Renae Hardt

She Took Her Love for Teaching into Real Estate!

Teachers make some of the best real estate agents. Their compassion, concern for their clients, and ability to instruct others resonate naturally with those trying to buy a house for the first time. Renae Hardt, a REALTOR® with KW Marquee, enjoyed being a teacher and mentoring other female entrepreneurs to grow their business before switching gears to real estate.

“I decided in 2nd grade I was going to be a teacher,” she recalls. “My first favorite teacher ever, Mrs. Moeller, picked me to help other kids in class and grade some papers. I thought that was the coolest thing ever – and of course, it fit right in with all the things I already loved to do, so it seemed only sensible that I grow up to become a teacher.”

Renae, who grew up in the “great little town” of Carlinville, enjoyed a few years teaching high school English and History at Belleville West; however it wasn’t quite what she expected. 
“Being a teacher can be overwhelming and exhausting. As a new college graduate, I was only a few years older than a lot of those kids and coming from a school in small town America to a much larger school, I often felt like a fish out of water. Teachers definitely do not get enough credit -- or pay!” she reflects.

Eager for a change, she became a protocol coordinator and review specialist at the Human Research Protection Office at Washington University. She made sure that human research studies were meeting all the required standards set by federal regulations and state laws. 
“I spent 5 years in that department before I was promoted to my most favorite job ever – and that is being a mom!” smiles Renae. “My son was born in 2006 and I decided I wanted to be home with him full-time and was lucky enough to be able to do that. His sister joined him at the end of 2008 and of course, I was over the moon. However, as we all know, having a family brings a lot of extra responsibilities, financial and otherwise. All those ‘extra things’ I wanted to give my kids were challenging to afford on just my husband’s income but I really wanted to be able to stay home with my babies. That’s when I started looking for creative and flexible ways to make extra income, and that led me to direct sales.”

Renae gained invaluable experience working at Thirty-One Gifts and found success. As it turns out, this driven entrepreneur has a natural knack for selling. “I do really believe with the right company, right product, and right motivation, direct sales is an amazing small business opportunity!” she enthuses. “My passion for the product made it easy to share and I quickly built a team, gained loyal customers, and was promoted up the career path within the company. I have so many amazing memories, made so many cool friends, and really just had so much fun doing it.” 

She also fell in love with being an entrepreneur. “The flexibility of having my own business and being rewarded for putting in the time and effort was addictive,” she admits. That’s why she decided to join another direct sales company called Lemongrass Spa. Again, she tasted sweet success, building another team, gaining loyal customers and being promoted within the company. 

The pandemic marked a shift in people’s purchasing. Renae saw her businesses shifting to more online sales and social media. As her kids got older and more independent, she started thinking more about the future. Drawn to real estate classes, she signed up for them at Keller Williams Marquee. 

“Real estate has always been something that interested me,” she says. Prior to direct sales, she had considered becoming an agent but worried that she wouldn’t have the time to commit to being home for her babies. In Summer 2020, she sat by the pool and took the online classes. By Fall 2020, she was officially a brand-new agent.

Embracing Challenges 
“I think the biggest challenge is always just getting started,” admits Renae. She believes in the words of the quote, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Renae explains, “Sometimes we get too hung up on the details and making everything ‘perfect’ and then we miss our chance. I’ve learned that if I want to make something happen then I just gotta go for it.”

Her background in education proved to be invaluable, especially since she could guide others through the home buying and selling process. Direct sales taught her to meet others and build her professional sphere. Renae also credits her time in human research because she understands the importance of following federal and state guidelines and meeting various requirements. 

Loving Real Estate 
Renae truly loves her profession. “I’m grateful to have a job that I love to do,” she smiles. “Every day is something new and I wake up excited to see where the day takes me not only in my career but also in my personal life. I feel very blessed. To me that equals success.”

Several years ago, Renae wrote out her purpose statement: “The purpose of my life is to live every day in Christ; all that I do and say is dedicated to Him. I am a magnifier of His love, His joy, His kindness, His mercy, and a minister of His hope.” She says, “I try to live up to that! By no means am I perfect but it’s definitely what I strive for.” 

Popular Pastimes 
When Renae isn’t working, she loves reading, writing and traveling. She jokes, “I’m always planning my next trip! I recently took my kids to the Florida Keys for Spring Break. I’ve always wanted to drive from Miami down to Key West. It was so beautiful and we had so much fun!”

Family Matters 
Renae credits her family for making her who she is today. She concludes, “From the earliest moments I can remember my family has influenced me to be better, get stronger, and care for others. Have there been tough moments? You bet. Has it been perfect? No, of course not. There’s been trials along the way, but I think part of being successful is seeing the glass half full, being grateful for the best parts of life and growing from that.”

Renae followed her heart into real estate, using her skills as a teacher and as a leader in sales. She has made her mark, eager to serve her clients and put their needs first. With her work ethic and optimism, anything is possible for this Rising Star!
Forming the Land, Home and Farm Group
“I met Barry when I joined Keller Williams Marquee,” explains Renae. “He was the productivity coach at the time and I got to know him really well because he basically taught me all the things I didn't know and couldn't learn in real estate school (aka the "important things"). He has a unique background in that he is retired Airforce -- he was actually a Chief Master Sergeant and has served all over the world.” 
Once he retired, he started looking for his "next thing" and eventually fell into real estate, specifically land and farm. Before joining Keller Williams Marquee, he was practicing real estate with White Tail Properties in MO.
Renae and Barry both have very similar values and viewpoints and thrive in rural areas (he's an old country boy from the South and has hunting property in the next county over). Renae lives out in rural Montgomery County, but joined KW Marquee in Edwardsville because she wanted to join a real estate brokerage that had a recognizable name nationwide and she liked the Keller Williams brand. 
In early 2022, Barry put together the Land, Home, and Farm Group and joining his team was a great opportunity for Renae. Barry specializes in land and farm sales, so working with him greatly benefited Renae. She says, “With our rural connections, we really started to see ourselves becoming ‘small community specialists.’”
In these smaller communities, the focus is on the people and the small businesses that support these areas. Consider Anthony Marcolini, a huge benefactor to Hillsboro, IL. He's done a lot to help revitalize downtown Hillsboro and is the owner of a “super cool microbrewery” there called Opera House Brewing Company. Or check out the artsy and adorable little coffee hangout Renae frequents called Black Rabbit. They roast their own beans, which come from South America. Renae raves, “They serve some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life!” With unexpected jewels to be discovered in these small communities, people can embrace life and everything it has to offer.