Rising Realty emerges in Tama

Rising Realty owner and broker Sierra Kriegel outside of her new office location on 13th Street in Tama. The real estate brokerage opened for business on Oct. 1. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle

Those traveling along Highway 63 through Tama may have recently noticed something new along the well-traveled local route.

On Oct. 1 Sierra Kriegel, broker and owner of Rising Realty, opened an office location one door west of the Tama Casey’s and across the street from Pieper Insurance.

Jodi Hopper, a family member of Kriegel, encouraged Kriegel earlier this year to contact the owners of the building on 13th Street. Kriegel had been nearing the completion of her real estate broker licensure process and was getting ready open her own brokerage firm in the area.

The building was intended to be used for a nail salon before the pandemic forced a change in plans.

“After Jodi told me about the property I typed up a letter expressing interest and slipped it in their mail slot. Within two hours I was on the phone with the owner and then a couple weeks later we were signing paperwork on the lease.”

Outside of some minor cosmetic work, Kriegel’s building was mostly turnkey, making way for a quick opening.

The most noticeable additions to the new office are two hand-painted business signs mounted on the north side of the building. The signs were created by local artist Lorna Perkins of rural Tama.

“Since opening I’ve hit the ground running,” Kriegel said. “I was a little nervous at the beginning because I was stepping away from a known business. But now I can say opening Rising Realty has been the best decision of my life.”

Kriegel is no stranger to the real estate business in Tama County having worked for five years under Jamie Bland with 1st Rate Real Estate in Marshalltown before striking out on her own this year.

Bland became a mentor for Kriegel and later encouraged her to build out her professional licensure.

“I always knew I wanted to branch out on my own,” Kriegel said. “I didn’t want to stay sort of in the shadow of another brokerage. I’ve wanted the opportunity to brand myself and be the face of my own company.”

The real estate broker license process began over a year ago. Kriegel would build in time around her full-time job to travel to Des Moines to attend mandatory classes needed for the license.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year it changed the way Kriegel was able to work through her program, moving classes online rather than in-person over an hour away.

“It was taking me a while in the beginning having to squeeze in trips to Des Moines for classes with my day-to-day schedule,” Kriegel said. “But when COVID hit, I had no excuse. I just sat down at the computer and knocked out my last four classes.”

Kriegel completed 96 hours of education between her real estate sales license and her broker license. Once the classwork was complete, Kriegel took and passed the exams for state and national licensure and was ready to start doing business under her own company.

Looking ahead, Kriegel sees an opportunity for Tama and Toledo to grow in the coming years given the presence of Iowa Premium and the potential for them to expand in the future. She hopes Rising Realty will be in position to take advantage of those opportunities if and when the arise.

Kriegel said she felt the real estate market in Tama County has largely mirrored the overall trends that are happening around the state of Iowa. Interest rates on mortgages remain extremely low bringing lots of buyers looking to find the right deal at the right time.

The challenge she says is the real estate property inventory doesn’t come close to meeting the demand.

In the spring when the pandemic was just beginning, Kriegel said the market slowed down noticeably as people adjusted to a new way of life with COVID-19.

But over the summer, things picked back up and now business has remained steady.

Adjusting to COVID-19 safety procedures has aligned with the process Kriegel already follows when property owners have things they would like to have done during a showing.

Masks, gloves and social distancing have joined her checklist along with everyday things like removing shoes while indoors.

This year she has made available the opportunity for buyers and sellers to conduct virtual home tours, though none have taken her up on the offer as of yet.

Although Rising Realty is based in Tama County, Kriegel said she is open for business anywhere in the state of Iowa and is eager to meet customers where they are.

Angel Berger of Des Moines recently worked with Rising Realty when her daughter, Shyanne Gulans, was looking to purchase her first home.

The family was working with a unique funding structure and found it difficult to find an agent who understood and could meet their needs as home buyers.

“It was very frustrating until we found Sierra actually,” Berger said. “You can tell that she genuinely cares and wants to help. She’s very responsive and always made things work for us, rather than having us work around her. She doesn’t give you half answers. If there was something she didn’t know, she was up front with us and got back to us quickly after researching the question.”

Since then, Gulans has purchased her first home in the Newton area.

Not only does Berger recommend Rising Realty, but she’s already referred her niece who purchased a home with Kriegel in recent weeks.

“Being a part of somebody’s major investment is something special,” Kriegel said. “To be able to confidently represent my clients and get them to the finish line, that’s really cool.”

Kriegel said she has the most experience working with residential properties and recently, the majority of her clientele have been first time home buyers or individuals relocating because of a job.

Acreage properties, single floor homes with an open layout and first floor laundry have been some of the popular items Kriegel has noticed in recent years.

Her advice to those considering listing a property in the next six to nine months are to not be afraid to test the market during the winter.

“I think a lot of people are leery of listing their house in the winter time,” Kriegel said. “But in my experience the winters are just as busy as the spring and summer. If it were me, I wouldn’t wait on the spring or summer to get moving on listing a property.”

In the next year Kriegel hopes to recruit at least one real estate agent to join her brokerage firm.

Rising Realty can be found at 110 W 13th St. in Tama, by calling (641) 691-4636 or on Facebook at Rising Realty.