Melanie Bunting-Seymour is the founder and owner of 1702 Real Estate, Mobile’s first HGTV-type real estate boutique. 1702 is a “one-stop shop” that offers sales, renovation, redesign, and staging–all in one place. Melanie is also active in the community, serving on several nonprofit boards and volunteering with animal rescue groups. Originally from York, Pennsylvania, Melanie is proud to call Mobile her home, where she resides with her husband Jon, daughter Lola, and six rescue fur children.
Tell us about your business. Describe what you do to others:
We are more than just realtors. We simplify the home selling and buying process for our clients. Like other realtors, we take our clients from start to finish, from showings to closings. But where we are different is our ability to cater to each client’s specific needs. We help clients envision what they truly wish for and reveal the possibilities for turning a house into their dream home. We also help sellers with repairs and updates to help them prepare their home in order to sell it for the most money possible. We are familiar with repair/renovation costs and what needs to be done and what doesn’t need to be done to sell homes for top dollar. That knowledge simply sets us apart and makes 1702 revolutionary in the real estate business here.
Tell us why you chose your profession, the value it brings to you and/or the community:
I really just fell into it more than I chose it. I couldn’t sell anything at first because I didn’t know anyone here, and I was young. That pushed me into renovating homes, which taught me most of what I use now to make myself more valuable. I was fortunate that I had a talent for all things real estate as well as the drive to help me succeed.
What advice or suggestions can you give to women walking the path of empowerment or struggling with self doubt?
Just do it. Whatever “it” happens to be, and don’t stop. Keep pushing. You can’t win all the time, but even failures are wins in the long run. Don’t listen to anyone doubting you. Kill it with determination and grit.
How important are relationships/networking to your personal and professional life?
Real estate is all about relationships. I’m not a great networker because I have limited time between juggling my home life, kid’s activities, and running the concession stand at the University of Mobile for my husband’s baseball team. What I make sure I do is always go above and beyond for my clients to ensure they find value in my services and want to refer me to others. In my personal life, I need like 8 more hours a day! After the pandemic is over I’m going to host wine nights to get my clients together so they can meet each other. I’m excited about that!
Do you have a mentor? Who are they and how have they helped you?
Barbara Stiell owned the real estate company where I first went to work and took me under her wing as a young agent. She is strong, bold, and kind. She befriends all of her clients but can be a bulldog for them when needed. She passed those traits to me, and I truly believe a lot of my determination and work ethic came from watching her.
“I wish we would stop saying “I’m sorry.” I am the worst at it. Clients hire me because I’m great at what I do, but I still feel the need to apologize after I give them direction. I want direction from professionals I hire and am always open to it, but when it’s my turn for some reason I want to apologize.”
You seem to really love what you do, tell us why:
Honestly, I just love to help. I love to use the talents God has given me to make someone else’s life easier and better. 1702 has allowed me to do that in a way I would have never thought possible. Watching that moment in clients’ eyes, when they realize the weight I can take off their shoulders and take that stress away makes me feel great. My goal is to change clients’ expectations of all of their future real estate transactions, and it is happening.
How do you think professional environments need to change to support and/or be more welcoming to women:
I wish we would stop saying “I’m sorry.” I am the worst at it. Clients hire me because I’m great at what I do, but I still feel the need to apologize after I give them direction. I want direction from professionals I hire and am always open to it, but when it’s my turn for some reason I want to apologize.
What’s the hardest part about being a working mom/wife/single mom?
Lack of time is the hardest thing for me right now. My husband coaches college baseball and is gone much of the time, and then I work a business with no real “business hours.” But we make it work by making the time we do have quality time. My husband and I make sure we’re affectionate in sweet ways; we do a lot of listening without trying to solve each other’s work issues and helping each other where we can. He puts up all my for sale signs, and I run his concession stand, making sure it’s always stocked. We also walk our daughter (and dogs) to school almost every morning together so that’s a nice time we have created.