for Mary F. Rufledt, trust and experience come first
photo by J. Schwartz Photography
For Mary F. Rufledt, nearly 25 years of success in the real estate business comes from planning ahead: She typically buys a yearly planner in the summer and fills it out on Thanksgiving, adding all of her standing appointments for the coming year.
But Rufledt isn’t just a planner. She’s a doer: As broker and owner of Elite Realty Group in Eau Claire, she closes about 250 deals a year, working with all kinds of clients to buy and sell all kinds of property.
Rufledt’s drive for success began in her childhood, when she learned the value of hard work, and was honed in early adulthood during a successful retail career, when she learned how to put in long hours and forge connections with customers. “You don’t do this business for the money,” Rufledt says. “You do it for the people. Money comes when you do the right thing.”
And while she’s earned numerous awards — including her recent induction into the National Realtors Political Action Committee’s Hall of Fame — being in the real estate business isn’t really about the accolades for Rufledt: “I don’t need another plaque on my wall. I just need to be able to stay healthy and be able to help people, and the rest falls in line.”
For Rufledt, staying happy and healthy means taking time to eat right and exercise — workouts are scheduled in her planner, she ran her first marathon at age 40, and at 46 competed in the 2018 Wisconsin Warrior Natural Strength Fitness Show — and advocating for what she believes in: “People need to get back to the basis of what built this country, which was a lot of hard work, and you better thank your lucky stars,” she says. “People before us that have fought to be able to keep our rights that we have.”
This year Rufledt even launched a podcast, titled “That Wisconsin Girl,” where she shares her thoughts about everything from fitness to food to finance. And while you can listen to her on the Internet, Rufledt prefers to do business in person, not online.
“The key component is people,” she says. “Your best deals are one-on-one, face-to-face, putting things together.”
For Rufledt, real estate is about helping people, whether the deal is large or small. “That’s very important because I don’t just stick with one level of society,” she says. “I help everybody” — from those buying a $5,000 lot to those purchasing a $1 million home, from easing the transition for retirees who are downsizing to lending a helping hand to people struggling with financial and personal crises.
Rufledt advises that people looking for a real estate agent to work with should find one who is busy (“They’re very busy for a reason,” she explains), experienced, and trustworthy.
“The first thing is trust,” she says. “You’re not going to just sell something to sell something — that person trusts you. You put yourself in their shoes. They’re going to look for you for every avenue: location, price, the pros and cons between picking one or the other.”
“The key component is people. Your best deals are one-on-one, face-to-face, putting things together.”