Community//

“Everyone responds differently to different styles of communication” with Jason Hartman & Brittany Patterson

Everyone responds differently to different styles of communication and figuring out what works best for each client is a key to a successful transaction and relationship. Born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Britt is a graduate of Virginia Tech, where she majored in Business Marketing and minored in Real Estate. She joined the family business […]

Everyone responds differently to different styles of communication and figuring out what works best for each client is a key to a successful transaction and relationship.


Born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Britt is a graduate of Virginia Tech, where she majored in Business Marketing and minored in Real Estate. She joined the family business in 2008 after spending two years working in the political fundraising field. Brittany is the Vice President of The Patterson Group at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, as well as an accredited staging professional.

Brittany is a contributing member to the Alexandria Stylebook and Old Town Boutique District. She was an honoree of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 “40 Under 40” celebrating the city’s emerging business leaders, and is the current president of Junior Friends of The Campagna Center. Additionally, she is a founding member of Mount Vernon Estate’s Underground Committee.

She is a proud resident and a true product of the community of Alexandria. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Geoff (who is also from Alexandria), and their puggle, Paisley. Together, they enjoy time shopping in the local stores, indulging in the local culinary scene, attending charity events, and visiting the Old Town Farmers Market.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

Real estate is in my blood. My mother, Phyllis Patterson, is a 34-year veteran of residential real estate and I joined her in 2009 after working in politics (such a Washington, DC thing to do!) I enjoyed the political world but was working a lot of nights and weekends and I figured if I was going to work those type of hours I might as well do it with the family. 2009 was my first year working with Phyllis and we sold $19 million that year. We have slowly evolved, added social media, community service, and networking as part of our business plan. In 2019 we sold $137 million.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

Wesell a lot of homes in Historic Old Town Alexandria and last year we sold a wonderful townhome in the Yates Gardens community. The sellers had done an amazing job renovating and expanding the house, but they had one major concern in doing so — do not disturb the turtles that have resided in their backyard for at least the last 25 years. Why or how these turtles had ended up in the backyard of this one townhome no one knew why, but the current seller had two major requests of the next owner; must be a turtle lover and must be ok with sellers’ children popping in to check on their favorite pets. It was really the sweetest thing, to preserve and maintain the legacy of these turtles and the legacy of the home for the past 25+ years. The buyer agreed and now has an incredible relationship with the prior owners. It’s the way homeownership should be. Loving where you live while you are there, honoring your property, and continuing to pass the tradition to the next person to love it as much as you did.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Weare currently working with a local builder to develop a new cul-de-sac of five homes in Alexandria. It’s the first time we’ve ever had the opportunity to name a community, participate in the design and architecture of the homes, and assist in picking finishes. In our area, there is a severe shortage of housing inventory. There is especially a shortage of new construction and move-in-ready homes. We designed these homes to appeal to current buyer needs and wants which include sidewalks, main level bedroom with full bath, laundry on the upper/bedroom level, mudrooms off the garage, and built tightly sealed with controlled ventilation, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, hot water heaters, and energy efficient doors, windows, appliances, and home electronics.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Sotheby’s International Realty is known for its level of service, quality, and global network. TTR Sotheby’s, our branch of the firm’s fundamental principles are integrity, professional service and community leadership. For the last six years TTR Sotheby’s has been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as the most philanthropic real estate companies in the DMV. We have contributed over $3 million to art, education, community, and charitable events. In 2018, we supported over 100 non-profit and philanthropic organizations across the Washington Metropolitan Area. We are always looking for ways to give back to the communities in which we work and play. To our buyers, community is often just as important than the physical house they are buying. We want our clients to love where they live and that is achieved by getting involved.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Phyllis Patterson, my mother who raised me, allowed me to work for her 10 years ago, and became my business partner three years ago. I was always inspired by her work ethic, her professionalism, and her people skills. Anyone who has had the pleasure of doing business with her over the last 34 years will tell you her knowledge and insight into our real estate market is unparalleled, her level of service is unmatched, and most important that they trusted her. I am incredibly lucky to have her as a guiding light to doing business the right way.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

Ithink women continually take on more than men in every aspect of life. Men have come a long way (at least in this house) over the years but historically women have worked full or part-time jobs, carried babies, raised babies, been on the PTA or other volunteer activity, take kids to and from activities, plan meals and buy groceries, clean the house, coordinate home repairs, take kids to the doctor, take the pets to the doctor, join the book club, exercise, find time for friends, find time for date night, (should I continue?!) and to be honest, it’s very, very hard, nearly impossible, to do all the above and climb the corporate ladder. Women are the first to volunteer to help others and often that comes at the time and expense of other aspects of their lives. Women have generally been expected to have the “flexible schedule” and that flexibility can come at the expense of not being available last minute for the meeting. I cannot stress enough how much progress I feel both genders are making to bridge the gap, but it won’t be until women say no and chose to put their careers first that we truly make an impact. Finding a true and functional work-life balance is proving nearly impossible. In my firm we have three managing male partners and I don’t feel they are there because they are male, they are there because they want to be there- if any female at the company wanted to leave the sales side and be in a leadership role I am confident they would love that. We simply are not asking.

What 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?

Weare currently seeing a ton of change in our area from just the women having maternity leave or “family leave” to encouraged “paternity leave” for the men. I’ll never forget, about 6 years ago, a friend told me her husband could not take his paternity leave because it would be frowned upon within the company. Well when baby #2 came around last year, he took his four full months of paternity leave and it was beyond acceptable! Their combined leaves allowed the newborn to stay home with a parent for a full 8 months and both parents were able to bond with the baby. It takes individuals actually using the benefits they have earned and are entitled to and society encouraging it to make change.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Work-Life Balance

Overcoming assumptions made simply because you are female

Being heard

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

Technology

Green materials and energy efficient homes

New loan programs that cater to first time home buyers

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Lack of Education/Low Barrier to Entry

Lack of Standard Operating procedures and client rights

Internet-based agencies that are taking the personal relationship out of the industry.

Ways to improve or reform the industry — Increase the education and testing requirements to both initially obtain a license and keep it active. Holding realtors to a higher standard will improve the overall quality of services we are providing and increase the reputation of realtors. There have been times over the years when I have worked with an agent on a transaction and they are unaware of basic steps in the process and have limited knowledge of the sales contract. Agents who are not continuing to build their real estate knowledge are not only doing their clients a disservice but also making it more difficult for the other side of the transaction. The low standards allow for poor business practices resulting in a relator getting a bad reputation.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

  • Create an environment where people are happy to come into work.
  • You are only as strong as your weakest link — devote time and energy into your employees, help them build their own success, it will only help your business grow
  • Trust they can do it — it is hard for leaders to let go, we feel that we need to be in control or know about everything going on. You need to delegate work, so you can gain time to focus on growing your business!

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

There is a lot of dirty work that goes into capturing those beautiful photos you see online and you need to be ready to dig in and get your hands dirty From scrubbing toilets, to vacuuming before showings, you are never above the dirty work!

You essentially work for free and your paycheck in not guaranteed. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, unfortunately there are so many ways and reasons a deal can go south.

You have to fight for and negotiate your worth at every listing appointment. Knowing your worth and be able to articulate your value is hugely important to your success.

Clients will call/email/text 24/7, 365 and expect responses immediately. Set boundaries with your clients in the beginning. Understanding each clients’ different communication style and pivoting your approach to align with them will allow a better transaction.

Everyone responds differently to different styles of communication and figuring out what works best for each client is a key to a successful transaction and relationship.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Iwould inspire a get involved in your local community movement. It doesn’t matter who/what/when/where just get involed. Find a local charity you are passionate about, find the charity closest to your home or work and dedicate just 1 day to volunteering. I promise that 1 day will turn into more when you realize the impact you can make right in your community, we just need more people willing to dedicate just one day. I think people feel in order to volunteer you need to dedicate so many hours or weeks each year. I know there are plenty of places that would love a helping hand even just for a few hours one day.

How can our readers follow you online?

On instragram @pattersonrealestategroup

On Facebook @pattersongroupalexandria

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!

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