items only the lender could resolve! Imagine that! Every step of the way I had to follow up on everything to the point that the lender said I should do this for a living. I was determined to and indeed did - close on time. I felt alone throughout the entire process. I was given no direction, no discussion of what should happen next, nothing. Lastly, the agent called at the last minute to state that he would not make it to the closing. There I was at the closing table with the title attorney, a stack of papers, and my cashier's check. Neither the lender nor the agent showed up. I had questions but there was no one around to answer them. I loved my home; however, my home buying experience was truly the worst! Talk about inspiration! I was inspired.
Any emerging industry trends?
The market has been extremely hot in many areas across the country. In the Greater Nashville area, it is the perfect seller’s market storm. We are still operating in a bidding war environment. Inventory is low. Home prices are up 7% over a year ago; however, income increases are not competing with the price increases. The interest rates are beginning to tick upward. These factors will likely result in a market shift. Industry research reveals that distressed sales are on the rise again which is an indicator that the market is about to correct itself. It will not be as drastic as the downturn of 2008. It will just level off. The seller’s market will gradually shift back to the seller’s market.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
The current challenge in the real estate industry is low inventory. Because demand for homes is high and the supply is low, we have a healthy competition for the same home – also known as bidding wars. It’s been reported that 100 people a day are moving into the Greater Nashville area. The influx of people naturally creates an opportunity to generate plenty of business via real estate sales and leasing. You have to be quick to show the property and creative with your offer submission to ensure that your client’s offer is selected. Having access to a portable scanner – or the scanner app, which I prefer, utilizing text messaging to submit your client’s offer, and digital document signing technology all assist with ensuring that your client’s offer is the first one that the listing agent receives.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
When I opened my firm, a lot of real estate firms were closing as a result of the 2008 real estate debacle. I decided that those still interested in buying and/or selling homes still needed someone’s assistance. So, when others were closing their doors, I felt it was the perfect time to open mine.
The desired future for the firm is to continue growing by adding additional like-minded REALTORS® who also have a desire to service clients with integrity and care.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
As a boutique real estate firm, we make valiant efforts to compete with the larger brands. We have enhanced our website to include the intranet, offer online training to our agents, and we also have a feature that allows sellers to get a home valuation while on our site.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
My key initiatives are to treat my agents as clients as well as my buying/selling/leasing clients. They are all clients and they all deserve top-notch customer service, proper education to ensure their comfortable working or being a part of such an important transaction. We are a business built by referrals, so we take great pride in recognizing those who contribute to the growth and development of the firm. We have an annual client celebration to simply say thank you! Everyone looks forward to it every year now.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
My most difficult moment was when I realized that as the Principal Broker/Owner, I have to be a leader first, and a friend second. I was so busy trying to be helpful to my agents and care for issues that concerned them that I allowed the line to get blurred. I was taken advantage of as a result. The agents weren’t paying their office fees for months at a time. I was trying to be patient and understanding. I eventually had to let some agents go at which point I learned that I have to be a leader first and create a healthy boundary so that I can effectively manage the business instead of being managed by the circumstances of others.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
My clients mainly benefit from my knowledge and expertise. I teach homebuyers classes and have many contacts to refer clients to during a real estate transaction. This creates a seamless transaction, which they appreciate.
How do you motivate others?
I care. I lead by example. I work hard. I’m honest, fair, and I encourage my team. I remind them that their success is only measured by their ability to meet the goals that they set for themselves, not by the accomplishments of others.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Always set measureable goals. Measure your success by your ability to meet the goals that you set. Continue to learn and grow. Never buy into the concept that you have “arrived” because once you do, you will become stagnant and the industry will pass you by…along with your future clients.
Leneiva Head is a top real estate broker and founder of Welcome Home Realty with nearly two decades of experience. Leneiva’s specialties include Residential & Commercial Leasing and Sales, HUD/VA/REO Properties, short sales, standard sales and creative financing. She always provides clients with education and guidance throughout every home buying and selling process. To learn more about Welcome Home reality, click here.