NextHome Capital Realty Woman of Business

Home Buyers’ Best Friend

ERICA RAWLS Real Estate Advisor – NextHome Capital Realty

Erica Rawls knows her real estate. Having been in the business since 2001, she’s passionate about putting those decades of experience with every type of market to work for her clients, whether they are seasoned homeowners or first-time buyers who never toured a home before. With that in mind, Erica has some advice for first-time buyers, anyone looking to buy and sellers too.

Summer is the perfect time to get started. And as Erica says, this is one of the biggest but best investments you can make, so there’s no better time to work with Erica on your home needs. “I service all of Central PA, however, my passion at the moment is to assist people with their first home purchase, I service luxury homes to entry-level homes and my goal is to educate, so I love the first time buyers and taking away the intimidation.”

A Relationship You Can Trust

“Real estate is not a transaction,” says Erica. “It’s about really understanding the needs of the client.” Erica says she has grown herself over the years, from focusing initially on the excitement of closing the big sales to now focusing on making sure everything is in the best interest of her clients. She says this shift in her mindset is when her career was able to go to a whole different level. She feels that focus on doing what’s best for her clients and putting their needs first has been the key to her success. “How can I truly help this person with one of the largest investments they can possibly make in a lifetime?” is the question Erica continually asks herself.

Just recently she says this focused has sharpened even more. Noticing the number of people who want to buy a home, but had no experience with real estate, Erica decided to really put her energies toward educating first-time buyers. “They have the desire to own a home but just don’t understand how the process works or how much money it takes,” explains Erica. “Many people think they just can’t afford it. That is so not true. Through education, I’m hoping to spread the word that, ‘yes, you too can purchase a home and this is how you can do it.’”

Erica adds there are many resources out there to help but many times consumers aren’t aware of them. “My goal is to be a resource for them — provide them with a customized home buy-ing strategy specific to their needs -This may include providing them resources to assist with their closing costs if necessary.”

Taking the Fear out of First Time Buying

Erica specializes in taking the intimidation out of the home-buying process for first-time buyers. “Most people growing up aren’t taught how to purchase a home, so most people are unaware of that process.” She says the first step would be to call a realtor who works with buyers and sellers and have a conversation. “I don’t believe in working haphazardly, there needs to be a strong foundation otherwise your wheels are just spinning and you don’t know what’s next. So what I do is give them the chance to ask any questions, have a consultation and also express to them what they can expect at each stage of the home buying or selling process.” Recently Erica closed a home with a client who was the first generation to purchase a home. It was a gratifying moment for Erica, not just as a realtor, but personally too. “The tears were flowing!” Erica says with a laugh.

The Art of Selling

But it’s not just buyers who Erica enjoys working. She can be a great asset to sellers, with her experience and proven and repeatable approach to making a home have buyer-appeal. “With sellers the most aggravating part is you have competition locally but also nationally with HGTV and buyers expectations, so my focus is on properly educating them. No longer are the days where you could just sign a contract with a realtor, put the sign in the yard and not care about what the house looks like in pictures.” Erica says buyers’ expectations of what a house should look like are so much higher today in this competitive market. “By applying what we know, which happens to be about 115 different variables, we can proactively give them the best chances to sell their home at the top of the market. Avoiding those variables means you might end up selling it at the bottom of the market, or not sell it at all.” With that in mind, Erica incorporates as many buyer-friendly practices as possible, including utilizing Facebook, Instagram, live streams and virtual video tours.

As a member of the Harrisburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Erica has plenty of opportunities to contribute to the community. Her favorite causes are those that focus on educating the community on financial fortitude. When not helping her clients or her community, Erica says she loves spending time with her family. Her and her husband are empty nesters, with two boys and twin girls. “The girls just finished their first year at the Military Academy at West Point, they are loving it, they think it’s the best decision ever,” add Erica. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies and enjoy date nights.