“Working in corporate America made me realize I wasn’t cut out for 9 to 5 work,” Cheryl Leahy begins. “I was working all the time, late nights.”
Cheryl knew that she had the desire to find work that better suited the lifestyle she wanted — and gave her more time with her family — so she left her corporate gig to do marketing consulting for corporate architects and engineering firms.
“I did well, but at some point, it occurred to me that by the time I paid taxes and the babysitter, I was doing a lot of work for minimal reward.”
It was then that Cheryl decided to resign and take some time to be home with her three children.
Real Estate Beginnings
Cheryl’s family has long been involved in real estate from the investment side. Along with her husband, John, Cheryl had bought and renovated a few homes on her own as well.
“By osmosis, I learned a lot about the market and the process,” Cheryl smiles. Despite all she had learned, Cheryl wasn’t fully prepared for the dilemma that her family was about to face as they prepared to enter a new home.
“After our third child was born, we bought a new home and sold our existing home with our dear friend and awesome agent, Rob Ramoy. Unfortunately, the home we bought had a federal tax lien placed on it, and we were unable to go to settlement. With three kids under six, all our belongings on a truck (Town & Country earned my eternal love that day), and our existing house sold to a new owner, we had no place to go… you can imagine how daunting that was.”
Fortunately, Cheryl had a friend with an empty rental property in Bethesda, so she sent her furniture to storage and furnished the rental in “stark IKEA style” until the title issue was resolved — nine long months later.
“And that’s when I decided to give up full-time mommying and part-time marketing consulting and get my real estate license,” Cheryl says.
Finding her Passion-Work
When Cheryl first got into real estate, she intended to work part-time. Yet, after a few years, she had an epiphany.
“In order to make it worthwhile, I needed to be one of the 10% of agents who do 85% of the business. That was a powerful motivator.”
Over the past 18 years, Cheryl has made real estate into a career she loves. Her career volume is over $250 million, but more importantly, she’s earned countless friends from every corner of the globe.
“Growing up and going to college here has, admittedly, shaped my worldview,” Cheryl says. “As a real estate agent, I have had clients from all over the world, many with interesting stories and fascinating jobs and complicated relationships and their own unique housing problem to solve. I’ve been to dinner parties and baby showers and birthday celebrations for former clients. Being exposed to people of different cultures with different traditions and different ideals has, hands down, been the most interesting part of my career.”
The relationships that Cheryl has built through real estate have deeply influenced her, personally. In each individual’s story, she learns something new.
“One of my colleagues says a real estate transaction is like a love affair. You meet someone new, you are giddy with excitement at the possibility of a good match, then you form a relationship, and you get to know them intimately. The transaction ends at settlement, and you follow them on Facebook for the rest of your life to see if they have found someone to replace you,” Cheryl laughs.
Outside of real estate, Cheryl is a mother and a wife; it’s these titles that give her the most satisfaction in life. She’s been married to her husband, John, for 30 years, and they have three children: Wynne, Mason, and Carter. “Watching my kids grow into adults eclipses any business success I’ve had,” Cheryl beams.
“My whole life is a blur. I feel like it’s moving at Mach speed.”