Each morning as she awakes, before her feet even hit the floor, Tiffany Kjellander checks her smartphone to see what’s happening in the world.
“It helps me prepare for the day,” she says. “I check my iPhone for text messages, Facebook updates and any missed calls first thing. I may not respond right away, but I need to know what needs to be urgently attended to.”
Tiffany is the owner of EXIT Towne & Country Realty in Augusta, NJ, where she oversees approximately 25 agents. Her husband, Jeff Lobb, travels and speaks extensively nationwide. Between the two of them they have six children, ages 2 through 14. Her phone is almost always within reach and almost always ringing.
No Such Thing as a Typical Day
You could say that Tiffany’s days usually don’t end.
“I’m like a shift worker with an ever-changing start time,” she laughs, admitting that the idea of creating a more-defined routine would be utopian.
Mornings at the Kjellander-Lobb house can be pure chaos when everyone is there, despite the fact that the two eldest children, Joey and Lily, both 14, are very much self-sufficient and James, 11, is well on his way to being as responsible as his older siblings. The little ones, Grey, Cooper and Oak—6, 4 and 2 respectively—keep Tiffany’s mornings interesting, to say the least. By 11 a.m., the house is vacant.
A New Day, a New Opportunity
Each day is different for Tiffany, “I’ve usually got at least two conference calls or appointments to handle each week. We hold office meetings at the brokerage every other week, and the weeks we don’t have office meetings, we offer training sessions.”
As the owner, CEO and manager of operations, Tiffany works with only a few select clients. She refers most of the business she generates to her office family.
“I really enjoy helping others succeed,” she says. “I love to generate opportunities for people and help them convert those opportunities into happy clients.”
Technology—Lots of Technology
Another thing about the real estate business Tiffany loves is technology—lots of technology!
A self-proclaimed iOS girl, Tiffany can be found around town and at numerous national events with her iPhone 5s, iPad, iPad mini and MacBook Air. The apps she can’t live without are (in no particular order) Dropbox, Waze, Facebook, Twitter, Path, Pinterest, Evernote, Snapseed, Instagram, Squareready, Spotify, Google Voice and PDF Expert.
When we asked Tiffany what tools she simply couldn’t live without, her answer reemphasized her abundant love of all things tech: “My MacBook Air, my iPhone, and my iPad, FiveStreet, Dotloop, Better Voicemail, Amazon.com and Photoshop. I’ve tried to give up Photoshop but no can do.”
However, there is a distinct line when it comes to the inclusion of email in her love of technology. Reaching inbox zero is definitely a pipedream: “I don’t love email; in fact, I don’t even like it,” Tiffany admits. “Right now, I’ve got 58,000 unread emails in my inbox. Need I say more?”
Industry Challenges and True Achievements
On several occasions, Tiffany and I have spoken about the challenges within the industry, and each time I have heard the passion and conviction she has with where those challenges are and how they desperately need to be resolved.
“The low barrier of entry and the seeming lack of credibility within our industry are the two major challenges I see on a consistent basis,” she says. “When it comes to the requirements to obtain a [real estate] license, in most states, you simply sit through a class and pass a test. Oh, and you can’t be a felon.
“Since it’s reasonably easy to get a license—and much, much, much harder to actually make a living—it seems as though everyone claims to be an international speaker, trainer or coach. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some really brilliant folks in this category, who do a really good job at being straightforward and providing value, but there are some who are not so honest about their past achievements—or lack thereof—and base their offerings off of mostly hypothesis and opinion. Because, if you haven’t run a brokerage before, you just don’t know.”
Advice for the New Agent
Tiffany lives and breathes real estate. It’s who she is (in addition to being a mom and wife, of course). She truly believes that the people we serve are what real estate is all about, not the houses.
“Way beyond where tools and technology can ever take you, fulfilling the needs of your customers and knowing how to talk to people will allow—and always has allowed—you to have a limitless amount of business and success.”
Extravagances — Home and Away
“I spoil my kids and my family, and I try to hit as many industry events as I can,” Tiffany says. “Being able to periodically get away means that I get to recharge. And to be me for a few minutes—eat real food and have a moment to have real conversations, get a solid seven hours of sleep, and be inspired by the best in the business—makes me better in business and a better mom, wife, daughter and auntie.”
No one can deny that Tiffany is a workhorse, and a successful one at that. She knows her business, she loves her family (both the one at home and the one at work) and, apparently, you can’t find a better pot of gravy anywhere in the Northeast states!
“I’m a good cook and I make a mean pot of Sunday gravy,” she says. “I love fresh ideas and fresh ingredients. But, I am always the last to eat and the last to order at a restaurant. I will stare at a menu for eons, as though I’m going to order something new, but almost always order the same stuff.”