Kellee Spillman-Malone, Broker, (951) 696-9090 | 28693 Old Town Front St., Suite 300, Temecula CA 92590

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The key to winning in life is to GIVE

The key to winning in life is to GIVE

February 10, 2014

Spillman_Kellee-065My Story
by Kellee Spillman

Some could say I’m just a small town girl who just made a lot of good choices along the way to her success, however I would say they are wrong. I’ve been blessed along the way by SO many people! I will say the key to winning in life is to GIVE. You can never go wrong giving to people as long as it is for the right reasons. You never know who you will touch or the major influence you could have over someone’s life. You never know what you will add!
My story is about not just about me but the great people I met along the way who gave to me in different ways to mold and shape who I am today. This has everything to do with my success!!! Whether it was skills, advice, time invested into my life, words of encouragement or most importantly, belief in me! These have all been gifts to my life in one way or another.

Growing up
I grew up in Hemet, California “home of the newlywed and nearly dead” or at least it used to be. Forty years ago it was a simple town like “Mayberry”. I was raised by a single mom from the time I was nine years old. My mom had been out of the workplace for a long time, and when herself and my dad divorced, she had to start all over. Her first job back was working for a retail Window Shade Company. She actually glued the trim on the scallops of window shades as her first job back to the workforce after nine years. Prior to that she had worked in the nursing field. I watched my mom work at that job day-in, day-out never complaining, and always grateful to have a job while being promoted over and over. The little shade shop known as Sun Control Shade Company, in Hemet, California eventually became a large wholesale window covering company called NS Industries. This company sold all types of hard window coverings throughout the entire state of California. The three man little shade shop became a 125-man show as the company grew. My mom, Lupe Overton, grew with it – eventually becoming the overseer/ office manager for this successful growing operation.
Big Influence of my life
As I started junior high school, I was ready to start working. I made blinds every day after school to save for my first car. When I was in high school, I learned computers and was able to work doing data entry at the blind company. My mom made sure I kept busy with work and many outside activities, and sacrificed a lot to keep up with all of the expenses associated with the activities I enjoyed. Eventually I graduated high school and moved to Upland to live with my dad while attending school at Cal State, Fullerton. Soon after, I went back to work for NS Industries, only, at this point, as an outside Sales Representative in Orange County. The owners of NS Industries, Dawn and Pat Ennes would eventually become amongst the group of the most influential people in my life to this day. They had high very expectations and yet always showed me they believed in me! It was the BEST feeling ever! I watched them take a small shade shop and grow it with hard work, determination, perseverance, integrity, and “yes”- power and innovation! They were the best bosses I ever had and I am grateful to this day for their example!

My Sales Career

Each day I convinced designers, decorators, homebuilders, and Home Building Centers as to why they needed to order their custom hard window coverings through NS Industries. I called on about 8-10 clients per day per city. My very first sales manager was Bill Havens. I still consider him the best sales manager I have ever had… rest his soul. I shall never in my life forget him as he taught me simple but extremely valuable sales skills. Bill had many little sayings that were solid sales truths that still play in my head to this day! He took the art of selling very seriously. He would go out on sales calls with me and analyze my every move from body language to eye contact to the inflection in my voice! This was all over and above my “spiel” as he called it. He would grade me on how well I did, and provide me with constructive criticism after each call. This man invested a ton of time and energy making sure I took selling seriously. When I would solidify a new account, I couldn’t wait to share with him. At the age of eighteen, I was earning a great salary, had a company car and had an excellent commission package, so I stopped going to college and focused on my sales career.
Transition to Real Estate
At nineteen, I was married and by twenty one I had my first born, Tyler. By twenty five, I had my daughter Khylee. At the age of twenty-six, I was still selling blinds as a wholesale blind rep but now I worked for a National Company. The recession had hit and the smaller operations like NS Industries didn’t survive. There came a point where I decided – since my children were getting older – I didn’t want to be so far away from them during the day. My territory kept growing and my drive was getting longer and longer. At the beginning of my sales career, I covered one county, then I covered three counties, and eventually was responsible for the entire state of California. The blind business was competitive and the sales people were stretched thin. I realized this was not good for my family, so I decided to apply at a local title company for a job as a sales representative at the excellent advice of my friend Heather Jensen, so I could work in a smaller territory closer to home. This transition began my career in Real Estate.

Trial by fire!

I worked for Orange Coast Title as an outside Sales Rep for five years and loved it. My territory was Riverside then Moreno Valley, CA. I called on twenty to twenty-five Real Estate offices daily. My focus was to gain market share by getting new clients (agents) to use OCT as their title company! The market was tough at this point in 1993, and eventually Moreno Valley saw a 70% foreclosure rate. The recession was in full force and the housing market was suffering terribly. Nevertheless, I still had to make a living and was commission-motivated. By year 5 at Orange Coast Title, I was awarded Sales Person of the Year. Once I received my plaque, pen and check for $250.00 I decided to move on. 80% of the agents I was calling on had zero sales skills and were making good income. At this point I stepped out of my comfort zone, obtained my Real Estate license and worked as a Manager at Home Life Real Estate in Moreno Valley, CA. A gentleman by the name of Mando Hernandez believed I had the ability to manage a Real Estate office. I don’t know what I was thinking accepting a job as a manager when I had never even had my Real Estate license before. Talk about trial by fire!! After all, I was managing Real Estate agents who had been in Real Estate a long time. Who was I to think I could offer them anything?? They were not too excited, let alone cooperative. Well, I tell you… my sales skills really came in handy here. You see, when I took over managing this office, the office had been performing poorly. In fact it was deep in the red. I took over and turned it around in a little over a year – teaching ‘sales skills 101’ to agents who desperately needed self-discipline! And although I had no Real Estate experience, I had excellent tried and true sales experience, and was able to give the agents the tools I learned along the way!! It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, but ONE of the best as I look back. I am grateful to Mando for seeing in me what I could not see in myself at the time, and taking a risk and providing me that opportunity! Eventually my family moved to Canyon Lake and I went to work for a Real Estate office in Temecula and added loans to my repertoire while practicing Real Estate.

Great Career Move

In 2000, I was offered a job managing an office in Temecula called Reliable Realty Inc. The company had no agents and sat dormant for a year, so the Loan Company, owned by two men, were on the lookout for someone to run it and handle the leads they provided. Eventually, I became very busy and had to hire agents to help with leads. We went from one to five agents in about a year’s time. We moved from a cubicle in a professional office building to an actual office in Murrieta within a year. Our office continued to thrive, and in 2004 we closed 99 deals. I recruited agents and worked on my own Real Estate business at the same time. I was a working broker, which is often frowned upon. However, I was always was taught it is better to lead by example! On a side note, I decided to go back to college and finish my bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the strong suggestion of my dad, Hal Overton. My dad is a STRONG advocate of learning and higher education and beyond. After all, he attained his Real Estate license at the age of seventy three!

A Beautiful Partnership!

In 2005, I was afforded an opportunity to buy out one of the partners – which I took. I now owned 49% interest in Reliable Realty. In 2005, our little office sold 160 homes! In 2006 the market slowed and I started Reliable Realty Property Management. I had done research regarding Property Management as part of my school project and learned it was a necessary evil for Real Estate. By the way, I finally graduated from University of Redlands in 2007 just before turning 40! My Bachelor degree in business was a bit painstaking while running a business and having a family, but worth it!

The name of the game- REO

In 2006 as the housing market crashed I learned everything I could learn about bank-owned properties and began listing and selling REO’s (bank owned listings). I attended REOMAC – a conference in Palm Desert. At this point, I learned you had to spend money to make money. The conference set me back $1,200.00, which was a lot at that time when sales were slow. However, I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful lady who became one of my very good friends. Her name was Leanne Walker. She had been listing and selling bank-owned properties in Denver for sometime and agreed to train me and introduce me to her contacts. What a God Send!! At one point with the help of my now best friend and agent Naomi Putney, I personally had 176 active REO listings at one time. I went to every Bank-Owned conference I could attend – one year I attended 12 conferences! I made every contact I could, and joined every organization I could while prospecting banks and asset management companies. I was building my personal team of people and building my office business at the same time. In 2008 and 2009, our office closed nearly 400 escrows!

My Boutique Real Estate Office

In 2009, I bought my partner out of Reliable Realty and became sole owner. Our extraordinary little boutique firm made up of about twenty five agents moved to an amazing office in Old Town Temecula. We have not only continued to survive but have thrived in every market!
In 2008, I was invited to be the VP of Corporate Affairs for NAHREP Inland Empire. Over time, I have been asked to be on the Advisory Board at MSJC. I have sat on numerous committees, and served as moderator and speaker on numerous occasions at Real Estate Conferences abroad.

Lessons Learned

I have learned a lot of life lessons along the way. Valuable life lessons. Hard work and determination are all good, but it is the heart to give and help others which is the most important. All the people who helped me along the way get to where I am, I owe! My mom taught me to always look for how to be a blessing to others. My dad has taught me to stretch myself to the point of pain and never stop learning or growing as person! My kids have taught me humility! My friends have taught me that the richness of life has to do with what is free! I aspire to be successful, not for me, but for all whom I can touch and bless. I have learned if I follow my passion, the money will follow. Work hard, take chances, achieve goals, extend happiness to others. The ultimate key to my success has been giving back! It is my intention to give to others any way I can – including supporting our local charities.