It has been enough to keep Reallustrations Owner Renee Pride excited about her work each day for over 20 years.
Pride, who is also the Executive Director of the Homebuilders Association of East Central Illinois, began her professional journey in a real estate office during high school.
Since then she has worked in every facet of the real estate process from mortgage, marketing, investment property, real estate management and as a licensed broker.
Pride now is the driving force in the visual real estate market through Reallustrations. Although Pride knew nothing about photography at the time, a local vendor, who developed software called HomeSight to showcase 2D floor plans and home photography, asked her if she wanted to take over the business.
“I (shot) 100 houses in the first month, so you learn really fast,” Pride said.
“Really for me, the whole journey was just a product that needed to exist,” she continued. “It wasn’t that I was this creative, amazing person who knew photography. It was that I knew real estate, the real estate industry and the realtors that make up that.”
Through advances in technology, Reallustrations has grown to include videography, 3D virtual tours and drone photography for real estate brokers to include in the home sellers package as they begin to market their home.
Pride said in today’s day and age, when home buyers are often in places where they cannot physically visit a new home, the services Reallustrations provides are crucial.
Reallustrations actually attained a new employee through the services it provided to local realtors.
A couple moving to the area from Colorado viewed homes through online real estate search engines.
Both engineers, the couple would not look at any homes that did not have a floor plan included. They quickly became familiar with Reallustrations’ work, and when they moved here, the woman approached Pride about a job.
“She came to work for me because she was impressed and said people need this; they have to have this,” Pride said.
Because technological advances have provided home buyers with an up-close look at a homes through websites, Pride said home buyers don’t need agents to provide them with the same information as they used to.
“(Real estate agents) are no longer the gatekeeper of information,” she said. “(They) can be amazing at sorting and being an expert, but they don’t need you to find stuff as much as they used to.”
Instead, Pride believes, the key for real estate agents is to be ready for that one chance to connect with a potential client. And sometimes that comes with having the right resources at the right time.
“Real estate is a different industry,” she said. “It’s ‘I want it now.’ Especially with homeowners getting their house on the market.”
From the time Reallustrations visits a home to take the necessary photos and videos, they will consistently have the content to the agent for listing within 36 hours.
With a quick turnaround process, Reallustrations is on schedule to release 2000 home tours this year.
It is only under the umbrella of a new software Pride designed that her team is able to steadily produce high-quality media for real estate agents.
Through Pride’s software, media producers, like Reallustrations, can manage their team, billing, schedule, analytics, photographs, and video. Pride also believes this software is something that can be useful to other real estate media producers through the country.
“Everyone in the nation does this,” she said. “There are houses everywhere. There are businesses everywhere.”
Pride also sees that there are photographers everywhere. And she has also seen the often demanding real estate industry keep talented photographers at bay.
With her new software, she hopes to help those photographers create a consistent process that will keep them interested for years to come.
“I love people owning a business and helping them be successful,” she said. “My real dream is helping people learn the business side of it.”
Training business owners how to make their business successful isn’t something new to Pride.
When she and her husband, Ken, moved back to Central Illinois where Pride grew up in 2006, she began training real estate agents on how to run their business during her time with Coldwell Banker.
Another door that was opened during her six-year stint with Coldwell Banker was becoming involved with the Homebuilders Association of East Central Illinois. She began just volunteering on the golf committee, then began volunteering more of her time.
“Terry Greene, who was the President of the Homebuilders Association, called and said, ‘You volunteer a lot, would you consider working part-time?’”
When Greene called again a week later to let her know he was moving to Tennessee, he asked if she would be interested in taking over his position.
Although Pride was hesitant, she finished out the year in an interim role, then the board voted unanimously for Pride to become the Executive Director.
Pride said being within the Homebuilders Association is just another way that she gets to connect with and bring people together on a daily basis.
But, for Pride, her favorite time to connect with others is when she spends the morning with her husband and daughter before school.
“(We) walk our daughter to school every morning,” she said. “It’s become one of my favorite times of the day because I connect with (my husband).”
A self-proclaimed driven and competitive person, Pride said her husband is quieter and calmer than she is.
“It’s very important to me because I’m a very passionate person; I love what I do, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in that.”
“So I use that walk home (from school) to connect with him and talk,” she said.
Feeling recharged by connecting with her family in the morning leaves Pride ready to dominate her day.
But she said that there is a time and place for work and a time and place for family.
“We’re really good about spending a lot of family time together,” she said.
“We live on the river, so we go out on the kayak often. We have a lot of downtime on purpose. Bristol is very important to us and we are very intentional with her childhood.”
Pride hopes that her daughter grows up knowing how to find a way to expand her world.
While working in high school, Pride went through a professional review that didn’t go as she thought it would.
The manager told her, “You’re either green and growing or you’re ripe and rotting.”
“I hated that saying.”
But now, Pride uses the saying to help real estate agents, business owners, and colleagues understand the importance of challenging oneself.
Pride also competes with herself on a daily basis. She has a vision board that has evolved through the years.
“It’s about bringing intention to whatever you do: parenting, growing a business, how do I become better so my team becomes better, my marriage?”
One item Pride put on her board, in the beginning, was a one-dollar bill.
“If you had a dollar, you were wealthier than three-quarters of the world.”
More recently, Pride framed a $100 dollar bill to put on her board.
But she also has a picture of her 92-year old grandma on her board.
“I want to remember to keep her important,” Pride said.
“Also, you can be 92 and still be growing. I think we all need to remember to expand our world.”