Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Harvey.
Michelle, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started in real estate over 18 years ago and worked for 2 large, well-known brokerages. After realizing that I couldn’t quite fit in with the way I envisioned my business goals, I started to create and design my own real estate brokerage. I already was a Realtor so I went back to school, got my Broker’s license and started my own real estate brokerage, Harvey Homes, 12 years ago. I built it from the ground up and took on a huge learning experience as I had my hand in every single aspect of the process. I am a sole proprietor and to this day, each client works directly with me. I attended college at CSUSM and received my bachelor’s degree in Business.
Earlier this year, I began hand painting my own real estate sign riders (those little signs that say “In Escrow” or “Sold”) in a chalkboard design. I could use these unique sign riders to make my listings look completely one-of-a-kind. My husband and I had the idea to market them to friends and see what happened. A new business was born, Harvey Homes Designs, and officially launched earlier this year. It has now grown into a business where I hand painted reclaimed wood signs (we try to repurpose and reuse whenever possible!), pillow covers, banners and of course, sign riders. I do a lot of custom orders, pop up shows and have even worked on weddings. Real Estate is still my passion and #1 love, but the painting is also my passion and therapy for when business is stressful. It is great to marry the 2 business under one roof!
Has it been a smooth road?
I think with any successful business, the road needs to be bumpy to achieve fulfillment and success. When I began I was 19 years old. I looked even younger and was a full-time college student. Getting people to take me seriously was a huge challenge. I learned to demand respect for the quality of work I provided and move on from those who just didn’t see that. Starting my own Brokerage also helped those around me to see that I was taking this career seriously and not just jumping in for quick cash (which believe, me real estate is anything but that!) My family and husband have been my rocks because real estate is up and down, and you experience every emotion you can think of. There are also so many Realtors out there that I understand competition is natural. I always tell my clients to please interview other Realtors before or after they interview me. I am confident that once they do that, they will see the value and exceptional home buying or selling experience I can provide. And if we are not a match, better to know before we enter into a contract.
Teaching myself at 25 years old to build and operate a sole proprietorship was an immense challenge. I am thankful every day that I persevered and didn’t give up on my dream. Financially, I have never used any loan to back this business. Every cent invested was mine and my husband’s. We never reached out for help but funded (and continue to fund) this business together. It has definitely been a challenge at times, but being good with your finances and setting a budget has enabled us to continue business through not only the good markets but the bad as well.
I am proud to be an entrepreneur and businesswoman who owns and operates 2 businesses!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the 1) Harvey Homes Real Estate and Property Management 2) Harvey Homes Designs story. Tell us more about the business.
Harvey Homes Real Estate- I am the Broker/Owner and sole proprietor. I handle every single detail of this business, including social media, marketing, website, design, advertising, financials, etc. I used to do property management as well but recently decided to focus on the buying and selling of homes solely. I am known for my 4% total commissions, without ever cutting the commission of an agent who brings me a buyer. I am very fair and understand how hard all of us Realtor’s work for our money. I am most proud that, even before Harvey Homes, I always donate a part of my commission to a charity or organization. What is unique is that I ask my client’s who they want me to choose and donate in their name. I am also very proud of my honesty and ethics. I have never wavered from them over the years. What sets me apart is that not only am I a Realtor but I am a broker. A real estate agent works for a broker, which most people don’t understand. A broker has to go through more schooling and get a different license to run their own brokerage. I am a Broker/Owner and run my business as a sole proprietorship. No assistants, no team members, just me! I also don’t believe in arguing to settle differences in a deal. I feel like you can use kindness, business sense and logic to negotiate through just about any situation.
Harvey Homes Designs- I hand paint each and every sign. I make custom real estate sign riders, wood signs, banners and pillow covers. My clients know that they can come to me with a vision and I can get it done quickly and to their standards. A lot of my work is custom and I really enjoy that! What sets me apart is that I don’t use vinyl but I hand paint. I also build all of my signs with my husband so each sign is absolutely one of a kind, each and every time. I am most proud that I can make people happy with my designs and that I know they are enjoying my creations in their homes. What sets me apart is that I also cater towards Realtors. A lot of my creations are designed for listings, selfie signs/photo props, and home staging. Not only do I use them myself but I love seeing other Realtors use them as well. Important to note that all of my sign riders are double sided!
One of my pictures I have included is a perfect example of how I have combined my 2 businesses. I hand painted my own real estate sign out of reclaimed wood and did it in a farmhouse, rustic style. It is completely unique and fun to use!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Everything with real estate is always on a cycle and our technology is also changing. In addition to regular market changes, I feel like brick and mortar real estate buildings might be declining in the future. We can work out of our homes now and meet up at local places to have client meetings. It is a great way to utilize and support local businesses as well. I do most business from my cell phone or laptop and can access my clients from just about anywhere. We can write offers remotely now and use Esigning, which enables us to work exclusively with our client’s schedules. I have not had a brick and mortar office since the beginning of Harvey Homes. I have saved a lot of time and money in doing this and love the freedom it allows myself and my clients.
- 4% total real estate commisions
- Most signs range around $20-$30
- Website: www.HarveyHomes.com
- Phone: 760-716-7549
- Email: HarveyHomes@hotmail.com
- Instagram: @harveyhomesre
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harveyhomesrealestate/
- Other: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HarveyHomesDesigns/
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