Female Founders: Julie Downey
The next installment of the Female Founders series on Union Street Media’s YouTube channel features Julie Downey, Manager of the CENTURY 21 Scheetz real estate office in Carmel, Indiana. CENTURY 21 Scheetz is a top real estate brokerage in the midwest and is among the top ten CENTURY 21 companies nationwide. Click the video above to watch the full interview.
Downey repeatedly told herself she would not end up in the real estate industry. With an extensive family background in real estate, she did not want to follow in their footsteps. Downey partnered with her cousin launching their own business selling frequent flier miles. Due to changes in airline regulations, she found herself jobless within months.
Persistent on not entering real estate, Downey, ultimately was drawn back in after a trip she took. It didn’t help that she had taken a booklet called,“Why To Consider A Career In Real Estate,” with her on her trip. Returning home, she admitted to herself she needed to give real estate a try. After 22 years, she says, “she grew in the business and loved it,” realizing, “she is right where she is meant to be.”
“What I love about real estate and what keeps me there is truly the ability to build what I want.”
When asked how she finds time for reflection Downey states, “it took many years to find that life balance,” between leading a team, brokering real estate, and being a mom of three children. Putting the phone aside during family time and being present is key to Downey finding this necessary balance. She schedules reflection time in her calendar as a way to make this a priority.
Downey’s team has had a strong year, which is not what she would have predicted after closing the office on March 15th. She attributes their success to the resiliency of the real estate industry, its adaptability to the unknown, and their company’s technology that existed prior to COVID-19. Downey and her sales agents had to learn and excel with these new tools, but already having them in place was huge. It was important for her team to rethink how to use these tools.
Forward thinking and thoughtfulness were crucial to their business in the beginning of the pandemic. Unable to meet in person, Downey and her team’s focus was on creating seamless experiences via screens, to maintain their customer relationships.
“We’ve had to turn on a dime to think about how we’re going to take listings without walking in the house or how we’re going to show buyers without walking in the house.”
With the increased use of technology for businesses, Downey finds the most useful tool for her and her agents to be a traditional phone call. They use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and social media platforms as forms of communication but picking up the phone and reaching out is a great way to build a relationship. Downey says with a phone call, “[clients] can hear you and hear the sincerity in your voice.”
Expanding on the tools they’ve been using, Downey loves to coach and be coached. She spends more time communicating with her agents, believing it’s their relationships that keep the business vibrant. Reaching out and connecting with the customer is critical, but maintaining normalcy within CENTURY 21 Scheetz and having a strong company culture is also a priority.
With a “number one” philosophy, Downey encourages her agents to identify the single most important number to them. Whether it’s a time of day they’re done working to be with family, an age by which they want to retire, or something else altogether. This is how success is measured in her mind, and she helps her team set goals to achieve their one number. Downey also helps those interested in entering real estate, find their success.
Downey believes that there are certain qualities people must have in order to be successful in real estate. Especially during challenging times like this year, having the right mindset and motivation are key in her opinion.
“For a lot of people with the right mindset and being self motivated, self motivation is key in real estate because you can’t count on anybody else. We can teach you the rest.”
Downey also sees parallels with that advice and her younger self, “I wish I would have learned to pick up the phone earlier,” says Downey, and “mastering your skills is everything.” It’s up to each of use to create success out of an opportunity, and you have to be really motivated to improve and develop your skills.
“If I can teach the younger people coming in those are the two things they need to get right away then they’ll be big successes.”
You can learn more about Julie Downey and CENTURY 21 Scheetz on their website: https://c21scheetz.com/