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A Discussion with Heatherman Homes’ Frances Heatherman On Balancing Work and Family

Heatherman Homes is a real estate and property management company located in Stafford Virginia that dedicated to giving their clients and customers premium service and advice. They are a full-service real estate company that can also help you buy a new home or sell an existing home. They like to think of themselves as one […]

Heatherman Homes is a real estate and property management company located in Stafford Virginia that dedicated to giving their clients and customers premium service and advice. They are a full-service real estate company that can also help you buy a new home or sell an existing home. They like to think of themselves as one big happy family.  They believe it’s important to have a more traditional hands on, personal approach in how they connect with and serve their clients.  Couple this with guaranteed simplistic low pricing and greater services, and you have found the perfect property management company.

Heatherman Homes is a military family owned business with 30 years of real estate experience and expertise. Frances Heatherman, the Principal Broker & co-owner is a successful Award-Winning Realtor and property manager and was ranked by the Wall Street Journal in the Top 100 Agents in America. Her husband and co-owner, Brendan Heatherman, is a retired Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps.  In addition to our company’s owners are our quality and professional staff, maintenance coordinator & property manager. 

They are certified Military Relocation Specialists and understand the difficulties of PCS and deployments and can work with you regarding all of your real estate needs.  We have the latest up to date technology for managing your rental property while you are away from Northern Virginia.  We can give you peace of mind that your investment is cared for while you’re on deployment.

Heatherman Homes employ the latest technology and strategies in their ability to do business and to communicate with their clients and customers, no matter where they might be in the world.  Their tenants can pay their rent online, apply for their rental property online, even pay by credit card.  Tenants can report maintenance online creating seamless transition and tracking plus much more.  They also utilize direct deposits, Cloud technology, online accounts, e-sign, video uploads of different properties and the list goes on.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

The biggest impact on Heatherman Homes took place when Brendan, my business partner retired from the Marine Corp. and came to work with me in the business.  Now we have a strong family-owned business together. 

Now we are able to do more together.  From the business aspect, we were able to double down our efforts and expand the business.  Now we have a greater reach.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

When I feel unfocused, I take a step back for a moment to regroup or go for a run.  Another thing I will do is make a big long list of the things I need to do.  I make that list and then prioritize it. 

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

I would tell them to really follow what they really want to do in life.  Be resilient.  Have some grit.  Don’t take no for an answer. 

I would advise them to go into real estate.  I think real estate is a really great career option for people who want to have a little bit of flexibility.  The more you put in, the more you get out.  If they have the desire and the motivation, they could certainly achieve their dreams.  Whether they want to focus on real estate sales or property management, if they put the efforts in, they will get the rewards back. 

For that young person starting out, they should ask questions and keep learning.  In real estate, it does not matter how long you’ve been in it, sometimes people who have been involved with it the longest are the least educated because they do the same thing and they don’t evolve.  I would be respectful, but question what you are being told.  Be sure to ask questions and do not feel compelled to follow the pack.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box and create new ideas.  Sometimes that might be a little bit uncomfortable, but I think that is ultimately what makes the industry better.  People challenging the status quo can bring about good changes.  In this industry, everything used to be a standard commission rate, for example, but there were innovators that came in and saw it could be done a different way.  It is better for the industry as a whole and for the community when people have new ideas.  I would tell that person starting out to ignore outdated information and to question what they’re being told. 

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you?

Pod Yoga is good, but I don’t know if they have it in the United States.  That was interesting.  It’s like a big black pod.  Instead of having yoga in the studio, they have this big black pod that is heated.  You go in there and do your yoga.  They do have some places in Australia.  I went when I was in Portugal.  I know my sister goes when she is in London, and she really loves it.  It’s a bit different. 

I also like the Orange Theory Fitness.  They have a heart rate monitor on you, and it is high intensity training.  It monitors your heart rate while you are doing your group fitness so you can push yourself.  I like that.  You can see how much you’re burning. 

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

My husband, Brendan has been the most influential person in my life.  He keeps me going.  He reminds me of why I’m doing things.  He keeps me on the straight and narrow.  He is a Notre Dame grad and he went from college to the Marine Corp where he was an infantry officer.  I met him in 1999 in Australia.  He was in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When he was coming to the end of his career, when he was getting ready to retire, I had a real estate company in North Carolina, and when he got orders to go up to Virginia, I had to sell that company.  He was looking to get orders again to go back to North Carolina and because he is infantry he was deployed often.  I did not want to sell my business again.  It was such a viable business, and we saw it as something we could do as a family when he was able to retire and he would not have to get another job, so we decided to keep our kids in school and the kids and I stayed here in Virginia.  We bought a place down in North Carolina so we could visit him on the weekend when he wasn’t deployed.  Basically, he lived down there for two years and we would visit him.  Then after two years he got orders back up to Quantico and then planned to retire. 

The entire duration that he was in the Marine Corp., I was working on the business and then he came to join me.  When he got here in our company, one of the first things we did was expand our office because we had been in a smaller location.  We developed a bigger office.  We have been working and expanding physically.

My father also was very big influence on me and my business.  I left high school to work in my dad’s real estate office in Australia.  His business was structured to handle the buying and selling of homes as well as property management.  I learned a lot from being involved in my dad’s business, and I apply that to my business now.  The reasons that we do things are really based on what I had developed when I learned the business from my dad.  It was a deliberate business structure. 

We like handling property management because we can develop sales out of that, but also through the property management side of the business, we have a real longevity of contact with our clients.  Sales are very final, but the good thing about property management is that you stay in touch with your clients for years.  It’s nice to have that continuity with your clients. 

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?

In real estate, it is important to pick your battles.  I find that sometimes you can get wrapped up in small things that don’t matter. 

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

I really believe it is grit.  I think a lot of people give up too easily.  Some people don’t do what’s needed of them to be successful.   There are always going to be obstacles but having the grit to persevere will get you to success.   You always have to keep your eye on the prize and remember why you are doing it.  If you can always remember that, you can make sure you are on that right path. 

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

In some ways I feel like our business could become a family legacy that could be passed down to our kids.  Our son is studying business.  I think seeing us work in our business motivated him to want to be in business.   You just never know.  It would be nice for our family to keep the business and to pass it down to the kids.  I think that would be wonderful. 

Heatherman Homes looks at everything from a very family-oriented perspective.  We always try to treat our customers as an extended family through the service that we provide to them.  We have a lot of longevity in our relationships with our clients since we have been able to do business with them for many years.  We truly want them to feel like extended family.  Our staff have been with us for a long time as well, and we really appreciate that too.  We have been watching their families grow up since they have been working in our office for so many years. 

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