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Lantern Realty lights way for home buying

By Liz Moomey
liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS — Wanting to change their work life, Chris Puckett, Paula Severt and Deana Keziah Petty created Lantern Realty and Development.

With a motto of “Let us guide you home,” the realty company wants to help local residents with their real estate needs while providing a good culture.

“We are like family, and that’s how we treat all of our agents,” Severt said. “This is my extended family. I have a really small family, so I have a large work family. Real estate is a hard business, and we don’t want our firm to be hard.”

Working at different firms, the three formed a relationship talking about investments and flips. One day, the conversation turned to opening their own business.

Puckett said it was time to find a new avenue in real estate after paying high commission fees in 2017.

“In real estate, you have to pay fees to the firm when you sell property, and I paid my former firm tens of thousands of dollars in 2017. And I couldn’t justify that amount in my head,” Puckett said. “And I know Paula and Deana did the same, and we were like, ‘Why don’t we work with each other and form a business where we can make a living and all of our agents can make a good living at something we enjoy?’”

Seven months ago, Puckett, Severt and Petty started working out of two buildings at 812 N Main St. in Kannapolis. It was just the three of them. Now they have 34 agents working at Lantern with plans to add more.

They work with properties in Rowan, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Stanly counties.

Puckett, Severt and Petty have lived in Kannapolis or the Rowan County area since they were kids. Puckett said he has seen Kannapolis go from an exciting community to the downfall of the economy and now to the revitalization of downtown.

“All of use grew up around here, and my parents worked at the mill. So I know what it was when it was wide open and you saw all the activity and the big community it had. And to see it go to nothing was depressing,” he said. “We’ve seen it all.”

To create a good work environment, they offer training and allow the brokers to keep a good chunk of their commissions from sales.

Puckett and Severt serve on the Kannapolis Planning Board, which allows them to have an idea of what locations are up-and-coming.

“We are part of the fabric of the community, being on the planning and zoning board and being connected in Kannapolis and southern Rowan County,” Puckett said. “You know what’s coming, so that’s important to clients for houses in certain spots to know what to anticipate in the future.”

Petty said some homebuyers have an idea what they want, whether it’s investing in the downtown area or needing to upsize for their family. For some, it comes down to the school district.

“There’s some, that’s all that they care about,” Petty said. “It may not check off all their must haves or wants, but school district is everything.”

Being a fair Realtor is important as well, whether it’s helping buyers find good contractors for repair work or sharing that the home is overpriced. Petty said she also has homebuyers consider an unexpected move.

“Whenever you buy a house, you need to think about how easily you can resell this property. Because God forbid you buy a house and you plan on being there for 10 years, but something happens a year or two down the road and you need to resell it,” Petty said. “How easily can you sell it if it’s not in that school district, if it’s not in an area that everyone is looking? It may not be easy.”

Making the homebuyer feel at ease is essential at Lantern Realty.

“Our feeling is real estate is a relationship-based business,” Puckett said. “It doesn’t matter about technology or your website or your apps you have. It’s about sitting across the table and making the other person feel comfortable.”

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