The eleventh entry in my simple mission to find out more about my neighbors and neighborhood. I plan to ask the same questions to artists, craftspeople, musicians and local business owners. Up this time is Jay McGee. My first contact with Jay was when he was running a contest giving away some Taza coffee and treats by Chocolates by Kelly. That was almost exactly a year ago. Since then there have been other giveaways hitting other RVA hoods in an effort to bring attention the positives of various areas. Jay would be more than happy to help you buy or sell a house in any part of RVA but what is unique about Jay is that when he sells a house he also helps out folks in other countries. The latest example of this is on his website and involves a beautiful house in Westover Hills and a greenhouse in the country of Georgia.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Westover Hills?
I grew up in Detroit and moved to Westover Hills on a whim. A while back, my wife and I felt like living somewhere new. We had visited Richmond once- years ago- and we were totally charmed by it. So we sort of just said, What the heck… let’s give it a try. We found a house we liked and it happened to be in Westover Hills.
How would you describe your job and what is unique about your approach to real estate?
My job is surprisingly fulfilling. I worked for an international non-profit for 7 years- living in Indonesia, researching unwritten languages, doing tsunami relief, traveling the pacific islands. It was, well… a much sexier introduction than what I have now, which is, Hello, I’m Jay McGee- Real Estate Agent.
As much as I dread uttering that sentence when I meet people for the first time, I really love my job.
When I started my Real Estate business, I wanted a way to stay connected to my work in Indonesia which was centered around poverty alleviation. I decided that every house that I helped someone buy or sell was going to be someone else’s ticket out of poverty. I do this by giving a small business loan to a struggling entrepreneur in a developing country with every house sale that I’m involved in. So now there are a handful of houses in the Southbank and around the city that essentially represent somebody else’s chance at a better life in a developing country.
I helped some folks in Westover Hills sell their home last month and it provided a loan for a struggling farmer to build a greenhouse in Georgia (the country just south of Turkey)
What other ventures/projects do you have going on?
My biggest side project is trying to keep my 3 year old from hitting my 2 year old on the head with blunt objects. I’m also the mastermind behind the first ever real estate agent website that isn’t really really bad- realrva.com
Favorite part of living on the Southbank?
Running into people with kids whenever you go for a walk.
What would you change about Southbank?
I want our recycling bins to be as big as our garbage cans and our garbage cans to be as small as our recycling bins. Also… no toll on the Nickel Bridge.
Advice to someone moving into the Southbank?
Order the hot chocolate at taZa. You won’t be disappointed.
5 words to describe your neighborhood.
Just one: organic.
Previous Ask a Hills & Heighter - If you know or are a good candidate for Ask a Hills and Heighter or are sitting on some questions that I sent you awhile back (there are some out there) let me know and soon you too can bask in the glory that is Hills and Heights.