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A League of Her Own

Teri Beckwith sets the pace when it comes to mastering art of real estate sales

By Lou Sorendo

Through her 20-plus years in the real estate industry, Teri Beckwith has learned to skillfully navigate through the tough times while appreciating the good times.

Beckwith has been the No. 1 real estate agent at Century 21 Leah’s Signature for more than 20 years. Leah’s has locations in Fulton and Liverpool.

She has earned Century 21’s Centurion Award for the past 14 years. It is given to only a handful of real estate professionals within the Century 21 system for sales excellence.

In 2019, she was the third-highest producing agent in New York state for the Century 21 team.

Beckwith, 52, said it is “extremely gratifying” to be recognized on such a high level, especially given that “there are some excellent agents out there and we all compete for business.

“Each and every year, I work very hard to stay on top even with the challenges of the ever-changing market.”

The Oswego native gets gratification and a feeling of accomplishment when she helps buyers and sellers achieve their goals.

“It may be a seller that is looking to move to their dream retirement home or a buyer looking to get into their very first home,” she said. “Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions of one’s life and to be a part of that is amazing.”

Beckwith has been working in the real estate industry for 23 years.

Throughout her career, she has experienced some bleak moments.

“I have witnessed bankers not lending, lack of inventory, an overflow of inventory, high-interest rates — you name it,” she said. However, “what you can be guaranteed about in the real estate market is that you will get through the tough times.”

Beckwith said one of the keys to being successful is adapting to ever-changing circumstances.

“In the real estate industry, you are going to have deals that crash,” she said. “The more homes you sell, the higher the chances are of this happening.”

She could be 45 days into a transaction when suddenly a buyer’s job site could close its doors.

“This would now make your client ineligible for bank financing, when 45 days prior they were all pre-approved and ready to go,” she said.

“You have to accept what’s at hand, make the appropriate phone calls and move on,” she added. “You cannot get into a slump due to one transaction or market conditions. Every day is a new day.”

Know the market

Experiencing the many different types of markets throughout her career has sharpened Beckwith’s skill set.

“When you are in the real estate industry, many fellow agents will ‘throw in the towel’ in a tough market rather than weather the storm,” she said.

“Sales can be up and down depending on factors that include the economy, weather and interest rates. You truly have to hang in there,” she added.

She said agents must use the down time during quiet periods to build future business.

“This is done by marketing and self-promoting yourself, attending continuing education classes and working on your business plan for the following season,” she said.

A real estate professional has to be aware of what type of market he or she is in, she noted.

“We have to give our clients the best advice for any situation that could be at hand,” she said.

Beckwith said knowing what homes are selling for, what buyers are looking for and the different financing programs available are essential to being a top agent.

She discussed what motivated her to become a realtor.

“My children were born 13 months apart,” she said. “When my children were born, I knew I needed a profession that would allow me to control my hours. I knew I could schedule house showings and appointments around my husband Scott’s schedule for watching the kids.”

Beckwith also realized she could schedule real estate largely around school field trips and activities.

“My children are now 26 and 27, and it’s worked well since the start,” said Beckwith, noting she also has a granddaughter.

Determining her fate

She also knew she was destined to be her own boss.

“I did not want a ‘cap’ on the income I could make. Being self-employed, you do not have to rely on an employer paying your medical insurance or paying into your retirement, and things like that,” she said.

For Beckwith, the sky is the limit in terms of how much money one can make in the real estate industry.

“When the kids went through college and planned their weddings, I knew I had to work extra hard for my goals. I love that. I love to work,” she said.

Beckwith has received hundreds of personal referrals from clients.

“I love when people are happy enough with my services that they refer me to family and friends,” she said. “When you have been in the market as long as I have, personal referrals should be a huge part of your business.”

Being that there are many real estate agents to choose from, clients seek out advice from family and friends.

“I feel clients should look for experience and a full-time local agent as well,” Beckwith said.

She noted the internet has vastly changed the real estate industry.

“There are so many websites taking over the industry,” she said. “A buyer can literally sit in front of a house, put the address in their phone, and the buyer will have a virtual tour and 30 photos in front of them within seconds.

“As hard as it is to believe, years ago this was not the case.”

The Sterling resident said when she first started in the industry, only two photos of a home were available for marketing purposes — normally front and back exterior.

“There are pros and cons to this change. A pro is that we should be showing clients less houses as they have more information in front of them to ‘weed out’ the homes that may not work.

“The cons are that in many instances, we cannot use our sales skills to discuss particulars with the client. If they discount the home on their own, you may not get to have that phone conversation,” said Beckwith, noting those types of decisions should be made with the guidance of a professional realtor.

Beckwith was a former director of the now-defunct Oswego County Board of Realtors. She also serves on the board of directors for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

Her passions include traveling and working in her yard.