Realtor on the go: Local business operator agrees to also run state association

Running your own company is enough responsibility for a lot of business owners.

But Realtor Cheryl Stuckwish also agreed to oversee a statewide organization with more than 16,500 members.

Two months after being installed as president of the Indiana Association of Realtors, Stuckwish said it’s not as overwhelming as some might think.

Stuckwish is co-founder of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Indiana Realty, which has offices in Seymour and Columbus.

And on occasion, she drives to the state real estate association’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

The use of modern communications technology benefits all association members, including herself, the Vallonia resident said.

“Realtors don’t do our best work if we’re on the road two to four hours at a time,” she said.

With a 21-member staff and an elected board of 47 volunteer directors, the state association is involved in virtually all aspects related to the sale, purchase, exchange or lease of real property in all 92 Indiana counties.

But Stuckwish, 59, said she doesn’t find the size of the organization overwhelming.

“We all have the same interests, our own code of ethics and govern our own actions,” she said. “We all want what’s best for the public, including protecting property rights.”

Stuckwish, who succeeded Shelbyville Realtor Nancy Smith in February, has assumed leadership of the state association during a seller’s market.

As a result of the Great Recession of 2008, mortgage lenders pulled back on a willingness to finance homes without a particular buyer in mind, Stuckwish said.

After the economy recovered, demand quickly began to outweigh supply, which has resulted in rising housing prices throughout most of Indiana’s 92 counties, she said.

“Inventory is extremely limited right now,” Stuckwish said. “Sellers are slow to put their homes on the market because they’re having trouble finding what they want as buyers. It’s become a vicious cycle.”

A substantial number of homes would have to be built to bring prices down, which Stuckwish said has become harder to accomplish with rising construction costs.

“You have to first create infrastructure, which is very expensive,” she said. “Then you need builders willing to spend time and money to get the lenders willing to provide the funding. It’s a very difficult thing to do.”

The upside, she said, is that the current market has restored faith that real estate is a good investment. Stuckwish said faith may begin to work to improve housing inventory statewide as early as this spring.

Stuckwish and her husband, Lonn, formed their own real estate company, South Central Realty, in Seymour in 1986. The couple purchased the Coldwell Banker office in Columbus in 1998, which allowed them to expand their market area along the Interstate 65 corridor of south central Indiana.

In May 2011, the company changed to the Prudential Real Estate and Relocation franchise before gaining its current affiliation with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway corporation.

During her career, Stuckwish has received honors and accolades that include:

  •  1990 Realtor of the Year, Jackson County Board of Realtors
  •  2001 Realtor of the Year, Crossroads Association of Realtors
  •  2010 Small Business Person of the Year, Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce
  •  2010 Lifetime Achievement Award, Jackson County Board of Realtors

While those achievements took much more than a 40-hour workweek, Stuckwish said being a business owner allowed her to control her own schedule, ensuring that she never had to miss anything important involving her three children as they were growing up.

Besides work and family, that flexibility also has allowed her to serve on the board of directors of several nonprofits and business organizations.

NAME: Cheryl Stuckwish
AGE: 59
BORN: Seymour
EDUCATION: Brownstown Central High School, Class of 1975. Attended real estate school at  Indiana University. Received Realtor’s license in 1979.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Served on the board of directors for local units of the American Red  Cross and the March of Dimes. Also a board member for the Community Foundation of Jackson County, both Jackson and Bartholomew County Industrial Development Corporations and Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce.
FAMILY: Husband, Lonn. Three adult children, Amy Sutherland, Lindsey Roeder and Ryan  Stuckwish. Five grandchildren.