SCARA president boosts participation and membership
June 19-25, 2017
By Nick Popowitch
Sarah Rector was working in Benton at her family’s cell phone store in 2003 when she got a job offer that would change her life.
“Mike Duke bought a cell phone from me and asked me to come work for him and sell real estate,” Rector recalls, “and that’s how I got in the business.”
Rector is the current president of the South Central Arkansas Realtors Association, and the principal broker at iRealty Arkansas.
Rector worked for Duke at Phillips Moudy Duke Real Estate for three years before taking on a position as managing broker at the Bryant branch of Rector Phillips Morse, which became Coldwell Banker Rector Phillips Morse.
“It was just me,” Rector said, recalling her time at the RPM Bryant branch, “and when I left in 2013 we had about 25 agents that I managed.”
In 2010, Rector broadened her responsibilities to include leadership in the Realtor community. She graduated from the Graduate Realtors Leadership Academy and won the SCARA (then Benton-Bryant Realtors Association) 2010 Realtor of the Year Award. Soon after, in 2012, she served her first term as SCARA President, and has been on the board ever since.
In 2013, Rector started iRealty with two associates, and is currently the principal broker, managing nearly 50 agents in offices in Benton, Sherwood, and Little Rock. The Benton office is the former site of her family’s AT&T store where Duke first offered her a job in real estate, 14 years ago. The building is leased from Rector’s parents, who are now retired.
For Rector’s current term as SCARA President, she has focused on increasing member participation, boosting participation in association events, as well as growing the number of members and affiliates alike.
“I’ve really made a point to make everyone feel like they should get involved,” Rector said, and those efforts have shown through.
This year’s SCARA Trivia Night raised $4,700 for the Special Olympics of Arkansas, and their recent RPAC telethon raised $3,948. Rector also advocated for the re-writing of the association’s by-laws, which members will be voting on later this year.
Another major milestone for SCARA, which happened under Rector’s leadership, was the grand opening of the association’s new offices in Benton. This marks the first time in the organization’s history they have owned their own building.
“We never have, ever since we started in the 70’s,” Rector said, when she spoke about buying the new building, “and [real estate] is what we do, so I always pushed for a building.”
Rector cut the ribbon for the first open house of the SCARA offices on May 17, this year.
Aside from her many roles on SCARA’s board through the years, Rector has been involved in several other civic roles in the community. In 2016 Governor Hutchinson appointed her to a two-year term on the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission.
Rector also serves as a board member of the Centers for Youth and Family Foundation, Arkansas’ oldest non-profit organization. Recently, she chaired the foundation’s Evolve event; which raised $300,000, according to Rector.
Rector is a mother of three; Eva, Tripp, and Jack, aged ten, eight, and six, respectively. Her parents and sister all live in Benton. She was raised in Benton before attending college at the University of Central Arkansas, where she received her bachelor’s degree in health science.
In her free time, Rector enjoys spending time with her family. She is an accomplished pianist, as well as an avid competitive tennis player, maintaining a 4.0 rating.
Rector speaks Spanish as well, and is currently refreshing her skills in the language with her fiancé, Eddie Bailey. The two hope to put their language skills to use when they visit Mexico after their wedding, this October.
In parting, Rector offered some advice for newcomers to the real estate community. While she admits that the industry has changed a great deal since she started, she believes an enduring principle of her success is building lasting connections with the homebuyers and sellers she serves. To that end, she has tried to go above and beyond, to ensure everybody walks away from the table satisfied.
From buying new appliances, to laying sod, Rector does whatever it takes to meet the needs of her customers. As a testament to her commitment to satisfaction, she now enjoys a nearly 15-year network of loyal customers.
“I think the main thing, my focus, is I love to help people who I have helped in the past, so they will want to work with me again. That’s a compliment,” Rector reflects. “Your reputation is everything in this business. If you’re not treating everybody the way you need to, then they are not going to come back.”