Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Randolph.
Hi Jessica, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
When I was 16, I worked at an 1820’s farmhouse that was retrofitted into an ice cream shop right next to a train station in the suburbs of Chicago. Having grown up in a vinyl-siding, 1980’s development where every house was another shade of beige and featured popcorn ceilings, I fell in love with the historic charm of the shop. The way the floors creaked when I greeted a customer to the rusty old front door that still had the original hardware perfectly in tact, I was falling in love. I moved to Nashville after high school and quickly realized that I was not the only semi-talented 18 year old who knew four guitar chords, and my dream felt silly. I started to pray for some sort of direction. I honestly felt lost. What should I do with life?! Don’t we all ask that question at some point? It was shortly after that a friend asked me while I was helping him move into a new apartment behind Fido in Hillsboro Village, “If you had all the money in the world, and all the time in the world, what would you do with your life?” I knew immediately and almost screamed from excitement as it came out of my mouth. “I would renovate old homes!!!” But it didn’t end there “And own a home with a big white porch where I can be like Mrs. Gump and host people that need a place to stay.” The answer came out of left field but at the same time felt like it was right there all along. I even drew the house in my head on a napkin probably a hundred times. I became obsessed.
A few people laughed at me. 2008 had just happened and every person I spoke to about real estate told me to run for my life in any other direction. But definitely don’t get into real estate. And definitely don’t renovate old homes. They will suck up all of your time and money! I didn’t listen. I found a girl while riding my bike through East Nashville one day that was flipping homes. Her name was Britnie Turner and her real estate sign was in the front yard of an old cottage on Ordway Pl. I wrote her number down and mustered up the courage to leave her a voicemail. “Hi, I’m Jessica, I’m 18, and I will do anything you need help with for free. I just want to learn.” She called me back immediately and hired me the next day. She told me I could quit my waitressing job and retract my application to the Historic Preservation College in Charleston because she was going to teach me everything I needed to know. And I did whatever she asked me to. Not out of desperation but out of love. I loved it. A few years into working for the powerhouse that is now Britnie Turner, I got my real estate license. The passion for old, historic architecture was still heavily prevalent in my heart, but a new love started to grow. And that was for the people that would enjoy them. I wanted to make them happy and give them peace during a stressful transactions. And there began the grind.
In 2016 Britnie came to me and told me I had helped her so much that she wanted to help me pursue my dream of being Mrs. Forrest Gump. She agreed to let me build a house at cost using her construction company and the development company I helped her build. And we built it! Exactly to the specifications I had in my head – a white historic farmhouse with a wrap-around porch. My husband and I have owned the home now for six years and have hosted many travelers in and out of town, family and friends passing through, bachelorette parties, photoshoots, homeless people, etc. On top of that, my real estate career has exploded. I was asked to be an assistant designer on an HGTV show called Masters of Flip and filmed for three seasons. That show then springboard me to where I’m at now. I teach “How To Buy a House” classes and home design classes for folks that want to learn about real estate! And I help them achieve their dreams as well. One of the exercises in class is that I have people dream about their dream home. Some even draw pictures on napkins just like I did. I would love to have my own show one day, but that’s for another napkin.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a LOT of hard work on my end. While most of my friends were having the time of their lives in college, I was stressing out about two different shades of gray paint for a new home renovation project. I remember reading so many design magazines and home renovation books from McKay’s book store just to gain some knowledge. I was only 19 and given the opportunity of a lifetime and I was not about to screw it up! There were many sleepless nights stressing out about a client about to move into a new home and we just found out that renovation needs another three weeks – with all of their stuff on a moving truck and a baby on the way. It was also extremely difficult for folks to take me seriously at such a young age. I was 21 when I got my real estate license. Can you imagine trusting a 21 years old with the biggest financial decision of your life? How do you convince someone that you are capable? It took a lot of ‘faking it till I make it’ and finding the courage to trust myself.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a full-time realtor and teacher. I teach “How To Buy a House” classes, interior design classes, and “How to Sell a House” classes every month. I am also a designer by trade and help homeowners and builders with their projects. I have a side hustle in home staging and I also love floral arranging (but I do this for free!). But above all of these things, I love being in front of an audience. Playing my role as “assistant designer” on HGTV’s ‘Masters of Flip’ was one of my favorite accomplishments. I’ve won the National 30 Under 30 award for real estate sales and also won “Rookie of the Year” for NAR in Nashville, but I am most proud of my claim to fame on the show. I love using my creativity and my personality to bring homes to life and help people fall in love with their home! And it comes very natural to me. The first day on set, I remember three cameras on me, the director calling “action!” and my heart pounding, but as soon as I stepped into the lights, I felt like the most enthusiastic version of myself. I still think of that day as one of the most fun days of my life! I hope to get to do it again someday.
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Real estate is constantly changing. And Nashville real estate (as you are probably aware of) is on fire! Many folks would say that I was in the right place at the right time when I got into the business ten years ago. Nashville is not slowing down for anyone. We still project our market to continue to increase in value over the next few years. And with interest rates staying as low as they are, we are projecting things to continue to skyrocket. Music City draws people here! And also large companies. And everyone needs a place to live! And I love helping people feel at home here. I have a lot of out-of-towner’s that come to my class just to get a better feel of the city, and I love feeling like their concierge.
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