Sometimes, the smooth path isn’t the one you want to stay on.
Sometimes, a comfortable job – no matter how hard you worked for it – isn’t supposed to be your future. And sometimes, that fire in your belly that spurs you to pivot in life, love, or work pushes you to a different frontier. Two years ago, real estate agent Steve Lonnen was there.
“I knew that I wanted to go for it, set my own path,” Steve says of walking away from a leadership role in recruiting and staffing. “I had kids, and I realized I wanted to teach them to go for it in life. I always subscribed to the idea that growth happens through adversity and pushing through.”
Steve Lonnen cranked up that entrepreneurial spirit and switched to real estate, joining Costello Real Estate and Investments. With epic early success and a line of distinctive marketing videos that transcend the industry celebrating the good things in life, he’s never looked back.
“I can understand the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that go into that home buying/selling experience,” says Steve, fit and confident but not imposing to those who meet him. “I can bring them world class service by executing what it takes to get from point A to point B.”
What you notice about Steve right away – aside from that fresh Flatbill Friday cap you mean to ask rising star him about later – is that he’s great at doing just that. He’s both driven and patient, the culmination, he says, of an array of teachers along the way.
“As soon as I met him I knew I wanted him to be our REALTOR®,” says Breanna Miller. She met Steve when he was a client of hers, buying custom suits. “He’s super down to earth, honest, and not at all pushy or overbearing.”
In recruiting and staffing, as well as college soccer, Steve learned about being coachable. At Aerotek, his job out of college, he walked into strong leadership, and managers invested in his development.
Eric Pezzo has known Steve for 15 years and worked with him at Aerotek. He turned to Steve when it came time for his family to sell their home and buy another. He saw him as hard-working and customer-centric, which made him the ideal agent for him.
“I knew this would translate well into real estate success,” Eric says. “He got our house sold over asking in less than a week, and we were able to negotiate a great deal on the property we purchased, which we consider our dream house.”
Steve focused his business growth on the principles of an evolution, applying what he’s learned, combined with ideas he brings on his own.
“I’ve helped everyone from first-time homebuyers to people transitioning or downsizing to luxury homes, with buyers and sellers in those capacities,” Steve says. “When you work with all those different ranges and demographics and lifestyles, it allows you to be creative and adaptable.”
For Steve, real estate is a main cog in supporting his family, but also in building a brand.
Community involvement is important. That leads to things unforeseen, such as his involvement in Madelyn’s Fund, established by former Carolina Panthers punter Andy Lee and his wife, Rachel. The foundation helps defray expenses for families with children in a hospital NICU. Steve makes a donation for every home closing, out of his earnings, on behalf of his clients.
Steve and his wife, Lindsey, have been married eight years. He’s from upstate New York, she from Ohio, and they met in Charlotte. Their kids, Sydney, 5, and Chase, 2, love to swim and play outside. Steve coaches Sydney’s soccer team.
Perhaps Steve’s most noticeable contribution is something he wears on his head.
Steve introduced Flatbill Friday, complete with baseball caps fashioned in that hip flatbill style. Curved bill purists might not love it, but so many people who’ve been close to Steve understand the statement, loaded with authenticity and shared momentum.
“It’s not just about a brand, but a mindset and lifestyle,” Steve says. “I believe not only is it important to do great work, but it’s also important to be authentic in what you do and how you do it.”
He found authenticity in a stylish lid that represents something far deeper – and is a recognizable part of his video marketing.
“Friday, for most, is the day of the week they have a deadline, project or quota that needs to be completed,” Steve says. “It’s also the day people walk out of work knowing they had a good week, a great week, or a bad week.
“My message to my team was: let’s walk out of here on Friday hitting our goals, knowing we had a great week so we can do it again next week, doing whatever it takes. If you can operate this way day in and day out, the sky’s the limit.”
Steve brought plenty of authenticity to real estate – as well as passion.
“I by no means feel I’ve reached the pinnacle because I have super high goals long term,” Steve says. “I’m proud of Costello Real Estate Investments- the firm I’m with. They’ve grown incredibly. They’ve done it the right way, with core values and embracing technology, as well as embracing diversity and people.”
Remember Breanna, the woman who sold Steve custom suits? Sure enough, the time came when she and her husband, Travis, were ready to move. Their first child was on the way, and Steve was their guy. “No question,” Breanna says. “It was an easy and fun process. We bought our home and then almost two years later, we ended up selling it with Steve’s help again – to move closer to family in New York.”
Steve is humble and confident in working hard towards a bigger picture; one he’s sure will come through his passion for creativity.
“When you can do a great job for someone, and help put them in a great spot, that’s super cool,” Steve says. “Someone did that for me when I first bought my house. They did a great job for me.”
Steve mentions famous quotes about obstacles not blocking our paths, but being our paths. He drops Einstein on you with the assertion that boats are safest ashore, but that’s not what they’re made for.
“When it comes to real estate, whatever you see on HGTV, it’s completely the opposite,” he says with a laugh. “You have to have a plan, and you have to be prepared to go through the suck. It’s going to be hard.
“But people who are best at real estate are the ones who trust their process day, after day, after day.”
You can reach Steve at 704-281-1737, or learn more atwww.SteveLonnen.com.