Introducing Douglas Elliman’s Texas Rookie of the Year: Susan Branda Martin

It may have taken a few years, but Susan Branda Martin seems to have found her true calling.

Passionate and innovative, the native Houstonian’s career has swept through the stock market and financial planning before she took to real estate a year ago and has quickly blossomed, earning her the coveted Rookie of the Year title for Texas at  Douglas Elliman’s annual awards.

Susan Branda Martin

“I am just sorry that it took me so long to finally do what I was meant to do,” she says.

Elliman Insider sat down with Susan to find out why she feels at home as an agent at Elliman, her goals for 2021 and how her mother’s love of real estate was the driving force to kick start her career.

You were named Elliman’s Rookie of the Year for Texas. How does that feel?

Susan Branda Martin: I was beyond thrilled! I am doing something that I love, getting paid for it and being recognized by my peers! I never dreamed that I would have such a great first year in the middle of a pandemic.

EI: Tell us a little about your background. Did you always love real estate?​

SBM: Although I’ve always had a passion for real estate, I came to this career after a long road on life’s other pathways. After graduating with a degree in Spanish, I was a stockbroker and Certified Financial Planner for ten years. I then stayed home to raise our four kids and got involved with the community. Passionate about innovative education options for the underserved, I became the director of marketing and special events for Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston.

“I am just sorry that it took me so long to finally do what I was meant to do!”

My kids and my husband always found me keeping up with the local real estate market. We moved around the country with my husband’s job and making each new house a home has always been important to me. I was raised in a family of seven siblings. Our dad died when I was eleven, so our mom started selling real estate. She had a wonderful 40-year career and was able to send all eight of us to college. Her love of the industry kept her young and inspired me to eventually become an agent. I am just sorry that it took me so long to finally do what I was meant to do!

EI: 2020 was an interesting year for everyone, but especially for a rookie. How did you manage to rise to the top? ​

SBM: I must admit, in mid-March of last year, I thought that I made a huge mistake starting this new career when I saw what was happening in the world. How was I going to survive when there was no longer a physical office to go to for support and training? Who was going to mentor me? How was I going to get new clients? Should I just quit?
Thankfully, I started to take all of the many Douglas Elliman Zoom training classes that were offered. I worked on my sphere of influence. I hired someone to help me with my social media. My sales manager, Valerie Decker, was on speed dial for the many questions I had. Once open houses were permitted, I sent emails out to other agents to see if I could help them by holding their listings open. Since then, I hold two to four open houses each weekend. Most of the time people already have agents, but if they don’t, I get their information and begin communicating with them. Some of those introductions have resulted in closed transactions and thankfully, even some referrals.

EI: What motivates you? ​

SBM: I love to stay busy and love the opportunity to meet new people who at some point might have real estate needs. I thrive on the challenge of finding my clients the perfect home or making their soon-to-be-listed home the most appealing it can be to a prospective buyer. I love brainstorming to come up with great solutions that work for all parties.

EI: How did Elliman help guide you through the year? Did you have any mentors? ​

SBM: The resources available at Elliman are incredible! I was encouraged to join the Virtual New Agent Boot Camp in September 2020. Jeffrey Stanton and his team’s 9 session program gives you a good road map of all of the tools that will help an agent become accountable and then, ultimately successful.

“The resources available at Elliman are incredible.”

It is a great program! I honestly could not have survived without the support and guidance of Valerie Decker, Sales Manager of Houston and Managing Broker. She has been a wonderful lifeline.

EI: Why did you choose Elliman? ​

SBM: From the beginning, I have been impressed with the Elliman brand. With a marketing background, I know the importance of a consistent brand. I listened to the vision and dreams of Jacob Sudhoff, CEO-Douglas Elliman Texas, and knew that I was with a company that was going to become the premier real estate firm that would guide us to an innovative way to serve our clients. The resources that are made available to us will make us stand apart from our peers in the industry.

EI: Any advice for new agents? ​

SBM: Keep your head down; stay the course. Every day is different so go with the flow. Shake off bad days. Talk to other agents; watch what they are doing. Stay up to date with current events, trends—read.

EI: What are your goals for 2021? ​

SBM: Double my GCI (Gross Commission Index). Track my progress better. Stay connected by reaching out to eight contacts each week. And to continue to learn from the pros.

Check out Susan’s latest listing at 702 Cortlandt Street in Houston 


​Contact Susan Branda Martin for all of your real estate needs today.

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ELLIMAN INSIDER is published by Douglas Elliman Real Estate
© 2020 all rights reserved
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