Chris Brown is a natural leader. While she may not have always known exactly what she wanted to do, growing up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, she knew she wanted to be her own boss. As the captain of her high school basketball, volleyball, and softball teams, she led her teammates, as a top-performing athlete, while always being there to motivate, encourage, and bring out the best in them.
Chris went on to play Division I volleyball at High Point University in North Carolina, where she double majored in business management and marketing, and also met her husband, Jake. A year ahead of Chris, Jake went to officer candidate school for the Marine Corps after graduating.
While still in school, Chris says she remembers calling her mother (who, along with her father, has always been a source of guidance) about potential careers within her degree that offered flexibility for moving around with her future husband’s military career. Her mother suggested getting into real estate.
After graduating and marrying Jake in 2001, Chris took her mother’s suggestion to heart; she obtained her real estate license and joined Realty World in North Carolina. Although she was great at managing people as a natural leader, she was not as skilled at managing her own finances. Chris recalls neglecting to put away money for taxes that first year. It was a tough lesson to learn, but the situation forced her to view her career as a business and take more responsibility for self-management.
Wanting to return to the familiarity of the DMV metro area, Chris moved back in 2004 and became a buyer’s agent for Llewellyn Realtors. She fell under the tutelage of her team leader, Patrick Rutledge and, with additional coaching by Brian Buffini, began building her business on referrals instead of the usual cold calling — which was a game changer.
While still at Llewellyn’s, Chris joined Avery-Hess, REALTORS® in 2007 so she could sell in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. And it was here, at Avery-Hess, that she ventured into something that came naturally to her — an official leadership role.
“I knew after working on a team that I wanted to be the ‘rainmaker,’” she says. “But I wanted to figure out how to be the manager without losing the ability to sell, which is what I love. I wanted to be in the trenches with my agents, to be Managing Broker and Salesperson.”
Ideally, Chris wanted to manage the Lake Ridge office in Virginia because it was close to where she lived at the time. However, she was part of the Tyson’s Corner location, the highest-producing office in the company, and when the president, Scott Avery, and vice president, Dave Hess, agreed to give her the opportunity to lead the office, she jumped in with both feet.
“I ‘recruited’ all the existing agents in the office to get behind me at the suggestion of Mr. Avery since I had no seniority. I also wanted to be able to recruit new licensees, so I got my instructor’s license to teach real estate and implemented the classes for the other seven offices. It was a lot of work, but I am very proud of that.”
As the Managing Broker of Avery-Hess, REALTORS® Tyson’s Corner office, Chris is able to maintain her current sales business while recruiting, training, mentoring, and supporting her agents to grow their own sustainable businesses. As a designated Certified Distressed Property Expert, she specializes in foreclosures, short sales, and REO properties when the market dips. She also enjoys working with homes that need an update and already have a lot of equity.
“I love walking into homes and helping the owners turn their house from a home into a commodity. They get max price for their home, and I have fun spending other people’s money,” Chris laughs. “I really love having control over the design process, picking everything from paint to fixtures, etc. — I can see the fruits of my labor, and the home sells quickly, typically for more money than the sellers thought … and they are thrilled.”
Chris and Jake have two sons, Grant and Jack, who both love surfing and skateboarding, just like their dad. They are also excellent athletes, just like their mother, and enjoy playing soccer and baseball. As an active sports family, they love going to games, and spending time outdoors, whether camping, fishing, or simply relaxing at their beach house.
As Chris continues doing what she does best — being a top performer while leading, encouraging, and supporting others to do the same — she will continue to build on the success she’s experienced over the past two decades while propelling others to do the same.