"Leslie Burns' life path led her to serving her home region and being an area leader with MC Real Estate"
Kevin McManus, The Post editor
Medina Post | December 17, 2019
MC Real Estate's Leslie Burns has a simple philosophy when it comes to doing business: be passionate about what you do for your community.
Looking for a property investment at the time, the Chippewa Lake native and lifetime Medina County residen,t got into real estate with a small brokerage at the encouragement of a Realtor friend.
"Right out of high school, I worked for an answering service. There, I developed good customer service and communication skills. This led me to a job as a marketing manager for one of our answering service clients. From there, I went on to work for a CPA in the community." Burns said. "After my girls were born, I started my own jewelry business. Not only did I create each piece of jewelry by hand, I designed my own website and did all my own photography, marketing and accounting."
Burns said it was a no-brainer when it came to her next career move.
"Every business I was in led me to where I am today. I learned all the skills I needed to be a leader in the real estate industry."
Her first year – working at a brokerage that started out as one of the first female-owned brokerages in the county – Burns was the Medina County Board of Realtors' Rookie of the Year for 2011, selling eight homes. The national average for first-year Realtors is two.
That's when Burns says seemingly "every brokerage except MC Real Estate" began to solicit her in an attempt to woo her over to their agency.
"I had met (MC owners) the Marquards before and something about their family just made me love the feeling of their brokerage," she said.
Burns was able to set up a chance lunch meeting with MC Real Estate CEO Matt Marquard that changed everything – even if it seemed like they weren't interested at first. That ended up not being the case at all.
"We talked like a week after our lunch meeting and then he (Matt Marquard) mentioned, 'You should come over and take a tour of our office,'" Burns said of the boutique brokerage that allows agents to develop their own brand and encourages them to be active stewards in the community. "That was flattering to me. They only hire full-time agents here. You have to have experience, dedication and you have to love what you're doing to be at MC."
The family-owned firm with locations in Medina, Wadsworth and Lodi turned out to be a perfect fit for Burns, who continues to put up impressive numbers. She'll surpass 30 properties sold by the end of 2019 – all without a staff – and half of those stemmed from referrals.
But numbers pale in comparison to why she got into the game in the first place.
"My heart is in Medina," she says like a mantra. "I tell clients, if you're interviewing multiple list agents, whether you choose me or another agent, choose someone who knows your community."
She's got modern marketing with an old-school mentality. Burns knows firsthand how quickly the industry is changing, largely due to social media, but she fully embraces it. Burns is extremely active across several social media platforms, often posting listings, sharing local news and engaging with community members several times a day.
"I started social networking right from the very beginning – Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. As I consider where my clients are looking for homes, most home buyers are going to the internet. The first time someone sees your home for sale, it's going to be on their phone," Burns said. "They're going to set up saved searches, narrow their criteria and get notifications when properties list that match their criteria. That's why it's important to choose a list agent that makes your home look fabulous with a very detailed description."
Burns said, while the ease of finding and listing properties continues to increase exponentially, cookie-cutter websites like Trulia and Zillow don't necessarily know you or don't care about your needs. A tried-and-true sentiment, this business is all about building relationships – and Burns thrives on it.
"When you hire me, you are going to get a message from me before you get a message from Realtor.com," she said. "People don't always understand, for instance, what a buyers agent can do for them and they feel like they can go online and find what they're looking for. I take pride in being proactive."
And apart from just being savvy online, Burns is physically present in the community, whether it's being active in the Chamber of Commerce, through the Board of Realtors or just patronizing local businesses and beyond – not to mention she'll be a contestant in the upcoming Dancing with the Medina Stars charity fundraiser.
"I treat my $20,000 clients like my $200,000 clients because you never know when your $20,000 client is going to refer you to a $300,000 client," Burns said. "I fight for my buyers and sellers to get the best possible deal for them. I don't just sell houses; I build relationships. I take a lot of pride in that."
Burns also specializes in being a Senior Real Estate Specialist, working with folks 50 and better who may be considering retirement, downsizing or transitioning into a living community.
"Selling their lifetime home and transitioning is very personal. They need to work with someone who cares about them," Burns said.