Over the course of her 18-year career as an executive leader in real estate, Maria Pettet has epitomized her personal mantra: “It is not what you get, it is what you give to others.” Driven by an extraordinary work ethic, boundless energy, and tenacity, she is constantly failing forward. Her heart and passion have always given her the edge that has propelled her forward, not to mention, she has an innate ability to connect with people. With that fueling her, Maria’s leadership and direct involvement has led to her shattering ceilings in the real estate industry for almost two decades for the companies she has led, her clients who entrust her, and the team she leads. Throughout her highly successful career, Maria has garnered extensive experience in a variety of real estate niches outside of the traditional sellers and buyers that includes new construction, development, commercial, and luxury, in a multitude of markets across the Midwest. Her unwavering commitment and approach can be best described as operating with the best intentions, honesty, precision, and excellence in service. Those that know her say she always leads with strong moral principles. With over 3000 personal sales, countless awards, and accolades, her most notable achievement is the thousands of lives she has changed. Her career is not about the numbers: it’s about the people. In 2019, she founded Integrity Home Group, a company where people matter, and its name embodies one of her core principles; “to do the right thing always.” Under the Keller Williams brand, the Ohio-based company specializes in residential, commercial, luxury, and new construction with a focus on the Greater Cleveland market. We recently spoke with Maria to learn more about her real estate journey and her thriving company that’s making dreams come true for their clients.
Let’s start with some background. What inspired you to join the real estate industry?
When I was 22-years old, I purchased my first home, and after talking with me, the sales representative suggested that I consider a career in real estate. At the time, I was working in a different industry, but decided to explore what a career in real estate could look like. The excitement, energy, and possibilities were obvious and captured my attention. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a sales role with a small locally owned home builder and developer. I was so young and inexperienced that when I told the owner I would sell 10 homes a month, he chuckled and said, “I’d like to see you try.” What they didn’t realize was that he was talking to a daughter of Greek immigrants. My sisters and I were born after my parents migrated to the U.S., and my dad passed away when I was only four years old. At the age of 32, my mother was left to raise three daughters on her own in a foreign country. Throughout all the challenges, I learned at an early age, to be resilient, work hard, and never let anyone prevent me from achieving my goals. His comment just made me even more determined to prove that I could do it, and I did.
I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I genuinely cared about my clients, and helping them achieve their real estate goals, I ended up selling 80 homes in my first year. By the fourth year, I had moved into a leadership capacity and then earned the role as the regional sales manager, responsible for driving the sales and marketing efforts in over 30 new home communities across Greater Cleveland. I developed and grew the business to being the #1 in the market, surpassing many of the other national builders, utilizing my entrepreneurial business background, marketing expertise, and reputation for finding, coaching, and training talent, while overseeing all aspects of the sales operations. Now, with the launch of my company, Integrity Home Group, I’m getting back to my roots!
How does your previous experience benefit your clients at Integrity Home Group?
My former role equipped me with tremendous insight. We dealt with a wide variety of clientele, and I not only learned how to understand their motivations, but also how to successfully navigate constantly changing markets and interpret it for them. I learned pricing strategies, how to increase cycle times, and how to negotiate with vendors to create win-win scenarios, all while providing white glove service with a personal touch for my clients. Today, I bring all the tools, experience, and skills that I learned, navigating both healthy and stressful economic environments, to get the best overall value for our clients without losing the integrity of the product or service we deliver.
How does Integrity Home Group differ from other real estate groups?
What sets us apart is am I blessed with an astute real estate knowledge. I also possess exceptional interpersonal skills to form true long-term relationships throughout the course of every transaction. Right now, more than ever, that experience is what sets us apart because we will help you navigate this crazy market we are in. Yes, the current market is red hot, yet having me help you maximize your opportunity and avoid any pitfalls is key right now. At Integrity Home Group we are interested in gaining clients for life by being realistic and truthful. We live our core values and are differentiated by our unwavering commitment to providing fanatical client care with integrity and excellence, in service for every client that entrusts us. We go above and beyond with each interaction and truly partner with our clients all the way through the process. It is with this mindset and foundation that all of our clients and partners benefit from choosing Integrity Home Group.
What is the energy like daily working at Integrity Home Group?
We like to work hard and play hard. We also realize that there is a spot for everyone; it’s just a matter of figuring out each team members motivation and what drives them. Our team is constantly growing personally and professionally. We push each other like we are family. We have the same goals, drive and determination. For me, I get in business with and create opportunities for people who are on the same mission as me. As for our clients, they get the benefit of working with a well-rounded, knowledgeable and experienced team that truly cares about them.
What do you find most enjoyable about your work?
My personal passion is leading and driving results while helping others achieve their goals. We deal with more than the 4 walls our clients live in—they are homes, shelter for them and their family. The global pandemic last year really amplified this for us. It is immensely rewarding to help buyers, sellers, and their families create a safe space and life no matter their situation. I also enjoy working with our agents—watching them change their lives and provide a legacy for their families.
What is next for you?
Well, we have created a couple of other entities to our Integrity Home Group parent company to expand our offerings for our clients and future ones. We have launched a commercial division as well as a renovation division. Our clients trust us, have a need, and we are going to deliver. Additionally, many other top real estate companies have reached out to hire me to lead and build highly functional and successful organizations for them. The most important goal in of all of our growth, is that our Integrity Home Group teams’ personal life is not sacrificed. That matters more than anything else. While we create amazing experiences for our clients and partners, we do the same in our own lives too.
Founder and CEO
Integrity Home Group
Instagram: @integrityhomegroup, @mariapapouras
Facebook: @ihgcle | @mariapapouraspettet