Nashville’s Jay and Ashley Nelson knew the good, the bad and the ugly of being broker-owners. The Nelson’s owned a RE/MAX franchise and Ashley’s grandparents owned a Century 21 franchise, so they were deeply knowledgeable. When a friend, who was a brand-new agent, insisted they watch a video on eXp Realty, Jay told him, “We love you, but there is nothing you can show me in real estate that I probably haven’t already wasted a million dollars on.”
Somehow, Jay and Ashley relented, watched the video and were stunned.
“We paused the video halfway through and said to each other, ‘We are leaving RE/MAX and doing this!’ We filled the application out that very night,” said Ashley. “We were able to come to such a quick decision because eXp Realty solved the challenges of owning our own brokerage and allowed us to do all of the things we love about owning our own brokerage and be able to do it on a global scale!”
The couple joined eXp in May 2017.
“We understood the challenges like expenses, stress, liability, and geographic limitations that owning your own brokerage entail. We also loved the aspects of bringing on, mentoring, developing, and helping other agents that owning our own brokerage allowed us to do.”
Jay and Ashley Reunited After Changing Careers
Jay and Ashley reconnected as adults in Nashville where Jay was an aspiring country singer and Ashley a business director with the Paul Mitchell Schools brand. They got into real estate in 1999 with a small mom-and-pop agency, learning the ropes. And still, to this day, are actively selling real estate.
“We just love it,” said Jay. “People get sick of it because they don’t make it part of who they are. If you care about the process and the people, it’s very inspiring. It’s a big deal for people to buy a house. Everyone is different, but it is rewarding when you come across someone who is appreciative. When we are selling houses, the client is our friend and stays our friend.”
Like many real estate professionals, the 2008 housing crash hurt them badly.
“I had 122 townhomes in default. I went down pretty hard,” said Jay. “I learned a lot. I learned what I won’t do again. But I believe you’re never failing, you’re just learning.”
Ashley agreed. “You define yourself when you’re on the bottom and on the top. How are you going to behave in both situations?”
The two weathered the storm and have reached a comfortable lifestyle, selling real estate, coaching agents, and enjoying their five adult children and first grandchild.
“We’re at a point in life where if it’s not fun, we’re out. If it’s not a great relationship and having a good time, we’re out.”
The two are clearly still very in!
Learn more about Jay and Ashley Nelson:
Years in real estate: Since 1999
Gross sales and transactions in 2020: $17.5 million on 45 transactions.
Brokerage history (in order of most recent to oldest):
- eXp Realty (May 2017-current)
- RE/MAX (2004-May 2017)
- The Realty Association (1999-2004)
Main territory: Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding counties
Number of people on team: We are individual agents with a full-time assistant.
Accolades, accomplishments & awards:
- RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award
- RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award
- 4X eXp Realty ICON Agent
When and why did you join eXp?
“We joined May 2017. What is important to me about eXp is that all agents have the same equality. Agent ownership and hard-working agents own the brokerage globally – allowing every agent — no matter how big or small — the same deal. There is no special deal under the table. No back-door agreements – we’re all equal.”
What makes eXp special to you?
“There are many special things about eXp that we love, so we will just mention one of our favorites. We absolutely LOVE the collaboration and camaraderie of the agents. We have personally learned many valuable things from other agents and feel blessed that we have been able to share and help other agents grow. We have more friends because of eXp Realty than we ever could imagine. We love our eXp family!”
Is there a significant experience you can share since you joined eXp?
“We have an agent that had only been in real estate for 18 months when he joined us at eXp. He is in a different state than us and from a very small town. He was not really interested in building the brokerage side of eXp at the beginning but wanted to learn to become a better real estate agent and sell more houses. He plugged in and within two years, he had tripled his income in sales. One day we got a text from him thanking us and told us that he was able to pay both his house note and his car note with his revenue share check that month. We feel like proud parents! But WAY more than that, he and his wife have become some of our best friends in the world! We have each even driven to multiple states to attend each other’s Christmas parties! Fun!”
What is one thing about eXp that surprised you?
“What has surprised us being at eXp is that we have been able to create lasting, real, strong relationships online with agents all over the world. We do love it when we see each other at the in-person conventions and events; but even if we have never met each other in person, when we do see each other in person, we already feel like best friends! The eXp Realty in-person conventions are a BLAST! We think eXp attracts adventurous agents that like to have fun and truly care about other people.”
Have you had any experience or success with eXp’s global revenue share and commercial businesses?
“Yes! We currently have over 1,670 agents in multiple states and countries in the global agent ownership revenue share model, which has been a blessing to our family. We knew immediately that this was going to be big for us and other agents that wanted agent ownership but had no idea it would happen this fast. We truly believe this is still just the beginning and feel that eXp Realty will grow to more than a million agents.”
Best tip to share with other agents:
“No matter how many homes you have sold, treat a $50,000 buyer with the exact same service and care as a million-dollar buyer. Whether your success in real estate has been great or small, always be humble and be a student. Our industry is constantly changing. There is something new to learn every day!”
Interested in jump-starting your real estate career? Learn how eXp Realty puts agents first.