Being in real estate as a Realtor since 2005, I’ve had a great opportunity to help hundreds of clients find success in the ever-changing market. What keeps me motivated is a family's vision that I get to help make reality. I am committed to prioritizing my clients’ needs and goals while also providing an in-depth knowledge of local areas, which amounts to a plethora of neighborhoods that I’ve personally lived in through the years and call home. At Lee Ernst Group, we provide expertise around the Western suburbs and Chicago.
Consistently keeping up with new trends in the market, I easily communicate with clients as a way to equip them with right resources needed during the home buying or selling process. Understanding the unique stressors the home process can bring, I’m here to alleviate stress by handling the details for you, being honest and personable, and moving forward in an organized way, so you are up to date, have questions answered and understand the next steps. I think it makes a difference that we answer the phone all the time, ready to talk through any challenge clients may have.
Working from home allows me to get the best of both worlds, balancing my work and home life and being available for the kids when needed. They’re at an age now where they don’t “need us” all the time.
As much as I enjoy my career, the most important thing in life is family. So in my free time, you can find me with my wonderful wife and two children doing some hiking, mountain biking, drumming, exploring new towns and participating in car shows.
Business in Lee’s Bones: Take a nostalgic tour through Lee’s life to see how he became one of the nation’s best real estate agents!
Before I found my passion for houses and started a career in real estate, I got a taste of home renovation from fixing up my parent’s house at age sixteen. This experience equipped with me a tool belt to start my own painting business at eighteen. Having my own business opened up my eyes to some incredible architecture, and after a few years of honing my painting skills, I discovered that I wanted to do more than just paint. Well, I suppose I could say I was always doing more than just painting. I had dreams, and I was doing them! I was biking as a BMX racer; I was a drummer and even an architect. I’m glad I never limited myself to one thing. Being open to adventure and options kept me going. So I continued to explore and started up another business that I held in tandem to painting.
Lee, 12, dreaming of being a BMX Racer
Itasca race with red converse
Racing in the 1983 World Championship
My second business was delivery. I was into my early 20’s here. Running two businesses was hard work, but I also kept my passions like bike racing and drumming. In my spare time I would use whatever remaining energy I had on the drums. You would have found me at places called The Thirsty Whale, Gateway Theater, and the Rusty Nail rocking away with our bands called Cherri Rokkett, Primal Scream, Bad Boyz, Hatrick and later with 10Cat Dance Orchestra.
Good times. Just take a look at that hair!
Drumming in Lee's band, Bad Boyz, 1990
Lee, 25, trucking downtown in carpet delivery van
80's album cover
As I segued from my painting business to the delivery business which was a trial by fire learning curve, I remember the go-to business software at the time in the 80s and 90s was File Maker Pro. I had purchased a computer and installed the software to help grow my business and keep organized. My next large purchase in my mid 20s was a box truck so I could deliver carpet and tile. I had to figure out how to hire and fire employees, learn about payroll, infrastructure buildout, warehousing, logistics, dispatching, and insurance. Somehow, I became the salesperson, accountant, bookkeeper, driver, IT person, manager, dispatcher and whatever else a small business asks of you. I had figured it out on my own!
Warehouse storage in 2005
The delivery business was my niche for the next 18 or so years, until I worked, slowly but surely, to close the delivery business. While it was a successful one, and I was able to make a living and support my family, I knew it was missing something. My business was demanding; it was all about rushing. I was lacking a real connection with people. I decided to become a real estate agent around 2004 and obtained my license in 2005. My delivery business had been going for a few more years until it officially closed in April 2008.
Celebrating top real estate agents in Chicago, 2012
Around the second half of 2008 the market crashed. I was in my new chosen career being a full-time Realtor. Bad timing, for sure, but I kept my commitment. There was no backing out for me despite the challenges and countless hours of studying. I worked 12-16 hour days making very little money. It was tough to keep contracts alive. Banks were denying loans as fast as we could write them. Finally, when 2012 came around, the recovery was in effect and my real estate business took off. I could take a deep breath from what seemed like an endless hustle and move forward.
Being a Realtor has its share of hard work, too; I quickly learned that it’s hard as any industry to make it to the top. How much time and effort you put in is equivalent to the awards you reap. With being a Realtor, I have more time for meaningful conversation with my clients and hear amazing stories about their lives.
Today, I get to be a trusted advisor. I have the opportunity to develop relationships and rapport with my clients, helping them step into their next thrilling phase in life. I didn’t expect to become a real estate agent, but I’m grateful my path led me there. Plus, it’s a perfect fit for my love of architecture, home interior design and desire to support people out of their current home and into the new.
No regrets from me!