Let's Get Real

Jill Butler of RedKey Realty Leaders

When the real estate market was in free-fall and everyone else headed for the hills, Jill Butler opened her own firm. “Folks thought I was crazy, but I knew there was a need for a boutique agency like RedKey,” she recalls. “I figured it would appeal to both agents and clients—and I was right. In our first year, we achieved 300 percent growth; by the end of 2013, when the market was up 19.6 percent in volume, we were up more than 260 percent.” The Illinois native has hung her hat in Michigan, California and Colombia, South America, but now lives in Clayton with husband Bruce, daughter Sarah and son Clay.

[raiders of the lost lunchbox]
As a kid, I wanted to be a dancer-geologist-performer. I thought I could be sort of an Indiana Jones and do performances to showcase the treasures I found.

[career path]
My dad had a real estate company, so I grew up around the business. But I spent a few years in advertising and marketing before it hit me that real estate offered the kind of flexible, entrepreneurial environment I thrived on. I held sales, team leader and executive positions at other firms before starting RedKey in 2012.

I wanted to create an agency that provided resources for agents to be successful and gave them the most value for their commission splits.

[first sale]
It was in St. Louis Hills. I was greener than grass, but the deal went well and the clients were happy. I never looked back.

[biggest sale ever]
$1.4 million.

Real estate is never boring. I get to serve others, create community and help clients build wealth. The industry is always evolving and we get to evolve with it.

[making lemonade]
I had an investor client and everything went wrong on the way to the closing table. We had title and appraisal issues, the buyer’s funds were late, etc. I was sure he’d never hire me again. When we finally closed, I held a celebration with food, drinks, flowers and balloons, and he loved it. That taught me to always do my best and finish strong. I still celebrate every closing.

[how to succeed]
It takes more than a good score on your licensing exam to make it in this field. It takes passion and tenacity. You must put your clients’ interests first.

[secret desire]
I wish I could snowboard. How cool are Olympic snowboarders?

I love to salsa dance. It’s so much fun, and you don’t realize what a great workout you’re getting.

[day is done]
There’s no better way to unwind than having a glass of wine and a good laugh with my husband.