Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 30, 2015

Rookie Realtor turns passion for real estate into success

Realtor Jeff Davidson is the Chattanooga area’s Crye-Leike Rookie of the Year. He says his passion for real estate and his drive to serve his clients well are the keys to his success. - (Photo by David Laprad)

Realtor Jeff Davidson says he shuns the spotlight. Then he must have felt uneasy about being named Rookie of the Year at the recent Crye-Leike 2015 kickoff.

“No, it was all about my son,” the 36-year-old real estate agent says. He accepted the award with his wife, Suzanne, at his side and his two-year-old son, Miles, in his arms. There was a fourth Davidson at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club that day, but unlike his dad, he was able to avoid the limelight. (The Davidsons are expecting again, and it’s a boy.)

Davidson is so reluctant to draw attention to himself, he declines to reveal how much real estate he sold in 2014 – his first full year as a Realtor. His broker at the Gunbarrel Road office in East Brainerd, Jennifer Grayson, is more than happy to brag about her star fledgling. “Jeff sold more than $2.3 million in 2014,” she says.

Selling that much real estate during year one isn’t easy in an industry in which it can take months, or even years, to start raking in decent business. But Davidson made it happen. Grayson takes a stab at identifying how, saying his “disciplined drive and love for challenges and meeting new people make him a great Realtor.”

When pressed to talk about what he believes are the reasons for his success, Davidson all but echoes his broker’s comments. “I have the drive and the determination to get the best deal for my client while making the transaction fair for everyone,” he says. “I also love challenges and meeting new people.”

Davidson thinks for a moment and then corrects himself. “I don’t see challenges, I see opportunities,” he says.

One such “opportunity” Davidson faced during his first year as a Realtor was a flat market. The long dry spell in real estate was over, but the market wasn’t budging much from the previous year. Davidson says he made the most of the situation by “doing the little things right.”

“I’m not afraid of working hard to put my clients in the best position to buy or sell a house,” he says. “I don’t force anything on them, though. I tell them we can work as fast or as slow as they want.”

Davidson says follow-up is also important, as is being truthful and sincere. “I believe in the Golden Rule,” he says. “I treat other people the way I want to be treated.”

To make sure he’s getting his point across, Davidson says what would be obvious to anyone who hears him talk: he loves what he does. “I’m passionate about real estate,” he says.

He’s also passionate about Crye-Leike, the place he’s called home as a Realtor since October 2013. Davidson says he interviewed all of the local companies, and based his choice on three components: the people, the support the company provides, and the pay structure.

“This place has a positive environment,” he says. “That’s important to me. It’s not a bunch of individuals out for themselves. I’ve helped people here, and they’ve helped me.”

For this reason, Davidson says the award he received is actually “an East Brainerd award.”

Davidson also compliments the Crye-Leike infrastructure, which he says is built to help agents succeed. “I worked at a mom-and-pop for a few months before coming here,” he says. “Being on my own wasn’t easy. Crye-Leike provides me with leads, which helps.”

Finally, Davidson was attracted to the financial opportunities at Crye-Leike. “I’m a numbers guy, and Crye-Leike has a good pay structure,” he says.

Davidson sounds like he’s shifted from talking about himself to trying to sell the company – something to which he readily admits. “Becoming a Realtor isn’t easy, and I would love to help new agents get started,” he says.

Davidson has been on a straight path to success in business since growing up in Ft. Collins, Colo. He earned a business degree at Colorado State University and then became involved in the real estate industry in a non-licensed capacity. “I worked with investors, Realtors, and bankruptcy attorneys to help people avoid foreclosure,” he says. “I jumped right into the hardest part of the real estate industry – short sales.”

Davidson left that position in 2010 when he and this wife moved to Chattanooga to be near her parents. He sold insurance for a few years and helped his wife sell jewelry at the Chattanooga Market, but becoming a licensed agent was never far from his thoughts.

“I wanted to get to know the area first,” he says. “I also wanted to learn how to negotiate the best deal for my client but also make a deal a win-win situation.”

Realizing his comments about real estate have come full circle, Davidson changes focus to his family. Even greater than the passion he feels for his work is his love for his wife and child. “I love taking Miles to the playground and or the park,” he says, “and on Sundays when the Chattanooga Market is open, I’m there helping my wife.”

As Davidson talks about his family, tears begin to form in his eyes. He pauses to fight them back and then changes the topic to faith and gratitude, which he calls his core values. “I believe in having a relationship with the good old Lord, so I try to instill that in my family by praying every day,” he says. “I also believe in being grateful for the things people sometimes take for granted, like being healthy enough to work.”

Davidson isn’t taking the benefits of living in Chattanooga for granted, either. Rather, he enjoys the sense of community, the ways in which the city caters to small businesses, and the support Chattanoogans show local entrepreneurs. Also, being a numbers guy, he likes that living here is cheaper than living in Colorado.

Now Davidson sounds like he’s trying to sell the city he now calls home. But that’s okay; his enthusiasm is understandable. He’s carving out a place for himself in one of the most vibrant and thriving mid-sized cities in the nation, and all signs are pointing to him doing very well moving forward.

“Being conservative, I can increase my business by 50 percent this year, or even double it,” he says.

To hear Davidson say this is to believe it. Everything he pours into his work can be heard in his voice, and his conviction is convincing. If Crye-Leike had a sophomore of the year award, Davidson would be a shoo-in.