Phone # (901) 485-9039
Years In Business: 20
Number of Employees: 1
As part of our follow-up to the progress the Daughters of Zion CNPP grantee is making within Memphis, Shelby County, and beyond- we are highlighting the weekly Entrepreneur of the Week award. When asked why Pat Edwards-Sipp was selected as the entrepreneur of the week, Dr. Gerald Kiner, PhD declared, “ in a crowded field Pat always stands out as the brightest. Her work ethic is unmatched. Pat is 100% customer centric. She isn’t unhappy unless her customers are happy. I am so proud to be apart of her life. Pat is an exceptional real estate agent and so much more. The add on services she provides her clients are second to known. Pat is the real deal and worthy of the entrepreneur of the week.”
Pat Edwards-Sipp answered several questions for the entrepreneur of the week.
Q: Please tell us your full name, the name of your business, and how you got your business started?
A: My name is Pat Edwards-Sipp and the name of my business is Benchmark Realtors. I was actually in a job and I was working 60 hours a week. I knew that I wasn’t satisfied with that job, so I asked God, “God what do I need to do?” Now I had a heart to do real estate, but I wasn’t sure. I said, “God, if real estate is really what I want to do, I need you to show me.”
So the story behind how I got started with real estate is that one particular day I went to the service station down the street from my job. I had on my FedEx badge and a lady stopped me, and said, “Excuse me, are you a real estate agent?” I looked around and I said, Who are you talking to? ” She said, “I’m talking to you.” I said, Why would you ask me if I was a real estate agent? ” She said, “Because you look like a real estate agent.” That was the confirmation I needed from God. And that’s when I went to class.
Q: How long have you been in real estate?
A: June the 3rd was 20 years, wow.
Q.What are some of your biggest highlights and success story?
A. My biggest highlight is, taking someone who has a less than 500 credit score and helping them get to a 640. They didn’t think they could own a home and now they do. So, that’s pretty rewarding to see somebody come from renting and being frustrated and thinking that they couldn’t buy a home, and now they can with the help that I was able to give them. And even if they credit slides a little bit, they can do it again if they need to because I teach them how to do it.
There was a girl named Gina and she had probably a 490 credit score, and she didn’t think she could buy a house. She said, “I really want to buy a house, my credit’s so bad I can’t buy a house.” I said, What makes you think you can’t buy a house? ” She said, “Because my credit’s bad.” I said, Your credit is bad right now, but it doesn’t have to stay bad. Let’s see what we can do to help you build your credit. Let’s pull all three of your credit bureaus and let me look at them and see, because the company that I work with, I had to go through credit counseling training and mortgage training. So, most realtors only know real estate, they don’t know the mortgage side, and they don’t know credit counseling, but I had to do all of it, so I’m like an all-in-one shot.”
She brought me all three of her credit reports and I saw she mostly had credit card debt and they were all over the limit. They were small balances like $300, $500 and stuff like that. And I was like, wait a minute,first of all, you’re going to be dinged 20 points for being over the limit, then you’re going to be dinged 20 points for being over 30%.
I realized she had almost 40 points on each one of her credit cards, and all she had to do was pay less than $1,000 and she would be at a 640 credit score. And that’s what she did. Within 60 days she was at 640, we were able to get her to be able to buy her first house.. And then, after that she was able to build up and buy the next house, so now she’s in her second house. She didn’t think she could buy a house, and now she’s bought two houses.
Q: So, you’re not only a real estate agent, but you add complimentary services such as credit repair?
A: Yes. Credit repair, contractor services, how to maintain a home, how to pay your house off in less than 10 years, how to keep your house and how to fix your house, whatever you need. If it’s real estate related I can do it.
Q. How did you decide to morph into these other services?
A. They just came about with other clients needing services that I didn’t offer at the time, but I started offering them because of the need for them.
Q. What separates you from other real estate agents?
A. Nobody does what I do. I’m a 24 hour agent and I always go out of the way for my clients, and when I’m done we’re family, we’re not just business. Whatever you need, I am available 24 hours. If your heat goes off at two o’ clock in the morning, then I will call somebody at two o’ clock in the morning for you. I have a full list of lenders, I mean, everything about real estate. I have several lenders that I can hook people up with depending on the credit. I know who takes low scores, I know who takes high scores. I know who can give better rates if they have higher credit. I mean, just everything about real estate I can offer you in a one stop shop.
Q. How did you find out about the Daughters of Zion Community Navigator Pilot Program?
A. I found out about you all on the radio. Because I needed to structure my business to improve it and I didn’t know how, when I heard you all on the radio and I said, I’ve got to go to that meeting. I came to that Saturday meeting, I was just done because I didn’t even know anything like this existed in the city. And ever since then I’ve been intrigued, and I try to make every Saturday meeting that I can.
Q. What’s some of the things that you’ve learned and gained from the Daughters of Zion Community Navigator Pilot Program?
A. I learned that I need a business plan, and that’s one of the things that I’m working diligently on right now. I learned that every business needs structure. I have learned about the billionaire mindset. These are some things that I wasn’t doing that I’m doing now.
And I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can. I’ve been able to network in these meetings. I’ve picked up business, I’ve given business tips. I’ve done some things for some people here that they needed. Just whatever is needed, not only am I receiving, but I’m also giving.
Q. When you say you have learned some things that you weren’t doing that you’re doing now, give me an example of some of those things.
A. Like for one, I wasn’t applying for grants. I didn’t know how to apply for a grant. I didn’t know how to put a business plan together, but with the different sessions that you all had with me I know how to put a business plan together now. I know how to apply for grants. I know the information that’s required for these different grant programs. And so, now I can actually apply for grants.
And also, with real estate, I have a license for the state of Tennessee, but it’s not a business license. So, since then I’ve learned that there is a need to have a business license too for all of these subsidiary services that I offer. So, now I’m applying for a business license and it’s going to be under the umbrella of rebuilding Memphis, because that ties into real estate. All my services will all be under the same umbrella.
Once a client gets into their home, I can show them how to maintain their home,introduce them to contractors that can help them, show them how to pay their loan off in less than 10 years. I can help them get on a budget so they can maintain their house, and not just pay the mortgage and things like that, so when they get in trouble they’ll have some reserves and things like that, that can help them down the road. Things that I wish people had taught me when I bought my first house, I can show my clients.
Q.Why should someone come to you as their real estate agent? We have thousands of real estate agents in Memphis. Why should someone come to you?
A. They should come to me because nobody’s going to work harder than I am to get them in a house. And not only can I get them in a house, but I can help them with everything they need about the house once they get in the house. So, I feel like I am a full service real estate company all-in-one. Between credit counseling, helping them get a house, being there for them to give them advice. I can walk them through all the pitfalls of home ownership and all of the highlights of homeownership from top to bottom, I can help them with whatever they need from beginning to end.