By Steve Kaufman
The StillerGroup/Schuler Bauer Real Estate Services of New Albany is one of the rising stars in the local real estate market.
Troy Stiller’s adoption of leading-edge technology shows how far the agency will go to streamline the home-buying process for the convenience of its customers. His investment in room-scanning technology could change the way people shop for new homes – in the convenience of their own living rooms, even in the middle of the night.
The technology, a product called 3D Showcase from a California media sciences company called Matterport, creates a virtual tour of a house. By clicking on various points, a user can actually take a walkthrough, seeing the size and adjacencies of the rooms, the floor plan, the traffic flow of the house.
As broker associate Troy Stiller says, “it’s like looking at a dollhouse with the roof off. You can now tour a new home at 3 in the morning, in your pajamas.”
Stiller’s success has been a long-simmering story since he first got into the real estate business in 2007. His story is one of swimming upstream, against all odds. At the time, he was going to business school at Indiana University Southeast, working at UPS as a part-time supervisor and waiting tables at an Outback Steakhouse in Clarksville. He also played guitar on weekends with Red Saturday, a local band.
And he didn’t know what he wanted to do with any of that. “I’d gone to school because that’s what my family had always done and what they expected from me,” he says. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with my business degree. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.”
So why not real estate, a near foolproof business that had always bucked the odds, rising even in bad economic times? Oh, and what’s the date on the calendar? August 2007?
“Yeah,” says Stiller, ruefully, “the market was tanking, we were in the very first part of the decline. But I was just starting, I didn’t know anything about any mortgage meltdown.”
But melting down it was, and Stiller saw his hopes leaking oil. “I remember lying in bed and praying that something would happen,” he recalls. “I’d pray for leads and for guidance. ‘I need for this to work; and if it’s not going to work, I need another direction.’ ”
He did more than pray, however. He handed out business cards to every table he served at Outback. And he cold-called. Really cold!
“I’d sit with a phone book and go right down the list. ‘Are you selling your home? Have you thought of selling your home? It may not be a great time to sell, but it’s a great time to buy. You won’t make what you want on your current home but, if you’re upgrading, you can make it up on the buy side – and at a historically low mortgage rate.’ ”
The hard work worked. “I finally got my first lead, and ended up selling several properties in the last quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008.” In 2008, he ranked 11th on the entire Southern Indiana Board of Realtors, out of about 700 agents.
To what did he attribute his early success? Pure desperation. “I didn’t have any choice. I wasn’t going to let the overall economy control my destiny. I was going to do whatever it took, door-knocking, cold-calling, you name it.”
In 2012, Stiller had grown sufficiently that he made his first hire – Heather Trueblood as his assistant (“I was so busy, I couldn’t do it all by myself”) – and business continued to go up.
Now, he has a staff of six, some agents concentrating on home sellers and some on buyers. He’s posting interactive, 3D images of homes on his company web site.
“Now, I’m building a business,” Stiller says, “I’m not just selling a couple of houses.”
Listing Specialist- The Stiller Group, Schuler Bauer Real Estate
p: 502-736-8670 m: 812-987-6574
a: 4206 Charlestown Rd Ste, New Albany, IN 47150