Working in Real Estate is rewarding, challenging + worth it: Hear from 3 Birmingham experts

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RealtySouth agents
From L to R: John Comford, Rosalynn Jackson, Joy Everson. Photos via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Working in real estate is no small feat. It takes hard work, patience, passion and teamwork. We recently caught up with three RealtySouth agents to find out more about their careers including company culture, challenges they face, rewards they experience and advice they have for future agents. Here’s what we learned:

Interested in a career at RealtySouth? Visit their site to find out more information on how to get started.

First, meet the three RealtySouth agents. 👋

John Comford

RealtySouth
John Comford. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now
  • 📍 Native of: Fredericksburg VA
  • 🏠 RealtySouth Agent for: 12 years
  • 💼 RealtySouth’s Inverness office | 109 Inverness Plaza #4800, Birmingham, AL 35242

Joy Everson

RealtySouth
Joy Everson. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now
  • 📍 Native of: Birmingham, AL
  • 🏠 RealtySouth Agent for: 15 years
  • 💼 RealtySouth’s I-459 office in Bessemer | 4760 Eastern Valley Rd #126, McCalla, AL 35111

Action (Rosalynn) Jackson

RealtySouth
Rosalynn Jackson. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now
  • 📍 Native of: Vicksburg, MS
  • 🏠 RealtySouth Agent for: 3 years
  • 💼 RealtySouth’s Alford Avenue office | 1220 Alford Ave, Birmingham, AL 35226

Each agent has an interesting background—from working in Human Resources to a 13-year career in cosmetology. But they all have something in common: an incredible amount of passion for their work.

Keep reading to learn more about them including how they approach their challenges and what makes their career with RealtySouth worth it.

What makes you enjoy your career with RealtySouth and feel that it is a supportive culture?

John: I work with an amazing group of people who are willing to help you when needed. There are endless opportunities for training, both in-person and online to help you build your business. Often in large corporations, it’s easy to get lost or become a number. At RealtySouth, management knows your name. It’s not unusual for executives to be involved in branch meetings, sharing what’s going on in the company and getting to know you.  

RealtySouth
Teamwork makes the dream work for the RealtySouth crew. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Joy: Since I started, we have always been like one big family…I know that I can call my Broker Linda Shelton, CEO Richard Grimes, COO & General Manager Jim Dye, VP of Career Development Dr. Rebeca Green and any of the corporate office staff and be able to speak with them on a one-on-one basis.

Rosalynn: My office family, including my extended family outside of my office, Jim Dye, Jonathan Chamness, Priscilla Pitts and Reida Underwood.

What are the most rewarding parts of your job?

RealtySouth
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care so don’t just try to sell them, try to know them.” – Rosalynn Jackson Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

John: ​Purchasing or selling a home is a big deal. It’s so rewarding when you get to the closing table and your buyer or seller is happy with the outcome.

Joy: The most rewarding part of my job is meeting so many different people of different nationalities. We build relationships that bring both me and the clients forever joy. Keeping in touch with many clients years beyond the closing is the best.

Rosalynn: Seeing my customers fulfill their goals and dreams, wants and desires.

Alternatively, what are some of the challenges?

RealtySouth
“Often in large corporations, it’s easy to get lost or become a number. At RealtySouth, management knows your name.” – John Comford Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

John: The biggest challenge is that this is commissioned sales. Therefore, you must always be filling your pipeline, or there will be an income gap you didn’t anticipate.

Joy: A challenging part of this job is when a transaction falls through. I deal with the emotions and personalities of hundreds of people, but I have to pray and take a deep breath to adapt to be able to assist them. The business consists of meeting people and talking to people for the first time and I am not always received because of my race. Our industry deals with racial barriers as well. However, I have learned from being a military brat to be able to communicate with all people.

Rosalynn: Believing in a client’s end result more than them. Being optimistic and having faith it will work out. I had to realize it is their decision in the end, no matter what my expertise is. 

What advice would you share with a young person interested in your field?

RealtySouth
“Purchasing or selling a home is a big deal. It’s so rewarding when you get to the closing table and your buyer or seller is happy with the outcome.” – John Comford Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

John: I would advise a young person who is in the business to find informal mentors. Find experienced agents that you can call on. School is not able to cover the multitude of issues you will encounter. I had those willing to help me and I try to be there for young agents today. 

Joy: I would share with a young person who is interested in real estate to pray, be honest and faithful, set your goal and achieve it. Work for the small homes like you would work for the big homes. Build a relationship with your clients that will build repeat referral business for you. And never stop educating yourself in the business.

Rosalynn: Always remember the golden rule and smile through the crazy. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care so don’t just try to sell them, try to know them.

If you’re not at a listing or the RealtySouth office, where can someone find you around the ‘Ham?

RealtySouth
“We have always been like one big family.” – Joy Everson Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

John: The first place you will find me is in my garden. I am an avid gardener, cook and dog lover. You may find me at all the garden shows, farmers markets and pet-friendly events. In addition, I love to shop at locally-owned home decor stores. I think I am a closet decorator. 

Joy: If I am not at a listing, you can find me at church or somewhere in public talking to someone I know or don’t know. My adult kids say, “mom, you talk to everybody.” And it’s true! Being at home with my hubby, Assistant Pastor Robert L Everson, Jr., and grandkids are my delight.

Rosalynn: My company Rosreja Property Management where we assist people during their transition into buying a home.

Can you share a few of your favorite Black-owned businesses in Birmingham?

John:  K&J’s Elegant Pastries, Green Acres, Eugene’s Hot Chicken. I am a new grandparent and just recently had the occasion to get a baby reveal cake from K&J’s. It was awesome. With Eugene’s and Green Acres, I guess it’s obvious that I love great chicken (that I don’t have to cook).

Joy: Superior Bling Boutique, owned by Renee Hopkins, who does my beautiful bling Realtor shirts. Tax Associates Inc., owned by Jesse Bandy, who has done my taxes for over 25 years. R&E Automotive & Electrical, owned by my brother-in-law, Rodney Everson, Sr., who has done our vehicle and HVAC work for over 27 years. And The Natural Horizon Lounge for natural loc & twist maintenance owned by Alecha Gresham, my niece.

Rosalynn: Refresh Clothing owned by Corey Bishop who does a weekly call with me every week to educate me on business and life and to keep me grounded. T-shirt Millionaires owned by Shawty Hustle who also owns Just For Bruhz—a clothing line for Omega Psi Phi. And I love my Action Jackson attire, who is also a finance wizard and holds daily training zoom meetings.


P.S. Head to our Instagram to enter our giveaway featuring some of these amazing Black-owned businesses. You could win $200+ in goodies! 🎉

Considering a career with RealtySouth? Visit their site for next steps.

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Hannah Chambley
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