Joe McCourt is actually cool. Yeah. He’s Joe Cool.
It’s not the sharp suit or suave hair and beard. Not all, anyway. He’s got that easy-going demeanor that means tons at the next barstool or tuckedin-a-corner barroom stage, live mic, guitar in hand. Or, it turns out, at your side when it comes time to buy or sell a home.
Back in 2006, Joe packed up his guitar and aspiring music career to see what he could strum up in real estate. He left New York for Charlotte, weary of the big-city bustle and some dreams that just didn’t seem to want to take off and fly
“I was up in New York trying to pursue my music career,” Joe says. “It wasn’t really working out.”
Charlotte’s proven to be his encore. Joe McCourt, an agent with Giving Tree Realty, has found his rhythm here. His show now includes a booming real estate business, thriving acting career, regular gigs around town, and a charity into which he pours his heart.
“Every time I sing, people who I sold a house to are going to be there to cheer me on,” Joe says. “I’m singing at a client’s wedding next weekend. To have a client for whom I’m singing at their wedding? That’s awesome.”
Things tend to stay on a positive note these days for Joe. But for a while, the soundtrack was more blues than upbeat. Joe obtained his license in 2006. Two years later, the recession forced Joe back to a backup plan: Teaching.
He buckled down, and, stretching a teacher’s salary, kept his license by selling a house or two on the side. No way was he going to quit this.
“A lot of people just got out, but that’s not what I came here for,” Joe says.
Weathering those storms not only proved to Joe what he wanted in life, but what he didn’t. With a wife and two kids, it took a leap of faith to leave teaching and dive into real estate, even when his first job in the biz wasn’t exactly sweet music. Way too corporate for an artist like Joe.
“I walked out of the first company,” Joe says. “That made me realize this is my jam. I got back in, brought myself back. It’s been good ever since. This is who I am. Which is good.”
It’s not every day you get to buy a house from Jesus.
In a way, Joe’s customers do. He’s played Jesus in Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar at Theatre Charlotte. Same figure, two distinctly different approaches – one more docile and reflective, the other … well, a superstar. Joe McCourt has what it takes to deliver both like a champ, says longtime friend Scott Miller.
“Idealistically, these two roles describe/depict him well,” says Scott, who met Joe on stage for Godspell. “He is kind, caring, and compassionate with his family and friends, and when it comes to his commitments, he is forward and ‘go get them.’ He’s tirelessly working on getting it right. A nice depiction of his two sides.”
Joe’s charitable side also flourished when he joined Giving Tree Realty. He chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the charity that would benefit from each of his closings.
Joe started “Joe for St Jude – Broad Ways to a Cure,” an annual fundraiser featuring cabaret style Broadway music to benefit St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with friend and co-producer Scott Miller.
“I got involved, and … wow,” Joe says. “You start to see everyone come out of the woodwork who knows someone St. Jude has helped. It made me realize why I’m doing it. It’s more than just giving something from my paycheck. To be involved and see the kids … it’s life-changing.”
Bruce Bleiman works with Joe with Giving Tree. He sees St. Jude kids weaved into Joe’s heart.
“It’s palpable,” Bruce says. “You can see it in his eyes and feel his sense of caring and compassion. It brings me tremendous joy and pride when I see Joe actively walking his talk in support of St. Jude.”
Let’s not forget: Joe’s pretty good at the real estate too.
Dennis Cirillo bought a home to relocate to in Charlotte – while Dennis stayed mostly in New York. Joe became Dennis’ eyes in Charlotte, handling details because Dennis couldn’t be here to supervise the build. “Joe was kind enough to go above and beyond,” Dennis says.
Site visits. Photos sent. Joe did much of the legwork, including delivering a live stream of a walkthrough to Dennis.
“He is a super guy with a great personality,” Dennis says. “I have attended some of the shows he puts on at various venues. We have remained friends to this day.”
This includes drinks with Joe and dinner with Dennis and his wife.
“Doesn’t get much better than that!” Dennis says.
Joe’s a traveler.
He takes a trip at least once a year. He recently spent nine days with a friend in Ireland. “Just to have the luxury to make enough to enjoy myself,” Joe says. “I’m also building futures for my kids, making sure they have money when they grow up.”
Joe and his wife, Maria, have two kids. Maria is beautiful, kind, has a huge heart, and is a wonderful mother to their two children. “I know why they love her more than me,” he says.
JoJo, age 8, is an aspiring ninja. No dreams are too big for the namesake of Charlotte’s singing REALTOR®, after all. JoJo’s little sister, Evangeline, wants to be a ninja, too. She’s a tomboy who loves and admires her big brother, but already aspires to something greater than a ninja.
“I tell her she’s my little princess,” Joe says. “She says, ‘No, I’m not, I’m the king.’ ‘No, I’m the king! You are the queen at most. There can’t be two of us.’”
Regardless of the rightful claim to the throne, Joe’s building a business not entirely on track of the proven path. He’s more a music and movie guy than the kind of REALTOR® who soaks up all the trendy success books.
When the likes of Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw have paved your musical path – and when you’ve played multiple Jesus’ on stage – it’s what works.
“His versatility as a performer allows him to adapt to the needs of the occasion,” Scott says. “The discipline of preparation, rehearsal, and experience … then translating into the ‘live’ performance is just like his work as a REALTOR®.”
“Business is business,” Joe says. “There’s going to be ups and downs. But life is more than money. It’s about enjoying yourself, but to be remembered, you can’t just enjoy yourself. I always try to be there for people. That’s how you can be remembered in a good way.”
Contact Joe at 704-975-1784; or firstname.lastname@example.org.