Meet Nicole Wheatly: Community & Homeownership Advocate

Nicole Wheatly pursued her real estate license to complement the work her company already provides as a community development consultant in re-occupancy projects for Chicago. At times, there were difficulties in finding real estate brokers willing to serve some of their clients. Brokering these transactions takes energy, time and attention to detail when helping people who don’t have a lot of capital become homeowners. So, she earned her broker’s license.

“After a certain point, I said to myself, if we want to become successful in helping these people, we’re going to have to get our license,” Nicole said. “I did not know what an amazing blessing it would turn out to be. Or how many people I would end up serving because I took on that challenge.”

Looking Back On Year One

She started practicing real estate in 2017 and quickly established a successful real estate business. Daunted by the concept of the transaction side of her job, Nicole was surprised to find herself in familiar, fulfilling territory. While working as a community development consultant, her role was founded on building strong relationships. Serving as a broker was no different! And, it enabled her to use her existing network to push what she already did in her non-profit.

“I wish I wouldn’t have begun with such limited thinking. I was held back by fear and reservations,” Nicole admitted. “It took time to build confidence, and I definitely didn’t attend enough training at first.”

By her second year, she began to make money and truly saw the benefits of her career shift. She recommends using training to help with natural insecurities about not being effective. She learned how to spend her time more efficiently and productively, and in doing so, even saved a ton of money on gas.

Training: What She Worked On & What She Grew

“I was a horrible negotiator!” Nicole said. “Now it’s one of my strengths. For my clients, championing on their behalf is a major focus for me. I’ve become very strong in that.”

Her lack of confidence in herself negatively affected the extent to which she could help her clients. After taking training that gave her the tools to work on her negotiation “weaknesses,” she blossomed.

Keeping in touch with her personal value add has been great for Nicole. “I’m really good at grant layering; I’m good at getting them the financial support. What is that grant? What’s available? Where can they save based on where they purchase? I know I’m the industry expert on financial institutions’ products and services.”

As she’s grown her business and her business skills, Nicole has found that with her client-relationship-first mentality, her pipeline of referrals has been strong. “For example, this one client I worked with went out and was telling people I championed on his behalf. He said, ‘Wow, you gotta work with her.’ Learning how to help your client in the long-run is critical. Then, they want you to work with their family and friends.”

Nicole’s Advice For New Brokers

“Continue to grow your network,” she says. “I’m working with people, and I always turn them into homeowners. I have a pool of people who aren’t ready yet, but I continue to work with them until they are. I’m consistently pushing people through the process and giving them hope. I’m with them every step of the way.”

Her mission is simple: help people prepare for homeownership. It’s a nonstop journey and process, and preparation can never begin too soon. “My favorite part is when they [my clients] realize homeownership is an opportunity for them. I never expected it to be so fulfilling.”


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