Russell appears in the Top 100
People in Real Estate Magazine
What started your sales career?
I started working full time in sales as an early teen at a Ralph Lauren shop in Mandeville, La. I spent my high school and college years working in every facet of the clothing industry from retail to a personal shopper and ultimately wholesale as a national sales representative for a multi-million dollar manufacturer, traveling 18 states. I met my wife in that role.
After the devastation of 9/11 and the introduction of internet sales, the clothing business changed drastically. Many of my clients, who were small “mom and pop” stores, closed their doors. I knew it was time for me to make a career change.
Why from Rag’s to Real Estate?
I have a marketing degree so marketing is really my profession and passion. Only the product has changed – I used to market clothing and now I market real estate.
My break out was at my last clothing market in Dallas. Jokingly, another senior rep in my showroom yelled out “Iceberg”! I knew what he was referring too but it was no joke, the end was near. We had lunch and gave me some advice on real estate, as it was a hot market. He parked in front of a building and dared me to walk into a mortgage company with the approach, I’m here for the job, when do I start? Within 2 weeks I was originating loans. I spent 2 years as a loan officer and after the refi boom I realized most real estate companies had their own in-house lender and my job was soon to be redundant.
Within six months, I obtained my real estate license and worked four years for two of the largest big-box brokerages in the business. I received the most elite training, won trips, and had the learning experiences of a lifetime. However, once again I knew it was time for a change. Time to cut the apron strings! I earned my broker’s license in 2009, opened Thomae Realty the following year, and never looked back.
How is your market plan different from other businesses in your industry?
I have a little bit of an advantage when it comes to pricing a property. The mortgage business gave me a jump start as a new agent and I hold a BPOR designation (Brokers Price Opinion Resource). I’m a recourse for lenders to evaluate a listing price for their foreclosures. It is an extremely simple marketing plan. I don’t chase the market down, I chase the market up. It’s all about “pricing and marketing.” If a property is priced right and marketed correctly, it creates an influx of interest, so with more showings there are more buyers. As a result, when my listings go on the market, we receive multiple offers for above the listing price. Essentially, we list at the perfect price and the offers become organically higher.
What separates your business from others like it in the industry?
We do so much more than just put a sign in the yard or drive clients around to look at homes. Buying or selling, we walk our clients through every step of process so there are no surprises at the end.
I’m a man of my word and we do business honestly and always keep the clients’ best interest at the forefront. I return phone calls, reply to text messages/emails, follow-up, and answer the most difficult questions with honest answers.
Do you have a favorite saying?
Yes – If you can’t be on time, be early!