Written by: Sidda Bruno
Jada Hatcher is a second-year, Anthropology and Health & Society double major at The University of Texas at Austin. She started as a leasing agent in April 2019. Here is a short interview we had with her to let you get to know her better.
Sweet or salty?
Salty because sweet things are sometimes too much. I really like Ritz crackers, I really like goldfish. I lived off of goldfish for like a week once. That was great. Goldfish is probably my #1 – for Christmas and my birthday I ask for those big cartons.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs. I did get a cat and then didn’t realize that I was afraid of the cat. So, I had it for a week. I didn’t return her because I felt bad because it was my fault, so I ended up giving it to a girl who lived behind me. I gave her everything for free, I didn’t have her pay me. I gave her the litter box, the food, the bed, toys, everything. I just needed her to take it.
Why did you get your Real Estate License?
Two of my aunts are real estate agents and so I had some interest in that when I got the email from Bobby Cave.
What do you like about your job?
I like going to see different places. It’s hard because every time I take someone on a tour I’m like, ‘oh, I like this too’. It also helps me know Austin a lot better, especially the west campus area. It gives me a chance to explore Austin, so I really like that and it gives me the knowledge to help my friends too.
What do you think is a misconception about your job?
I think a lot of people think that we’re just rolling in money. Yes, but no because we help sign leases but then it takes quite a while to get paid. It’s more of an effort than people think, which is why I have that other job on the side to pay for bills and necessities. Whatever I make at this job I put towards paying off debt, phone, car or just to save. There are people who are rolling in it but, it related to the effort that you put into it. Around Halloween I got 15 leases signed but then I haven’t done very much after that. School is my main priority, so it’s great. Another misconception is that we’re ‘sharks’ and we’ll just put people anywhere but I will tell people, ‘look, this is a rough place and if you’re okay with that rough then that is fine, but you’re not bamboozled into this – we can go somewhere else’.
Do you have a funny story from touring?
There was this unit and the girl had a cat. She texted saying that her cat’s very friendly but he might run out. There was a sign on the door saying, ‘My name is Dean Keaton, I cry like I’m not being fed but I’m fine’ – when we walked in he was so affectionate even though I’m kind of scared of cats.
How does it feel to help students find their dream apartment?
It feels pretty satisfying especially when they’re so specific on what they want or if it’s been a long time coming or complicated – it’s always satisfying to get it all wrapped up, done and put a bow on it. And they’re so appreciative so it’s great. It’s nice to be appreciated.
Do you have any favorite properties to tour or lease with?
There’s one called Guadalupe 31, right above the VIA 313 pizza place and I want to live there so bad. I didn’t actually go as an agent but I have a friend who lives there and now I see it all the time on our lists…I love it. They have nice dark hardwood floors, the living rooms were huge, the bedrooms were nice and they had garden tubs and I would kill for a garden tub – those really round and deep tubs. I love to take luxurious baths so I just want one really bad. They usually include a lot of the utilities and parking, and they’re 2 bedrooms. In West Campus, I like Axis a lot – I took two girls there and I liked it so much that I went back and signed a lease there for myself. I like HillTop, it’s nice – the floors and the way everything looks.
Where are you from?
I guess I would say in San Antonio. My dad was in the military so we moved around a lot but I would say mainly Texas, we’ve been in Texas the longest. We lived in Fort Hood, Hawaii and I can’t remember that at all, we lived in Washington state and then before I was born they lived in Belgium. They used to go to the Eiffel Tower as a day trip, so, I’m salty about that. I remember when we lived in Washington and I remember we lived in San Antonio beforehand when I was 4, then we moved to Washington, then moved to Fort Hood in Texas, then back to San Antonio. I remember scenes from Hawaii, but things of our house and bedspread not like tropical scenes.
Do you think you’ll move back to San Antonio?
I do like the Austin scene. I like San Antonio but Austin is just bigger. The cost of living in San Antonio is a lot more favorable, I would say. I am open to either, it depends on what my twin sister does. She goes to UTSA – and we were thinking of going to graduate school together at UNT, so it sort of depends. But, we’ll probably move around to wherever my parents are because we’re all close. My oldest sister lives in San Antonio and she’s married with kids, so, we’re close like that.
Tell me about your family!
We are identical twins, she’s only an inch taller than me – been like that since birth. We don’t have twin telepathy but I would call it more of like an empathy-link. Sometimes if she’s angry, I have to step away because the anger makes me angry or when she’s crying, I’ll end up crying also. My parents get mad, like you’re not even the one that’s in trouble but I don’t know what to tell them.
How is it being away from your twin?
It affected me a little bit more my first semester because I also didn’t realize that it was affecting me but now we text every day, we Facetime usually every day also – it’ll just be randomly. I would say we are best friends, but she doesn’t tell me everything but it’s also like we’re the same person. It’s weird. It’s sort of like talking to myself, but she still has her own life.
What makes you miss home?
I would probably say the quiet, it is very loud here, all the time. From my apartment, I can hear people talking on the street, in-depth conversations that they probably think they’re alone having it. Honestly, the traffic, the lack of traffic at home is beautiful. There’s still traffic but I’ve never really got caught in it, but we live in the outside of San Antonio so I don’t really go downtown. I don’t miss the River Walk because it’s not fun if you’re not 21 – there’s Rainforest Café which I love but other than that it’s kind of like ‘oh, there’s a bar I can’t go to’ – not yet. There’s the mall though, the mall is fun but there are other malls and parking’s not $20.
Hot or cold?
Cold, I hate being hot. There’s nothing you can do about being hot but peel your skin off but if you’re cold you can put layers on. I feel so strongly about that, I would rather be cold than hot.
Dentist or doctor?
Dentist. I want to say you don’t have to talk as much but they still ask you questions with their hands in your mouth but.. it’s a little bit more relaxing when they give me my shades, I’m not asleep, but I’m relaxed. At the doctor’s it’s a little more invasive.
Tell us about your academic life!
I’m a second-year Anthropology and Health & Society double major. I started as a Biology major and then I realized that I was not happy as a Biology major, it is brutal. I’m into healthcare but I’m just a little bit more into the social science side of things than the doctor part…I was actually going to transfer to UTSA because they had a medical humanities degree that still had all the bios and chems that you needed but also anthropology classes, sociology classes, cool classes that I wanted to take and I didn’t think that we had an equivalent. We sort of don’t, but Health & Society has all the social science classes that I wanted to take and then we just have a certificate for Health sciences so I could still take all the bios and chems. I applied for that, but didn’t hear anything back – and at the time I had an Anthropology Minor. I switched to anthropology, then about a month after I got an email that I got into Health & Society so then I just added them both!
What do you enjoy about college?
I like the learning part of it. It’s a little bit more in-depth than high school and then it’s also a lot easier to take classes for your interests. Yes, you still take core but other than that you can take classes that are purely what you want to take – especially electives. I got into Liberal Arts Honors this semester and I’ve started taking those classes and I love it. I’m taking a class that’s about Toni Morrison and Beyoncé and it’s so nice, I love it.
Beach or mountains?
Mountains because I am afraid of the ocean. More like, I’m afraid of what’s in the ocean, the animals. Even lakes, we used to be big lake people and my dad has his boating license so we would go and we had the tubes that are pulled behind and I fell off one time and I screamed. I wasn’t drowning, I was fine but I was screaming because I was like, something was going to eat me. I’ve never honestly hiked before but there’s a lot of places to hike here in Austin so I should probably try that.
Do you have any other work that you do?
On the weekends, I work as a caregiver in San Antonio. I’ve been doing that since my senior year of high school, it’s pretty convenient because I can still do homework and just help them with their basic daily activities – like walking around, cooking, eating, laundry, and activities. I help a child with special needs and I’ve been helping them for so long so I just keep doing it.
What organizations are you involved with at UT?
I’m in Texas Lassos which is a Spirit group which is basically a Sorority but cheaper – which is great for me. Ours is more service-based than other Spirit groups, so we work with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. They have an event called BuddyWalk so they have people with down syndrome come from all over Central Texas to have this big outdoor BBQ. Our group helped with the activities – horseback riding, playground, water-balloon toss, face-painting – it was like a field day. Everyone’s family created a parade at the end and we all cheered and took pictures, it was really cool. We also work with Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, and my favorite thing – we go to elementary schools around Austin and help tutor them after school. We help them with homework and just staying on task. I’m also in Camp Texas which is a program for freshman and incoming transfer students and we take them out to camp for a couple of days and there are different activities to get to know people and get acclimated to life here at UT. We have a couple of professors come out to tell them expectations and advice also. I’m going into my 2nd year being a counselor and it’s just nice for them to see a familiar face on campus when they start at UT.
Do you like to read?
I always end up rereading the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus. I’m reading Trials of Apollo now. What happens is I have to wait for all the books to come out because I’m more of a binge reader. I’m either reading or I’m not and if I am it’s an all-day affair. I’m starting to like the books that we’re reading in my classes – we’re reading Beloved, and I love Beloved. I’ve started listening to audiobooks too, it’s a big thing because I’m always running around or when I’m driving back and forth from San Antonio it’s good. I want to go back and read classic books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights because I tried to read them when I was too young and lost interest – so I’m trying to go back and do those.
How is your college experience going?
I am sort of looking to not work in San Antonio anymore just so I can do things around Austin, but I also like that job and I’ve been there so long. I wouldn’t say college is going bad, especially now that I’m in Texas Lassos I’m having the social experience that was lacking before. It’s coming together.
What are 3 words that describe you?
Dynamic, outgoing, and then I want to say ostentatious because I like the word but I could not tell you what it means in this moment. Third is rose. That’s just my favorite color. It’s a light pink, I hate hot pink with a passion but I like a light rose, a salmon-type color.
Would you rather find true love or $10M?
I want to say true love, but in a realistic stance, probably 10 million so I could set myself up and my kids. I’m gonna take the 10 million because I feel like I’ve already found my true love.
What’s your dream car?
I want a Honda HRV, I just like the way they look. It’s really big and it feels like if I get one then I can bring my 3 future kids along with me but I like the HRV because my sister and I used to share one in high school.
Do you have a favorite holiday?
I’d say the 4th of July. I would say Christmas but there’s a lot of expectations, but the 4th of July…you can’t really have a bad one. It’s just a day with an excuse to BBQ and go out to do fun stuff. There’s a lot of expectations with Christmas and Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, they could be good or bad but I’ve never heard of anyone having a bad 4th of July.
What have you done recently that you’re proud of?
I am proud that I just paid off my credit card. I got one to get my laptop for school, and then I finally paid that off. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a lot to me.
Who do you look up to?
My mom. She’s doing the thang. She works as a contractor for the army, so she gets million-dollar contracts signed but she still takes care of us and did when my dad was deployed or gone for school. She never ever complained, she’s great. I have 4 siblings too.
What music do you listen to?
On my Apple music playlist, I have a lot. I have classical music, modern songs, etc. I used to be in the orchestra so I have some of The Planets on there – I like Jupiter the best. I like some Beethoven and random playlists of classical music that I use when I study.
When do you feel most creative?
At 1-2am in the morning. I get creative bursts super late and when I’m not in my room. I cannot be any type of productive in my room. It’s usually times when I stay on campus really late and it’s time to go home but the juices just start flowing. Usually, I’ll write. I’m good at writing but sometimes I just can’t focus enough. If I can put myself in a corner and focus, I can do whatever I’m trying to do.
Favorite drink at Starbucks?
Iced White Chocolate Mocha, that’s the only thing I’ve ever gotten there.
What’s a talent you wish you had?
I wish I could sing. I can play 9 different instruments, but I can’t sing to save my life. I can play the violin, viola, double upright bass, piano, euphonium, trombone, tuba, ukulele, and cello. I didn’t do anything but music in high school.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Mostly the fact that I have responsibilities and bills to pay. I like to see my boyfriend, too. And food. If I lay in bed all day, I’ll get up because I’m hungry.
What’s your favorite meal?
My dad makes these beans, I don’t know what type of beans because it changes but it has ham in it. We just call it, ‘the beans’. We’ll have it with rice, it’s my favorite meal. I have driven home because I want some.
How do you feel like you’ve changed since high school?
I used to be a lot more academically competitive because then when you get to UT, everybody’s smart! I used to be a competitive tester, I had to finish my test first and if I didn’t it made me angry – especially with my sister it was always a competition. Now, I still got my A – it doesn’t have to be the highest A in the room.
What makes you laugh?
Unfortunately, it’s funny when someone falls. As long as they’re alright. I think irony is funny and I’m a big sarcasm person. I do NOT think that Adam Sandler movies are funny, it’s a different type of humor. It’s like, he’s dumb and that’s funny. And I don’t like that!
What career do you see yourself in?
I’m torn on how to do that. The goal is to get a master’s in public health and I could also see myself going into a Ph.D. program for anthropology for sociology but then, on the other hand, I also see myself being in real estate because I’m actually kind of good at it. It like purpose vs. passion. I’m interested in public health but also, I have passion for and am good at real estate. Can I do one and then the other, can I do both? I like to think ahead like this.
Do you have a particular dream job?
I want to work at the CDC in their maternal child health division. Looking at mortality rates, different sicknesses and how to prevent diseases. I’m not sure what job exactly that is, maybe epidemiologist which is the study of disease and how it spreads.
How do you stay motivated working for Housing Scout?
Now that I am sort of known as being a real estate agent a lot of people will come to me and they usually also come in bursts. So, then I start to get ahead of my homework, get these tours scheduled, get our paperwork in and all that. Also, another motivation is when I see another property that I really really like and I say, ‘I want to get a lease here in this place’. It also helps that the people in the leasing office tend to be really friendly, so that’s a big thing. I’ll think, ‘I miss Isiah over at American Campus Communities’.
Do you usually do driving or walking tours?
I usually drive. I did walk once since I was coming straight from class and we walked all over west campus. Sometimes in west campus it’s just easier to walk because parking – I don’t want to pay for parking, and especially with construction and streets being closed – if it’s close enough we’ll walk.
Is there any piece of advice about housing that you always tell your clients?
I always tell them when they’re trying to choose between doing an apartment or a condo-style – the condos/duplexes/houses are more money upfront but not more money overall. You have to pay the deposit and first month’s rent with the application or soon after. You may have to pay $1400 upfront but then your rent is $700. With the apartments, you’ll pay $300 or so to apply, but your rent is higher. So, I ask them if they’re able to put up that much money upfront or not – I lay is all out to them beforehand so that they know what we’re looking for and what they can afford. I try to do a consultation at least over the phone before touring and I keep myself available if we can’t.
How do you manage your schedule?
Usually, I have times blocked off during the week that are open for tours. If my schedule doesn’t work for a client, then I’ll work with them but I like to have time to prepare especially when we’re seeing condos and I have to pick up keys. I try to work with people because the goal is to get them in there so that they can see because we are not the only ones who are touring, you are not the only one who is interested in this unit, etc. I like to stay within 9am-5pm M-F because if I come home to my apartment and someone has to tour in mine I’m like, ‘my business hours are over’, so I try to stay courteous – especially on the weekends. I like to keep it within times that I would appreciate if someone came and toured my place.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’ll probably be having a 20s crisis when I’m leaving my 20s and going into my 30s. I want to be happy, which can come in a lot of different forms. I’d like to be financially secure and doing something that makes me happy or at least on that path. I need at least one master’s degree by then, maybe two. I could also see myself as a professor because I wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up and my mom said ‘no’ because they don’t make enough and are underpaid. Or maybe I’ll do health care policy, but not a politician. I have many interests and I don’t know exactly where I want to be, life is long!
Anything to add?!
I really like to work with people, I am very much a people person but I also know how to work with people who are not people’s persons. I want to help people find housing that they want to live in, otherwise, it won’t sit well on my conscience. I will work with you, help you, and talk to your mom on the phone so she feels better about everything!