Meet Andre Leon | Realtor | CEO

We had the good fortune of connecting with Andre Leon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andre, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?

I used to play music quite a bit. I have a degree in classical piano where I studied with someone who is from New York’s famous Juilliard School of Music. I have a degree in another subject, but I don’t want to geek out over cognitive psychology research. I loved playing with chamber groups and orchestras.  But I am a soloist at heart.  Every day I am like a soloist conductor who conducts people from my office – clients, assistants, lenders, inspectors, vendors, and my email list and social media followers are my audience.  Real estate is my concert.  And a happy client is my beautiful music.

This was an easy transition for me to go from a seemingly creative lifestyle to a business lifestyle. An issue with being part of a big brokerage, a small brokerage, or any company of any size really – is that you’re ultimately carrying out the pursuit or goal of your owner or boss – regardless of how collaborative they may be or may seem to be.

I like to collaborate as well – but ultimately I want to take a solo.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

My company is called Artisan Haus Real Estate because our ecosystem and the frequency that we like to occupy is supporting Atlanta’s art and creative scene by bringing our sphere of influence and anyone our business touches into art galleries and music events. The way I’ve always seen it is that art is something you look at or listen to and real estate is art that you live in. Yes, there is a big emphasis on inspiration at Artisan Haus. And we always create content through the lens of inspiration, trial, and error.

I got into real estate by having a job as a senior accountant for a company that renovated homes for large companies such as Blackstone, American Homes 4 Rent, Excalibur. and others that became very active after the market crash of 2008. Besides running the internal accounting of the company, we created renovation and holding costs numbers for the hedge funds in order so that they could approve our company’s jobs – and getting licensed in real estate allowed me to get even better access to information that we needed in order to estimate what the ARV (After Repair Value) would likely be. And this allowed me to know how to price our renovation jobs so that it made sense for them – and for us! Soon I realized that I could do this for private investors. Within 6 months I phased out of accounting and became a realtor with my first brokerage at RE/MAX.

I didn’t find this transition to be difficult – but more natural. And I felt so prepared as a realtor equipped with industry insider knowledge and many contractor connections that I could add a lot of value to both my buyer and seller clients right away. Quickly my challenge became self promotion. And one of the biggest challenges to self promotion is being in a big box brokerage which does not allow you to go outside “the box” that much – fearing that you may create a promotional/marketing piece (whether a video or a Facebook post) that may be mis-interpreted therefore becoming a source of liability for the brokerage.

Big box brokers generally avoid nurturing creative promotion. And I get it – there’s a large brand at stake. So I had to open my own brokerage in order to begin the journey that I am on now. And of course with the help of real estate attorneys that I consult with prior to any “outside of the box” types of campaigns or content, Artisan Haus is in a constant state of testing – we’ve done a start-up, we’ve held an online art auction, we’ve created vouchers for art galleries, and we co-host parties and events for people to come enjoy us and our friends around town.

I’ve learned that branding must be an extension of me. We tested with a rebranding concept in order to lean into a more of a digital experience and aura for our leads and clients. But I like personal contact too much – developing relationships with people I encounter along the way. The concept was called LeonX and it didn’t feel natural. I’m an Artisan Haus kind of guy.

I want the world to know that creativity allows for finding fantastic solutions to sometimes very difficult problems. There is like some stigma about being original especially in our corner of the world that is plagued by liability, claims, and lawsuits – so many solve that stigma by simply covering themselves with pumped brands. Don’t get me wrong – I like my Range Rover. Or my Breitling. But that kind of shortcutting towards self-promotion is sort of boring to me. There is no greater feeling of being alive than when we are personally creating something – it’s next to Godliness – whether painting a canvas, playing a piano sonata, or developing a negotiation strategy for a multiple offer situation or carefully listening to an agent ramble away their leverage by reading between the lines while crafting a conquering response.

I bring this mentality into every aspect of my work. And I love winning deals for my clients.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I would ease my friend into Atlanta’s scene gradually and without any jarring experiences – but rather experiences that flow one into another:

On the first easy day, I would take my friend to Historic Roswell because we have fantastic suburbs around Atlanta and I don’t want to start from the city. I would take him to Roswell Provisions for hands down the best charcuterie board around here where we would grab an outside spot and discuss life while watching the milieu of Roswell’s sidewalkers and moving cars happening in front of us – savoring rare cheeses, meats, pate, and jams with beautiful wines – sold there by the bottle! We would end the day with going to Salt across the street for a nice meal at the bar and some conversations with the locals.

On day two, it would be all about Buckhead’s restaurants and galleries including Henry’s for breakfast, Taverna for lunch, and Pricci for evening with fantastic live jazz and excellent service. Nightcap would certainly occur on the rooftop of the St. Julep bar atop Kimpton Sylvan Hotel with a gorgeous view of Buckhead’s business district.

Working our way down south, on day three, we would go to Ponce City Market and enjoy beers while walking around various small eateries and trying different cuisines and walking the Beltline trail to Piedmont Park or Inman Park. If we rented bikes, we could see much more!

On day four, I would hope that we could go to an opening show at Alan Avery Art Company. The featured artists there are exceptional, the art pieces spur a lot of dynamic discussion and conversation, and Alan’s receptions are top notch. I would then take him to Saville Art Studios where Kate throws her heart on canvas and that level of raw emotion is just extremely rare these days.

Since this is an ideal week, on day five, we would attend a private concert by the Atlanta Chamber Players in a large and finely designed estate or mansion in Buckhead’s Tuxedo Park neighborhood where select musicians from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Opera serenade us into the night with a world class program to an audience of no more than 100. Tasteful conversations and acquaintanceships are made all evening long over delicious buffet of hors d’oeuvres and champagne.

Day six would be about detox. So we could go spend all day in JeJu Spa in Duluth enjoying some tasty Korean cuisine or renting a boat on Lake Lanier and exploring the islands WITHOUT a beer cooler.

And on day seven, I would take him to General Muir in Sandy Springs or Emory for breakfast which has probably one of the most delicious menus in town. Seriously, add pletzel or poutine to your breakfast. You won’t regret it.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to recognize my wife Mari who loves, supports, and encourages me every day in all aspects of our brokerage’s life – from discussions about brokerage, marketing, client relationships, to our family plans, and how our brokerage fits within our lifestyle. I want to recognize my most challenging person in my career who is my dad Leo who has been my hardest and most demanding client that has always challenged me to acquire new sets of skills and to push myself out of my comfort zones because he expects that his son is simply the best. And I want to thank my mom who introduced me to love visual art and classical music (especially piano which I enjoy playing) which continually inspire me to create larger than life relationships and experiences of heartfelt value.





Image Credits
Lesroy Louard Alex Kviatkouski Kristina Belov Roman Molla Derron Miller

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