Jenny Hassid is the Broker In Charge of Savvy + Co. Real Estate. The company was founded by Shonn Ross, Lexie Longstreet, and Victor Ahdieh in 2007. She acts as a liaison between the agents of the company and the clients to build and maintain a healthy relationship.
Before becoming the Broker In Charge of Savvy + Co. Real Estate in July 2021, Hassid practiced architecture. She worked as a home builder, practiced residential and commercial architecture. Working in the home and building industry prepared her to pursue her career in real estate. She explains that she wasn’t practicing architecture to become a Broker In Charge, there were several essential steps to get from the practice of architecture to a management position in an industry leading real estate office. It is one of her neighbors who told her about the Broker In Charge position at Savvy + Co. Real Estate. His assessment that Jenny was a perfect fit for Savvy + Co a very creative and cutting edge real estate practice was kismet.
Jenny, can you start off by telling us about Savvy + Co. Real Estate?
Savvy + Co. Real Estate was founded in 2007 by Shonn Ross, Lexie Longstreet, and Victor Ahdieh. Savvy + Co. is a fresh, forward-thinking real estate firm. With over 40 years combined real estate experience in the Charlotte area, Shonn and Lexie sought to create a company that continued their desire for true grassroots client care. We take pride in our knowledge of Charlotte and its unique communities. Our professional group of brokers, a stellar support staff, and a desire to stay ahead of the technology curve sets Savvy + Co. apart.
The Savvy + Co. office is located on East 7th Street in the heart of the Historic Elizabeth neighborhood. We have restored a wonderful old house and made it a great place to do business and experience the energy of a great neighborhood. Clients enjoy our comfortable lounge where they can relax over a cappuccino or glass of wine and get the latest updates on the market. Our unique setting creates a comfortable, friendly environment for our clients and associates and a wonderful place to call home!
Savvy + Co. is known for our brand. The marketing department is constantly forward-thinking, and we stay ahead of the curve and execute custom marketing solutions designed to cast the widest possible net and target key demographics. The branding stands out and sets the pace of the luxury experience we want all our clients to feel.
“Smart Real Estate. Nice People.” Its not just a tag line, it is Savvy + Co.
What exactly does it mean to be the ‘Broker In Charge’?
As a Broker In Charge (or BIC), my agents are my clients. Savvy + Co. has experienced agents who are leaders in the industry. However, occasionally they need help, and that is where I come in. I act as a liaison between parties to create or maintain relationships.
The company is situated in Charlotte, North Carolina. What makes Charlotte such a fantastic place to live in 2022?
Charlotte offers city living with some small-town touches. It’s a beautiful city with greenways, beautiful parks, light rail transit, outdoor venues, night life, culture, arts, and a great variety of restaurants with some talent thanks to Johnson and Wales. It is also a quick drive to the mountains and the beach.
What is the real estate market like in Charlotte currently? How has COVID-19 impacted Charlotte’s property market?
Charlotte is consistently ranked among the top places to live in the US. In addition to being a banking hub, it has become a destination for tech companies. This is in part because North Carolina has a competitive grant and incentive programs for companies that invest in the state and create jobs. I would also say the pandemic has encouraged more businesses to leave other cities to come here where the work-from- home lifestyle is so full, thanks to all the entertainment and beauty in and around the city.
There is no shortage of buyers in Charlotte, but there is historically low inventory. We have coupled the low inventory with very low mortgage rates, and that has brewed up a very competitive home buying market. We may have gone from a boiling market to a simmering market, but it is still very hot and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. While other markets may have a home value adjustment after this inventory shortage, I do not anticipate much of a value adjustment in Charlotte. Charlotte is one of the top 15 most populated cities in the US; however, the cost of living here is considerably more affordable than other large metro areas. For that reason, I think the home value increases are what would be expected for the growth we are experiencing.
What trends do you see occurring in Charlotte real estate in the coming year or two?
I hope to see some live-work developments in and around Charlotte. With people working from home more, I still think there is a desire for people to commune in smaller work environments, without fighting uptown traffic and parking.
Thanks to the pandemic and how we are living differently, I am seeing a surge of Traditional Neighborhood Developments, or TNDs. They often include a variety of housing types, a mixture of land uses, a walkable design, shared amenities, and are often close to transit. TNDs are typically compact and focus on public spaces and amenities. People want somewhere to go and something to do and want to feel like they are a part of something. The TND is an answer for that search for connection and a new way of living and working from home. This mixture of housing types is inclusive and is a trend we all need to press for as housing prices here continue to climb.
Not too long ago you could see vacant land inside our outer loop. Vacant land is becoming more and more rare. As this happens, Charlotte is working on a comprehensive plan for growth, which has proven to be controversial. The trend will likely require a lot of hard work and coming together to create a comprehensive map for how Charlotte will grow. In a perfect world, there will be a trend of community input into the changes to come for our beautiful city.
You only joined Savvy + Co. Real Estate in July 2021. What brought you to the company?
One of my neighbors came to me and told me about the BIC position at Savvy + Co. He knows their culture and has known me for a while. He thought that it would be a great match and he was so so right! Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy; I needed a few more signs telling me to move to Savvy + Co. and I am so glad I listened to all the signs. There were more reasons to be here, including working for an agent- owner who poured so much love and passion into making Savvy + Co. the amazing place that it is. The company has an exceptional reputation in town, and it is an honor every day to work with every single person there.
Real estate wasn’t your first career path. You started off in architectural design. Why did you change careers and what was the transition to real estate like?
I believe a career path starts with your very first job, so I don’t believe I went from practicing architecture to being a Broker In Charge. I think I started off as a lifeguard, I was a muralist, I worked for a custom home builder, I had an exceptional experience practicing architecture at some notable firms, and all of those positions prepared me for where I am now.
Was it difficult to move from a career in architectural design to a career in real estate?
The hardest part about that transition was moving away from a career that has been passed down through generations in my family. I will always be a designer; no one can take away the ability that is in my make-up. This wiring helps me to help my agents. My agents all know how to perform in a transaction, but often they run into trouble when the building they are selling doesn’t perform, and that is where my architectural knowledge is exceptionally helpful. Design is a 24/7 process, as is helping families find a home. Both professions are very similar, and both require flexibility, patience, perseverance, and
You are a first-generation American. How did your upbringing and family shape your career?
Failure was not an option. My family had to fight to be here, and I feel personally responsible to them to find success. My grandfather never felt American; he died an Egyptian. He had an incredible architecture practice in Cairo, Egypt, and his career success here, despite going to Harvard and starting the PHD program at Berkeley, could never compare to his career successes in Cairo. He had to give that up to bring my father and the rest of our family to the United States for their future success. I was raised with very educated parents, and that was the expectation for all of our family members.
My dad wanted me to continue the architectural career path for our family, while I never let on that I was listening to him. In fact, I was afraid I couldn’t do the job or get into an architecture program, so I didn’t tell him I was applying. He only found out that I applied when I was accepted and enrolled in a Masters of Architecture program.
What are your tips for anyone seeking a career change and pursuing a job in real estate?
If you are thinking about a career change, and real estate has been on your mind for a while, you should probably follow your instincts. This job is not a 9–5 – you have to really want it. If you keep coming back to wanting it, it’s likely for you.
Jenny, how is a day in your life?
I have two amazing teenage girls whom I get ready for school every day, and a furry menagerie to tend to. They make every day fun and keep me on my toes. After the girls are off to school, I either plug into some work at home or I head off to the office. At the office I’m typically hosting agent training, coaching agents, helping with real estate “mini emergencies,” and working on business planning with the incredible staff at Savvy + Co.
After work is family time with my partner Michael Dunning and the girls. Michael is an architect, and we enjoy speaking “archi-gab” and talking about future architectural projects. After over twenty-five years as a principal at the Charlotte and Los Angeles based firm, Shook Kelley (where we used to work together!) Michael left to start his own called MEND Design Collaborative. MEND’s tag line is, “To set right, make better, improve.” I think this embodies the kind of approach to life and to what we hope to do each day for people. Whether it’s in real estate or through design, we like to believe that we’re bringing positive changes and opportunities to folks.
The teenagers keep us on the go, however. Most days we are off to swim practice or doing homework, while I am answering some agent “quick questions” and a few “gotta sec’s.”
My family knows I love them and my job and that my job requires me to pause and answer my phone at swim meets and on the weekends, but I also have the flexibility to be at the swim meets and be super present with them. This is something I missed when I was practicing architecture full time at an 80+ hour pace.
I’m very lucky: I have a balanced life and an incredible family.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I am obsessed with New Orleans Jazz Fest posters and dream of being a featured poster artist! I love to paint and draw, and wish I found more time for that, but just as design is a life-long pursuit, when I have more time I will do more of both.
Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here.
“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?” Zaha Hadid
“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King Jr. “Be gentle with your words, you can’t take them back.” Willie Nelson
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
Our country that my family found refuge in is unsettled and polarized. I want peace in my home and in all homes in our country.
Jenny Hassid’s grandfather is from Cairo, Egypt and her father moved into the United States for a better future. Growing up in an educated family background helped Jenny Hassid to pursue her career in architecture. She is now a mother of two teenage girls and uses her knowledge in architecture and house building to help the brokers to overcome their issues.
For more information on Jenny Hassid and Savvy + Co., please visit https://www.savvyandcompany.com
Journalist and author. Contributor