Owners & Brokers
Steve Wagner, Broker/ Owner and founding partner for Virtual Properties Realty, has been actively involved in all facets of Real Estate since 1989 which includes: residential, land, commercial, Real Estate instructor and managing broker.
Steve and his partner, Karen Burks, began Virtual Properties Realty in 1999 which has consistently grown in size and productivity since its inception. Every year since 2007 Virtual Properties has earned the prestigious “Pacesetter Award” presented by the Atlanta Business Chronicle for being one of Georgia’s fastest growing offices in the state. In 2007, Virtual Properties also received the prestigious “Pinnacle Award” (presented by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce) for being the top (#1) managed small business in Gwinnett County. In conjunction with the Pinnacle Award, Steve has also been recognized as the “Business Executive of the Year” for Gwinnett County. Steve is currently listed this year in the Atlanta Business Chronicles “Who’s Who” for being one of the top 100 key leaders shaping the Atlanta housing industry.
The offices of Virtual Properties (per the Atlanta GAMLS) also enjoys the highest ranking in almost every Real Estate statistic including the #2 position in the number of buyer side real estate sales made last year in Georgia. Steve is a graduate of the Realtor’s Institute and has earned his ABRM, CSP and C-Rep designations. On a more personal note, Steve spends almost every non-business moment raising and nurturing his young son Evan.
Steve has also been a very active board member in the Northeast Atlanta Metro Association of Realtors (NAMAR), which is the second largest REALTOR@ association in GA. In addition to serving as the 2018 NAMAR Treasurer he was also elected as the 2019 NAMAR
President. Steve also regularly attends the monthly GAR contract revision meetings where he participates in helping what will be added or changed in the coming year’s revised contracts.
Karen Burks, Broker/Owner and founding partner for Virtual Properties Realty,is the Qualifying Broker and one of the founders for Virtual Properties Realty. She began her Real Estate career in 1970 as a property manager for a large Commercial Real Estate Firm. In 1989 after years of buying, selling and managing her own Real Estate investments, Karen decided it was time to get her Real Estate license.
Since 1989 (together with her son Steve Wagner) Karen has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers buy and sell Real Estate. Prior to Karen and Steve starting Virtual Properties Realty in 1998, Karen worked with Steve Wagner at Re/Max for nearly 10 years. In her spare time Karen enjoys time with her grandchildren and playing tennis.
Jamie Mertz, Broker/Chief Operating Officer, has been with Virtual Properties for numerous years and now as COO will have oversight responsibilities over all the brokers, staff and company operations. Jamie received her B.S. in Finance from the University of South Florida and has been a licensed agent since 1998 and a licensed broker since 2006. She is a Phoenix Award Winner, a Lifetime Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Club, a Communities 100 recipient (three years in a row), and a Re/Max Platinum Club Award recipient.
Dianne Amburn, Managing Broker for our new Gainesville office; she was formerly a managing broker with Keller Williams Realty Lanier Partners where she also acted as interim leader and mentor to her fellow Realtors.
For over 18 years, Dianne has been recognized as leader and educator in the Hall , Jackson, & Barrow County Realtor community. Some of her achievements include: Serving on the Hall County Board of Realtors Executive board for seven years, Winner of the Hall County Board of Realtors’ Presidents Award, Winner of the 2005 Hall County Board of Realtors “Realtor of the year” Award, GRI/ABR designations, Phoenix Award Recipient, and life Member of the Million Dollar Club.
In addition to her many rewards, Dianne has extensive real estate experience and knowledge as a certified specialist in REO foreclosures & short sales. Dianne has also had extensive experience working with HUD as one of their national listing agents and instructors. Diane was also an instructor teaching GREC rules & Regulations prior to joining Virtual Properties Realty.
Sandra Herring, Managing Broker for our Snellville location, first became involved in the real estate industry in 1985 as a licensed full time realtor. She has also been involved in new home building and the remodeling business as a contractor for over 20 years. Her experience with the actual construction and repair of homes adds an extra edge in dealing with potential construction or repair projects. This construction experience has carried over to working with investment clients, one of her specialties from HUD Homes to Foreclosures. As a life time resident of Atlanta, her knowledge makes it easy for her to specialize in relocating clients to their desired location of choice. She also enjoys working with first time home buyers from start to finish by educating them on the biggest investment they are likely to make. She provides a Home Buyer’s Book to help with the education process and by providing assistance with obtaining financing for the purchases. Also, she goes the extra mile with her sellers helping them all the way to ensure they get the most for their property. Her unique background and experiences make her ideally suited to provide expert advice to all of her clients.
On a personal note, Sandra has been an active member of the community by volunteering for the local youth sports, school and church activities. She spends her spare time traveling, riding her horse and competing in fitness-related activities and enjoys her family, meeting and getting to know new people.
Elaine Carpenter, Managing Broker/Instructor, is in our Corporate Office in Duluth. She is a long time REALTOR® and has been a licensed broker since 2007. Prior to joining Virtual Properties Realty she was the Assistant Team Leader/Managing Broker for Keller Williams Lanier Partners and was also responsible for education as an Instructor/Mentor and developing classes for new agents. Prior to her tenure at KW, she was with RE/MAX International in several of their franchise offices.
Elaine developed and wrote the “Jumpstart” program for new agents and those who need a “refresher” in one or more of the 13 classes. The class is certified for post-license education credit and continuing education credit. She teaches classes in GAR Contracts and License Law for the Hall County Board of REALTORS® where she is also a member of the Board of Directors and Education Chair. She has an extensive 25 year background in Human Resources and business management.
Stephanie Ashley, Managing Broker, has a B.S. Degree in Business Management and is our new managing broker recently hired to provide broker support to our agents working out of the Alpharetta and other northwest Atlanta offices. She will also be available for broker support in our Peachtree City office.
Stephanie has almost 16 years of real estate experience, which most recently includes the manager of agent development and training at ERA Realty. During the past three years Stephanie was in charge of the hiring and support for new and seasoned REALTORS. Stephanie is dedicated to helping agents move in the direction that will best forward their real estate careers. We’re very excited to welcome Stephanie to our VPR family and feel grateful that she chose VPR to bring her extremely positive energy and real estate experience.
Mike Collard, Managing Broker, has experienced over 35 years of Direct Sales, Sales Training and Sales Management Success.
Mike has helped lead a Fortune 500 Company grow to one of the largest in its industry as Salesman, Sales Manager, National Sales Trainer and National Sales Manager.
As a realtor he attained the rank of top 1% in the nation in Sales and Commissions earning Hall of Fame recognition and Life Time membership in the Million Dollar Club during his over 20 year Real Estate Sales Career.
Mike has been a National Trainer with MLC and his students attained some of the highest results and increases during his time at MLC.
He recently helped triple the size and production of a leading Sales organization by serving as their Sales Manager, Recruiter and Sales Trainer over a 8 year period.
Mike joined VPR in 2006 and started the Certified Sales Training School to offer CE credits to the agents at VPR.
Mike is committed to helping other Realtors maximize their production and succeed.
Michael Blackburn, Managing Broker and Director of Compliance, has 15 years in the real estate arena after working with a couple of different brokerages as a REALTOR, Associate Broker and most recently as an Assistant Regional Broker. He is very active in the real estate community and has served on the local level as President, treasurer, executive committee as well as numerous committees and has been selected as a past REALTOR of the Year recipient. On the state level he has served as a Regional Director, served on the executive committee, board of directors, chaired 2 state committees and participated on numerous others. Michael has also been a Board of director member for the National Association of REALTORS and served on numerous national committees. He is also a member of the Education Advisory Panel for the Georgia Real Estate Commission.
Michael is an active part of his church as a member of the Board of Trustees, member of the Endowment Committee and has served on several others over the years. He is also on the board of directors for the Northeast Atlanta Ballet. He is married to Tricia Blackburn and they have 5 children and 6 grandkids and live in the Loganville area of Gwinnett County. He and his wife enjoy spending time with family and traveling, when time permits.