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Clayton Nell

Partner, CRS, Eco-Broker, CLHMS

(Interview by Sami Grover) (Photo by Gretchen Mathison Photography)

A realtor’s role is not just helping folks buy or sell houses. It’s also about providing an objective, honest opinion. Sometimes that even means telling a client what they don’t want to hear. That honesty may dash some expectations from time-to-time, but it also helps ensure success.”

Clayton started out in the real estate business as an appraiser, and he credits this experience for giving him an objective, practical standpoint when it comes to the value of a home. It’s a viewpoint that he believes has been missing from parts of the industry in recent years:

“There has been an amazing amount of pressure from all-sides – borrowers, lenders, and unfortunately some realtors – to keep pushing house prices up and up. But in the long run, maintaining a common sense approach to valuing a home, and how you sell it, is in everybody’s best interests. The nice thing about Weaver Street Realty is that everyone seems to get that.”

Finding home in community

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, and with family in Tennessee – Clayton settled in the Triangle after a stint in Portland, Oregon. It was the artistic, free thinking nature of the area that made him feel at home:

“Alongside Portland and Austin, the Triangle area seems to attract artists, musicians and creative types of all sorts. I know I can go out any night of the week and catch a show, or grab a great bite to eat. Even just hanging out on the lawn at Weaver Street will usually result in an interesting conversation with someone I don’t know.”

This culture of openness is something Clayton finds himself sharing with clients. In fact, he laughs, the Weaver Street offices often feel like an alternative tourist information office:

“People will just come in off the street and start talking. Often they’ll be new to the area, and looking to rent or buy. Sometimes we just end up pointing them to a good restaurant or bar so they can get a feel for the community.”

Try before you buy

Playing the role of tour guide is not just about being a good neighbor. It’s also key to being a successful realtor – even if that means not going in for the hard sell:

“I’ve talked myself out of a bunch of business before. People will come here wanting to buy, and I often suggest they spend a year renting first so they can figure out where they belong. You don’t want to buy a place in Cary, and then realize you were more suited to downtown Durham…”

Joining the team

On being asked what makes Weaver Street Realty special, Clayton explains that it is about a shared world view and a sense of trust:

“We all see ourselves as true partners with our clients – we’re in this not just to help someone buy or sell a house, but to really find a place that can empower them to live the life they want. It’s something that stretches to the way we live our own lives too – we help each other out so we can travel, farm, spend time with our kids, or whatever it is that makes us whole”

Looking beyond the obvious

At this stage of the interview fellow agent Don Basnight walks in the room and asks if he can offer some unsolicited comment. Clayton nods in the way that suggests that Don usually does anyway, and sure enough he does:

“I just wanted to say how well this guy has slotted into the team. He brings a sense of professionalism, objectivity and an ability to look beyond the superficial elements in a property. He may be one of the youngest in our crew, but he’s by no means the rookie.”

Clayton laughs, and he thanks Don for the endorsement. As a closing thought, we discuss what someone should keep in mind when entering into the real estate process as either a buyer or seller:

“I think the core thing is to keep in mind what you want to achieve in terms of your life and lifestyle. It’s too easy to get focused on square footage, or the number of bathrooms, when really you want to think first about how you and your family want to live, what makes you really happy, and what elements a property, and the community surrounding it, need to have to enable that.”