My TownHome, My HomeLeasing, My MaisonRealty, and My RealEstateAdvisors
Written by Heather Pluard
Photos by Kelly Klemmensen
Great race car drivers know how to take risks while staying on track. The same could be said of great brokers. The founder of My TownHome, TJ Larsen, Jr., is the perfect combination of both! A winner in the real estate industry and the race car world, TJ’s “all-or-nothing” attitude has helped him build a $4-billion sales empire since starting his own business in 2000. Twenty years later, he’s expanded his family of real estate companies to include My HomeLeasing, My MaisonRealty, and My RealEstate Advisors.
“I like being creative and doing big things,” TJ says. “And I tend to live in my mind. I’ll be brushing my teeth or trying to sleep when a thought hits me about how we can do this or try that. My first career was in advertising, but I was drawn to real estate sales early on. It’s one of the most significant transactions of a person’s life, with a lot of money at stake and a lot of emotions involved. That’s my kind of speed.”
A true visionary, no one taught TJ how he was supposed to run a real estate business, so he invented one based on how he thought it should be. “I’m a believer in specialization, but I’m not a one-trick pony,” he smiles. “At first, I was laser-focused on new construction and townhome communities, period. My Townhome REALTORS® are experts in the sale and marketing of condominiums, townhomes, and lofts. Then I built a re-sale brand. Next, I created a single-family residential brand. Then I expanded into a home leasing brand that currently has 600 properties under management. Owning your own business allows you to be creative and adapt to the market, but I don’t do it all by myself. I listen to many people in the industry before making final decisions, including my office managers, Matt Claxton and Kyle Frye, and the 50 brokers who work with us.”
Successful REALTORS® at My TownHome have two things in common, a thirst for knowledge and incredible self-drive. “I love helping brokers grow their business and build big careers,” TJ says. “We don’t have anyone on the team who only wants to sell to friends and family. There are two basic components of success in real estate, and you need both to do well. The first is daily, aggressive marketing. The second is robust market knowledge. Brokers usually come to us with one but not the other, and we help them with the missing piece. They schedule meetings with me for one-on-one training and business planning, and I steer them in the right direction.”
While running four growing real estate companies, TJ found a new fast-paced passion, racing. “About nine years ago, a friend introduced me to a driver who let me take his car around the track,” TJ recalls. “I was bitten by the bug immediately. I found a car to buy that night, trained for a year, got my competition license, and started racing. It’s unbelievable how much focus you have while it’s going on. You have to think about only one thing, and that’s like a mental vacation for me.”
When he wants to take a real vacation, TJ loves spending time at his home in Maine with his wife of 18 years, Jen, and their two children—Tommy (13) and Elle (8). “We have a house on the ocean in Freeport and an off-shore fishing boat there,” notes TJ. “It’s my favorite spot to decompress. My wife helps me take the blinders off and see things in new ways, and she’s a wonderful sounding board for my ideas. More often than not, her advice is right!”
TJ is known for giving good advice himself. “I like helping people build personal portfolios,” he says. “Whether they’re interested in development, rehabs, flips, or rental holds, brokers here can learn by observing and are encouraged to ask for advice while setting up their businesses in ways that work for them. We don’t all have to do the same things. I’ve also developed great relationships with some amazing developers in Charlotte, and I enjoy consulting with them on what will sell quickly in today’s market.”
Outdoor space, roof-top terraces, locations near Uptown, high-end finishes, and an extra bedroom are just of the few “must-haves” people say they want in a property, and TJ likes making sure they get what they want. He’s developed townhome communities himself and is excited to be working on his first long-term asset development for a rental townhome community. In his spare time, TJ continues to race his Porsche 911, recently winning three races in one weekend!