04/15/05 — Judith McMillen, Realtor of Year, finds joy in serving profession, community

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Judith McMillen, Realtor of Year, finds joy in serving profession, community

By Renee Carey
Published in News on April 15, 2005 1:49 PM

Wayne County 2005 Realtor of the Year Judith McMillen considers her honor not so much an acknowledgement of her personal accomplishments, but a tribute to a profession she loves.

"The general public does not realize you can sell real estate without being a Realtor," she said.

What separates a real estate agent from a Realtor is a code, Mrs. McMillen said.

"A Realtor has a code of ethics that is a legal interpretation of the Golden Rule," she said.

Chief among that code's tenets are service and integrity, principles Mrs. McMillen and her staff at The McMiillen Real Estate Group strive to embody every day.

"I have the best team of people," she said. "We have been together for a long time. Because we spend so much time in the office, we have become a family."

McMillen staff members include broker associates Edith Harper, David Mercer, Hugh Creech and Paige Nunn. Sue Howell handles closings in addition to her broker associate duties, while Teresa Gates takes care of advertising needs. Linda Richardson is the group's listing coordinator, while Mary Ann George handles client care needs. Katie Church is the resident computer expert and receptionist.

Such a strong team is what makes her job easy, Mrs. McMillen said.

Helping families not only find the right homes but transition into their new communities requires more than just a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, Mrs. McMillen said.

Making sure utilities are functional, appliances are ready to go, and even assisting with school registration are just some of the work McMillen staff members do before the families arrive in their new homes.

That means more than simply getting papers ready for closing. Sometimes that work requires long hours and meals at the office.

"We are building a kitchen, and I'm having a patio poured behind the building so David can cook for us," Mrs. McMillen said.

That same family care is also offered to clients, she said.

Mrs. McMillen remembers what it was like to come to a new community, so she and her staff make that move as comfortable as possible.

In the office is a playroom for clients who might have children who need a place to play while their parents look for their new home.

"We even have juice boxes and snacks," she said.

Mrs. McMillen started working as a Realtor in 1987 after taking a class to learn more about North Carolina landlord-tenant law.

Next thing she knew, she had a new career.

"I believed all the people who said you could just do real estate partime," she said.

Meeting new people is one of her favorite parts of her job. And, in addition to finding new friends, she has found a new hometown, too.

"When I was thinking of moving here, I was taken to a party at the Walnut Creek Country Club," she said. "Many of the people I met were retired military families who had lived all over the world but chose to retire in Goldsboro."

Her job allows her to be an "ambassador" for the community she loves, she said.

"My family is in Goldsboro because of real estate," she said. "My sister and her husband came down to spend the weekend and I convinced her to buy a house."

While Sandy and Jerry Thompson's new house was being built, Mrs. McMillen talked the builder into including a mini-apartment into the plans.

That became Mrs. McMillen's mother, Leeta McMillen's, new home.

A cancer survivor, Mrs. McMillen said the community has rallied around her and her family through some tough times. While she was being treated, strangers and friends offered rides to the hospital for her family and provided meals.

"This is a great community," she said. "It is an honor, and responsibility, to be its ambassador."

This is the 39th year The Goldsboro News-Argus has hosted the Realtor of the Year Banquet.