Recently I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Athena Brownson. She brings a fresh approach and energy to our office that keeps us all invigorated and excited about helping people. She is a true Colorado native who loves the mountains, Denver, and most of all, helping people. I think you’ll enjoy this chat as much as I did.
What is your story? Where are you from?
I was born in Breckenridge, CO in a family of real estate developers. I’ve been on construction sites since I’ve been a kid. I was a great experience growing up to see how homes were built and to be part of that process. I was a competitive skier from my childhood and skied all the way through college at CU Boulder. After 8 knee injuries, I thought it might be time to do something different.
Is that when you became a Realtor?
First I became a residential interior designer. Since I grew up in the construction business and was part of the industry I already had a lot of knowledge and I enjoyed it. After talking with a friend, I decided to move into real estate and it has been the best decision of my life so far.
How long have you been a Realtor?
I’ve been a licensed broker for two and a half years. I think it is important as well as being part of the Realtor Association. It shows that I’ve done the work, have the education, and follow a strict code of ethics. It shows my clients that I’ll give them the best, and they know it.
Do you have a family?
No, I still visit my parents often in Breckenridge, but at this point I’m just enjoying working and living in Denver. I do have my fur-baby Boo. He is a French Bulldog and often the office mascot. Boo keeps me pretty busy.
What do you love most about the Denver Metro?
I love the exciting new pockets that keep popping up. There are always new restaurants, bars, and I really like finding the cool places to go. I’ve always liked trying to find new things, unique places and hidden gems. Denver is full of places like that. I will always like being so close to the mountains. There aren’t many places where you can live in a big city and in an hour to an hour and a half be on the slopes.
What do you attribute your success to?
Learning a hard work ethic from a young age. Not only watching my family work but also as a competitive athlete. I learned early on, that if you work hard, and are a true competitor your win. It’s in my blood to outwork everyone around me. I like winning offers on homes and getting multiple offers when I’m helping to sell a house. It’s important to me to be the best.
What is your favorite real estate success story?
I have a good friend, Megan, who was living in New York City and was moving back to Colorado. I found the perfect home and we put in a full price cash offer, but we lost it at the last minute. Obviously, we were a little upset, but I also feel if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I knew there was a shortage of inventory, but I wanted to help her.
So, I started knocking on doors of houses in the area that she might like. I knocked on the door of one house that was perfect and it was the home of a developer who was working on a new project right up the street. He was interested in selling so I did a Facetime walkthrough with Megan, she flew out next week, and we made an offer and he accepted. It just shows that if you put in the extra effort you can do anything.
What has been your greatest challenge in the Denver Real Estate Market?
The lack of inventory. The market is hot right now which makes it difficult sometimes to find a home that meets all the needs. However, it is still possible to win the offers and find great homes. First I’m work hard to find the listings that match my client’s needs. Then I put the time in to meticulously write the contract. I make sure the offer is perfectly written, that we are using great lenders who are trusted, and sometimes I even have the buyers write notes to the current owner. It doesn’t always come down to the highest price but who has the best communication.
How big of a role will technology play in real estate moving forward?
I went to a real estate convention a couple months ago in Las Vegas and just seeing what was out there blew me away. It was pretty eye-opening learning just how much buying habits are changing. The first thing most people do now when buying a house is go online. It just shows how important it is to have an online presence that is reputable and has strong testimonials from your clients.
I also think it is important to utilize technology like Facetime and Skype to help clients see properties. Sometimes a property hits the market in the morning that is perfect and if they aren’t able to get out and see it, they might lose out on it later in the afternoon. I can walk through the house using Facetime and show them the property even if they can’t leave work. It’s a huge advantage for my clients.
Another great application we’re using is Matterport. It provides a virtual tour of homes on-line, which puts people inside the house and gives them the ability to see the home when it is convenient for them or immediately when it hits the market.
What is your favorite Social Media Site?
I love my business Facebook page. It allows me to stay in touch with clients all over the country and provide them great information. Plus, I have a newsletter, I’m constantly showcasing cool properties, and giving real estate advice.
Where do you think the next “hot” area will be?
That’s hard to say because Denver has so many. I really think RINO, Cole, and Whittier are really going to start to develop over the next 3 years. Basically, if you want to see what’s going to be hot next just follow the light rail. The Thornton area is definitely going to grow and now may be the best time to find great investment properties.
What advice can you give home buyers?
Think about your lifestyle. What are you needs? Sometimes people look at homes that don’t match what they need. If you take into account everything you do it will be easier to find the right home. Consider your daily habits, and your family’s lifestyle. Think about the location and make sure it is where you want to live. Explore different neighborhoods. Denver has so many cool and unique neighborhoods so take the time to explore.
It is important to Interview the lender to ensure they are reputable. Make sure they are closing on time and have a good track record for getting everything completed. Sometimes offers are accepted just because the person is using a good lender.
Above all be patient. You might not win the first one, but, when the time is right, everything will come together.
What advice can you give people who have their own “Fur-babies”?
Take the time to think about your pet and your needs. Make sure the home has well fenced in backyards without holes that your dogs can get out through. If you have a big dog, look for areas that you can go outside, are walkable and near parks. That’s one thing that is lucky about living in Colorado, there are a lot of trails and parks. I always talk to my clients about examining their daily routines with their dogs to make sure the house fits. If you’re buying a condo consider a first or second floor unit. You don’t want to be constantly climbing up and down stairs to walk your dog.
What advice can you give home sellers?
Listen to your agent. We’re immersed into the market and know the neighborhoods. If you want the highest price, make sure your agent is taking the time to do the details.
What is your favorite thing about being a Realtor?
I love meeting and working with people, and finding the right fit. I’m part of a huge and important decision and it makes me feel great when we find the right house. I like to keep in touch afterwards. Many of my clients become great friends and I like to have them over to happy hours and we often have 30 plus clients come. It’s really nice to form friendships that last past the transaction.
If you would like to talk to Athena about buying a new home or selling your house you may call get in touch with her by calling 303-919-9344 or emailing her at Athena@mynewera.com.