Leading Women: Dianne Christian, PMN
Tennessee REALTOR® Builds a Thriving Independent Company
The city of Franklin, TN, about 20 miles south of Nashville, used to be a quiet country town. Indeed, the stores downtown closed on both Wednesdays and Sundays, says Dianne Christian, ABR, CRS, GRI, PMN, a local REALTOR®, broker and a Franklin native.
That changed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, helped in part by the 1990 opening of a General Motors plant in nearby Spring Hill. Between 2000 and 2010, the population jumped by 50 percent, to top 62,000. Since then, it's grown by another 10 percent to about 67,000 people. "It seems that Franklin is now where everyone wants to be," Christian says.
Christian credits the area's character and sought-after school district. A mild climate and a year-round schedule of festivals, such as December's "Dickens of a Christmas," likely help as well.
Christian, who has 29-plus years of experience in the real estate industry, works with her son, Matt Daniel, as Daniel-Christian Real Estate LLC. Together, they've been helping many of Franklin’s residents, both long-time and brand-new, find the homes that best suit them.
"Dianne knows every road, every person in the area," says Laurie Williams, a REALTOR® and team coordinator with Daniel-Christian. This information often is invaluable to new residents who aren't familiar with the town. Christian also remembers clients' families and kids, even long after they've worked together, Williams says.
From Retail to Real Estate
Christian returned to real estate after owning a women's clothing store, also in Franklin, for about a dozen years. While she enjoyed the business, increasing competition made it difficult to make a living.
She decided to obtain her real estate license. Previously, as a student attending Middle Tennessee State University, Christian had enjoyed her summer job providing administrative support to a Nashville real estate company. It seemed only logical to head back to the industry. (Christian later earned her degree from Trevecca College in Nashville.)
In fact, Christian returned to the company she had worked for during her college years, which since had become the first Better Homes & Garden Realty franchise in the country. This time around, Christian remained with the firm for more than 17 years, and loved it.
In 2003, she was offered the opportunity to invest in a Keller Williams franchise located in Franklin, and she jumped at the chance. "I'm from Franklin, a six-generation native, and it is where I have lived my entire life," Christian says. "It's a great place to be."
Christian and her son, along with her husband Mike, who had just retired from a corporate position, opened the Keller Williams office.
They loved the work and remained with the firm until 2012. At that point, it seemed like an opportune time to make a change. "We wanted to be our own, independent company," she says, "to keep it small and be responsible just to ourselves and to our clients."
Since her husband’s retirement in 2014, Christian and her son run the business. With a smaller team, the amount of time spent simply managing people is minimal, Christian says. "We all know how each other thinks and how we'll respond to any situation."
Success As An Independent
To be sure, thriving as an independent isn't easy in most markets these days. Several qualities have helped Daniel-Christian survive. Christian’s ability to connect with people is one. "She's never met a stranger," Williams says.
Attention to detail, a hands-on approach and professionalism also are key. Williams provides an example: during the unseasonably cold weather in January 2015, Christian would drive to clients' homes — some don’t live in the area year-round — to adjust the thermostats to reduce the risk of pipes freezing. "She goes the extra mile," Williams says.
Christian also works with trades people and vendors who are helping to get a house ready for sale. "She's right there, explaining what needs to be done," Williams says.
"I have always looked at real estate as being for the long haul, and not just to make a quick commission," Christian says. "We're building relationships with people who become friends in the process."
"It's who she is: caring and committed," Williams says.
Even when Christian isn't officially on the job, she's dedicated to sustained success of the area in which she lives and works. Among other commitments, she's a member of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, the Downtown Franklin Association and the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
While Daniel-Christian might grow, for the moment, Christian and her team members are enjoying their ability to work closely with clients. "We truly care about them," Christian says.
"This isn't just a job for Dianne," Williams says. "It's her passion."
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