Family atmosphere, relocation experience fuel Wallace and Wallace expansion to Blount

By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

Workers are hard at work renovating the former Elkmont Grill in Springbrook to house the sixth branch of Coldwell Banker Wallace and Wallace that is coming to Alcoa, andSherri Vanderkooy, real estate broker, is already talking expansion.

They won’t have long to rest, Vanderkooy said. "The minute they get renovations done on the current building, we’re expanding," she said.

When workers finish the first phase of renovations, there will be 3,000 square feet of office space. After the expansion, there will be more than 4,500 square feet. The first phase of construction should be finished in early 2007, Vanderkooy said.

Already a team of agents is prepared to fill that office space. "There are 11 agents, and we’re not even open yet," said Vanderkooy’s husband Todd Vanderkooy.

Vanderkooy and her husband moved to the area 10 years ago. She entered real estate five years ago, and Todd followed into the business two years ago.

Sherri Vanderkooy said she was very attracted to working with Coldwell Banker Wallace and Wallace for a variety of reasons. "The main thing that attracted me to them (is) they have been in business 70 years. They’re third generation owners. They have the family atmosphere, team camaraderie and the professional way of running a real estate corporation," Sherri Vanderkooy said. "For us, that was 100 percent of what attracted us."

There was a deal-breaker condition. Wallace and Wallace had to let Sherri bring her husband over as an agent. "They came to me as broker, but if I can’t bring him, I don’t come," she said.

"I was her first agent," Todd Vanderkooy said.

George Wallace, a partner in the company, said one of the reasons they chose to open an office in Blount County was because of all the relocation business in the area.

"We do a lot of relocation work where companies move people in and out of the area," he said. "Blount County has been successful in relocating companies to the area."

Opening an office in Blount County meant they needed a broker who lived in Blount County, he said.

"I think it’s real important for agents who do business in Blount County to live, work and play in Blount County," he said. "Then we found Sherri and we’re happy with her."

Wallace said buying real estate is often an emotional purchase and there are often several places in the process where costly mistakes can be made. "I’m not saying we’re perfect," Wallace said. "Sherri will be there to smooth out the problems.

We know the quality of the people with us today and the quality of our agents and staff are really the key to our success anywhere."

Sherri and Todd talked about their working relationship. A few times during the conversation, they finished each other’s sentences. Both of them said they have a chemistry that customers appreciate.

"We love it," said Sherri. "We kind of go off each other and our momentum. I do certain aspects of a job, and he picks up and does the rest. Our customers have taken to it."

Sherri Vanderkooy said she understands how home buyers feel when going through the process, especially first-time home owners. Often first-time home buyers are taken in with glitz of a house, even though another home may have a more sound structure or "better bones," she said.

"Real estate in Blount County is a true investment," Sherri continued. "It’s a better return on your money than anywhere else."

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