by American Stalls January 29, 2021
It's no secret that finding your dream home (and dream barn) is tough. Although we have access to dozens of apps and search tools, the chase for your dream property can be daunting. In many cases, it can take years to find a property that is just right. After all, a real estate property – consisting of the land, the home, and the horse barn – must meet our list of criteria.
That is why, in our experience, it is so important to work with the right real estate agent and firm. The right agent and firm will be less focused on making a quick sell. Instead, they will work hard to build a relationship with you. The right agent and real estate firm will work hard to understand your needs, your future hopes, and the various things on your wish list.
In today's small business spotlight, we'd like to feature an individual who embodies all of the above: Shannon Gilmore, from Washington Fine Properties. With over 16 years in real estate, Shannon takes an individualized approach to each transaction, tailored to her clients’ unique needs and specifications.” Shannon provides her clients a deep seated knowledge of equestrian properties as she owns her horses and is also a VADA Member Virginia Dressage Association.
We recently had a chance to sit down with Shannon to learn more about her journey, her tips regarding equestrian real estate, and more!
American Stalls: What is your background relating to horses?
Shannon: Horses have been in my life for as long as I can remember, although I didn’t become a horse owner until was an 18. Most of my life I have had my horses at home and enjoy taking care of them here. It's not always easy, but I like being with them daily and have started four of them. My experiences with horses has varied. I have an appreciation for all equestrian activities whether it be training, competing or a backyard rescue. I also have spent time as a side walker and am in awe of the great therapeutic value an equine connection provides.
American Stalls: Did you grow up with horses?
Shannon: I grew up hearing stories from my Irish grandmother and her sisters about their adventures with their horses. When I was 5, I went to my sisters riding lesson and started pestering my parents for all things horse. Growing up I exercised neighbors' horses, took lessons, volunteered at horse shows, and cleaned horse stalls at the local horse stables in exchange for riding time.
American Stalls: Did you ever compete?
Shannon: I have competed in both English and Western classes. In hand, halter, equitation, western pleasure, trail, and lately dressage. I have showed my horses up and down the east coast from Maine to NC.
American Stalls: Do you still have horses today? If so, what breeds, how many, and what are their names?
Shannon: Last year, I lost Max at 28 years of age. He came to live with us as weanling. That being said, I have and live with my three horses: Nikki (27) Appaloosa, Blue (13) Appaloosa, and Bella (9) Thoroughbred.
American Stalls: Moving into your professional life, what is your professional background?
Shannon: I earned my B.A. from Lesley University, a MS Ed from Shenandoah University. Like many working moms, my professional background zigs and zags around the family, farm and raising children. I spent 12 years as a public school educator later moving into a real estate. As a realtor I continued to pursue learning – earning numerous industry designations and certifications. I am currently working on my brokers license and have a license in the District of Columbia.
American Stalls: What do you do?
Shannon: I sell residential real estate across all price points, with a focus on horse properties and properties with acreage.
American Stalls: How long have you been with Washington Fine Properties (WFP)?
Shannon: I left a larger cooperate owned brokerage and went to WFP 2 years ago. I became a licensed agent in 2003.
American Stalls: How did you transition and get into real estate?
Shannon: When my children were in middle school, I needed a more flexible schedule so I ultimately transitioned from teaching to real estate.
My interest in real estate came from my own experience buying and selling homes. I felt like I did not fully understand the process. That is why I decided to pursue a license class. I didn’t realize a desire to learn would turn into a career. I also love everything about houses, construction, architecture, interiors, design, and of course equestrian properties and farms! Two of my favorite homes I have sold have been barn conversions.
American Stalls: Within real-estate, do you have a specialty?
Shannon: Given my background I am naturally drawn to property with acreage and suitable for horses or other farm animals. This naturally leads to certain dollar figure homes and horse farms. The median price in my selling area for a home is $550,000 with properties with acreage and equestrian properties selling from $800k well into the millions.
Location wise, my office is in the heart of horse country in Middleburg, Virginia. I work in the surrounding areas and also have a license in the District of Columbia
American Stalls:What do you enjoy most about real estate and WFP?
Shannon: What I enjoy most is helping people achieve their goals whether selling a home or buying a home. I like to go the extra mile and make the experience as pleasant as possible – service and experience matter! WFP is a smaller company (160 agents) with well trained professionals, exceptional resources, and offices across the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. I often network within my own company and appreciate the dedication to client service.
American Stalls: How has COVID affected your business? How has COVID changed how buyers go about the purchase process?
Shannon: Fortunately, COVID has had a minimal impact on our real estate business. Clients have still purchased homes and the market has continued to move at a swift pace with more people wanting space and acreage. The way I sell a house is slightly different in that there may be more technology involved. We have pivoted slightly to providing virtual showings and open houses, following CDC guidelines and using PPE, zoom meetings and closings. We have always been extremely flexible and thoughtful with client health and safety in the forefront. One closing I had recently in Upperville took place outside on a front porch with a patio heater.
American Stalls: Do you have any tips for someone who is looking at purchasing an equestrian property?
Shannon: My number one tip would be to work with an experienced agent who has an equestrian background. The insight, contacts (such as American Stalls) and area knowledge he/she can provide is invaluable.
Another tip would be to pick the right type and size of property for your needs. Does the property allow for what you want to do now, and perhaps in the future? For example, if you have dreams of trail riding and you work with an agent unfamiliar with the area you might be pretty disappointed to find out that the local trails are restricted. (Shannon wrote a blogpost earlier about 3 Major Things to Consider When Buying an Equestrian Property).
American Stalls: What tip would you give other (equestrian) realtors to succeed in today’s climate?
Shannon: I think focusing on building relationships and being generous with your connections and experience. Most people don’t appreciate being sold, they appreciate sincerity, knowledge and honesty.
We'd like to thank Shannon for her time and valuable insight into the equestrian real estate industry. You can learn more about Shannon Gilmore and her fantastic real estate portfolio here on Washington Fine Properties.
Did you miss our previous' Small Business Spotlight Series spotlights? If so, below are more spotlights on some of our favorite equine businesses and professionals:
1) Equivont – An Online Marketplace
2) Rose of Sharon Equestrian School – Therapeutic Riding Facility
3) StableStyle – Online resource for inspiration and dream barns
4) Bethany P Photography – Photography and Branding for Equestrian Businesses