We first met Melissa through volunteering with Downtown Denville, and she is a client that has been with us since the beginning. She is a breath of fresh air that is a go-getter with a unique skill set and background that works well for her real estate clients. Let’s get to know a bit more about her!
How did you get started in real estate? Was this what you dreamed of all along?
I’m a second generation realtor! My father was a realtor for almost 20 years after working in the corporate world for quite some time. After graduating college with a Bachelor’s degree in Acting and finding that booking acting gigs regularly was challenging, as that industry is super competitive, as one can imagine, I found myself working in the restaurant industry to supplement my income. After doing this for several years, I felt in my heart I needed to start to pursue different goals. And then, one snowy afternoon nine years ago, with the encouragement of my dad, I decided to study to get my real estate license. The rest is history!
I had never envisioned myself following in my dad’s footsteps, but have seriously come to enjoy the real estate industry so much – the highs, the lows and everything in between!
What do you love most about being a real estate agent?
Not only do I love all my clients and taking that emotional journey with them through the home sale process, guiding and educating, but I absolutely love the marketing side of the transaction as well.
What is a typical day like?
I really don’t have the same day, everyday… Some days I can be slammed with showings or listing appointments back to back from 10am-8pm, other days are more social – like lunches or networking happy hours, others are lots of training or workshops or working entirely on video content and branding for my social media pages and some are just mental health days where I spend time with my family, as we always need balance no matter how busy life may get!
What sets you apart from other real estate agents in the area? And what is your particular niche?
What sets me apart is my HUNGER and “zero fear of rejection” attitude which probably comes from my experience in the entertainment industry. I have worked in different metropolises- Northern NJ/NY and the Los Angeles area (I am licensed in California as well and lived in West Hollywood for four years) so I know how cut-throat it can be and what needs to be done to get a deal moving. There is no time for laziness and shyness when it comes to your clients’ best interests in selling a home or finding their dream home- and that’s basically how I operate from start to finish. No job is too big, no obstacle is too hard.
My niche is my branding. Probably because of my acting and performance background, I really enjoy being on camera and creating very fun and also educational content for all my social media pages and YouTube to highlight towns like Denville, give tips on the current market, and showcase my listings for maximum exposure. People love it!
How are you and your business doing during the pandemic?
Initially, there was a slight lull in March 2020, but then it was gang-busters after that! I had a couple deals fall through due to buyer job losses at that time, but there has definitely been a tremendous comeback which keeps me hopeful for a robust 2021.
If a homeowner is on the fence about staying or selling, what words of wisdom can you give them?
I always encourage potential sellers to consider and reflect on which chapter of their lives they are currently at, independent from the obvious return on their investment when selling their home. Does this move make sense? Where would you go? Are you ready for the transition? Who will this affect in your family? Where do you see yourself in one year, three years, five years…? These are all really important questions to ask. It’s not just about snagging every listing that may cross a realtor’s path. An agent needs to help a client process the road ahead and sometimes the timing is right and sometimes it isn’t. The absolute worst thing you can do is persuade them to make a hasty decision and act when they aren’t ready to really do so. Clients may need a little push or encouragement because nervousness is common, but it’s a dance agents must do to make sure the timing is perfect. Every person and situation is unique.
Time to toot your own horn – have you won any sales awards or selling agent recognition?
Yes! I just recently received Howard Hanna Rand Realty’s Silver Award for Sales in 2020.
How do you help buyers compete in this market?
I set expectations. This market is like the wild, wild west – inventory is very, very low and buyers are on the hunt. However, interest rates are STILL historically low as well so when you consider monthly payments a buyer is generally still getting an exceptional deal. When I do a buyer consultation, I make sure we are all buttoned up with a mortgage pre-approval to know exactly the budget we are working with and I prepare them for the likelihood that we will be in multiple offer situations. We are seeing that with almost every house that goes up on the market. I play out different scenarios in the consultation, so that when the time comes, we know what we need to do to get the deal done and there are less surprises along the way.
What’s next for you and your business?
I am expanding into staging, renovation and design consulting! I am currently working on my portfolio as we speak. I just designed and furnished a few offices, a kitchen and a bathroom recently. Design and staging are always good to have in an agent’s toolbox. Real estate isn’t just sales and financials. It’s also extremely presentational and visual.
And, of course, we need to know…your favorite bite to eat and shop to go to in Denville?
That’s tough but I love the food at El Mejicano! For shopping I love Dash of Thyme. I am obsessed with gourmet-anything and always love a great gift basket which Jenn does a fab job making!
How can people get in touch with you?
People can reach me by phone, email or on any of my social media pages. I am on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube. This landing page will bring you anywhere you’d like to go – card.get-card.com/melissa-johnsen.