Initially, Christine Lee did not see a career path leading into real estate, but the idea blossomed as she majored in computer information systems at the University of North Florida and, with a load of creativity, innovation and education, lead to her success.
Lee recently was selected by REALTOR Magazine for its “30 Under 30” award, which recognizes the top 30 real estate agents under age 30 nationwide. She was one of only three Floridians among the top 50 semi-finalists.
Lee utilizes her knowledge of building database systems and websites to manage her business and claims the CIS skills she honed at UNF have enabled her to achieve success in the real estate market.
“She’s extremely tech-savvy – possibly one of the most tech-savvy persons I’ve known,” said Danielle Sak, marketing and client care coordinator at Lee’s company, The Lifetime Realty Group at Keller Williams in Jacksonville.
Although her family moved around when she was a child, Lee settled in Jacksonville in 1996 and eventually enrolled at UNF after landing a scholarship through the Honors Program. As an honors student, Lee developed strong writing and communication skills, as well as critical thinking.
“The Honors Program was great because they had really intensive levels of study, and it got to the point where you had to be very concise with what you said and wrote,” Lee said. “That philosophy is very much applicable in my business today and the experience gave me a broader view from a cultural aspect.”
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of her education came from the skills she acquired through UNF’s Computer Information Systems Program. There, Lee learned to build the database systems she would later utilize in real estate.
“The program really helped flesh out the way I looked at CIS and how I could apply it to my business in a professional way,” she said. “It put more meat to the bone in my professional career.”
After graduating in 2003, Lee went to the University of Florida to pursue a master’s degree in real estate.
“While I was at UNF, I worked for a real estate company that needed some computer information technology help,” she said. “I really took to real estate, so I chose to change tracks and shift gears.”
Combining her knowledge of computer technology, marketing and real estate, Lee was able to double her sales figures from 2008 to 2009, with sales hitting $10.1 million. Lee said her “very aggressive goal” for 2010 was $40 million in sales.
“In 2009, I had a team of three people. Now I have a team of eight, so I kind of set myself up to meet that goal,” she said. “It's been a challenge to myself to see if I could meet it.”
Lee’s colleagues and staff recognize what special skill and understanding she possesses and have seen the benefit of using search engine optimization technology and database systems to generate leads and referrals for home sales.
“It does lead to a ton of leads for us on a daily basis,” Sak said. “It really streamlines the whole process.”
Once leads are generated, Lee enters them into a database that identifies the more promising ones, establishes a schedule for follow-up calls and stores information for up to five years.
“It supplies our buyer agents with an unlimited source of leads,” Sak said.
With a wealth of knowledge and skill, Lee has been able to cross over into the real estate industry and blaze a path for future real estate professionals to follow suit.
“Luckily enough, my CIS background turned out to be a really good thing,” Lee said. “It’s not the typical trait for real estate now, but everything is taking a turn toward technology and that just kind of worked out well.”
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