Auburn Master of Real Estate Development student Kendall Butler was recently named one of America’s top real estate professionals by REAL Trends, in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Butler was ranked 8th in the state of Georgia and 147th in the country, which put her in the top one half of 1 percent of more than 1.1 million Realtors® nationwide.
Butler is an owner of F.L.I. Properties, a full service real estate brokerage focusing on residential and income producing properties, and F.L.I. Property Management, a residential, commercial and industrial property management service. She is a certified buyer representative, seller representative and property manager.
This is the 11th year REAL Trends has published its ranking of The Thousand top real estate sales professionals in the United States. Its ranking process began in January with a request to national real estate brands for top ranking realtors.
“Becoming a member of such an elite group as The Thousand is an incredible accomplishment in any market, but what Butler did during these challenging times in a smaller market is impressive on so many levels,” said Marti Gallardo, vice president of classified advertising for The Wall Street Journal.
Butler has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University and is pursuing Auburn’s Master of Real Estate Development (MRED), offered jointly by the College of Architecture Design and Construction and the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.
After attaining her undergraduate degree in 1996, Butler worked in chemical engineering and later supply chain management with multiple firms. It was during maternity leave with her third child that she turned her attention to real estate. Having bought and sold two houses as her family changed locations, she was drawn to the profession.
“I love problem solving,” Butler said when asked why she found real estate intriguing. “I took my engineering background and love of problem solving and applied it to real estate.” Additionally, she saw an opportunity in her area for a data-driven, result-oriented real estate agency.
She and her husband, Keith, had been saving to purchase a business together. After six months of market research, she started F.L.I. Properties in 2006. Keith, who received an Auburn MBA in 1997, was able to leave his manufacturing job four years later to become the agency’s operations manager.
Butler began as the sole real estate agent, but the agency has grown to eight employees and ten full-time agents with offices in LaGrange and Newnan, Ga. F.L.I. Properties has consistently posted 20-50% revenue growth year over year, partly due to Butler’s ability to analyze the market and adjust accordingly. One example of this is the agency’s move to expand beyond real estate sales to real estate consulting, development and property management. This expansion was partly due to the nationwide real estate downturn in 2008.
She started her agency concentrating on new residential home sales, but when the real estate bubble burst, she quickly pivoted to consulting and property management services.
Butler represented numerous developers whose subdivisions were being foreclosed. Recognizing the trend, she began attending conferences in Texas, where Fannie Mae and Housing and Urban Development asset management agencies are located, to learn how to represent banks. This allowed her to work with developers with unsold new constructions to help sell, lease or rent their foreclosed, bank-owned assets. The advent of property management services was a new direction that helped F.L.I. Properties continue to gain market share.
As the real estate market rebounds, it is again a builder’s market and Butler has come full circle, turning her attention back to new residential construction, as well as development.
She took time in 2015 to begin pursuing her Master of Real Estate Development, which she will complete Spring 2017. Her decision to pursue the degree came after investing in two new, single-family home subdivisions. The rebounding market has resulted in a shortage of new homes, creating an opportunity for new housing developments.
“I wanted to be challenged more in real estate and wanted to get into development,” Kendal said. “I had researched other real estate development programs and it was luck that my alma mater had one just down the road.”
Butler’s real estate development background and education is allowing her to pursue a number of development projects with local builders.
“The networking has been the biggest benefit, and the relationships I’ve formed in MRED have led to development of two apartment complexes as well.”
The Master of Real Estate Develop program provides opportunity for students to travel in the U.S. and abroad to meet with developers and study various projects. It was on one such trip to Philadelphia where a development project provided design inspiration for her multi-family apartment complex design in LaGrange, which she is now developing.
Butler prides herself in helping home buyers, sellers and investors reach their goals and dreams. She credits her success to her faith and God-given passion for helping others, being surrounded by a talented and hard-working team at F.L.I. Properties, and having a wonderful husband and business partner.
In her free time, Butler enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, staying active with jogging and weight training, and Christian community building in her town.
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