Kayla Jones named Realtor of the Year for SCARA
July 3-9, 2023
By Jay Edwards
If you find yourself having a bad day, I suggest a call to Kayla Jones. Even if you don’t know her, call and introduce yourself. Chances are you’ll feel better after a few minutes visiting with her.
We met recently with Kayla, the newest Realtor of the Year for the South Central Arkansas Realtors Association, who seems more than comfortable in her bright office in the updated home just off the town square in Benton, where she is an executive broker of iRealty-Arkansas. When we finished our interview, Kathy, my wife and copy editor said, “I’m tempted to get her to find us a new house, just so I can hang out with her.” I laughed and had to agree.
Born and raised in Clinton in Van Buren County, Jones headed to nursing school after graduating from Clinton High, where she became certified in surgical technology. Then it was off to the operating rooms of Arkansas hospitals.
“I was a scrub tech in the OR,” Jones said. “But I figured out quickly that I didn’t like it and that nursing was not for me. I knew I had to figure something else out.”
When she became pregnant with her first daughter, Hannah, Jones says she was led into the field of early childhood development. “I went back to school and worked towards a degree in that field, at ASU Childhood Services.”
With a new path in front of her, Jones became director of a children’s development center. Church involvement was a priority in her life and she became involved with the daycare at Grace Church, which she wound up running for ten years.
“Grace had a private school where I taught for a few years,” Jones said. “One of my student’s moms had her real estate license and was working for an appraiser in Little Rock, and she asked me one day if I would come help her on the real estate side because she wanted to concentrate on the appraisal part. I agreed and she helped me get on my feet. Her name is Jamie Taylor and she worked for David Bolick with Network Real Estate. Jamie eventually left the company so it was just me and David. A few agents came and went but it was mostly just he and I and so I had his full attention. David was precious. He passed away this past year. He was a big mentor in my life.”
In her early days of real estate, Jones says she “cut her teeth” on investment properties, selling $50,000 houses in downtown Little Rock. “I was working hard for a little bit of money.”
She decided she wanted to work towards a brand for her real estate business. “I had met Kristen Kennon, the owner of iRealty, in real estate school. She was one of the presenters. We spoke, and she told me about herself and iRealty,” Jones said. “I remembered our conversation and thought it sounded like what I was looking for and what I needed. I told David what I was thinking and he gave me his blessing, and so I joined Kristen and iRealty in January of 2020, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Three and a half years later, Jones heard her name called out as the newest Realtor of the Year for SCARA. Was it a surprise?
“Yes, I was really surprised,” she said. “It is hard to talk about yourself as you try to list everything you do in a year. I feel like Realtors are always giving and doing and you don’t even think about it.”
“I have always been very goal oriented. I set goals every year. I can’t remember when I haven’t done that. I write down what I want to do for the year and save it on my phone. So, I can look at it every single day. On it now is Realtor of the Year. But instead of saying I want it I say, ‘I am Realtor of the Year.’ It’s like claiming it. When I had to get up the other night and talk about it I laughed and said, “I manifested this in my bathtub!” I do believe there is power in your words and thinking. If you think it and believe it and work for it, it is going to happen.”
Growing up in Clinton, Jones says she was raised by parents with a strong work ethic. “My parents were always working,” she said. “I don’t ever remember them taking a day off. You never heard them say, ‘Oh I’m just not going to go to work today.’ That was never an option. It was a work driven family.”
Jones is currently on the board of directors for SCARA, as well as the CARMLS and Habitat for Humanity boards. She is on the development committee for Habitat, which involves fundraising from fish fries to golf tournaments.
We asked if that included jumping into the frigid water of Hurricane Lake in January. She laughed and said, “I did do that. It was for the Special Olympics. It was ridiculous. I had on goggles. But it is right by my house so I can jump in and then run to my house to dry off.”
As far as advice to someone who is thinking of becoming a Realtor, Jones says, “Do it!” But pick your brokerage wisely. Not every brokerage is for everybody. It is very important to pick where your personality fits. Make a list of what is important to you and make sure that brokerage is fitting those needs. I tell people to interview several companies. I say go interview them all. See if what they offer are the things that are important to you.”
And perhaps pick an area of expertise?
“When I started in real estate I sold commercial property right off the bat to churches and non-profits,” Jones said. “I have sold eight churches. It has become my niche. I love working with non-profits and church bodies. I enjoy the process. Sometimes you’ll have eight signers on a document. You just have to make it work.”
What are some of those other things important to her?
“Support is big for me,” she said. “And education.” I asked myself, what is going to set me apart? I went and got my broker’s license, and GRI, and MRP (military relocation professional), and also my CRS. A sense of community is also important. The people we have here at iRealty are like family to me. But agents at other firms are important to me as well. You will see me over at McGraw talking to Michele Woods. I go over and talk to Frankie at ReMax. No one ever thinks, is she changing companies? That’s just Kayla. I go to Century 21 and talk to Allison Scroggins. I am all over the place. I feel like the more relationships you build the better. It is important to me to network and have those relationships.”
I reminded Jones that when I first met her it was in Debbie Collins’ office, the SCARA association executive.
“Debbie is hands down the best,” she said. “She is in charge of the AEs this year.”
Jones and husband A.J. have three children. The oldest is Hannah, who is currently studying mechanical engineering abroad in Ireland through UA Little Rock on a Donaghey Scholarship.
The middle child is Abigail. “She is our little hustler,” Jones said. “She has been working since she was 14. She works at All Aboard Restaurant and Grill and paid cash for her car.”
The youngest is Canaan. “He plays percussion drums for Bethel Middle School,” Jones said. “Canaan loves anything that has to do with music. He creates his own band. His friends come over and they all play different instruments. It’s fun.”
Kayla and A.J. met when they both worked for Corky’s BBQ. “We have been together 20 years,” she said, “and I still get butterflies from the guy. He still takes me on a date every Friday night. Brings me flowers and cooks me dinner. He is worth a million dollars.”
We had to agree A.J.’s doing something right. After all, he’s married to the Realtor of the Year.
1. Kayla Jones
2. The Jones family, Kayla and her husband A.J. with Hannah, Abigail and Canaan
3. Kayla Jones after being named SCARA Realtor of the Year