Not an option


As a recently divorced single mom of a 2-year-old, Michele Velcheck did the unlikely and opened Solid Source Realty Inc. out of her one-bedroom apartment, so failure was not an option for her.

She didn’t want to take out business loans, so she worked as a loan officer by day to pay for the start-up costs of opening the new business. She worked 15- to 18-hour days consistently for the first four years of the business in order to set up the business, recruit real estate agents, develop infrastructure that would sustain growth, purchase and renovate 10 office locations, and train new staff. The only financial assistance she received was a mortgage for each building, and everything else was done with cash. In addition to growing to 10 locations, she now has more than 2,700 agents affiliated with her firm, who can speak 45 languages combined.

While the company grew, this CEO also thought that it would be great if the real estate industry could use a lot less paper. It cost a couple hundred thousand dollars and 18 months to develop, but in 2006, Solid Source became the first paperless real estate office in the United States by creating a paperless transaction management system that revolutionized the industry.

Despite the downturn that the industry has faced over the last two years, Solid Source has stood just that — solid. Not only has it survived, but it has also grown in market share, total volume, and units of homes listed and sold. The company now processes between 600 and 800 transactions every month with just 35 employees on its staff.

While success has been great for Velcheck, she’s quick to help others. She gives at least 10 percent of her income before taxes to charitable organizations, and last year, she started working with Wiphan Care Ministries, an outreach to orphans in Zambia.

How to reach: Solid Source Realty Inc., (770) 475-1130 or