If you’ve ever watched morning television, a few things stand out about the female co-hosts: vivacious energy, strong eye contact and a girl-next-door ability to relate.
Above all, these women have a way of connecting with viewers because they are able to express genuine interest in the everyday person.
Self-made real estate business owner and television host Terry Haas, who lives on Daniel Island, has those qualities. Haas says it was her openness and ability to be herself that helped her land a job as co-host of HGTV’s “Designed to Sell,” where she’s involved in preparing homes to be put on the market.
Part of Haas’ appeal is her unpredictable nature, which came out when she was asked in an interview how her father influenced her career.
“Dad’s the best sales person I’ve ever seen,” Haas says. “I don’t know how my mother puts up with him. He pushed us to be leaders. He was a salesman for materials used to build bridges and roadways, but it didn’t matter, he could’ve sold toilet paper.”
Groomed by her parents who valued hard work and taking initiative, Haas knew she wanted to be a leader in her own right.
Haas worked in a maternity home, caring for and guiding teenage mothers. She says she enjoyed her work, but the job took its toll emotionally. She wanted a change.
It was then that Haas read a newspaper ad seeking real estate leasing help. She did not hesitate. Her response, to seek the job, was a breakthrough. It was then she found her love of real estate, mainly for helping others. Although, she says she needed a little gentle direction from her then-boss who inspired her to dream bigger when it came to her career.
Haas was leasing real estate for Crescent Heights in the Washington, D.C., area when her boss suggested she sell real estate instead.
“I loved working with first time homebuyers. I’m too honest for my own good, but I knew I could take care of my customers,” Haas says.
While living in Washington selling real estate, she met her husband Tim Haas. They both decided that since she had just made a career leap, they were ready for a change in location as well. The couple took a trip to Savannah, Ga.; Hilton Head Island; and Charleston, but were sold on the Holy City after spending eight hours in town.
The couple made $100 on their home and split the profit, she says, noting that she bought shoes with her half.
Going on camera
Her brother, Shane Tallent, was the catalyst of her next career move. Tallent informed his sister she had an interview to be his co-host on HGTV’s “Designed to Sell,” but landing the job was not so easy.
“I interviewed against 90 other people. I was mouthy, I was bossy. I’m not an actress, it just came out that way,” Haas says.
Producers wanted to stop Haas from interviewing, as they did not approve of a brother-and-sister-hosting duo but reconsidered when they realized Haas got on a list of candidates out of her own merit, not her brother’s recommendation, she says.
Haas finds it amusing that most viewers do not know that she and Tallent are siblings, though their identical baby blue eyes clue viewers in.
Because “Designed to Sell” is filmed in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and the co-hosts live elsewhere — Haas in Charleston and Tallent in Nashville — they are on the road often.
When not filming, Haas speaks at home shows across the country, where she meets fans and answers real estate questions. The travel, however, doesn’t lessen Haas’ passion for her job, it deepens it, she says.
“I love to squawk at 300 people. It’s a great stepping stone to get to do what I love, helping people with real estate, and it doesn’t make me nervous to work without a contract,” Haas says.
Haas leans toward the small, two-top table where she is sitting, baby blues steady and vivacious energy downshifted, to explain how she feels about her responsibility as a television host.
“When people stop me in the airport, when I’m recognized, and people take time out of their day to say hello and ask for my autograph, I’m so grateful for that. People are very good to me and it’s my job to be good back. I have an obligation to be honest and ethical because I’m in the public eye,” she says.
It is Haas’ sense of obligation to do right by others that fuels her other business as part owner in a realty group.
Haas, her husband and friends Jim and Julie Chalupsky started Daniel Island-based River Landing Realty Group, which can be found online at www.riverlandingrealty.com. They started the business after Haas met Julie Chalupsky in a Kindermusik class on Daniel Island, she says.
Haas explains the two-fold concept behind River Landing Realty. It thrives by agreeing that four real estate professionals work for the price of one and by acknowledging and working under the belief that to succeed in today’s real estate market, you have to be creative.
“A traditional real estate service doesn’t work today because the real estate market is in the tank, so if you’re going to stick signs in the yard, you better use social media, such as Facebook, too. If you continue to do things the same way, you’ll get the same results,” Haas says.
Modern-day thinking drives her real estate business, but when it comes to what she finds most rewarding about her dual real estate jobs, she is as traditional as they come.
Haas says she values and takes seriously her position as a role model for prospective buyers and sellers. Beyond being viewed as a person for real estate guidance, Haas says she revels in the fact that she controls her own destiny, whether success or failure.
Her desire for independence is part of the reason why she made a special request to producers of “Designed to Sell” about filming.
“I asked not to have a script because I’m not an actress. It has to be me or it’s not real. I don’t see the house before the cameras are rolling,” Haas says.
Haas’ success grew from the ground up, beginning by leasing properties to hosting a national television show and co-owning a real estate business. It is this awareness that keeps her centered today.
According to Haas, there is nothing more important than being authentic to herself and her clients — not because it is a smart business move, but because that is who she is.
“I’d like to be known as the real estate person that people can trust and to provide good service and to have a completely referral-based business and to maintain my quality of life,” she says.
For more information, visit Haas’ website at www.terryhaas.com.
Victoria Hiles is a freelance writer who resides in Charleston.