First-time home buyers take notice—after a five-year flurry to start her career at retailer-for-good United By Blue, Jen Singley (BBA ’13) decided to pivot towards real estate. Now, she’s slinging much more than exposed brick and herringbone tile kitchens. Singley has an idea, cultivated at UBB, that could change the way home buyers and sellers approach real estate in Philadelphia.
Singley’s path to real estate has not been straightforward. Born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she decided to major in marketing at the Fox School of Business with the idea of getting into retail after graduation. Four days after receiving her diploma, Singley did just that, having landed a job at the then retail start-up UBB, owned by fellow Fox alumni Brian Linton and Mike Cangi. Tasked with opening and managing their first storefront at 2nd street, she eventually oversaw the brand grow to include four locations, including one in New York.
“Brian and Mike taught me so much,” said Singley. “I received constructive feedback and was pushed to step outside of my comfort zone. They were a huge part of my career growth.”
Singley credits Fox with helping her prepare for such a huge opportunity immediately after college.
Four Skills Singley Sharpened At Fox
- Financial Management: “At Fox, I learned as much about numbers as I possibly could. Not everyone left college knowing how to manage income vs. debt and I’m glad I did.”
- Interviewing: “I overthink and get nervous before interviews. The mock interview nights at Fox really helped. As realtor, having a “script” ready for clients that answers potential questions comes in handy.”
- Independence: “Fox encouraged networking. Even if my friends couldn’t make it, I’d go by myself to networking nights.”
- Negotiation: “Several of my classes had a focus on negotiation, which definitely translates into my job today. Every deal I work on involves negotiation for prices, rate, and timeline.”
When Singley decided to leave UBB in the summer of 2018, she had risen to title of director of operations, but the burgeoning retail guru wasn’t happy anymore. Too busy with managing scores of new employees, she missed out on the litter clean-ups that UBB was well-known for, one of the reasons she liked her job.
“I thought about it for a year and a half,” she said. “I love everyone at United By Blue, but part of me wasn’t whole at that point. I saw my coworkers getting excited about a new product launch or an event, and I didn’t share in that same passion anymore.”
Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners, Singley got her real estate license in 2017 while still at UBB and was selling homes part-time. The decision to leave her comfortable position at a growing company was tough, but she felt supported by her parents—her father owns a duct-cleaning and fire restoration company.
“I wanted to do something I was excited about everyday again,” she said. “Having flexible hours and helping young house buyers, that’s what’s motivating me right now.”
There are similarities between her old career and her new one. Singley is organizing neighborhood trash pickups to rally new buyers and current community residents. Her hope is that bringing together social enterprise and selling homes, she can help set a new standard for real estate agents in Philadelphia, one cigarette filter or cheesesteak wrapper at a time.
To get the word out about the places she loves, Singley has harnessed the power of social. She knows that people her age find aesthetically pleasing photos, tips on maintaining homes and defining real estate jargon more interesting than print mailers and cold calls. Her strategy has worked to engage potential home buyers. So far, Singley has sold 14 homes and counting—not bad for seven months on the job.
Singley’s Hot Neighborhoods
- Gray’s Ferry
Follow Singley @:
- Instagram: homesweethomephl
- Facebook: WomenForASustainablePhiladelphia [link to https://www.facebook.com/groups/WomenForASustainablePhiladelphia/]
- Yelp: Jen Singley, Keller Williams
Social Enterprises Singley Loves
- Hungry Harvest (CSA) [link: https://www.hungryharvest.net/]
- And We Evolve (consignment clothing) [https://andweevolve.com/]
Bennett Compost (waste pickup/compost drop-off subscription) [link https://www.bennettcompost.com/]