Before moving to St. Petersburg and working in Premier Sotheby's International Realty, Brittany Ranew lived in Mobile, Alabama. And, life there was slower so Brittany really had to re-adjust to everything. She later found that the best way to do that is to be a part of the community. To build strong relationships first and business transactions will come. When you give freely in life, you will get in return. Join Bill Risser as he talks to Brittany about her real estate journey. Discover her love for jazz and soul and how that translated into her own podcast, St. Pete Soul. Learn how she learned real estate by finding mentorship in others. Find out why you need to start building those relationships right now!
Brittany Ranew, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty
I get to talk to somebody I've known for a long time here in St. Pete since I moved here in 2017. I met Brittany Ranew. She's with Premier Sotheby's International Realty. She was a realtor who came to some of the sessions I was doing for Fidelity National Title. She was doing some cool stuff. She launched her own podcast, and we're going to talk about that. She's a classically trained singer, which makes me insanely jealous, and all cool stuff. Let's get this thing going. Brittany, welcome to the show.
Bill, thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
It's great seeing you and talking to you. We've known each other for as long as I've been in St. Petersburg when I moved here with Fidelity National Title. You might have been one of the first realtors I met pretty early on in the game because you were in St. Pete, and I was working out of the St. Pete office. We always talked. You had some great ideas. I know you're a dog lover. I know that we're going to talk about your podcast. I know you love music. We're going to have some fun with this conversation. Like me, you're not a native Floridian. Many of the people we talk to here in St. Pete are not. Although a lot of people are, it's shocking how many people are natives that live in this town, which makes sense. What was home for you? Where did you grow up?
I'm from Mobile, Alabama. Whenever I tell people that, they're like, "You don't have an accent." I'm like, "It's there. There are certain words. From talking to my family, it will come out."
I know Mobile's on the Gulf Coast. I know Interstate 10 runs right through it because when we were relocating to St. Pete, we stayed the night in Mobile. A tornado had hit a few miles South of the hotel. Everything was flooded. It was raining, and all kinds of stuff were happening. Tell me. That's not much to know about Mobile that I stayed there, and it's on the Gulf Coast. Tell me a little bit about where you grew up.
You're talking about the weather, which is a thing. Mobile is one of the rainiest cities in the country. That was the cool thing about moving to St. Pete being the Sunshine City because it's sunny all the time. In Mobile, it rains all the time.
It's funny. It's on the Gulf Coast, and you're still living on the Gulf Coast, but it's quite a difference.
Something about the Gulf into Mobile Bay and weather patterns sweeps across the panhandle from New Orleans all the way across to the panhandle. There are lots of stormy weather. It's hot and humid. I was used to the heat from growing up there. I like to describe it as a small version of New Orleans. It's got the same history with the French and Spanish colonization and all that.
You've got some of those influences with food like the Cajun, Creole, all of that. New Orleans is a bigger city, and they took it all to a different level, but we have some of those same vibes on a smaller scale. A fun fact that most people don't know is that Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras. It is not New Orleans. It is Mobile, Alabama. I'm setting the record straight with that.
[bctt tweet="When you give freely in life, you will get in return." username="billrisser"]
That sounds like that's a sore spot for people who grow up as natives. Carnival, Mardi Gras, and all that stuff are all French start. That makes sense. It could have been either place. Once again, New Orleans took it to another level.
We went to New Orleans a lot. I went back there in February. The first time I had been since we moved here, I loved New Orleans. Mobile is a cool spot because you easily get to New Orleans and Pensacola.
I know you attended the University of Mobile. As you're attending school, first of all, what are you going to study? Second, what's the plan? Everybody has an idea as an eighteen-year-old, "I know exactly what to do. I'm going to go to school. I'm going to come out and do this." Let's talk about that.
I wanted to be a professional singer. That was my plan. I majored in Music in the Vocal Performance, and a lot of people were like, "Why aren't you doing the educational side?" I'm like, "I don't want to teach music. I want to do music." That's why I went that route. I am not a famous singer, so that did not go that way.
My guess is you could probably wow people at karaoke night. Have you done that before in the past?
There are only a few people in the city who know I have sung at Ruby's on two occasions for their jazz improv. I have done that.
That's the one right on the corner of 3rd and Central. You never let anybody know. You went in there and quietly did it and hoped you didn't know anybody in the audience.
Yes. It was so much fun, and I should do it again. It was one of those things where life gets busy, and you don't do some of that stuff that you love.
I got to ask you some questions about the music side of things. There's a wide range of music that you can study, sing and do whatever. You said jazz like an improv thing. What was your specialty? If you were going to cut an album, what genre would it fit?
[caption id="attachment_4308" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Premier Sotheby's International Realty: Event planning can be an outlet for wanting to do your own thing. If you're creative, the event planning business is a good way to dip your toe into the water with that.[/caption]
It would be in the jazz, like Norah Jones. Ella Fitzgerald was one of my favorites. I feel like I should have been born in the '40s or something with all that awesome jazz music. I love it. Harry Connick Jr. was one of my favorite artists. It would be in that world. With my degree, I was classically trained, so we were studying all kinds of different music. I'm proficient in lots of those things, but jazz would be what I love.
I love that. When you graduate from college, what's your first gig?
I started working at a local music company. That was internationally known. It happened to be based in Mobile. It's called Integrity Media. A lot of people would probably recognize the name. They're not open still. They were bought by another company. It was cool because I was like, "If I'm not going to be a professional singer, why don't I, at least, get to be in the music industry?" It's a Christian media label, so I got to work directly on the artist side of things. Not accounting but on the inventory side, helping them order their albums and arrange for some of the events they're doing with Integrity. I got to be on that side. I got to meet some cool artists. It was fun. It was a cool way to transition and stay in the music industry.
I saw a documentary. It was based in a recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. You must be aware of that.
I've never been. That would be a cool trip to see that.
That's nice. You're a realtor now. You've been a realtor for a few years. We got to get you to real estate. How do we do that?
I mentioned Integrity Media. They ended up getting bought out by another company and closed their doors. I was laid off. That was 2009 or something like that. That was a big shock of getting laid off. That was my first big girl job. It was like, "What am I doing with myself now?" I had already started in the event planning business on the side during my time there. That might be partly were wanting to be a singer was. I'd always wanted to do my own thing, have my own business, and be creative. The event planning business was dipping my toe into the water with that.
When I got laid off from Integrity, I was like, "I'm going to keep pursuing this and get another part-time job and see what happens." I interviewed for a real estate company for an administrative position. I ended up not getting it, then decided, "Maybe I should get my real estate license. I've always loved it. This sounds like a good idea." I did that. I joined Better Homes and Gardens and quickly realized that there was a lot more opportunity for what I wanted to do in real estate than in my event company. I shut the event company down and focused on real estate.
That's a big jump and move. I know they both were your companies. You had to get clients in both, and there was no money coming in. For me, that jump into real estate is a big leap of faith.
[bctt tweet="There's a lot more opportunity in real estate than in event planning." username="billrisser"]
It is. I got scared after I did it, like, "What did I do?" I joined a team. I was a Transaction Coordinator on a small team at the office. That helped me feel like, "Get some income coming in. Learn the ropes. Get some mentorship." That helped a lot.
You and your husband decide that you're going to leave Mobile. First of all, how did your family take that statement?
I would say good and well. All of our families are in Mobile. My husband's family too. Both of our parents were like, "We would be sad for you to go, but we know this is a great opportunity. You're young. Go do it." That was the sentiment.
Why St. Pete? You didn't know anybody here when you moved here.
Long story short, my husband was in a not-so-great work environment in Mobile. He's been in the insurance industry for his whole career. We were at the point where we needed Tim to have a new opportunity. It was like, "Where can we go to get you that? We will move wherever that needs to be." He had an acquaintance that was at this company in Mobile that had moved over to a company in St. Pete. He had this connection of like, "There's a job opening for a staff adjuster," because he was always independent. He knew a guy that had moved there. He messaged him probably on Facebook or something, made the connection, and got the interview. It was a long interview process.
It was about six months before we knew that we were moving and thought we weren't moving in the middle of that. Honestly, it was looking up the city's website and visiting StPeteClearWater.com or whatever and googling as much as possible and going, "This looks like a cool city. Let's try it." That's what it was.
I was waiting for a story like, "We had vacationed there, and we've seen it."
No, we are up to move. Maybe it was crazy, but it works.
I've heard you talk about the anxiety of the move. It's got to be stressful. First of all, the ability to overcome that is a big deal. I'm guessing that's become something you use all the time now when you've got people coming to Florida, maybe for the first time.
[caption id="attachment_4309" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Premier Sotheby's International Realty: When you're getting started in real estate, it's good to join a small team. That can help you get some income while you learn the ropes and get some mentorship.[/caption]
I like to say that my niche is relocation because I know what that feels like and be a resource for someone when they don't even know, like where a good grocery store is or, "What doctor I should go to?" I enjoy being that resource. I've dealt with anxiety most of my adult life. It had reared its ugly head when we moved here. Life triggers. That's usually those things that happen.
Thankfully, I was self-aware enough to figure out that, "This is going to start spiraling if I don't get help." I found a therapist that was recommended. I started seeing her, and that was a huge help being able to sit down and talk to a non-biased third party and get some of those coping mechanisms back in place that I had learned years ago when I had done therapy before. It was a long process but worth it.
In the industry you're in, it's almost like a coach but a life coach. You ended up here now. I think BHG is here, but you ended up going with the Premier Sotheby's International Realty. Let's find out why you did that.
When we moved here, there was not a well-established BHG brokerage here. There's more of a presence now than there was. My broker in Mobile at BHG of all things, his aunt and uncle, lived in St. Pete. He was like, "I talked to my aunt, and they're willing to help you out when you get there." Through his connection with them, my husband had a place to live for three weeks. They had a rental property. They let him stay in.
Also, my broker, he's like, "Sotheby's International Realty is in St. Pete. I've met Judy Green before, which is the Founder. She's an amazing lady. If you have any way of getting involved with Sotheby's, you need to do it." I was like, "Okay." I trusted him completely. I'm like, "If you say I need to reach out to them, then I'm going to do it." I reached out to the St. Pete office, and they were hiring an administrative assistant at the time. I needed a job, so I came on as the Office Administrator. That's how I got connected. I then got back into sales full-time in 2017 because that was in 2015 when we moved here.
2017 is when I got here, so that makes sense. You were getting into it. I don't know if you came to any sessions we were doing, or I don't know how we exactly met.
I remember meeting you at some of the training and stuff you all were doing. It was a cool way to transition. I'm glad that I worked at the office and got to learn the market and the business and all that in Florida, where I got back into sales.
If you're ever in St. Pete, you can check out their office. It's right there on 2nd right off of the beach. It's an amazing place. It's a great location.
It's close to Baucus and Cassie's.
[bctt tweet="If you've been moving a lot, relocation might be your niche in real estate. Because you know exactly what that feels like." username="billrisser"]
It's probably way too close. I moved here from Arizona. I was in the title business and came here to Florida. Were there big changes from Alabama to Florida when it came to real estate? Are they close enough proximity that it wasn't a big deal?
It was a big jump. That further led to my decision not to get back into sales right away. Mobile is in the South. It's a much slower pace of life. I know that we're in South of Mobile, but we are not in the South in St. Pete anymore. It's a much faster pace in general. The average house price is probably about double. It's probably more than that now. At the time, that was the case. The housing stock itself. The types of houses, all that stuff was different. In Mobile, it was sprawling with subdivisions and these huge lots. It's not the same here. It was probably a sticker shock and a culture shock with that, but then we fell in love with the area and figured, like, "It is what it is."
I try to tell people that there is no place to start a subdivision in Pinellas County. It's all taken up by stuff. You have to tear something down if you want to put something up. It's pretty much the way it goes. We got to talk about this. You are a podcaster. I love talking to people who took the energy, effort, and time to create a podcast. In fact, we talked about it a little bit when you were getting ready to do it. It's called St Pete Soul, and now it's making sense. There's that side of you, that Harry Connick Jr, and that soulful thing going on because when I hear you talk about stuff, you talk about the soul of the city or the soul of the person and what you do on St. Pete.You interview local business owners, which is fantastic. That's the way to build relationships for one. Connect with people you probably hadn't connected with on a deeper level and also share that information that is something you could share with someone moving into town, "You can check this out. I talked to a lot of the business owners." Talk about that and how it's going. For me, this is not a simple thing but an important thing to do. A lot of agents don't get there. Congratulations on that.
Thank you because, honestly, I don't know if I would have started the podcast if you had not been willing to sit down with me and chat because I was so overwhelmed by the idea. You made it so simple, so thank you for that. It's been cool to connect with people I would have never had the opportunity to talk to if I hadn't had the podcast.
You talked about the word soul. When I was trying to think of the name, I did think about music because it was that tie-in. I was like, "Jazz and soul are the genre of music that I love." If you think about small business as the heart and soul of any thriving community, that's where that tie-in came for me. I had this whole piece of paper. I was writing out all these names, and all of a sudden, it clicked. I was like, "That's the one."
Of all the guests you've talked to, and not to put you on the spot, but people ask me this a lot, was there one that you're like, "That was a good episode. This was cool. I got some information I wasn't expecting?"
The one that comes to mind when people ask me that is when I interviewed the Founder of Keep St. Pete Lit, Maureen McDole. She's a native of St. Pete, which is wow, to meet someone like that. Her organization is amazing. She's helping at-risk youth and all kinds of people learn with literacy, creative writing, and all those resources. We have to do a strong art community here, so helping keep the arts alive is a part of her mission.
When I interviewed her, there were so many gyms of business, life, and things that you should do with your mindset and all that, which is important to me that I wasn't expecting. If you think about her journey, she started that nonprofit with nothing. It was all of her building on her own. You can see her passion, mindset, and tenacity are a reason why it became as big as it is.
I like the fact that you have one right there that you like that made a difference for