Even in her first career field, Cynthia Haskins Hill couldn’t resist real estate.
She owned and ran a medical compliance business called Pathway Consultants LLC that helped physicians’ offices to stay up to speed on the latest compliance and billing regulations.
Although focused on health care, “I had a natural interest in looking at properties,” she acknowledges. Hill at one point put her house on the market, and Elaine Brabham, who now heads her own agency, was her listing agent.
“I was traveling a great deal over the state working with numerous physicians and with high school aged children active in sports. Things were getting very complicated.” Hill says.
The health care veteran weighed her options and chose to change career paths. She shed the compliance business in the 2000s and secured a real estate license, teaming with First Realty of Charleston.
“When I got my license, it was really supposed to be to give out referrals,” she says. Instead, “I jumped right in and took off. Basically, I’ve been going ever since.”
Last summer, Hill joined – coincidentally – Pathway Real Estate Group LLC at 1403 Ashley River Road in Charleston.
Even though they have similar names, the Pathway medical venture isn’t related to the Pathway real estate business, which staffs seven employees and agents.
From the beginning of her real estate career, Hill got involved with volunteer efforts at Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. “This is a good way to support the industry and homeownership,” she says. Hill serves on the association’s legislative and grievance committees.
Then this year, Hill became one of the first 13 graduates of the CTAR Leadership Development Program, a new initiative that the association says provides “those with interest in taking a leadership role in the association and their community and to receive the education and training to enhance and develop their leadership skills.”
Pathway Real Estate broker-in-charge Michael J. Sally serves in a leadership capacity with the association. He recently was named Vice President of Administration of the upcoming 2014 board of directors.
Would Hill want to serve on the CTAR board or in a high post? “Yes, at some point,” she says.
The broker associate counts enough real estate experience to have marketed properties during the superheated housing market pre-2007, the subsequent fall and its recent resurgence.
“What I see now with the market improving, is exciting, and a good thing. Confidence is increasing with buyers and sellers,” Hill says.
At the same time, the industry’s comeback hasn’t been complete. “While sales have grown significantly, prices are not climbing quite as fast,” she says.
“We’re still having challenges with financing. It’s better (but) still a little tough,” she says. Impacting the industry are worries that FHA loans will dry up and the federal flood insurance program will significantly boost premiums.
Hill says despite some pressing times, she’s very confident about the housing industry going forward. “I think the thing that makes me a good real estate agent (is) I care about people’s financial future. Buying and selling homes is one of the biggest decisions (people) make,” she says.
“A lot of agents are known as sellers. I like being an agent known as a helping agent. We still have a lot of people struggling,” she says.
Hill, who grew up in Savannah, moved to the Charleston area in 1979 and attended the College of Charleston to study business and psychology.
Those are two areas “now she’s mixing together,” quips Caroline Koye, who is her assistant at Pathway Real Estate.
Koye periodically writes inspirational messages on an erasable board in Hill’s modestly sized office. One day last week, she penned, “You are a blessing to all who cross your path. Share your gift of knowledge and a calm, kind spirit with those that need your help with their home.”
Notes Hill, “I think you have to have patience.” She says she stays in touch with clients on a regular basis, even when the real estate market struggles and homes languish on the market. “I think we are still experiencing it. That’s one of the biggest challenges,” she says.
Even in adverse times, “I really haven’t” thought about leaving the profession, Hill says. In the mornings, Hill sets aside time to call “for sale by owner” listings and “expires,” shorthand for listings that haven’t sold and have been pulled off the market. Keeping tabs on homeowners lets them know that someone’s out there who wants to market and sell their house, Hill says.
“I think the real estate business is so cyclical. You have to wait it out,” she says.
Hill lives in Stono Ferry in Hollywood with her husband Kin Hill, chief executive officer of Charleston Water System.
The agent’s upbeat, “in the know” personality plays a key role in her success, says Sally, whose office is two doors down. “You know the show, ‘Everybody Loves Raymond?’ Well, everybody loves Cynthia,” he says.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.