Julie Kozich has a flair for luxury like no other. With 15 years’ experience driving powerful results through innovation and operational excellence, she creates systems and styles that attract people to want to work with her. Her eye is on direct client satisfaction and that means more business for sales associates. Julie is a hands-on executive with a talent for assembling high-performing leadership that achieves significant market penetration. She creates responsive teams via cutting-edge sales training and tools, resulting in increased listings, higher average price points and ultimately more closed sales. We are excited to welcome Julie to Chase.
How did you first get into real estate?
I started out as an English and art teacher in Southern California. I have a heavy design background, so I created a sideline business as a color consultant, choosing colors for peoples’ homes.
When I walked into their homes, I knew exactly what color to choose. Based on their belongings, and the energy, and what I could “feel” when I walked in, I knew what the colors should be.
While there, I would say, “If you move this around, it would work a lot better.” I was good at staging and did a lot with Feng Shui, when it was just starting, which is how the business evolved. It was completely a referral-based business, up and down the coast of Southern California.
Then I was introduced to some real estate agents, who had me do their personal residences. Impressed, they said, “Oh, my gosh. We have clients. I’ve got a house that’s been sitting here for a long time. We really think it needs a color change.”
So how did you transition into real estate sales?
My husband’s work moved us to Bainbridge Island, Washington, where of course, I didn’t have a teaching credential. Because I’d been working in the real estate industry and had enjoyed it, I thought, well, I’m going to get my real estate license. So, that’s where it started.
I joined a boutique brokerage and aligned myself with another agent from Southern California. Her father was a yacht broker, so she grew up with boats and yachting. We specialized in luxury, waterfront properties.
We decided to step up our marketing to better serve the luxury clientele, so I started doing all of the marketing for us. She loved the statistics and numbers, and I was much more artsy. So, we were a great partnership.
This little island had over 250 licensed agents. We were brand new agents, and within six months, we were the number one agents on the entire island.
That’s impressive! How did you manage to achieve that?
We did it by completely focusing and specializing on one type of consumer. Everything we did centered around luxury waterfront. While other agents were doing spaghetti real estate, trying anything, and hoping something would stick, we were very, very specific.
We made sure we attended every event that had to do with luxury. We became members of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing. We flew out to every single event they ever did. They asked us to speak on panels, and Luxury Portfolio, too. We completely submerged ourselves into the world of our clientele.
Also, part of our business plan, was always giving back. So we got involved with the Children’s Hospital. Because we both had children, that meant something to us.
I also love the arts, so I did a lot with art galleries and artists. It became an entire social circle, which is where it really started to build.
How exactly did you differentiate yourselves from the other agents?
At that time, traditionally on the island, when you got off the ferry, you would go into a real estate office and they would hand you a sheet of listings, and say, “Hey, drive around the island, and when you decide which area you like, come back, and then we’ll put together a plan for you.”
We would never send people away to look on their own! That wasn’t the kind of service that we were used to. We wanted to raise the bar in real estate.
We did a lot of client events, because when you move to a new place, it’s hard to meet people. So, we decided that one of our gifts to the clients, when we sold them a property, was that we would put on a housewarming party for them.
My partner and I would invite the neighbors, so that our clients could get to know them. Then, we would invite our good friends that we knew had something in common, that could really help them get involved in the community quickly, because that’s the toughest thing when you’re new in town.
That sounds like a pretty big investment in your business.
Yes, we made a big financial commitment. Without a doubt, some months we spent $15,000 a month on marketing. But we were also making a lot.
We knew that at the luxury level, you’re either in, or you’re out. A colleague of mine in Newport Beach always said, “In this arena, you either go big or go home.”
A few years later, my husband was transferred to Asheville, North Carolina. I had this fabulous, thriving business and was having so much fun, and then I had to leave.
When I moved to Asheville, I used the exact same strategies that I’d used on Bainbridge Island.
What niche did you pick and how did it work out?
The niche was, again, luxury. Only this time, it was luxury mountain properties.
When we went to purchase our home, I looked up who was the top agent and the top independent broker and joined that firm. I aligned with people that I knew were like-minded, and had the same luxury connections that I’d had in Bainbridge.
The agent that sold us our home soon became my partner. I was able to immediately get established, very quickly. Again, I tied in with the charitable work, and we started doing events.
Just like before, I was meeting people I wanted to be friends with, but also people we wanted to sell to. It was the exact same formula, and it worked in the exact same way.
Everything was going very well, but then I got a call from a developer. He had a green sustainable luxury development, which really interested me because that was something I hadn’t done, so I went over and did my pitch. Shortly after, he offered me the role of President and managing broker for the entire development.
I created all of our marketing materials, because they had to be sustainable. In fact, we won awards in the industry for these marketing pieces.
Everything was going well, until the downturn in the market. The builder lost his funding, the banks pulled back, and we could not get everything built. I went back to Southern California.
What did you do next?
I took a position managing the McMonigle Group. He’s stars in Real Estate Wars, on Bravo. McMonigle does the ultra, ultra-high end in Newport Beach and beyond. I orchestrated a merger with another brokerage, Teles, and became the managing director.
Then Auction.com approached me. They were starting a luxury platform because during the downturn, many big luxury properties sat unsold for several years. Auction was a way for brokers to build excitement. Every single time, we spent, on average, over $200,000 in marketing these properties, driving hundreds of people to the sale.
So, we’d have these huge, weekend events, fully catered, music—I mean, it was really high end and luxury. So, my job was to go all over California with my colleague, giving talks to various luxury brokerages, who may have had these properties that had been sitting.
We would reach out, first, to the brokers, and then they’d say, “Yes, come and do the event.”
Then I would go and meet with the broker and the seller, talk to the seller about it, and then bring them onboard. So, I did several luxury auctions with auction.com.
This is where I learned about doing everything upfront in a transaction and how much faster and easier that made the process. We closed our deals in 30 days, easily. So, it was a big difference.
Tell me about your time at Seven Gables Real Estate.
I started working with Seven Gables, a luxury brokerage, very much like Chase International. Forty-three years-old, always high-end, very well known in their area, high integrity, strong ethics and a family business.
They hired me to be their Chief Marketing Officer. They had everything—a luxury heritage, great agents, but they needed better technology that was easier for the agents to use, along with a brand refresh.
When all was said and done, at LeadingRE 2017, we won the Most Innovative Brokerage award out of over 550 companies, for our brokerage in Tustin.
Then I had the opportunity with Carrington Real Estate to oversee 48 offices in 23 states. We brought in a platform for agents, so that the client experience would be the same, whether in California or New York.
After that project was successfully completed, a colleague felt I should meet Shari Chase. She was not looking to hire anyone. We spoke, connected right away and Shari made it happen.
What will be your role at Chase International?
Coming to Chase as the Chief Real Estate Officer, the idea is to oversee everything that real estate touches, including the core services.
Now we are expanding Shari’s vision with the number one key component being the client and sales associate experience.
This business is people-based, and it’s all about relationships because in the end, that’s who you trust with one of the biggest decisions you’re ever going to make in your life. That piece cannot be fulfilled by a computer.
In my opinion, a high-touch relationship is the secret to success. At the end of the day, the brokerage and the real estate agent are at the heart of the transaction.
All these different companies come out with new ideas—there’s always room for someone who wants to try the new solution. But it doesn’t mean that everybody in the whole world is going to use it. There’s plenty of real estate to go around, and one size does not fit all.
What attracted you to Chase?
Chase is a legend, and for many years I watched this company move the needle forward in the industry. What Chase does; others follow. Being heart-centered and wanting to build a greater life for people—that’s what attracted me to this company.
Meeting Shari and understanding her vision from the very beginning resonated so deeply with me, because everything Shari does is just what I do. I’ve seen so much, now, across the entire country, and I’ve worked with so many different types of brokerages, that I know what succeeds. Chase cares and is a top innovator—daring to do what others will not.
At Chase, we want to elevate, take everything we’ve done, embrace all of it and say, “how can we make this a great experience?”
Buying a home is one of the most special things you’ll ever do in your life—but it’s also one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do in your life. At Chase, we craft an experience that makes a smooth and wonderful transaction, from your first peek at a home to finding a mortgage to finally opening the door and calling it yours.
That’s why I’m here, and why I’m so excited about it. We’re taking what Shari built, elevating and expanding the whole experience—luxury, new-home developments, property management, commercial, escrow, title and mortgage. But most of all the customer experience, making a difference in people’s lives.
It’s all about mindset. Everything is possible. That’s something I love, the philosophy here, because it’s absolutely true. If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.
What you think about definitely expands, and you attract things to you, good or bad. So, I love that we work for the good. We’re always heart-centered, finding our way to yes.
How was your experience, moving here to Reno?
People were surprised that I moved, because I moved from Southern California, Newport Beach. You know, the land of the sun and the sea, they asked how could I leave?
But, for me, when I met Shari—I already knew the character and reputation of this company from many sources, especially LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio. I knew the reputation. I knew the integrity.
It was an alignment I loved. I’d always admired Shari, just like Michael Saunders in Florida. These are strong women, who built wonderful companies, with such a powerful mindset.
They are the people you look up to in the industry, and want to be like, because you want to be that kind of a person. You want your business to be that kind of a strong, wholesome business, right?
So, what gets you up out of bed every morning?
What gets me up here, now, and every day—why I’m so excited, is because I’m aligned with a company and an owner who is not afraid to push the limits, is not afraid to go outside of the box, and is not afraid of the changes in our industry.
Shari Chase embraces life, and says, “Let’s go.” And that’s what I want, to be with a company that says, “Yes, let’s go.”
I don’t want to operate around fear. That’s not in my vocabulary. The answer is, yes, we’re going to find a way. That’s what I love, because that’s the energy I like to be around.
What do you see for the future of Chase?
Chase is definitely expanding, and everyone is excited. We are making a difference that everyone loves and appreciates.
You will know immediately, when you work with a Chase agent. Clients will love it, and then they’ll start to drive it, and that’s going to help everyone with their business. We educate. We elevate.
We love our sales associates, and we love our dedicated staff. We want everybody to raise the bar in real estate, to be successful, and to have a happy, wholesome, well-balanced life, because you really can have it all.
So, when everybody’s a raving fan, we’ll have done our job?
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