By Jaime Westman
With a background in NASCAR, Bryan Dunaway is used to working fast. So when he left the auto racing circuit to try his hand at real estate, Dunaway wasn’t sure what to expect because of the economic slowdown and lull in the housing market.
“It was a little slow at first, being the end of 2010, but, to be honest, I really believe it was HouseHunt that kept us afloat the first couple of months,” said Dunaway, who works with his wife, Sharon, in the Charlotte area of North Carolina. “It was tough because we didn’t really have any prospects, we were new at it, we didn’t know how to go and find clients, and there weren’t that many to be found because the buyer pool was small. But people that are looking at houses are on the Internet, and the HouseHunt site seems to attract quite a few of them, so it was good to have that as we started out.”
Dunaway hasn’t taken his foot off the gas since, and he has found success by bringing some of the work-related tools he picked up at NASCAR to the real estate industry.
“Teamwork, always showing up and always being there no matter what are things I learned along the way,” said Dunaway, 50, who was a mechanic and pit crew member for Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett and other drivers. “I have a philosophy of listening to people, finding out their needs and tailoring my dealings with them to fit those needs.”
Dunaway, who hopes to complete 20 closings by the end of the year, contacts potential clients immediately to give them information about the market and how he operates.
“I let them know that I’m always there for them, so that when they’re ready to buy, I’m the guy to call,” he said. “And it seems to be working.”
Dunaway’s work hours also have no boundaries, which is another thing he learned from NASCAR.
“Being used to those demands, working on a holiday or working on a weekend or working late at night is a cinch,” he said about his new job. “You never know when a lead or potential sale is going to happen.”
Recent examples of Dunaway going the extra mile have led to sales. One occurred over the Labor Day weekend when a cash buyer who was retiring to Highland Creek, N.C., called two agents and signed on to three Internet sites looking for leads. Dunaway e-mailed her Saturday around midnight and called her Sunday at 9 a.m. While having lunch on Labor Day, another agent called but was rebuffed because Dunaway was so prompt.
Two other closings also happened because of Dunaway’s diligence and people skills. Despite logistical challenges, he stayed in touch with a female client who was working in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor and ended up selling her a house in the Charlotte area. He befriended the client and was invited to her wedding, and while at the reception he got a call from a HouseHunt connection who was requesting to see a house. When he told her that he was at a wedding of a current HouseHunt client and that he’d e-mail her as soon as he got home, she was impressed. They talked the next morning, and a few days later an offer was made.
Dunaway’s love for cars and his commitment to service were formed at an early age when he visited his dad’s service station in the days when pumping gas, washing windshields and checking the oil and tire pressure were part of the routine.
“I saw firsthand that if you do something every single time, the customer will come back,” he said. “I always try to form friendships along the way, and helping people look at houses is perfect for that. This whole thing is just now feeling like it’s starting to roll. Being honest, reliable and using basic courtesy goes a long way with people.”
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