Our interview with notably one of Atlanta’s most familiar faces within the residential real estate market Collette McDonald.
Collette has acted as the official realtor to the Atlanta Falcons, and her team was ranked #1 for Atlanta Realty for three years in a row. She has also been named one of Atlanta Magazine’s Top Realtors countless times, and often appears on HGTV as one of the network’s real estate experts on shows like Design to Sell, My First Place, and Bang For The Buck, in addition to being a dedicated resource often called upon to offer her industry expertise to outlets such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for instance.
Where did you grow up?
A small town outside of Madison Wisconsin called DeForest. It was a “bedroom” community to Madison and had the small idyllic feel of most Midwestern farming communities.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Bold, Resolute, Efficient
Who is your biggest supporter?
That would be a tie between my parents and my children. Each are different in their support but without either of them I would be a shadow of what I am.
Who was your role model as a child?
I am lucky enough to say my parents because they were always working hard as a team to better our lives. They were not flashy but they were loving and extremely conservative. I was so “uncool” as a teenager because my parents were so strict. Now as an adult with my own children and business, I am beyond thankful for the lessons they taught me.
Any other member in your family in the business?
My sons help me as much as they can at 14 and 16. Delivering signs, helping clients move, running flyers to open houses and just being great advertisements for me when they act appropriate in public spaces. My oldest at 16 is looking to go to a university that actually has a business program that specializes in sales so that one day he can be the third generation in Real Estate.
You have been the official realtor to the Atlanta Falcons. That’s amazing. Can you tell us about it and what responsibilities or special requirements you had?
Besides working on several HGTV hit shows, this was one of my favorite assignments in Real Estate. I had the opportunity to have behind-the-scenes access to the players, the coaches and business staff. I discovered that the coaches and the business staff were the ones that were putting down roots in our community. The coaches tend to stay with one team much longer than a player. Too many agents want to work on the celebrity side, which is fun and exciting, but selling a huge house to a 20-something-year-old football player who is not likely to play more than three years in professional sports is in my opinion, malpractice. Real Estate is a great investment when it’s the right fit. Many times the players were not in the right space to actually make the decision to purchase a home. However, the staff and coaches are and continue to be. They create the safe environment for our awesome players on the Falcons and throughout the NFL to excel and find their place on the team then in the community.
What is different from Atlanta’s market to other places?
Atlanta is unique because we really are the Gateway To The South. We are the transportation capital of the south. The interstates run right through our city, the rail lines and we have the nation’s busiest airports. All of this combined with low taxes makes our region prime for Fortune 500 companies relocating or expanding in our market. Mercedes Benz and State Farm, in the last few years, have expanded their presence here as well as Amazon seriously considering us in 2018. We also do not have anything limiting our expansion or growth as a region. If you look at major cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, they have water that stops their growth. We keep sprawling which creates it’s own challenges.
You have been named one of Atlanta Magazine’s Top Realtors countless times. What’s next for Collette McDonald?
Our goal is simple. To help as many people as we can understanding real estate and helping them define how it fits into their personal dream. Maybe it’s to be an investor, maybe it’s to buy their first place, maybe it is to find a home with great schools or even downsize when it’s time. We will continue to do this by representing our clients but also to spread the word as much as we can through many different media channels. There is so much misinformation in our industry and a normal “man on the street” can get overwhelmed and also taken advantage of.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Educating people on the pitfalls of Real Estate. There are many voices out there that tout real estate is an easy profession or that it’s easy to manage your own transaction. When you believe that, then your ego is in the equation and not what is best for you and potentially your family. My golden rule in every facet of my life is “If it is easy, you probably aren’t doing it right.” That applies to parenting, business and physical fitness.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I have several major milestones coming up in the next five years. Both my sons go off to college and I will be passing into my 50s. I hope to inspire others by continuing my quest of peak physical condition and running a business that focuses on family, community and quality of life for my clients.
What was the last book you read?
Harris Rules by Tim & Julie Harris. Prior to that, Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Both EXCELLENT books!
What are your hobbies and interests?
Fitness, Boxers, Travel (I’ve never been to Europe!), and Wine!
If you could live in another period of time, which would you choose?
I would like to say the Renaissance Period, but only if I was wealthy and could bring toothbrushes back in time with me! I mean really, that’s just nasty living without both of those items.
What do you like to watch on TV?
I try to watch the Real Estate shows but they are so fake now! HGTV needs to bring back the real shows like “Trading Spaces,” “Bang For The Buck,” etc. The shows that we see now are overproduced and not realistic to the actual process. There are a few exceptions, but not many! So when I can watch TV, it’s usually something on Netflix. My boys and love “Stranger Things,” “Criminal Minds” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My cell phone, sunglasses and lipstick.
What music do you like
Anything BUT Jazz or Heavy Metal. I usually listen to the top pop or country hits, with a little mix of hip hop because I like SOME of it and need to know who the artists are because they are all in Atlanta!
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Church with my boys, 3 -5 open house scheduled with my awesome agents and then dinner with my family.
How’s a normal day in your life?
Wake up at 5:30 to workout, kids off to school by 7:45, Work 8-3, after school activities from 3:30-5:30, make dinner and have family time from 5:30-7, 7-8:30 dealing with after-hours real estate issues, kids to bed by 9:30 and then I hit the hay at 10.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Pasta from BoccaLupo, a local restaurant in Atlanta. It’s AMAZING!
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
In the best physical, mental and financial shape of my life.
Do you support any charities?
Special Olympics has always been a charity that I’ve supported.
I also started a fitness club in Brookhaven and over the past 10 years, I have led 30-40 people who are not able to get the gym or just like our boot camp style workout better. I try to motivate people to get up and get it done before the pulls of the day take over. At 5:30 this is YOUR time, no one else’s. It’s been a huge part of my life and I consider it a charity because it is free and it has changed many lives.
Where we can follow you?
Favorite Music: Indigo Girls
Quote: In Order To Be Irresistible, One Must Always Be Different. Coco Chanel. This was also in my high school year book under my fabulous picture. It was the first quote I fell in love with and I constantly add them to my arsenal.
I also love: Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t / Urgency = Abundance
Holiday Destination: Spring The Beach – 30A, Winter Colorado – Beaver Creek or Keystone
Food: Farm To Table! Fresh, local ingredients with as little toxins as possible.
Drink: Wine. Napa Cabs, Malbecs from Argentina or even a Rose from the south of France. If I’m in Wisconsin though, it would have to be a Southern Comfort Old Fashioned Sweet.
Celebrity Crush: The Rock. Funny, tall, fit and seems like a great dad! All the things I’m looking for in my perfect mate. Too bad he is married!
Song: Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.” So clever.
Sports Team: The Falcons!
Movie: Terms of Endearment