SHELDON—Bailey Elgersma was born to sell.
When she attended class in the Sheldon School District, she would always dominate during the magazine sale fundraisers, even earning a coveted limousine ride to Pizza Ranch.
So becoming a real estate agent almost seemed prophetic the 2017 Sheldon High School graduate.
“My dad always says, ‘If you can sell magazines, you can sell houses,’” Bailey said.
Her dad is real estate agent Corey Elgersma of ISB Services, which is housed in the Sheldon branch of Iowa State Bank. The agency is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
“I would tell Dad, ‘I’m going to sell some magazines,’ and I would walk to the other side of town sweating because it was so hot outside and just beg for them to buy magazines,” Bailey said.
Bailey didn’t just stop there. Corey said she would ask to see the phone of Teri Elgersma — his wife and her stepmother — and ask which people she could call and sell to.
“Some of these people are in different countries — my wife was a missionary for a while,” Corey said. “She would just call them up, ‘Hey, this is Bailey Elgersma’ — like they know who she was — ‘Would you like to buy a magazine?’ and she just sold magazines.”
Now 20, Bailey has taken her salesmanship up a notch and joined Corey at ISB on June 4. Besides her natural sales ability, she loves houses and interior design so it made sense for her to join the family business.
“It’s great; I love it,” Bailey said of working with her father, whose office is right across the hall from hers. “He’s like my best friend so being able to work with him and learn with him is a cool experience.”
Bailey already had a taste of what it was like to work with her father when she interned with him as a high school student.
“He’s an expert at it; learn from the best,” she said.
As Corey’s intern, Bailey would focus on looking at houses and was able to avoid the paperwork side of things. As a newly licensed real estate professional, she has had to learn that side of the business as well as other potential questions a buyer might ask.
“There’s so many different things about a house people don’t think about,” Bailey said. “Everyone is different. Some people ask all those questions about how old the water softener is or water heater and some people are just like, ‘Yup, looks good to me.’”
Having his daughter join him in the industry is rewarding for Corey, who started in real estate seven years ago after working at Pella Corp. in Sioux Center for 14 years.
The 42-year-old loved his job there — he still has the occasional nightmare that he quit Pella and then wakes up to realize he did quit — but decided it was time for a change.
“I had not had a lot of experience buying and selling houses, but I had gone through the process three times sort of recently — sold a house, bought a house, sold a house — and it was when we were doing that, that it really got me interested,” Corey said.
Besides those experiences, Corey also knew there was an opportunity to grow as an agent in Sheldon. Almost a decade into his own career in real estate, Corey’s favorite thing remains working with people.
“My favorite people to work with are first-time homebuyers,” he said. “They are the hardest work, the most time-consuming and the trickiest, sometimes, to get in a home, but they end up being the happiest and that is very, very satisfying to get first-time homebuyers in a home. It’s the American dream to own a home.”
While Corey was studying to get his business degree from Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Bailey and her two sisters — she’s the middle child — saw him studying and doing homework after working during the day. He thinks those moments left an impression on them.
“I did online speech classes and stuff, so they’d sit there and I’d give my speeches to my kids and they saw me go through the real estate study, the 60-hour course and all the continuing education and stuff,” Corey said.
“They were old enough to see and know what was going on. She saw it done, so she knew she could do it so it didn’t surprise me that she wanted to get involved.”
Corey has no doubt that Bailey has what it takes to make it in real estate.
“She’s so motivated; Bailey is driven,” Corey said. “She finished her college career — got a two-year business management degree in a little over a year and a half — and it’s just no surprise that she was going to get after it and get to work. She’s a hard worker; great work ethic.”
Besides the influence of her dad, Bailey also was motivated by some naysayers — including some family members — who did not think she could work in real estate because she is a woman.
“I used to work at the nursing home and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do and I was thinking real estate,” she said.
“They were like ‘Are you sure you want to do that? You’re a girl, you shouldn’t do it.’ So I was like, ‘I’ll prove you wrong.’”