“The most important thing we do as real estate professionals is to best represent the buyer and seller to ensure the transaction will close,” says Whatley, broker-owner of Buck & Buck Inc., Realtors® in Jacksonville. “There are times when I will take on responsibility and not receive compensation for doing it and that’s OK, because what I’m doing is in the best interest of the buyer or seller.”
She says every real estate professional should be thinking, “Image rises above compensation.” Whatley adds, “The compensation is a side benefit. The real benefit is feeling the appreciation of those involved in the real estate transaction.”
For Whatley, this business practice is all she’s ever known. “I grew up in the business. My granddad started the company in 1907, and my dad went into business with him right out of the service.”
However, even though she attended Realtor association events with her dad and worked summers in the real estate office, she never thought she’d actually be in the real estate business.
“I was going to be a Latin teacher,” she laughs. But, things don’t always go as planned and Whatley’s first husband got into the real estate business.
“My dad helped him set up his business, and I knew at that time that I needed to get my real estate license. I was 19 years old and got my license that young because I was married. Otherwise, you had to be 21 years old.”
From there, she evolved in the business and was passionate about helping buyers and sellers. “I loved what I was doing and decided to get my broker’s license because I knew I would someday take over the family business,” she says.
But it wasn’t an easy transition. “My biggest hurdle was convincing myself that I would be able to handle it. I was taking on new duties and wasn’t sure I was trained for it.”
But handle it she did. Whatley credits her leadership success to her ability to focus on the details – two of her strengths are being able to listen objectively and discuss problems intelligently.
"Someone forms an opinion of you based on your ability to answer questions. If people believe you’re on top of things, they’ll have more confidence in you and your company… "
Whatley was such a born leader that not only is she president of Buck & Buck, Realtors, but she served as the president of Florida Realtors® in 1996 and president of the National Association of Realtors® in 2003.
“My dad had the utmost confidence in me,” she says. “I never felt that women had limitations, and that’s because my dad always taught me there’s nothing I can’t do.”
And, by the looks of it, there isn’t anything she can’t do.
In recognition of her dedication to the real estate profession and her community, Cathy Whatley was honored by Florida Realtors and her peers as Realtor of the Year in 1998. She continues to take additional education courses to enhance her knowledge of the real estate industry and professional expertise. Whatley holds the professional designations of Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI); Certified Residential Specialist (CRS); and the Certified Real Property Specialist (CIPS). She also serves on the board of directors of Move Inc. Move Inc. is a leader in online real estate and operator of the Move Network of real estate websites for consumers and real estate professionals, including NAR’s Realtor.com site.