Shauna Graves is In the Business of Creating Smiles!
Written by Heather Pluard
Photos by Kelly Klemmensen
Real estate is often described as a ruthless world, but REALTOR® Shauna Graves is in the business of creating smiles. In fact, her daily motto is “Smile more today than I did yesterday.” Upon reaching a milestone of $100 million in total career sales last year and the purchase of her first NextHome franchise located in Concord, NC, Shauna has a lot to be happy about. At the center of this native North Carolinian’s success lies a deep commitment to her community and a strong desire to positively impact others.
“The housing affordability gap is really concerning here in Charlotte,” Shauna says. “I work to help reduce it in several different ways. I lost both of my parents when I was young, so I think about my legacy often. I’m always asking myself, ‘How can I make a difference?’ I’ve found community service to be the answer.”
After a successful career as a pharmaceutical sales representative, Shauna left the corporate world in 2010 and has never looked back. As a licensed REALTOR® since 2006, Shauna enjoyed the flexibility that a career in real estate allowed while raising her then two young children, Olivia (14) and Noah (12). “My husband, Ray, was very supportive, and I was able to enjoy my time with my kids while they were little,” she says. “I started my real estate career at Rayford Smith Realty, a small boutique firm full of wonderful people. Once my son, Noah, started Kindergarten, I was ready to take my career to the next level and practice real estate full time.”
In 2012, Shauna joined Keller Williams as a full-time agent and tripled her business. She also realized her passion for training and helping other agents grow their businesses. In 2015, Shauna launched her team, Graves Realty Group, with herself and an administrative assistant. The team’s philosophy is “Commitment Beyond Sold.” They stay in relationships with their clients beyond the transaction, which explains why 75-85% of their business comes from their “forever clients” or client referrals each year. Shauna’s husband, Ray, left his corporate career in pharmaceutical sales in 2017 to join Shauna’s team. Last year, the power-couple purchased a franchise and opened NextHome Allegiance, rolling Graves Realty Group under their new umbrella. They held their grand opening in November of 2020. Ray serves as the Director of Operations and Shauna is the Broker in Charge. Together, they’ve built a brokerage where teams are supported, agents are trained, and encouraged to grow their business while also serving their communities. Currently, the firm is home to four stellar agents who all pride themselves in offering unparalleled service to their clients and are passionate about serving in the community.
“We believe in ‘Humans over Houses,'” Shauna explains. “At NextHome Allegiance, our focus is on the client, not just the transaction. We provide all the tools, systems, and resources that agents need, and we’re committed to a culture of supportiveness. We are all here to help one another. It’s the best of both the boutique and big-name brokerage models, with competitive compensation on top of it all. But what really drew us to NextHome is the organization’s professional branding, streamlined approach to marketing, and the strong commitment to community service.”
The Graves have a long history of giving back to the Charlotte community. “It’s at the heart of everything we do,” Shauna says. “Last year, we tried something new and set aside a portion of each closing to donate to Habitat for Humanity. We presented them with a check for $10,000 at the end of the year, which will buy the blueprint for the next home they build. We hope to do it again this year as a team. Imagine how we can start closing the affordability gap if all of us worked together. I purchased my first home when I was 21-years-old because I understood that homeownership could increase wealth. I want to help others have the same opportunity.”
Clients like to help, too! “Our clients love to set aside household furnishings, clothing, and decor for our annual ‘Christmas in July’ drive supporting the Salvation Army,” Shauna says. “We coordinate the pick-up routes and ride behind the trucks. It’s a great client touch, and they look forward to it every year. We also like hosting book drives through Julia’s Cafe to support Habitat for Humanity and winter clothing drives for Dove’s Nest and the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. If we could get more people doing these sorts of things, imagine the impact.”
When Shauna has time for herself, she enjoys snuggling with her mini Bernedoodle, “Roskey,” riding her Peloton, working in the garden, and traveling with her family. “Outside of my kids and their activities, real estate is my life,” she says. “I enjoy it so much! If you come from a place of contribution and bring happiness to others, you’ll be successful, and you won’t ever have to pay for an online lead. It’s like Dr. Maya Angelou said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I go throughout my day trying to evoke a positive feeling in others, and it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling when I can make them smile.”