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A NAGLREP Social Spotlight by Darla Michelsen

Lynn Sheppod is a third generation Los Angeles Realtor following in the footsteps of her grandfather, mother, aunts and uncles. But it wasn’t her family ties that guided Lynn into real estate, but rather her partner Ann convinced her it was a business they could thrive in together.  Lynn and Ann work as a team since 1999 and to this day Lynn jokes that Ann is completely responsible.

A native of Los Angeles, Lynn centers their business where she and Ann have a great deal of history and expertise. Most of their clients have come from referrals that are either past clients or friends and family of past clients.  The LA community trusts her and Ann to take good care of them.

Before starting a career in real estate career, Lynn was a community lobbyist, a small business owner, Executive Director of Coming Out Day, Executive Director at Santa Fe Cares, and a member of the Board of Governors at Human Rights Campaign.  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn and it was great to catch up with her since meeting at the NAGLREP 2015 fall conference in Fort Lauderdale.

Darla Michelsen: What are some of the ways that aquire new clients?
Lynn Shepodd: Well, our office has a terrific floor system where you sign up and people who walk in or call in can become your clients if you are able to develop a relationship and they like you. A lot of offices don’t offer it or they make you pay for it, but at our Sotheby’s office floor duty is a great way to meet people and that’s what our business is about. It puts you in a position to make that first impression and if people trust you, no matter if you are a big shot or a little new shot you are more likely to get their business. Even a small thing like picking up the phone and answering questions creates value for that person and can create business relationships.

DM: What is something unique about your market?
LS: Of importance in the Hollywood and Los Angeles market is that you get more attention and more money for a property that has a celebrity status or an architectural design or designer status. Having a celebrity who has lived in the house is a nice feather in your cap and brings value to the home. Both the media and buyers will pay more attention to the property.

DM: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into Real Estate now?
LS: Don’t stay in a home office when you do not have appointments. Get out and meet people.  Do the things that come natural to you. If you are a volunteer in your community make sure they know you are a realtor.  They will remember to give you referrals.

Also, before I go anywhere socially or otherwise I take time to look up the recent home sales and other information about the area I’ll be in.  Before going to a party I’ll do research on current home sales on the street. People are going to ask me what I do and then the next question they will ask is about the market in that area. It also lets people know you are able to work in other locations other than where your office happens to be. It’s about being of service to people. The public needs care and they need to be able to trust professionals in this business.

People say realtors are in the sales business and I often reflect on how much more is involved.  As a real estate professional, I focus on customer service the most and that is what makes my services so desirable.

DM: What are three things people may not know about you?
LS: I tend to be shy and have spent a great deal of my life overcoming that.  I’m not a fashion plate and it poses a problem here in LA.  I love to look at the bigger picture, and am often curious about how things work.

DM: What are the things you enjoy doing with free time?
LS: I used to be a photographer and still enjoy the hobby.  I also get a kick out of gardening early in the morning while listening to a podcast or getting educated about something. We also have pets and they are magic.

DM: Why do you feel it’s important to be part of NAGLREP?
LS: Well, as a long time LBGT activist, I feel it’s important for the LBGT community to come together to be a part of making sure people know us and choose us. I also think it’s really important for people not to make judgements of who we are no matter what the field.  It also helps to build relationships in other states so I can refer my relocation clients to someone within the LGBT community that will take care of them like family.
One of the great joys of having been an activist and a past Exexutive Director of National Coming Out Day was that I got to meet people from all over and that was so exciting.  Being part of NAGLREP is a natural and allows me to connect with my industry peers.  One of the most enjoyable parts of being a member is attending our fall conference each year and meeting members from all over the country.  Personally getting to know someone who you may refer your clients to is very valuable to me.

DM: I agree, it’s an opportunity to unite with people who share the same passion and cause for what’s right and in the business of Real Estate, that’s important.
LS: That’s right!

DM: What did you enjoy most about the NAGLREP conference last year?
LS: I thought the classes were great! And the speakers were very informative.
I loved meeting people like yourself and hanging out with you for dinner that’s where you get the good conversation. And the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale is beautiful.

DM: Well, I have one more question that came about at our dinner conversation about your father being the actor who was playing the dad on the TV show Lassie. Do you have any memories of that time and did you get to meet Lassie?

LS: It was a fun time and a long time ago, but yes, I think I did meet Lassie, but hanging out on the set I got to be on the show as part of a classroom of children and it was my very first paycheck of $25.

DM: It was a such a nice time last year sharing conversation and dinner with Lynn and look forward to seeing her at the NAGLREP 2016 conference scheduled for October 10-12. Lynn is an outstanding person, a leader, and a firm believer in standing up for what’s right and her life has been a great example.