About Courtney Gentry

Background

I went to the University of Oklahoma to pursue a degree in journalism/public relations. Little did I know that I would meet my future husband while in college! He had recently moved to Norman and had just begun flipping properties – I had NO clue what that meant. I barely knew anything about real estate. I thought he was crazy for wanting to risk everything as he did start with nearly nothing. We ended up getting married, and I graduated with my journalism degree a year later.

I was an intern at OPUBCO and was in the process of applying at several places for a job. During this time frame, my husband was starting to build his real estate flipping business with his family. I had started tagging along with them at some jobs and fell in love with flipping. We would purchase distressed properties and transform them into beautiful homes. Some we kept as rentals.

I learned to get my hands dirty quickly – painting, installing tile, doing mud work…you name it! I did it all. The workers at Lowe’s knew us by name for a long time. When my husband was starting to sell more properties, he was telling me how much money he’d save if I became licensed. When I was applying for jobs, he asked me what I thought about working for the family business full time. I quickly said yes! The idea of working with the family business and flexibility of schedule did sound so much better than an 8 to 5 desk job!

I decided to become a licensed agent so I could sell my husband’s properties. Several years later, I got my broker’s license. I believe I was the first deaf person to become a licensed agent in the state of Oklahoma. It’s been a whirlwind since then…flipping hundreds of properties, acquiring lots of rentals, several apartments. We absolutely love what we do!

Occasionally, I do help a few others buy and sell their properties. I have helped several deaf clients throughout my career and still will when I’m not too busy with our four kids and expanding our real estate business!

Working with Deaf Clients

I helped a single deaf mother sell her home in Midwest City a few months ago. She was referred to me by a co-worker. We met for the first time when I came to look at her home for consulting. I was able to sell her house quickly and she appreciated being able to communicate easily with me. Right now I’m helping a deaf teacher find her home as she’s relocating. I get the occasional deaf seller/buyer every few months. I don’t aggressively market to them – all word of mouth referrals!

Deaf clients work with me because of clear communication and the explanations I provide on the processes. I often have to explain to them some real estate jargon. I act as an intermediary between them and the lender/title company. Sometimes communication barriers are difficult to break through when the deaf client has limited written skills, which is often the case. I act as their interpreter with the professionals to avoid misinformation or misunderstandings. My husband used to be a sign language interpreter, so he will lend his expertise on houses when we show properties.  He also helps when an interpreter is needed to accompany at inspections, for example.

Recommended Home Modifications

These are some accommodating devices deaf people (myself included) can use around the home:
  • Bed shaker + alarm 
  • Baby monitor + alarm
  • Devices to connect lamps/lights to flash when doorbell rings/baby cries 
These are not required to be installed by the seller or builder but may be asked for. A lot of times the equipment can be obtained for free by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).
 
In the past, I’ve seen free smoke detector alarms with flashers available through programs like OSU-OKC’s Oklahoma ABLE Tech department. I believe they receive FEMA grants for the equipment then have somebody install them. 
 
I personally use my Apple Watch’s vibration feature as my alarm to wake me up. Technology has helped deaf people in huge ways – doorbells with cameras to notify us if somebody is there. Some deaf people have hearing guide dogs. 
 
We also use a videophone to communicate with others thru the phone on our computer or mobile devices. It is much easier and faster to use text messaging and emails, but some deaf people do have limited grammar skills. Some would require a certified sign language interpreter to accompany them to closings, meetings with lenders, etc.

Sign Language Lesson

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