One of Us

Lesley Brawn


Lesley Brawn is a licensed Florida Realtor with 25 years of experience working in corporate business operations. From her office at the link, she serves both sellers and buyers, mostly in St. Johns and Duval counties. She places a very high value on family, collaboration, integrity and faith. She also leads a group for businesswomen.

Tell me about Lesley Brawn Real Estate.

My individual branding is Lesley Brawn Real Estate, but Game Changer Realty is the umbrella. I represent residential. That would be condominium, single-family, town homes and also short-term rentals.

Is there a geographic region you work within?

Pretty much all of St. Johns County. Also, there are areas of Duval County, sort of South Duval. I will venture into Clay or Nassau counties if it’s a referral.

Do you have any specialties?

My specialties are first-time homebuyers, women in business and anyone who really values a collaborative working relationship.

I have a very warm place in my heart for first-time homebuyers. When I bought my first home in Boston, I did it by myself, and there was some guidance but not a lot. And the landscape has gotten a bit more confusing.

But really, my specialty is just my passion and love for what I do. I truly believe that, when you’re looking for a piece of real estate, it’s not just financial. It is working with an ecosystem to make sure that everybody involved helps find the right place. I don’t do it alone. I can show you property. We can talk about benefits. We can negotiate. But there are lenders. There’s title. There are attorneys, appraisers, landscape … There are so many people who play a part, and my specialty is really just making sure that I have very strong, collaborative ties with not only my customers, but the people who are involved in the process to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.

What do you like best about what you do?

What I love is new constructions. I will put on a hard hat. I will put on a vest. I will put on work boots. I will get in the dirt.

I love to see a project start from just a bunch of weeds and sand to becoming a dream for buyers.

I also just love being a part of the emotional process and knowing that there’s a lot of excitement, there’s anticipation, there’s anxiety … but just being there to say, “Listen, we’ve got this.”

But I’m a realist. I’m not in this business to just tell people what they want to hear just to either get the business or close the deal.

My integrity means more to me than earning a commission, because I not only represent my own personal brand, I represent the brokerage, and I want people to know that however the transaction goes, at the end of the day, it was honest and it was just filled with integrity and honesty. That for me is what will count towards future business.

Do you represent buyers or sellers or both?

I represent both. Not always in the same transaction.

With sellers, a lot of times they want someone who is going to represent and market their property effectively. There’s also an emotional attachment to the value of folks’ homes. And it’s my job to let them know: I see your vision; I see the value — both the tangible and intangible values that you place on your property. … But when people ask me: What’s your marketing strategy, I will tell them that my marketing strategy is one word: price.

If the home is not priced correctly, nobody’s going to come look at it. No one’s going to take it seriously.

I can put wrap on my car. I can take out a billboard on 295. I can do as much internet marketing as you want. But when people go on the Zillows or the realtor.coms or the Redfins, they’re looking at not only the aesthetic appearance of the home, they’re looking at the price. …

For buyers, I always try to temper their expectations. I want them to be excited. But one of the first things I always talk about to buyers is, again, price. What can you afford? Have you spoken to a lender if you’re not paying cash for your home? I don’t want people to be disappointed when they’re looking at properties. They’re ready to submit an offer, and they realize that it’s a bit out of reach for them.

I always try to let them know: Here are some other things that you may need to consider when purchasing a home. With a single family, it may be taxes. Landscaping, upkeep. CDD. HOA. I always make sure that all of those things fall in line with what they can afford.

And, with sellers, I always check to see if they’re purchasing something new. What do we need to list this house at in order for them to make that transition?

I ask all of the questions. And it behooves me to do that, because at the end of the day, it’s integrity.

I don’t want someone to list their house on the market and they’re preparing to move somewhere else, and it’s priced incorrectly. The house will stay on the market. We have to do price adjustments. Now, they’re on a timeline with another piece of property, and the affordability of that other property is now going down …

Data — that’s probably another specialty of mine, just making sure that people truly understand what’s happening in the market.

There are a lot of spectacular homes on display in this area.

There’s so much that’s being showcased. Which is fantastic, because it gives people choices. … It’s like HGTV has literally landed down the street from you. You don’t have to wait for the next week’s episode of “House Hunters.” You can just go out and look at anything you want.

That’s where a lot of people in the market have to have some honest conversations with themselves about: What is our livability? What does that mean for us? Do all of our kids have to have their own bathroom? Because that’s very uncommon where I come from. …

I love seeing it, too, just as much as anyone. But I always try to tell people that, because there are a lot of choices and options, it can be a benefit, but that it can be dizzying.

It doesn’t allow people to say, “Well, maybe we don’t need all that, because here’s what I can afford. But I can find something that’s so amazing in my price point.”

So, I always try to temper people’s expectations. I’m not the Debbie Downer or Pity Peter, but I’m going to challenge your thinking. Because at the end of the day, when you get the keys and you walk in, and then when you have a chance to be in the space, you live in it, you breathe it, you are like: “This was probably the best decision. We didn’t need that extra two rooms over the garage.”

Again, that’s where my honesty will come in, because I truly want people to feel that they made the best decision.

How can people contact you and learn more?

Folks can contact me via email, phone, text message. Also I am on social media. I’m on Instagram. I post about what’s going on in the daily life of real estate.

I am a new member of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. And I am involved in quite a few networking groups. I also lead a women-in-business networking group twice per month, Xperience Connections. It’s an opportunity for me to gather women who are entrepreneurs to a place where they can talk about their business, learn to build their business but also build their confidence.

It’s amazing. I was introduced to it about two years ago. I joined as a participant. And in the early days of my business, just finding my voice was so important. Really crafting my message consistency — and it’s not just asking people for business. It’s making the phone calls to people to just say, “Hey, we may not have an immediate need for each other’s business, but let’s meet for coffee. Tell me: How did you get started? What are the roadblocks you’ve encountered? And how can we work together for accountability, for mentorship?”

So when I was asked to lead this chapter, it was a no-brainer for me, because giving back is a huge part of how I want to grow my business. My business isn’t just about how much money I earn or what my revenue is. A big part of it is: How much do I give back to people?

I have a very, very deep passion for helping people. I feel like I am always in a place of service. What can I do for you? It’s not about what I get in return. Karma will take care of that. But I truly feel as though I want to put a hand out to people and lift them up. …

I feel that the talents and gifts that I have in life, which I’m extremely fortunate to have, that some of it has to go back to pay forward.

How long have you been in this business?

I have been in business for almost two years. but I have been a Realtor in my mind since I was 12 years old.

Back in the days when the Sunday paper was delivered and you had the comics, you know? My sister would take the comics, and I would take the real estate section. I would scan the listings in different areas, and I would look to see: What types of properties at what price points are in one area versus another? I was really just trying to figure out: What does the market look like if my mom ever wanted to purchase a home?

And I was always obsessed with floor plans. I took architectural design and drafting courses in high school. I was able to put together a full set of buildable blueprints when I was 15. I modeled them after a Florida-style home, so I don’t know if that was a premonition.

I went to Boston University. Worked at a very prestigious private equity firm. For years, climbed the corporate ladder. But, the love of real estate was always with me.

How did you get involved in real estate?

When I moved here, a girlfriend of mine, who is a top agent in the area, I was constantly giving business to. And she looked at me and said, “Stop. Why are you giving me business?”

And I said, “I haven’t gotten my license yet. I haven’t made it official.”

Long story short, she called me up and said, “You’re registered for a class; you start next week … You have everything that it takes to be extremely successful. Stop giving me business. That is your business to have.”

I was very grateful for that. … I was given an opportunity to really pay attention to what my calling was. And it’s been amazing because I have been a part of global companies for the longest time, most recently as an executive assistant to CEOs. CEOs, CFOs, CHROs and boards of directors. Traveling globally. I think that level of patience, attention to detail and diligence has done nothing but serve me well as I navigate this market.

How long have you lived here?

Moved down in January of 2018.

What do you like best about living here?

I love that there are different pieces, pockets of diversity that are coming into this area.

People are discovering it, and people are really crafting it to be not just a showpiece of the PARC Group, but a showpiece of humanity.

I just love seeing that there are families here. There are businesses. Something like this [the link] is something that you would see in a major city.

Having the technology, having the connectivity here is amazing to see. It’s just a great cornerstone.

I’ve always lived near the coast. I have never lived more than 10 miles from the ocean. So, I love being near the water.

But really the evolution of what’s happening, not only here in Nocatee, Ponte Vedra, but how it’s happening along Northeast Florida is the biggest piece of excitement for me. And I’m so excited to put my stamp on it.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love to just sit at the ocean. I bring a camper chair. Now, I may bring an article that I need to read, but putting my feet in the sand and sitting under an umbrella and listening to the ocean really connects me to my environment, my space. But, also, at the same time it helps me to detach from the environment and space. So, it’s kind of like a flipflop: connect to what’s important; detach from what is not important.

I love to do yoga. I’m not at a studio right now, but I will just do yoga at home.

I love to read. I never used to go anywhere without a book. The main branch of the Boston Public Library was “heaven on earth” to me. … But really I just like to spend time at the beach and be just grateful for this life that I’m afforded to live. It is amazing. I get to do what I love.

So, just reading, getting lost in a book, and sitting on the floor and playing with my kids. And dinners out with my husband.