Real Estate Solutions Team honored with ‘emerging business award’
Russ and Kim Wilcox know the value of a strong community.
Whether it be their personal circle of friends and clients or Norfolk at large, the married co-owners of Real Estate Solutions Team agree that building relationships and giving back are the keys to success in the business world.
The Wilcoxes opened their business in January 2015 in a suite on Riverside Boulevard. But within two short years, Real Estate Solutions Team was doing well enough that the couple decided to expand their business into the former DeLay National Bank on Norfolk Avenue.
After only 3½ short years in business, the Wilcoxes now employ 13 agents and two staff members and have completed extensive renovations on the landmark building in which their business is housed.
Because of their efforts to help revitalize downtown Norfolk, as well as their hard work and success in business, Real Estate Solutions Team was chosen to receive the second annual “emerging business award” for enterprises in Northeast Nebraska that have been in existence for five years or less.
The award is part of the Norfolk Area Business Hall of Fame, created in 2017 and sponsored by the Daily News and First National Bank of Norfolk.
Getting a new business off the ground is never easy, though.
Kim Wilcox had been working as a real estate agent since 2006, and her husband was employed in banking when they decided to open Real Estate Solutions Team.
“You prepare a business plan, and then the day that you open, that business plan really goes in the garbage and you’re ebbing and flowing with the market like everybody else,” Russ Wilcox said.
Kim Wilcox was initially responsible for a large part of business operations as an active agent while her husband was then still employed at a Norfolk bank.
“It was a lot of work making that transition and getting our name out there and building our brand,” she said.
She and her husband put in a lot of late nights and weekends to get Real Estate Solutions off of the ground, but Kim Wilcox said that through it all, she always looked forward to going to work.
“A lot of it really is about relationships, and our clients become our friends. It might sound a little bit cliché, but it’s true,” she said.
In fact, that has been a major part of how the Wilcoxes have achieved so much success, they said.
Kim Wilcox said spending so much time with clients and helping to guide them through the real estate process naturally forms close-knit bonds.
“And we’ve always said, you don’t really worry about the numbers. If you care enough about the people and the experience you’re having, everything else takes care of itself,” Wilcox said.
Russ Wilcox agreed that building relationships within the community is the most enjoyable part of his work experience.
“The money comes, the success comes, all of that comes if you just take care of people,” he said.
Outside of serving their clients’ needs, the Wilcoxes also felt it was important to serve the community at large. That’s why they chose the former DeLay National Bank building to house their business when the decision was made to expand.
“We grew up in the day when the downtown was really vibrant, and then we saw a time where the downtown was really struggling,” Russ Wilcox said. “And now, there’s just no question about the resurgence that’s happening in the downtown here in the Riverpoint area.”
The internet community — especially where social media is concerned — was another big piece to the success of Real Estate Solutions Team.
Kim Wilcox said new technology “has leveled the playing field” as far as real estate is concerned.
“You don’t need to have a franchise name in order to get the information (on real estate) out there because every listing is on our website, and our listings are on every other website. ... It really helped us in the decision to keep our business local. There’s nothing that a big name can offer that we can’t,” she said.
The Wilcoxes said that even after all of their hard work and commitment to serving the community, they were still surprised and speechless to learn they had won the emerging business award.
“It’s so humbling. There are a lot of people and a lot of businesses in this community that do a lot of really good things. And to be included with some of these businesses is a huge honor,” Russ Wilcox said.
“There are a lot of people that deserve this award, that volunteer and do a lot of really, really good things. For this community to have the quality of life we have, there has to be a lot of people doing a lot of different things they don’t get a thank-you for.”