This article appears in the October issue of 400 Life.
Meriellen Cole Arenz and Stephanie Cole Patterson made their first appearance as the Cole Team Real Estate in a golf cart.
The mother-daughter duo had recently moved to Forsyth County in the summer of 2003 (to the same Windermere neighborhood as Chris Cole, Stephanie’s brother) and decided to go into real estate together, but they didn’t know anyone. So they borrowed Chris’s golf cart and drove around their new neighborhood, putting flyers in mailboxes.
“We had one lady come out and say, ‘Anybody who works that hard, I want you to list my house,’” Arenz recalls. “And that was our first listing in [Windermere].”
It was far from their last. The Cole Team has been a fixture in Forsyth County for 17 years now, gaining a reputation for their industry knowledge, savvy marketing and involvement in the community. Last year, Patterson and Arenz sold more than 75 homes and became one of the first in Georgia to join Compass, a New York-based real estate technology company.
400 LIFE talked with the duo about mixing work with family, their love of cruises and the state of the Forsyth County real estate market.
How have you been able to make this mother-daughter team work for the last 17 years?
Meriellen: “The very first day, before we even started, we decided to try this, try real estate, but if we ever had a conflict, we would stop. We would just stop the business and be mother-daughter all the time. That’s never really happened, where we fight about business or had a disagreement.”
Stephanie: “I think we’ve been able to keep [work and family] pretty separate.”
What’s one of your craziest experiences in 17 years as a team?
Stephanie: “There have been so many weird things over the 17 years. I remember showing a house once, and they had a pool. All of a sudden, all these people came over and started swimming, and none of them lived there or had anything to do with the pool. I’m like, ‘are they pool hopping?’ That was weird. At least they had their clothes on.”
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Stephanie: “A cruise. We’re going to go on one for fall break. We’ve done that quite a bit because I have a lot of kids, my brother’s got some kids, and my mom and her husband. It’s a really fun, neat vacation for all of us to see a lot of places and not have to make our beds.”
Meriellen: “We’re going to the western Caribbean this time. We sometimes travel in a pack, or like in a herd. We do a lot of things together.”
What’s your favorite food?
Meriellen: “I’m not very fancy. I kind of like burgers or Italian. I’m fine with that.”
Stephanie: “I’m a vegetarian, so I’m probably the weird one. But I love a nice glass of wine.”
What’s the last great television series you watched?
Meriellen: “We just finished ‘Big Little Lies.’ It’s amazing.”
Stephanie: “We watch a lot of the same stuff. What was the other series?”
Meriellen: “Oh, ‘The Outlanders.’ That is amazing.”
Stephanie: “We did watch the one that everybody watched.”
Meriellen: “Oh, ‘Game of Thrones.’”
Stephanie: “Yes, we did watch all of those.”
How are your personalities similar and different?
Meriellen: “I think we both have a great sense of humor. I think we’re a lot alike.”
Stephanie: “And I don’t think either one of us sleeps until we know something is taken care of and [clients] are happy with their situation. I think our differences right now are probably just our stage of life. I have four kids at home. It’s busy when I walk in the door, where mom has a little more free time.”
Meriellen: “That’s true. Kind of been there, done that.”
What’s it like working in real estate in a growing market like Forsyth County?
Stephanie: “I think Forsyth County is a great place to be in real estate. I think every quarter the market’s totally different. Overall, I think the market’s very good. It’s always good for people that take care of their home and price smartly.”
Meriellen: “Those are the ones that go quickly.”