About Smart Choice Realty

Smart Choice Realty was started by Samara Presley, just as the real estate market began to decline. While this was the death knell for many real estate firms, it actually was the perfect time for us – because more than ever, sellers were questioning traditional approaches, and starting to look for ways to save money.

Here’s our way: We list homes for $1,000 flat fee. And we don’t skimp on service. Intrigued? Read on.

Why we're here

 We started questioning the traditional approach, too. And quickly decided two things:

1. Buyers and sellers are – surprise! – consumers who value their hard earned dollars.

2. The real estate industry has to change. Just like every other business in the Internet age.

Not surprisingly, those two things are connected. Because when we asked ourselves what we could do differently, the answer was clear: Have a less expensive business model. And pass our savings on to you.

How the model has changed

In the old days, it was hard to list and sell a home. It required advertising in print publications. Holding open houses and hoping someone would drive by. And – without cell phones, email and web sites – a lot more legwork.

Today, thanks to the Internet, things are a lot easier. No more expensive print publications; an agent can upload your listing and it’s instantly available to millions of buyers – who can easily search the MLS themselves. Great for buyers. Cheaper for agents.

What it means for you

 So given all that, we realized that we could offer a great deal to customers, while still giving them the service that they need and deserve. It’s worked extremely well for us, and for our sellers. Which is why we’re still here, and more than ready to serve as your real estate agent in Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill.

And that leaves just one more question: Are you ready to make a smart choice? 

“For sellers, we offer the right combination of price and service, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you made a great deal. For buyers, we offer a smooth process, a guiding hand and a trustworthy partner to handle the most important parts of the purchase.”

Our Real Estate Team, Serving Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill.


Jo Ann Gardner Listing Specialist

Jo Ann is our listing specialist and brings a ton of experience and knowledge! She has been practicing real estate since 2002 and has worked on some of the other top teams in the Triangle like Linda Craft and Marti Hampton. She’s negotiated deals for hundreds of buyers and sellers.  She is known for creative solutions to tough problems and her pioneering spirit.  She specializes in pricing homes correctly & negotiating offers. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family–especially the grandkids.
Contact Jo Ann: Cell: 919-369-2415, Office: 919-322-0077, joann@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Carole Langheim Listing Specialist
As a Chicago native, Carole was searching for a warmer, family-friendly city to call home. Raleigh provided everything she wanted and more! As a Realtor in Chicago, Carole enjoyed the fast paced market. She wanted to continue her career in real estate, bringing her knowledge, experience, and enthusiastic attitude to help build her client base. Along with experience, her customer-centric focus, out of the box thinking and can-do attitude will help our sellers get top dollar for their home. A true energizer bunny, Carole also enjoys teaching classes at the YMCA which lends a hand in burning off the calories from the delicious food she and her husband, Greg, like to cook.
Contact Carole: Cell: 773-294-5274, Office: 919-322-0077, carole@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Susan Brown Buyer Specialist susan-smaller
Susan Brown brings a ton of experience and knowledge to our valued clients. Viewed as the anchor in what can often be a stressful situation, Susan will remain observant and unruffled, acting with calm assurance to effect a successful transaction. Her listening skills, responsiveness and dedication create a bond of trust with her clients, who know they can rely on her to handle the details and minutiae of the home-buying process. While her educational background is in music (a master’s degree from Peabody Conservatory in flute!), she has excelled in real estate sales since she began in 2010. She believes that her study of music has helped in her success by teaching her valuable traits like being on time, having a strong work ethic, discipline, being attentive to her clients and more. When she isn’t out showing homes or negotiating deals, she enjoys biking, sand volleyball, reading and tennis.
Contact Susan: Cell: 919-449-4227, Office: 919-322-0077, susan@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Tracy Weaver Sease Buyer Specialist  tracy-smaller
Tracy is a Raleigh native and second generation Realtor. Her extensive knowledge of the Triangle area coupled with experience in the real estate world makes her the perfect person to help Smart Choice Realty customers through the home buying process. Tracy develops long lasting client relationships by the powerful connections she creates with her clients. She is dedicated to doing her best and her enthusiasm for finding people the “right” home is contagious. By working with Tracy you’ll have found a friend and real estate advocate for life. She’s a graduate of NC State and active member of the Women’s Council of Realtors and a Senior Real Estate Specialist. When she’s not at the office, you can find her taking care of her two teenage sons, traveling to fun, new places, or enjoying dinner and drinks with friends.
Contact Tracy: Cell: 919-818-6914  Office: 919-322-0077, tracy@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Devin Scott Buyer Specialist devin-headshot-smaller-2
Devin brings enthusiasm and a drive to succeed in everything he does. As a resident of Raleigh for over 10 years, he’s witnessed first hand, and relished in, the renaissance of downtown Raleigh. Purchasing his first property at 23 years old in a down market, he’s experienced many of the fears and trepidation first time home buyers can sometimes encounter. His progressive nature and love for technology make him easily approachable and even easier to stay in contact with. With an education and corporate experience in marketing, Devin brings a cutting edge style to Smart Choice Realty. When out of the office, you can find him on a bike trail, playing tennis or dog sitting. Contact Devin: Office: 919-322-0077, devin@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Nicole DeLuca Buyer Specialist nicole-smaller-2
From New York, to Charlotte, to Raleigh, Nicole has decided to finally put her roots down and call the Triangle her forever home. Her passion for real estate and helping others makes her the perfect source to turn your home buying dream into a reality. A true mediator, she manages to stay perfectly composed even in stressful situations and she wins her client’s trust by delivering consistent results. Because she is steadfast in her attention to all details of the transaction, she is able to help her clients avoid potential pitfalls and hence make the home buying process a fun and memorable one. When she’s not out finding you your dream home, she enjoys spending time with her friends & family, trying out new restaurants, and experiencing all that the Triangle has to offer.
Contact Nicole: Cell: 919-745-9012, Office: 919-322-0077, nicole@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Mark Zofrea Buyer Specialist
Mark comes to Smart Choice with over 15 years of real estate experience.  He began his real estate career in the fast paced market of NYC as an appraiser.  He relocated his family to the Triangle because of the strong school system, cultural diversity, countless recreational opportunities and the more peaceful, laid back way of life that they have come to value and appreciate.  He has successfully run his own appraisal company in the area for the last 11 years before deciding he wanted to help with the other side of the transaction and begin selling homes.  His appraisal experience will be a true asset in helping buyers make an informed financial decision.  Family life keeps Mark very busy and he tries to make the most of each day by enjoying every possible moment with his wife and three children.  In his spare time he enjoys golfing, exercising and good times spent with family and friends.
Contact Mark: Cell: 973-652-6700, Office: 919-322-0077, mark@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Lisa Baune Closing Coordinator 
Lisa is our closing coordinator, aka the wizard behind the curtain, handling everything from contract to close for the Smart Choice Team. Lisa’s style of transaction management is detailed and precise.  Lisa manages every part of the transaction seamlessly, allowing our clients to breathe easy. Lisa has a ton of experience in the real estate world, coming from a custom home builder background in Minnesota.  Since moving to Raleigh in 2009, she got her license here and has continued to pursue her love of real estate.  Lisa loves spending time with her kids and grandkids-the loves of her life.
Contact Lisa: Office: 919-322-0077, closings@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Kristin Baumgart Listing Coordinator kristin-headshot-smaller-2
Kristin is Smart Choice Realty’s secret weapon, working independently behind the scenes to solve problems for our clients with fresh solutions. She has a subtle style, communicating selectively and purposefully. She knows how to ask the right questions and then listens attentively to the answers. Kristin brings a creative approach in an unassuming manner, making life a little easier for our sellers as she helps them navigate the process of listing their home. Kristin has a keen eye for detail which makes her perfect in her role as listing coordinator for Smart Choice. Kristin enjoys camping & spending time with her husband Hanns.
Contact Kristin: Office: 919-322-0077, kristin@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Melissa Ritter Office Manager  mel-secrest-head-shot-smaller
Mel is the office manager of Smart Choice Realty and brings order to what often seems like a chaotic sales world. With her disciplined approach to goal setting and tireless work ethic, she helps keep things on track in the office.  When she isn’t managing sales agents, she manages four rambunctious boys at home, which happened to be great training for her current position.  In her spare time, you can find her hitting the pavement training for her next marathon or catching some much deserved r & r with her husband Jarred.
Contact Mel: Office: 919-322-0077, mel@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Samara Presley Founder of Smart Choice Realty
Most Realtors out there seem to ascribe to a traditional way of thinking when it comes to selling real estate. Samara, on the other hand, has quickly risen in the market as a leader because instead, she finds innovative solutions that solve old problems in new ways. She’s not afraid to go against the grain and brings a fresh perspective to an industry often reluctant to change. Samara founded Smart Choice Realty in 2008 after just three years in the industry. Each year her business has continued to flourish – which she takes as proof that if you deliver to customers what you promise, they’ll trust you enough to refer friends and family your way. Samara is in charge of managing the growth of Smart Choice, making sure her team is well trained and the process is smooth from start to finish for our valued clients. In her free time, Samara enjoys traveling, scuba diving, good wine, reading and being a social butterfly.
Contact Samara: Office: 919-322-0077, sam@smartpeoplelivehere.com

Interested in Joining Our Team? Smart Choice Realty is always open to adding the right people to our team. If you are an agent interested in joining a fast-paced, growing real estate company, we’d be happy to speak with you and see if you would be a good fit.

Real Estate Industry Recognition & Awards

If you want assurance that we have an all-star team, check this out:

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