When veteran realtors Vicky Noufal and Karen Cooper first decided to open Platinum Group Real Estate together, fellow agents warned them against it. Partnerships in real estate tend to go wrong unless the partners are family, they said. Besides, Noufal and Cooper couldn’t be more different. Noufal was born in Lebanon, while Cooper grew up in Lovettsville. Noufal is creative and a dreamer. Cooper is a pragmatic planner.
Cooper and Noufal ignored the advice of their peers. Now, they are the owners of a vibrant, 29-agent team of women who in 2019 have already served 414 families.
“It’s so wonderful to be able to work with a group of other strong women,” Noufal said.
Platinum Group Real Estate, associated with Pearson Smith Realty, runs its office in a unique way. Instead of asking agents to handle all aspects of home buying and selling, the office centralizes marketing so agents can spend their time on client interaction.
Centralized marketing also allows the company to innovate. Platinum uses social media to post video stories about homes on the market, and it sends out monthly postcards to clients with discounts from local businesses.
Noufal and Cooper also place an emphasis on female mentorship and friendship among their agents.
“One of the things we hear a lot is that women in our industry ... feel isolated,” said Cooper, who founded the nonprofit Empowering Women in Real Estate. “Our team is really like a family.”
Platinum holds get-togethers nearly every week, whether team meetings, quarterly reviews, fun outings or an annual three-night retreat.
Cooper and Noufal see Loudoun’s market as being as robust as ever. This spring, they’ve noticed a softening in the market where prices aren’t particularly trending in favor of the buyer or seller. However, there is still a record-low inventory, with some sellers receiving 10 to 15 offers on a house. And because Loudoun is such a prosperous area, homes above the $1 million mark have as good a chance of selling fast as moderately priced homes.
The women recommend that buyers establish a relationship with a lender as soon as possible so they can ascertain their credit, and they recommend that sellers find an agent four to six months before putting a home on the market. Having a strong team on your side is vital to a successful home purchase or sell, they said.
Noufal and Cooper believe their dynamic partnership and friendship has helped them succeed.
“It’s a rare thing to find two people that work together so well, that compliment each other’s strengths,” Cooper said. “We could not be more different in some ways, but where it counts—work ethic, doing the right thing, drive—we’re spot on.”
This story first appeared in the spring 2019 Loudoun Homes & Builder's Showcase.