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Name: Belinda Thomas

Family: Spouse, Charles “Charly” Elkins, and rescue cat, aptly named Opie.

Years in the Golden Isles: I have lived in the Golden Isles for a total of 46 years. I moved here after high school graduation from Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Occupation: Full-time real estate broker. I obtained my salesperson license in 1981, later received my broker’s license and I opened my own real estate firm in 2005, Belinda Thomas Realty. Our quality professional network serves all areas of the Golden Isles.

Favorite spots in the Golden Isles: I love just about anywhere outside in the Golden Isles. I especially love the beaches here. Nothing beats the feeling you get at our many spectacular beaches of the Golden Isles.

What is some advice you give to newcomers looking to move to the Golden Isles? Newcomers must spend time visiting and exploring the island – decide what area you love the most – north end, mid-north, mid-south or southend. Determine what your real estate goals are – find a permanent home, a second home, perhaps an investment property? Perhaps a second home that will later become your “forever” home? Then we find what will fit the budget.

What do you think are some important skills to be a successful real estate agent in the Golden Isles? A successful real estate agent should possess dynamic marketing abilities, an extensive network with buyers and sellers, as well as a network of lenders, home inspectors and local vendors and contractors. This is especially important for my clients who are new to the Golden Isles. Being a 46-plus year island “native” gives my clients confidence and peace of mind when I refer or recommend them to someone. That old cliché, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” is very true in this regard. Relentless energy, and strong working relationships with the other real estate agents are also “must haves.” One must be a “people person” and a good listener. Must also be able and willing to “think outside the box” in order to offer suggestions and different options that your client may not have considered. Additionally, a successful real estate agent must be able to empathize with her clients and anticipate their concerns and offer solutions.

What are goals you have set for 2022? To continue to build strong relationships with my past clients/customers and meet new prospective buyers and sellers and build those relationships so that my business may continue to thrive. I also have a new agent with me. Her name is Jacquie Wheeler. I would love nothing more than to help her build her business and watch her make her clients’ home buying and home selling dreams come true!

Favorite things to do in your free time: Bike ride – my dear husband bought me an electric bike last month for my birthday so I am having a blast with it! I haven’t ridden it from the north end to the south end of the island, yet, but it’s on my list! I also love to workout on my home Tempo machine and sail on my husband’s 36-foot catamaran with family and friends. Traveling is also on my agenda, but I have to put it on the back burner for now. The real estate market is so busy during these times. There will be time for traveling next year, perhaps. Also, I love to continue to learn and I do that by taking real estate continuing ed classes when I have free time!