May Real Producers: Elle Hinton
This content originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Real Producers Fort Wayne
The Journey of Elle Hinton
While stopped at a traffic light, once, I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Life is hard, and then you die.” Conceptually, a lot of people might agree. It is a sad commentary on the meaning of life, or maybe the owner just did not know how to persevere through life’s challenges and find the journey of great joy. Elle Hinton did just that, and her journey will send you on an emotional roller coaster. For her, it is not always what she would have designed, but it is what she was supposed to have—to grow.
Elle went to college at Purdue to study nuclear engineering. Her father was an engineer, and she liked science and math; it was a natural choice. She exited school early, since she was expecting her first child (a son). “I was married for a hot second,” says Elle, “but I finally found my way out of a physically abusive relationship.”
For the summer that followed, Elle and her son lived in a truck. At night, they would take refuge at a park next to a ball field, and the next day, she would take a shower at the nearby health club (the membership had not expired) before dropping her son at pre-school. They were not in danger, and her son thought it was fun to be “camping.” Elle had a lot of different jobs and struggles, and God took care of her.
Eventually, Elle met a wonderful man, married and just celebrated her 20th anniversary. A few years after they were married though, the family suffered a fire at their home. Smoke damage pervaded the home, and the Hinton family had to stay in a hotel for five months (two parents and five children). Later, Elle’s son was diagnosed with leukemia, and he fought through chemotherapy during a lengthy battle with the disease. Some said that he might not live while others postulated that he would never have children or would relapse. Today, he is doing quite well and has a six-month-old daughter.
In 2005, just a few years after the first fire, the family’s home caught fire again and became a total loss. “I had just organized all the closets and cleaned the house,” says Hinton. She was working in a kiosk at the mall selling Tupperware when she received the call. She told her manager that she needed to go, and he replied, “But I have errands.” She quit the job.
Hinton has learned a lot during her journey. She says that she does not get as stressed about what she has or does not have. “God has always been my provider, and selling real estate is just a tool to provide for my family,” she exclaims. She defines success as knowing that she has had the right impact on others. “I just try to spread light and love,” she notes. Elle’s experiences have shaped her in a great way to serve and help other people.
In 2007, Elle’s youngest child was entering kindergarten, so she decided to be licensed. She loved the work, and she was awarded “Rookie of the Year.” Hinton says that helping families make good decisions and pick the right home to make memories is her mission. She likes to think that they are taken care of properly and that she makes choices based upon doing the right things.
Hinton gives some sage advice for those who are new to the industry. She challenges them to make sure they have the “stomach” for the business, which means that they do not panic when things go awry. It happens a lot. She also hopes that they are always calm and offer the voice of reason while managing everyone’s emotions. “We are more like counselors than sales people,” she observes. The most important advice is to keep one’s family a priority. “You have to learn that you cannot be with clients 24/7/365,” she says, “I had to be a mother and a wife too.”
Elle gives a great deal of credit to her husband, Guy, who always supported her and gave her the freedom to make changes that she deemed important for her development. The two have five children and four grandchildren (with one on the way). They love to ride motorcycles, but they are mostly home-bodies. She loves the beach, and he likes to hunt. They bought a piece of land with a pond, and Guy put a beach on it. He gets to hunt on the back of the property where there is a wooded area. It is how marriage works.
Elle Hinton is colorful, a follower of God, and she is family-oriented. She is a fixer, so it was hard to work through life’s events, but she learned to be still and know that God is God. Life is hard, and some day we will die. The journey in between can be full of joy or purpose, or … not. It involves a choice, and for Elle, she chooses God and joy.
— By Brian Ramsey
Rising star: Kimberly slucher
What did you do before you became a realtor?
Stay at home mom and military wife for most of my adult life. Ran a 10-acre farm in Angola complete with rabbits, chickens, and goats. Had a service dog training business specializing in PTSD and migraine alert. Went to IPFW for business and Saint Francis for Pediatric Oncology Nursing.
What are you passionate about right now in your business?
My passion is very simple … help people. It could be a new agent needing help getting started in getting their business off the ground or needing assistance in understanding how to move forward with a transaction. As far as my clients, my passion is to help them with their “problem” of either getting into or out of a home. Some clients are looking to purchase their first home, or perhaps moving up to a larger home. Whereas other clients may need patience and understanding as they could be selling due to the loss of a family member.
What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
The most rewarding part of the business has been my ability to find myself within it. With the help of some wonderful mentors within Century 21 Bradley, I find that I have grown by leaps and bounds because I am able to utilize a confidence I was unaware that I had to help individuals who may need someone to fight for them in a transaction. Being a mother of so many, I find that I have the ability to be patient, understanding and at times, stern to go after what my clients deserve. My motto, “Always do what is right by my client.”
What was your biggest challenge as a REALTOR®?
My biggest challenge was simply wrapping my head around what is truly meant to be a REALTOR®. When I first started as an agent, I thought it would simply be fun to sell a few houses a year. Having no understanding what it would take to gain leads or the education that would be needed to hit my goals, I almost quit at the end of my first partial year. December 2016, I took the entire month off to do some serious career evaluation. Should I return to college to finish my Nursing degree or stay in real estate and give it everything I had to make it a serious career? Obviously I chose to remain in real estate. In making that decision, I connected with some great agents within my brokerage to learn from. I also decided to educate myself daily in some area of the business to constantly improve my skills.
How does real estate fit into your dreams and goals?
My dreams and goals are ever changing. Real estate has opened many doors in meeting new people. My network has grown tremendously month after month. In doing so, it has allowed many new doors to open. Although I do not know what the future holds. One thing is certain, real estate will play a very large part in how it unfolds.
What’s your favorite part of being a REALTOR®?
The unknown, non-scripted day-to-day “work.” I never know what the next phone call, text, email or social media message will be. One day I could have next to nothing going on that is scheduled. The next, I could get a Facebook message asking me to come out to a $1,500,000 potential listing. I kid you not, that has happened. I find it all very addictive. In the end, when I see happy clients at the closing table, or one of their kiddos running up to give me a hug just because I stopped by, I know there is no other job I would rather have.
Success is showing my children what it is to be truly happy and living a life to its fullest. It is finding ways every day to help people both in real estate and outside the job altogether. To me, success is not defined by the dollar amount in my bank. It is the positive impact I am able to make every day in the lives of others.
Tell us about your family.
My family … well. I have 6 fantastic children. Yes … 6!! Ashley (25, stay-at-home mom with two children), Kirsten (23, restaurant manager with three children), Hunter (21, factory maintenance worker with one child), Breanna (16, my little entrepreneurial artist), Michael (13, avid soccer player), Arianna (9, my little gymnast). As you can imagine, my family get-togethers are always great fun, lots of noise and even more food.
Grant Cardone (10 X Rule, Sell or be Sold, Obsessed), Gary Keller (The One Thing, Millionaire Real Estate Agent), Daymond John (Power of Broke, Rise and Grind)
Are there any charities or organizations you support?
St. Just Children’s hospital. Part of my dream, had I remained in the oncology field, was to work for St. Jude. As you can imagine, I have a huge place in my heart for children. When Breanna was in 1st grade, she became very ill. At one point, she was tested for cancer. Thank goodness it came back negative. However, St. Jude immediately opened their doors to my daughter stating that they wold be happy to help had the results been positive. Now, I donate every month. Plus, a portion of every home I sell is donated as well.
I am also part of Greater Fort Wayne and Whitley County Chamber of Commerce.
What are you hobbies and interests outside of the business?
I love being outdoors. Every chance I get, I will take time to go for a hike or go fishing as I find it very calming. I also enjoy being with my children (of course). As of late, I find myself looking for new experiences. Recently I went on a trip to Las Vegas and have another trip planned for Miami. This summer, I am planning on going sky diving. People ask me why would I ever want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? My answer, because I am afraid of heights. What better way to overcome fear that to take it head on?
Given your status and expertise, what is some advice you would give the up and coming top producer?
My advice, learn…learn as much as you can. Connect with agents who have already succeeded in the industry. Most are very willing to answer any questions you may have or help you when you need it. Also, find ways to stand out. In a sea of real estate agents, it is very important to find ways to make people remember who you are. Look at your marketing pieces and listing presentations for example. What is going to make a client remember you?
In closing, is there anything else you would like to communicate using this Fort Wayne Real Producer platform?
Absolutely! Real estate is so much fun (most of the time) and the sky is the limit. Give it everything you have. Make the social media videos. Call the expired listings. Go introduce yourself to new people. Honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen? You stumble over your words? You look silly? Ok … and? In this industry, you either make it or break it on your own. So, why not give it everything you have and see what happens?
Photos by Tony Frantz