Netflix’s smash hit Selling Tampa has shed a major spotlight on the region’s already white-hot housing market, following an all-female, Black-owned agency selling luxury waterfront homes in Tampa Bay. In the process, the show also catapulted the agents of Allure Realty into stardom.
Colony Reeves is one of the breakout stars. The Tampa native, 30, took a dive into real estate after starting a career as a teacher. She hasn’t looked back.
The Tampa Bay Times caught up with Reeves to chat about all things Selling Tampa, the local market, mental health and her advice for achieving home ownership. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What has life been like for you since Selling Tampa aired on Netflix?
Everything has been amazing. The support and the love has been great throughout Tampa and really throughout the world. I get people messaging me from different countries, saying how the show was so inspiring to them, whether they want to get into real estate, or want to just go and chase their goals. Whatever it is, they were super happy to see women of color really going in kicking butt in their own respective roles in their industry. I feel like I’m still kind of on a high.
What was your experience like growing up in Tampa?
I’m a true Florida girl at heart. So I remember going to the beach on the weekends, having family reunions and barbecues. I love Tampa. To see it grow so much over the years is just crazy to me, and to be able to witness it in the real estate industry firsthand is amazing to me. I like to call Tampa a little gem. It’s often overlooked when you think about Florida, but we’re making some waves here now. People are putting some respect on Tampa.
What do you think it was that helped people see the light?
I think that the money that’s been put into making this city a really big metropolitan city. We have a lot of projects — we have Water Street. We have Midtown. They recently revamped our beautiful airport and I may be biased but I think we have the best airport ever. I do travel, so I’ve been to other airports and there’s nothing like the Tampa airport.
We had Tom Brady come. And of course we had Selling Tampa. There’s a lot of eyes on Tampa right now.
How does it compare to when you were growing up here?
Oh, I mean, so different. My family is from West Tampa. There’s coffee shops popping up in West Tampa now. There’s a brewery now. It didn’t look like that back then. So there’s a lot of different things going on.
How did you make the transition from being a preschool teacher to being a real estate agent?
When I was first getting into real estate, I didn’t know what I was doing. My advice to any new agent [is] definitely get into some type of training, whether it’s from your brokerage or from your association. Knowledge is key when it comes to real estate. You definitely can’t get out here and not know what you’re talking about. I was doing marketing on social media. I was texting all my family members. I was going to a lot of networking events, just trying to get my name out there. Essentially, now my business is really 80 percent referral base, and the rest I would get from maybe social media. And I’ve worked with all price points. So I don’t want to say I evolved into working with only luxury clients. I like to help people at all stages, all levels of life, because I think home ownership is so important for everyone.
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What tips would you give to first-time home buyers who are trying to get into the game?
I would say prepare yourself to purchase. Make sure that you know you have your credit scores in line with the type of loan program you want to get. Always keep that in mind, you want to definitely have the best credit score that you can have, and have some money in reserves. The type of market that we’re in now it’s a seller’s market. Homes are priced higher than what they usually would be. So as a buyer, you have to realize that you’re in a competitive market. I’ve never liked for buyers to be what I call house poor where, okay, you spend all your money, you got into this home that you love. Now you can’t afford to furnish it, or really have a good quality of living or even want to take a vacation. You definitely want to make sure that you have enough money to really afford it.
As the region becomes more expensive, where do you anticipate that folks will expand out to? Are there any areas that are seeing more growth with affordable options?
Yes, absolutely. I think over the past few years, we know that places like Riverview, Apollo Beach, you know, the outskirts of Tampa. Those have always been the more affordable areas. I’m seeing a lot of people navigate towards Thonotosassa. There’s a lot of new construction going on out there. I actually used to live in Thonotosassa when I was in high school. It was just green pastures and cows and horses. But now we’re seeing multifamily communities being created over there. I love Odessa as well. So I think that’s a great area too that’s kind of getting a lot of attention.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
I think it is very important to shed light on mental health awareness in the Black community. And not only this month, but throughout my entire career throughout my entire life, I definitely want to spread that message because I know how therapy has helped me and I know that growing up as a Black person, therapy, mental health is not a topic that’s discussed in our households. And I know for sure it wasn’t discussed in mine. And I think this new generation that I’m a part of, we’re more vocal about it. Everyone has gone through some type of trauma. I went through my own trauma of assault when I was in college. And so going to therapy really, really helped me. I think it’s important to erase that stigma of negativity that revolves around going to therapy. It’s not a weak thing. It’s something that’s actually very empowering. And I’m wanting more of my people to understand that therapy really does help.