2015 Woman of the Year: Patti Jennings

Patti Jennings, owner of Norman Realtors in Bartlett, was named the 2015 Woman of the Year. Photo by Vicki Clark.
Patti Jennings, owner of Norman Realtors in Bartlett, was named the 2015 Woman of the Year. Photo by Vicki Clark.

Originally from Memphis, Patti Jennings had made Bartlett home since the mid ’80s. Her passion for real estate work has helped to make Bartlett and the Mid-South in general a good home for many other families too over the past 32 years.

Jennings owns Norman Realtors in Bartlett, and she buys, sells and manages properties for her clients. Her prominence and contributions to the community earned her the title of 2015 Woman of the Year, as voted by Bartlett Express readers.

She attended St. Agnes Academy for 10 years and graduated from Elliston Baptist Academy, both in Memphis, but she didn’t have her heart set on a particular career until her father suggested real estate.

Jennings loved it from the start. She began work at a Century 21 office and came to Norman Realtors in 1998. She made partner with Jim Norman around 2000. Twelve years later when he decided to slow down a little, he sold the company to her.

So what does it take to be a good Realtor?

Jennings had an immediate answer: “Sell for the career, not the commission.”

That means to have long vision about working with current customers and their future generations. “I like family real estate. The mothers, the grandparents, the kids — that’s what I like.”

Generational sales in residential real estate are her main business, she said.

Jennings said she “never meets a stranger” and enjoys interacting with families and helping them find homes. The hours can be long, but she got good advice early on to help her with work-life balance.

“I remember Jim — Jim Norman — telling me, ‘You finally just have to go home for the day, because you’re never finished,” she said with a laugh.

When the market crashed in 2008, she felt the financial pinch as others did, but diversification in other business interests kept her funds flowing until the market rebounded in 2013.

Over the years, she has owned rental properties and business interests with her sister, including the Four-Way Exxon, the Quail Ridge Amoco gas station and even a package liquor store in Memphis.

“Not many people made it through — a lot of people retired their licenses,” she said. “But I chugged on through it, and it’s paid off.”

She is seeing a healthy housing market in Bartlett now, with the new municipal school district and other attractions the city has to offer. In fact, the city is popular enough these days that inventory is short.

“More people want to move here, and people don’t want to leave,” she said.

She said one of Bartlett’s shining qualities for her is that old-fashioned sense of security, where parents feel safe in letting their kids meet up with their buddies, hang out in the neighborhood and stay out past dark. The regular police patrols through Bartlett’s residential areas give her a strong sense of safety too.

Personal life

Bartlett’s safety, a solid career in real estate and diversified business interests have enabled Jennings to make a good life for herself and her four sons. She has enjoyed being a sports mom and particularly enjoys relaxing with her family at her house on Pickwick Lake. They enjoy boating and skiing in warmer weather and just hanging out at the lake year-round.

Her sons are Michael, 27, a urologist doing his second year of residency in Knoxville; Joe, 26, a paramedic/fireman with the Germantown Fire Department; Jonny, 21, who’s considering a career with the Coast Guard; and Josh, 14, who just started his ninth grade at Christian Brothers and who’s planning on entering the field of medicine just like his oldest brother.

For others who may be considering a career of their own in real estate, Jennings had a few words of advice. Be nice, and hold your temper to avoid regrets. And commit to your work if you’re really serious about it.

“The real estate business, you have to just go in full blast – give it your all,” she said. “You can’t do it full time and be successful.”

Part-timers will make sales, but you can’t make a career that way, she said. “The same way with opening a business. Because you know, we’ve done several businesses, and you’ve got to go in full blast and be ready the day you start.”

Jennings can be reached at (901) 382-8282 and via email to normanrealtors@yahoo.com.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to bartlett.editor@journalinc.com.