Getting to the Top

In an age where the game's tougher than ever, Laura Harris-Hodges shows that extreme dedication pays off.

October 1, 2011

At 6 o’clock each morning Laura Harris-Hodges laces up to run six miles around her neighborhood in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. For years, she has dedicated herself to a sport that doesn’t allow for shortcuts in order to produce faster race times. Over the past two decades, she has committed the same devotion to her real estate practice. Last year Harris-Hodges, sres, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Tomlinson ­Associated Brokers in Kennewick, Wash., closed $33.3 million in sales with 233 sides. She is on her way to beating that number in 2011.

In it to win it.

“I wouldn’t call it a business plan, but more of a goal mind-set,” Harris-Hodges says of her goal of closing at least three transactions per week. She had ambitious goals from the start: After attending a training session in her rookie year, she aimed to close at least one transaction per week. “I felt that if I were to do that, then my financial, family, and business goals would be met.” After she easily began meeting that goal, four years ago she upped the target to three transactions per week. To achieve this, Harris-Hodges hired an assistant to handle her social media and much of her correspondence. Meanwhile, she sticks to the tasks she’s good at, including lead generation.

Rules to live by

Like any trained athlete, Harris-Hodges excels by following the rules. She established hers shortly after obtaining her license in 1989: Prospect, prospect, prospect; follow-up with everyone; and, of course, the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Many roads, well traveled

Harris-Hodges is an aggressive marketer, employing campaigns that cover the Internet, print advertising, mailings, and e-mail. “If I have a home for sale, people are going to know about it,” she says.

Advantage: Harris-Hodges

In business, as in sports, you don’t want to miss opportunities to score. At the beginning of 2010, for example, Harris-Hodges motivated buyers with the soon-to-expire federal home buyer tax credit. “I made sure that every client and prospect was aware of how to take advantage of it,” she says. She recommends staying in the know about local and federal programs, such as green buying incentives, and keeping your Web site updated with timely information. She uses REALTOR® Magazine content and other sources to keep her blog updated. Find her online at

No shortcuts.

There’s no magic road to closing, says Harris-Hodges’ broker, Ed Harrod, CRB, CRS. “She works over 80 hours a week, follows up on every lead, and keeps her goals in mind,” he says.

Success has enabled Harris-Hodges to invest in the product she knows best, real estate. Today, her rental income covers the mortgage payments on her investments, she says, and her properties have increased in value. As she runs by these units in the morning, she says, it makes her smile to see her hard work earning for her.

Katherine Tarbox is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine. Previously, she was editorial director for Washington Life. She is the author of the international bestselling book A Girl’s Life (Dutton, 2000) and has made hundreds of media appearances including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN.