As MG Group’s newest member, Keshia Johnson comes with a rich array of experiences, from her educational pursuits at Northwestern and Marquette University to her time spent in China diving into Mandarin and international business. Her zest for travel, culture, and wide array of experience positions her perfectly for the real estate market. As she embarks on her real estate journey, discover more about Keshia’s diverse background and aspirations in our latest team spotlight.
How did you get involved in the real estate business?
I worked as a parallel litigation paralegal for the last ten years before coming to MG Group. I went to Northwestern, where I received my BA, and then received my MBA from Marquette. Outside of my education, I lived in China for a few months and got exposed to another side of the business world because of the various people I met across the globe. There I was working in everything from finance and business development to a little bit of real estate.
I always wanted to do real estate, but I’ve shied away from it because I thought it was a very complicated thing, which it actually is. So for a few months, I worked in business development for a company based out of Taiwan who was trying to break into the North American market. Eventually, after a few other opportunities and realizing I wanted to jump into the real estate world, I found the MG Group.
How long have you been at MG Group?
I finally got my license at the end of May and then started at MG Group not long after. So I’m somewhat new to the game. I’ve been working a lot with one of our other agents Alice who is extremely knowledgeable about the market and has been teaching me the ropes.
How does MG Group stand out from other teams, in the Chicago area or even nationwide?
Everyone who works for MG Group is very educated on the market. We all have our own specific strengths in the room. One of the many reasons why I love the Group is because we’re truly a team. Unlike some of my previous experiences working with other teams, we’re not combative. We each want to see one another succeed.
The Group is very smart and very meticulous. Everyone pays attention to the small details, is straightforward, and gives each of our clients white glove service. We always keep our clients’ best interests at heart when advising them.
What keeps you passionate about what you do?
I love people. And it’s fun helping people shop for and buy houses – especially first time homebuyers. While shadowing Alice, seeing a buyer’s face light up when they found “the one” was very fulfilling. Even for me, when I’m looking for a place to live, it’s stressful. You want to make sure you find something that’s perfect for you. So to be a part of those decisions to help clients find their dream home is extremely rewarding.
What have you learned from your time there and what do you look forward to learning more about?
One of the things that I’ve started to learn is that I have to be very thorough. The smallest mistakes can lead to bigger mistakes. So I’ve learned that you have to pay attention to the minute details in order to get to the end goal. Also, just being knowledgeable. There’s so much more to real estate than just saying ‘Hey, I want to take these people and show them this house, and we’re going to walk around.’ You need to know what the building materials are, what type of roof was installed and when, how long it has been since the masonry was tuckpointed, etc. It’s a lot more than just showing a house. You have to be able to run through numbers to help clients figure out what type of loan might be best for them including the amount they can – or should – afford for a down payment. And if you don’t do your homework before you go, you can lose a client. So it’s way more than what people think.
What trends are you seeing in the Chicago residential market that are most interesting these days, or in looking forward to throughout the year?
The market is slowly picking back up. But right now, we still have low inventory. What’s crazy is that I’ve been seeing people pay over the asking price for rentals because the inventory is so low and they want that place. I’ve been calling it the Wild, Wild West. However, I think it’s going to slowly start getting back to normal in a bit. I’m also starting to see people returning to the Midwest, Chicago specifically, which is interesting. And I think that’s going to be a big thing over time as we pay attention to the economy and the effects climate change is having on the East and West Coasts. And even though property values have risen across the country – Chicago included – this city is still extremely affordable when compared to other cities, especially when one considers its world-class caliber universities, industry and dining/entertainment options.