Recently I have been out and about meeting and interviewing many of the amazing Realtors in our community. I’ve been well acquainted with the Karen Cannon Realtor team for many years. In fact, their team was just recently voted 2022’s Best of Perimeter Best Brokerage, Team & Realtor.
While visiting their office in Dunwoody Village, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sabrina McDonald and Paige Holliman, two of the agents at Karen Cannon Realtors. I asked them several questions to better understand what it’s like to be an agent at Karen Cannon Realtors and what they are doing to help their clients in this market.
They take a team approach to everything they do, something they told me is a unique model in this industry. The agents and support staff work hand in hand to provide the best service possible to clients. Something else that I learned is a large part of their business comes from client referrals—a testament to their reputation within the community.
Watch the video to learn more about the Karen Cannon difference.
Recently Peggy and I had coffee at Crema with Dawn Young Proctor & Jennifer Barnes from The Barnes Young Team. We really enjoyed getting to know this delightful duo!
More on this later but I want to go ahead and tell you, Jennifer co-founded Solidarity Sandy Springs during the pandemic and Peggy and I were amazed to hear the stories of the tremendous growth since the inception of the idea to feed a mere 10 hungry families in March of 2020. First let me tell you about Dawn and Jennifer’s Real Estate careers….
Dawn is originally from Winter Park, Florida, went to Ole Miss and then moved to Atlanta from Memphis. She lives in Redfield and has a 5th grader at Cornerstone. Her daughter happens to know Peggy’s daughter from softball and school. Jennifer is from Tennessee, went to Agnes Scott, and never left Atlanta. She and her husband have a 16-year-old son and live in Sandy Springs.
Jennifer and Dawn have been together 20 years working for Keller Williams. Jennifer started with Jenny Pruitt and opened the first Keller Williams office in Atlanta. Shortly after Dawn obtained her real estate license, the two met at a baby shower for a mutual friend and started working together two weeks later! In 1999, the company was The BarnesTeam. Then when given the opportunity to open an office in Town Brookhaven in 2004 they soon became The Barnes Young Team (BYT). Their team focuses mostly on Dunwoody and Sandy Springs real estate but they’ve done transactions all over the Atlanta area!
When I asked them why someone should choose them to be their realtor, they said: “We care about people. It’s about improving your life not just selling your house. It’s about what can we do to help you. We go through the entire process with you. It’s not a transaction, it’s a person or a family.”
When discussing the current crazy market where homeowners are getting well above asking prices, they mentioned how much they have enjoyed seeing their clients create different lives. They worked with a young couple who had bought their home for around $250k but recently sold it after a few years for $450k and can now invest the equity for their kids education…a life changer for this family. They have several clients who have recently been able to purchase second homes and investment properties. They enjoy seeing people going through different stages from the $100k condo to moving to larger homes, etc. Since they’ve been working together for 20 years, they have enjoyed working with clients multiple times at different stages in their lives.
Dawn’s whole face lit up when she mentioned how much she loves the complicated deals where multiple pieces have to fit together to make the puzzle work. Recently, they had a situation in which a couple #1 wanted to move to Redfield but lived in High Point in Sandy Springs. Dawn was working with couple #2 who wanted couple #1’s High Point house and then she miraculously was able to find Couple #1 a house in Redfield….all with critical perfect timing.
I asked them to share some outrageous situations they have run into during their partnership. Jennifer told us that once they found a homeowner hiding under the bed during a showing so they could hear feedback on the house! Even though everyone knows RING doorbells record, potential buyers still stop to talk on the stoop and unintentionally give important feedback or information!
Both Jen and Dawn said that they love what they do and their work is rewarding even with bumps in the road. One of their mantras is “give it 15 minutes” because everything changes in real estate so quickly. Take a moment to pause and regroup and sometimes things just work themselves out.
Even though houses are selling like hotcakes, they indicated it is almost harder working now in the current market. Clients are constantly up against the timing of selling a home. Clients are putting a lot of trust in Dawn and Jenn because they strive to time events so that clients won’t have to move to temporary housing.
BYT offers a full concierge service. They have a Buyers Agent – Alexis Werner and an Operations Manager – Amy Murphy. They also have everyone needed to help facilitate the process from start to finish including a stager, photographer, organizer, painter, and more. They typically do a pre-inspection and have an electrician, handyman, plumber, etc. on hand to help with any fixes required.
Jennifer and her friend Sonia Simon served together at Every Woman Works and had been helping to send kids to summer camp at Camp Grace in Roberta, GA. Many of these kids live in apartments inside the Perimeter and are often hungry. Some eat their only meals at school for breakfast and lunch when eligible for the government funded free and reduced meal program. When the pandemic arrived and schools shut down in March, 2020 Jennifer knew these kids were going to be hungry. She and Sonia reached out to everyone they knew to come up with a plan to help. Jason Sheetz from Under the Cork Tree offered the use of his restaurant to set up a food pantry. They opened and ran out of food after 60 shoppers despite a line around the block. Jen was determined to not turn away hungry people again. They rallied everyone they knew the next day and served 105 shoppers and have never had to turn anyone away since! They have had 42,000 shoppers in two years. Solidarity Sandy Springs, co-founded by Jennifer Barnes and Erin Olivier, is currently in the Prado shopping center serving 400+ families per week. They began as an emergency food source for food insecure families during the shutdowns. Now they are a community movement, serving the people of Sandy Springs. Their volunteers collaborate with schools, Scouts, local food drives, churches, etc. to receive items and use monetary donations for produce. They are currently collecting Mother’s Day gifts so that the children they serve can “shop” for gifts for their moms. If you have a gift closet or items that could be “re-gifted” this is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to donate!
When I was a Gayfer Girl at Auburn Mall in high school, someone must have shown me how to apply makeup. Surely they did…however, my Dad always said I wore too much though, so maybe not? Anyway, now that I’m older and have wrinkles and freckles I have decided it is time to figure out how someone my age can improve their appearance with cosmetics. … Read More »
I’m having so much fun getting out and about meeting clients so far this year. Meeting Nicole McAluney in her beautiful downtown Alpharetta office was so much fun. I’m wondering how or why I don’t know her already? I learned immediately that she was friends with Foodie Patty through Brownies, she has a daughter my youngest sons age (now at TCU), another daughter currently at Marist and a son at Clemson PLUS she lives across the street from very good friends of our family!
Nicole was born in New York City where her father was working as a physician. Both her parents had recently migrated to the US from the Netherlands. She was raised in the Washington, DC area and graduated from Loyola University in Maryland. She married her college sweetheart and they began their professional lives in Atlanta shortly after college graduation. Nicole has always loved working. Prior to becoming a realtor, she had a very successful sales career with a business forms company and then later with Xerox. Nicole and her husband decided one of them needed to step back and stay home for a while once they had three children with very busy lives of their own. Nicole became the stay at home mom who was volunteering and in charge of everything at school, church and in the community (reminds me of me!).
After 5 years of being at home and inspired by her husband’s Aunt, a realtor in Philadelphia, plus the fact that she loved interior design, Nicole decided to pursue getting her real estate license. In 2006, she started her real estate career with Jenny Pruitt and Associates, and was mentored by Andrea Cueny from the very beginning! They worked so well together that they remained linked in their careers through several company changes/buyouts and eventually approached Bonneau Ansley to expand his single Ansley Buckhead office into the North Atlanta residential market. He agreed and they established their first Ansley North Atlanta location at Avalon. Now Ansley Real Estate consists of multiple offices including Athens, Buckhead, East Cobb, Intown, Marietta, Mountain & Lake, and North Atlanta.
I’ve decided if I were a realtor, I’d love working on a team. Nicole explained to me how her team (The Cueny Team) meets weekly to collaborate. They rely heavily on these weekly 30-60 minute strategizing sessions. Their team consists of a social media specialist, a director of operations and 6 agents. They all get along really well, hold each other accountable, and rely on each other for back-up. Learn more about their team here.
Nicole explained the three pronged approach The Cueny Team uses for their business: It’s three P’s:
Price: In this current, crazy market with very low inventory they’ve started a database for “make you move prices” for their contacts. For example, if I’m not really interested in selling but tell Nicole…$900K would “make me move”. She updates her database with the details of my home and if a buyer with a $900K budget matches with what my home has to offer, then maybe it really would “make me move”…
Now, back to the new development in Dunwoody behind the historical Swancy House…Nicole and her team are already working closely with Peachland Homes. If you ride by then you can see the work in progress which is right now just the building of roads and laying of pipes (from what I can tell). Nicole assures me these 13 new homes are going to be great looking. It will not be gated and will focus on green space and more outdoor space. The neighborhood will be a single enclave of 13 homes plus the historical Swancy House. Stay tuned for dates and more information but soon you’ll be able to contact Nicole and purchase one of these amazing homes!
Gina has lived in Dunwoody’s North Springs neighborhood for 16 years in two different houses! Interesting fact: The former owner of her current home was one of the founders of the Dunwoody Nature Center!
I met Gina shortly after she first obtained her Real Estate license in 2011. She had organized a holiday decoration contest in North Springs and invited me to be a judge. I was honored she asked me and had a great (albeit freezing) ride through her neighborhood with my kiddos judging the contest!
Gina is an Atlanta native. She and her husband are raising three amazing girls. The oldest two attend St. Pius X and the youngest is at Kingsley Elementary. Gina says she most frequently finds herself selling in the Dunwoody and St. Pius area markets, but having been born and raised here, she is knowledgeable all over metro Atlanta.
Gina loves to cook. She just happens to be the Co-founder of Emily G’s Jam of Love! Gina (hence the “G”) and her friend “Emily” met at a mom’s event. They have kids the same age, got to chatting and quickly became friends. One day they went strawberry picking and made fresh strawberry jam. Then they kept making more and more and decided to start selling at local festivals and markets, including the Dunwoody Farmer’s Market. Now you can purchase Emily G’s jam all over the USA! Gina eventually transitioned to Real Estate so she sold her half of the business to Emily who has since sold it to Jennifer Burns who continues to keep on jamming!
Gina obtained her real estate license after having her third baby. For three years Gina worked in the same Brookhaven Keller Williams office she is in now. She took a little breather to be home with her kids but missed her real estate career so much. She reached out to Madalyn Suits when she was considering returning to work and Madalyn said, “Come work for me!”
Gina has now been part of The Suits Team for 6 years and LOVES working there. Everyone is like-minded, supportive, and in similar life stages as moms with kids, etc. She told me it is a great working environment with brilliant minds who collaborate often and continue to learn from one another. Recently they had a team session with the topic of “how to win offers” and shared winning strategies amongst the team. Of all the Keller Williams groups, The Suits Team is #1 in the Brookhaven office, #1 in Georgia, and #1 in the entire Southeast Region!
I asked Gina why should people choose her as their agent? Here’s what she said. “I work VERY hard for my clients. I view this job as a relationship business that’s in the service industry. I am here to connect with people and work for my clients. I plan to be in it for the long haul, and truly want all my clients to come back and work with me over and over again as their needs change. I would never steer them wrong or put them anywhere I wouldn’t want to be myself. I also just really like people, and am grateful to have great relationships with my clients and with other agents.”
Gina also told me that since the market is so hot right now and houses are perceived as “easy to sell”, many homeowners think they can sell on their own. As a seller in this market, getting an offer is the easy part. What do you do when you have 15 offers and have to choose 1? The real work begins, and so much has to go “right” in order to get to the closing table. Since the market is so competitive and offers are written with no inspections/no contingencies to win when competing against multiple offers, her clients are even more thankful these days to have an agent involved to help with all of the details.
Gina is very connected in many metro areas and knows how to navigate the differences in the market in each area. It is a huge benefit to choose an agent familiar with the areas you want to buy or sell in.
Toni hired Sally way back when BHHS was still Prudential Georgia Realty, when Sally was 20 years old, newly married and had just gained her real estate license! Thirty something years later Toni remembers that day in 1986. She told me “Sally is one of the most positive and focused people I know. That was what got my attention in her very first interview!”
Sally says her entire world changed that year! She built her business in Dunwoody, took a few years off to have a wonderful son and daughter, then came back full time in 1995 and was all in! She was always a top producer and has loved the experience she gained from working around the northern Atlanta suburbs and in other BHHS offices in the metro area.
Sally obtained her Broker’s license in 2011 at the urging of a fellow Broker. She gained experience working as a co-broker alongside other brokers in the Cumming and Suwanee offices for a few years. Meanwhile DeAnn Golden, Managing Broker of the Dunwoody BHHS office was promoted Senior Vice President/Regional Manager. Obviously, Sally and Toni were well acquainted, so it was no surprise when Toni called her to return to the Dunwoody office to become Managing Broker! Sally returned to Dunwoody on February 18, 2020, then went straight to the BHHS convention in Nashville. Then the world stopped for Covid. Sally got to know her agents (sixty-five of them at the time) over Zoom and/or wearing masks.
We spent a long time talking about how insane the residential real estate market has been during the pandemic. Sally says it is a learning experience every day. Sally no longer sells or lists properties herself…her job is to strictly support her sixty-seven agents and help them navigate and grow their business and meet their goals. She collaborates with them to develop business plans by learning WHY they are in real estate, WHAT they want to achieve, and HOW they plan to get there. She is described as “available, flexible, self-motivated etc.”. Helping agents reach their own goals is her most prioritized role. She wants her agents to enjoy what they do and live their personal lives to the fullest. Sally repeated a few times, “Being a Realtor is so much more than just having a license”. Sally is an excellent counselor for her agents because of her vast accumulated knowledge.
Toni told me to ask Sally about her morning routine.
Sally grinned and told me about the healthy routine she learned from the CEO of BHHS. She prioritizes MEDS every day!
I asked Sally: “Why should potential clients choose one of her Dunwoody BHHS agents if they want to buy or sell a home in our community?”
Sally reminded us: BHHS is one of the most recognized names in the real estate industry worldwide. She confirmed it is extremely helpful to be under such a large corporate umbrella and able to benefit from all the resources within it. Her Dunwoody agents KNOW the market because they LIVE in it. They offer the highest levels of service and integrity. All the BHHS agents are members of the Atlanta Board of Realtors and therefore held to the highest standards in the industry. Sally has fostered an office environment where her agents are willing to help each other, train each other and develop strong working relationships with each other. Case in point – Jodi Halpert (the Dunwoody BHHS TOP individual producer of 2021) walked in to share a few recent transactional stories with us. Jodi has written a “multiple offer response” to provide to agents who have bid offers on properties but did not win. Bidding wars are happening with MOST properties for sale now. Jodi shared excellent feedback received from agents thanking her for her integrity and service to her clients and other agents.
On a side note….Peggy and her husband worked with Jodi Halpert in 2018 to sell their former home and buy a new home around the corner. Jodi’s knowledge of the Dunwoody market, her relationship with the other agent, and expertise in contracts/negotiations, all facilitated a seamless experience. Jodi’s connections in the community allowed her to sell Peggy’s existing home off market without having to stage or show!
When wrapping up, we asked both Jodi and Sally: “What’s changed in the last 5 years in Dunwoody Residential Real Estate?” With wide eyes and expressive commentary, they started sharing excitedly…
The market has exploded!
Technology and social media changed how business is done.
The sales process is now all electronic.
So many homes have been bought “sight unseen” or even via FaceTime.
Agents meet clients at homes rather than riding in cars with them due to masks and germs.
Offers with no inspections or contingencies.
Both Jodi and Sally say the most important thing for agents to realize right now is to follow the directions on a listing. If agents do not follow the listing directions, their client could be moved to the bottom of the bid list despite the quality of the offer!
A few fun facts about our new friend Sally: She lives nearby in the beautiful Aria property in Sandy Springs off Glenridge. She has two grown children. One close to home and the other across the country in California. She loves all the local flavor in Dunwoody … especially NFA Burger, Novo Cucina, Carbonara Trattoria and the new Bar(n)...all in Dunwoody Village. In fact, our conversation happened during lunch time, so we stopped by to say hello to Billy Kramer at NFA and enjoyed burgers and tots. Can you believe it was Peggy’s first time ever to have an NFA Burger?! It will not be her last. We liked Sally so much we plan to go grab her for lunch often!
I videoed our chat and I think you’ll love seeing Christina’s beautiful Dunwoody home (she’s an interior designer) and hear the stories about all the purchases and sales. Karen helped her sell a condo in Dunwoody, buy her house in Dunwoody on Layfield Court in The Branches, sell her Dunwoody home and purchase her new dream home in Johns Creek! Two stories that didn’t make the video still make me laugh as I write this….
Christina had her inspector pose as her husband during a showing and got kicked out! (They wanted to write their offer with “no inspection”)
Christina found her dream home in The Branches and was about to put a note in the mailbox requesting an opportunity to purchase some day….then found out the homeowner of her dream home was Karen and Anderson Cannon! (They aren’t moving!)
I’m sad she’s moving away from Dunwoody right after I just met her! I think you’ll agree after you’ve seen the video.
Karen Cannon Realtors are LOCAL. The brand created is at company level not agent level. Everything is consistent with the brand and product. It’s a team. They are the top selling and most-referred team in Dunwoody with over 400 5-star reviews. Their agents are fully supported so they can focus on their clients – from a full-time marketing specialist, listing coordinator and closing coordinator — all of the details are handled. Every home is marketed with professional photography, home staging, 3D virtual tours and targeted digital promotion.
I also met with KCR Realtors, Paige, Sabrina and Andrew and will introduce you to them in an upcoming article. Meanwhile if you want to buy or sell a home…contact them at info@KarenCannon.com. Their offices are conveniently located between Marlow’s Tavern and First Watch in Dunwoody Village.
My hubby and I sent two sons off to college. My oldest was in 10th grade when I started freaking out because I didn’t understand ANYTHING about the college application process, what we could afford, where was the best fit, scheduling college tours, etc. Honestly, when I started talking to people about what to do, I felt like I was learning a whole new foreign language with words such as: FAFSA, SAT Subject Tests, Early Admission, Gap Year, Technical School, Early Decision, Early Action, Early Decision, Common App, Safety School, Binding Decisions, Hope/Zell GPA vs regular GPA, UGMA, UTMA, EFC, etc. … Read More »
Yes, I realize the title of this article in and of itself sounds like a scam. Too good to be true? NO! I visited the Consumer Innovation Center (CIC) and can show you my pictures and verify this is true!
This is message is certainly for everyone in our AHA! audience but I’d like to make double darn sure I have the attention of all the Wesleyan and Cornerstone Mamas and anyone who regularly finds themselves frequenting The Forum or Peachtree Corners Town Center shopping center areas. I’m over that way myself a lot for Sprouts, Trader Joes and visiting my aunt!… Read More »
When leaving the Georgetown Kroger and heading back toward Dunwoody on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, the view is very different these days. Many trees have been chopped down making room for sidewalks and bike lanes and the burying of utilities. Now you can now clearly see the JF&CS buildings located at 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road. … Read More »
I recently sat down at the Dunwoody Nature Center with three of the lovely ladies working behind the scenes to bring us a fabulous 2021 Butterfly Experience. As it turns out, the weekend of August 19-22 is going to be HUGE in Dunwoody. Plan to stay in town that weekend! … Read More »