The Baldwin Hills native became a real estate agent as she was looking to become a homeowner.
By Anthony Rankins
Valerie Norris is the definition of determination, and settling is something she refuses to do.
“There’s no finish line to accomplishments” she said.
A Baldwin Hills native, Norris is a real estate agent, and she is no stranger to overcoming adversity.
“Growing up there was no shortcuts and easy paths,” she said. “My parents demanded perfection from my brother and I. Giving up or saying that we couldn’t were words and actions that didn’t utter out of our mouths.”
Both of Norris’ parents are from Leimert Park and they dreamed of owning a home in the hills. That motivated her to want to be interested in the real estate field.
“My father’s stern demand was to always own your stuff no matter what it was and it stayed with me,” she said.
While Norris has succeeded as a real estate agent, that did not start out as her career goal.
“I initially did not want to sell homes,” she said. “I always wanted to buy my home. And before I could buy I had to learn the language and fully comprehend the loopholes of real estate from obtaining loans and the laws of owning property. A great deal of people jump right in at approval and they’re not completely understanding interest rates, property taxes, insurance and the obligations of owning your home. So a lot of people can’t afford their home when their signature signs off on an adjustable mortgage; one of the worst things you can sign off on. A lot of people lost their homes during the recession when the mortgages jumped up more than they can afford. And because of that homes were lost and credit gets damaged. It’s very imperative to be intelligent and have a clear and complete understanding anytime you’re dealing with investing.”
The career of a real estate agent, and any other sales position, can be very intense.
“I like intense situations,” Norris said. “I like the challenge; it’s just the way I’m built. I like to figure things out with my back against the wall. I thrive for that pressure and focus on the accomplishment. It is very accurate that life is not easy and real estate may be easy to get into, but to get into and be successful at it is what takes the toll on people.”
Norris’ career, like many other real estate agents, got off to a slow start.
“A lot of people get that energy early on and have aspirations to sell a house within their first year,” she said. “Not to say that it is impossible, but usually what happens is that new agents lose confidence and become distracted and not as strong-minded and eager as to when they started. It took awhile to get my first sale. It wasn’t until I became knowledgeable of what I can do to help the buyer. You communicate with loaners and owners who may be willing to negotiate; knowing how to look for defects that may bring the price down. And that’s why you research a home, and stay ahead of the setbacks. So any challenge that arises I’m ready for it no matter what it is.”
Being a young Black woman selling properties that are worth several hundred thousand dollars is an obstacle that Norris has overcome.
“It’s very difficult being a woman of color because of the judgment,” she said. “People see me and assume that I am just too young to know what I’m talking about or don’t completely understand this business. Usually the first impression is that I’m just a Black girl playing real estate. I often don’t get taken seriously. When a potential buyer arrives I’m immediately analyzed and questioned about my credentials. I remain humble with what I have and the knowledge I have. With every question I answer with confidence and no fear. No fear because I take the extra time to fully understand the property, the equity, and advise myself on their desires and financial situation.”
Contact Norris through her Instagram page, @valerieestates, for guidance through the real estate process.