Power Brokers – Deevy and Chambers take top honors at Coldwell Banker

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Last year was a good year for Joy Deevy and Susan Gray Chambers. No, make that an oustanding year for the two Coldwell Banker power brokers.

The two veteran real estate agents with the Old Town office at 400 King Street appeared to be caught by surprise when a reporter called them Tuesday and informed them they had been named two of the firm’s two top performers for the Greater Washington area in 2007. The announcement was made by Paul Valentino, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Greater Washington.

When the envelope was opened, the two sales associates were ranked in the top three out of 1,646 Coldwell Banker sales associates in 28 offices throughout the DC area. “These are the agents who exemplify the excellence for which Coldwell Banker is known,” said Valentino, himself a former manager of the 300 King Street Office who trained the two superagents.  “Their dedication to professionalism and exceptional customer service sets an example for the real estate industry.”

Valentino added that regardless of market conditions, people will always need to buy and sell homes and  top performers like Deevy and Chambers know how to take advantage of opportunities in a challenging market.  “People often forget that a house is more than just an investment. It is a place to live, raise a family and call home,” Valentino said. “Joy and Susan succeeded in helping their customers navigate the market and realize the dream of home ownership.”

Deevy racked up $22 million in sales last year, making her Coldwell Banker’s second biggest producer in the area. “I just work hard all the time,” she said Wednesday over coffee, while straddling her six-month old baby boy in her lap. “I started out with open houses, cold calling and networking; whatever worked. Now it’s a lot of referrals.”

A graduate of Thomas Edison High School for Math and Science and James Madison University, the 37-year-old Deevy came to Coldwell Banker in 2002 after working as director of sales at Cross Media Networks, which marketed text-to-speech technology, and Bethesda-based Marriott Corp., where she worked in corporate executive housing sales in Phoenix, AZ. She met her husband Tom, a data analyst in Ballston, in 2003 and was married a year later.

“My husband and I went to the same college at the same time, but we did not meet until more than a decade later,” she recalled. “He’s very patient about my long hours, and taking the baby and meeting my clients at midnight.”

Married in 2005, they moved to Del Ray and last September (despite the hours), Joy gave birth to their first child, months after suffering through a painful wrist surgery. “Throw me a curve and I’ll work with it,” she said.

Last year, on top of the baby and the surgery, Deevy closed on 39 transactions, averaging $600,000 per home or condo sale, or $87 million total sales since joining the business in mid-2002. In her first six months at Coldwell Banker, she closed on $6 million, and her career from there looks like a step-ladder: $9 million in 2003, $12 million in 2004, $15 million in 2005 and $17 million in 2006. This, despite having no assistant or team, and now a newborn who makes pulls on her time.

“My clients want things done yesterday,” she said. “You have to work crazy hours to get the deals done. This is a very important transaction to them.”

The competitive thread she brings to the business is borne of her competitive need to win at — of all places — softball. Deevy plays in the Fairfax County Division I league and in the Capital Alumni Network. “No matter how busy I am, I always make time for softball,” she said.

Susan Gray Chambers
Last year was also a banner year for Susan Gray Chambers, with $20 million on the books, making her the third biggest grossing producer in the metro area for Coldwell Banker. “t was my best year, by volume and income,” Chambers said Wednesday.

Her 2007 sales included an $11 million estate in Mason Neck, which was the highest Fairfax County sale of the year, according to land records.

The sale was a result of her friendship with her neighbor Russell T. Wright, the CEO of Alexandria-based Dimensions International, the defense logistics company which sold for $240 million to Honeywell. The 18,000-square-foot home with five acres of prime river frontage was sold for $8.3 million, with Wright purchasing an adjacent lot of 10 acres for $2.75 million.

Chambers sold Wright the house and acreage surrounding it, the house features six  bedrooms, eight full baths, three fireplaces, a swimming pool and movie theater in the basement. The property, flanked by Federal parkland and sanctuaries, took top honors last year in the custom home category in a Discovery Channel special.  This is a grand home of rarely seen quality in Northern Virginia, Chambers said.

Chambers started at Coldwell Banker 15 years ago after a high-pressure, 13-year career in sales covering 13 states at Giorgio Armani in New York. “I was used to moving at a very fast pace,” Chambers recalled. “It was very slow here. All the agents were doing crossword puzzles.”

In her first year, she recalled, she brought in $20,000 in rental income. “The market then was that bad,” said Chambers, chuckling at the memory.

Chambers, who turned 50 recently, learned to “get to work first, work smarter and harder and be a little more creative with marketing. I was out out there working in the snowstorms when others were sitting by the fire.”

Married three years ago to builder Ty Chambers, she said she takes a hands-on approach with her mostly upper-bracket clients. “They want to know you’re there for them at all times,” she said.

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