ABoR Changemaker: Steven Edwards

"We all have to be self-starters and extremely disciplined to thrive as real estate professionals."

Steven Edwards isn’t afraid to jump into something new and take the lead. Prior to graduating in 2006 from The University of Texas at Austin, Steven started his real estate career in 2004 and moved around in the industry until joining ABoR as a REALTOR® in 2013. From his commitment to continual leadership development to his dedication to helping others every day, learn why Steven is an ABoR Changemaker.

On Finding Your Path

When you meet Steven Edwards, it’s quickly obvious that he loves what he does. His eyes light up when he speaks about real estate and he’s always game for a conversation about how to elevate our profession.

“I have always loved real estate,” says Steven. “[My career] allows me to help others realize a dream. Homeownership is such a powerful way to strengthen your community and [help others] begin building wealth.”

Steven graduated with a degree in real estate finance from The University of Texas at Austin. Since that time, his career has spanned much of the real estate industry, from private equity and development to brokerage management. His experience ranges from starter homes, farm & ranch, luxury, and everything in between.

Although Steven found success as a generalist and as a broker, it wasn’t until he narrowed his focus and skillset when things really began to click.

“One path that I have chosen that [helps set me] apart is my focus on continuing and specialized education,” says Steven. “I am constantly trying to learn and absorb more expertise from professional colleagues.”

After co-leading a brokerage with a business partner for many years, Steven moved to Compass in late 2019. As Sales Manager, Broker Associate, and former Co-Principal for the SR Group at Compass, Steven has doubled down on his career development and focused on ways to build niche expertise.

“I am [spending] more time on move up, luxury residential, waterfront, and luxury ranchettes.,” says Steven. “Our client base is beginning to refer more out-of-state buyers. Relocation will be a big part of our future as real estate professionals.”

Volunteerism Leads to Endless Opportunities

In seeking new opportunities for leadership and professional development, Steven realized that he was not taking advantage of many benefits at his fingertips – the benefits he already received as an ABoR member.

“I feel like I really started recognizing the power of ABoR in 2017 or early 2018,” he says. “I took notice of all of the amazing resources available to us and the incredible professionals and educators that help elevate me every day.”

In 2019, Steven was accepted into ABoR’s Texas REALTORS® Leadership Program (TRLP), which paved the way to his role on the Professional Standards Advisory Group in 2020.

In this role, Steven helped develop a Professional Standards Improvement Plan that will have a long-term impact on how ABoR educates REALTOR® members and builds a culture around professionalism moving forward. He’s proud of his efforts to take feedback from membership that was presented to ABoR’s Board of Directors to address common ideas and elevate membership voices.

Steven now serves on the ABoR Budget Committee and the Texas REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee, and already is planning ways to get further involved next year.

“Becoming more involved will strengthen your staying power in real estate as a career. It fortifies your resolve,” Steven says. “The fellowship, education, mentorship...it has all been instrumental in my growth as a professional.”

Outside of real estate, Steven and his wife, Happiness – who is also a REALTOR® with the SR Group – serve as leaders in a missional community through their church, The Austin Stone.

Nurturing Your Career Brings Immense Growth

Steven finds it critical that REALTORS® always look for ways to elevate their profession. He believes that it takes being a self-starter and being extremely disciplined to thrive as real estate professionals.

So where do you start?

By nurturing your career. Steven says to take stock of the opportunities you have to take classes, attend events, and to network with other industry pros because it’s all part of development. If you’re curious if getting a real estate designation or certification is worth it, just ask Steven – he has 25 of them! (No, really).

However, Steven’s biggest piece of advice to those in the field is to make the commitment to real estate as a full-time career.

“Real estate done right…requires a real commitment. There are so many things we need to know as professionals and the market environment is constantly shifting and evolving. To me, one of the foundations of this commitment is engagement with your Board and local professionals. From there, it requires maintenance and accountability.  The accountability aspect is to yourself, your colleagues, and your clients.”

As part of this process, Steven recommends spending time with ABoR leaders and seeking out where you can grow and support the growth of others. Connect and get involved with the association, fellow REALTORS®, title reps, mortgage professionals – everyone!

Since every transaction is different, Steven also encourages REALTORS® to continue to seek creative ways to help clients and colleagues. He builds trust and accountability by focusing on delivering an amazing client experience, refining his craft, and taking the time to mentor others.

“My favorite moments revolve around problem solving, whether that's helping clients who don't believe they can become homeowners or tackling unique transaction challenges and overcoming them,” he adds.

On Building a Legacy

Most of all, follow your passion and remember what got you into the business in the first place.

“I think I excel in maintaining a positive outlook and reminding clients and colleagues how exciting real estate is,” Steven adds. “Once you’re in it, you can't escape it.”

When asked about the legacy he wants to leave behind, however, Steven doesn’t mention real estate at all. He talks about his faith in God, his bride, Happiness, and their three children.

“I challenge us all to think about what makes us happy…I want to be remembered as a faithful servant, a great husband, a nurturing father, and a trusted counsel to my family, friends, and colleagues.”

Feeling inspired to get involved? Now is the perfect time to learn more and become a volunteer! ABoR and ACTRIS now offer more opportunities than ever to be an ambassador for your industry and give back in a way that works with your skill set and your schedule.

If you have a passion for or specialized expertise in finance, advocacy, international real estate, or philanthropic service, then we need you! Now through October 15, you can discover volunteer opportunities that will both enhance your career and make a difference in our marketplace. Learn more at ABoR.com/WeNeedYou!