October 6, 2019

Five Years

I found myself deep in the archives today, scrolling through blog posts from what feels like forever ago. I’ve had a blog since 2008. With a few clicks, I can uncover what I was thinking and feeling at almost any moment over the last decade.

My old blog!

This morning, I read a particular entry from 2014 — when I was studying for my broker’s exam and working as an assistant at Coldwell Banker. I couldn’t help but smile at my words:

A career in real estate will inevitably have its own set of challenges and stressors. It’s a go-go-go industry, one that requires you to work tirelessly, treat others respectfully, wait patiently and deal with rejection gracefully. What’s more, as a 21-year-old, I will need to establish myself as smart and skilled — if I don’t know what I’m doing, then I’m in trouble.

For now, I’m staying focused on my game plan, and it feels really, really good. After a few tough summers, I’m happy to say that this one has been different. Maybe it’s the career change, or maybe it’s me.

The thing I’ve been missing over the past few weeks, though, has been this: fingers to keyboard, typing out thoughts and feelings, trying to make them flow. And so I hope to keep this blog alive, posting about the things I’m learning. Writing will always be my first love — real estate just might be my second.

From a blog post I titled “Why I Chose Real Estate.”

I had no idea what I was getting into when I hit “publish” on that entry. I was a 21-year-old college student at DePaul University, about to complete my senior year. After years of chasing journalism, I decided I wanted to scrap that idea and try something new. My dad suggested I get my broker’s license, and the rest is history. I wrote that particular post to inform my friends and family of my life update.

It was October 2014 when I officially began my career in residential real estate. Melanie Stone Chicago was born at Coldwell Banker’s Gold Coast office — exactly five years ago.

October 2014: my announcement photo.
Doorhangers. What was I thinking?
Advertising at DePaul, my school.
My Tinder profile, hahaha.

Since then, my business has evolved in more ways than I ever could’ve imagined. But the biggest growth spurt of all happened in year five: MSC became Melanie Everett & Company, a boutique real estate firm. I made the decision to leave Coldwell Banker and try something totally new. You know that story by now.

I’ve made a habit of looking back at every anniversary (like my 3rd and my 4th). But for #5, I’m looking forward. Here are five things I’m excited for as I enter my next year in this industry:

Watching my brokers soar.

I’ve never been prouder of Courtney and Candace. They are tenacious beyond words and I’m tremendously lucky to lead them. Courtney joined me first, in 2018. We were mere acquaintances at the time. I had known Courtney for years (through our church!) but it wasn’t until she took a leap of faith and jumped into real estate that our relationship blossomed into an incredible friendship. Then, in early 2019, Candace came along. She delivered a package to my WeWork office the day after I launched M&Co. I remember tearing up as I leafed through the thick envelope. Along with her resume, Candace had taken the time to write down all of the reasons why she wanted to join my new company. I was completely floored by her thoughtfulness and attention to detail — and I still am impressed by her constantly. I love these girls, and I find so much joy in cheering them on.

Helping our clients transition.

My first buyers bought homes in 2014/2015. Since then, I’ve watched them get married, have babies, adopt dogs, change jobs, and more. I have attended their housewarming parties, birthday parties, and fundraising events. Suddenly, many of my early buyers are calling me to list their condos and buy new homes. It is the greatest honor to partner with these dear clients as they move from one life stage to the next.

Selling even more real estate.

I’ve officially sold $65 million as a career total. That number is so humbling, and you must know that I could not do it alone. I’m ready to hit the next milestone with my team by my side.

Giving back to my community.

Andrew and I have really loved our first year together in Lincoln Park. We live in a vintage condo near Armitage Avenue, one of my favorite blocks in the city. Together, we want to continue volunteering, serving, and investing in our neighborhood.

Continuing to grow M&Co.

The industry is changing. There are more apps, tools, and data than ever before. What’s more, the Chicago market has shifted greatly over the last year. It is a competitive time to be in real estate sales. No matter what the future brings, I want my company to be known for our integrity, honesty, and creativity. We’re committed to bringing joy and service to our sweet clients — that promise will never change.

Thank you to all of my family, friends, clients, referral partners and mentors who have supported me as a person and as a broker over the last five years. I would be nothing without you all.