Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
11:11 pm EDT
Tue, July 14, 2020

Putting the REAL in real estate

Jessica Duteau and Connie Mahan
Photo: Anthony Rao

Broker Connie Mahan has a passion for real estate and the community.

If Realtors from other agencies have questions about real estate, they call Connie for answers. 

If a local business has a non-English-speaking customer, they call Connie to translate in Spanish. 

If high school band directors need in-kind donations, they call Connie for her unwavering support. 

“Connie” is 44-year-old Connie Mahan, a proud Sumter County resident whose familiar face comes with a permanent smile that radiates sunshine. To locals, she’s much more than the successful, award-winning broker/owner of Connie Mahan Real Estate Group in Bushnell. 

Some may recognize her as the woman who picks up trash and sells hot dogs at youth baseball games. Others may recall her mopping bathroom floors at the Sumter County Beef and Boogie Festival. 

Ask her clients or colleagues, and they’ll tell you Connie possesses all the necessary qualities to succeed in a competitive real estate market: a strong work ethic, a high level of professional integrity, and a servant’s heart. 

“Connie has a true passion for real estate and a genuine passion for the people in Sumter County,” says Erin O’Donnell, Connie’s office manager and business partner. “She is extremely giving to the community and is always accessible to her agents. This is an industry where you earn your license and get thrown to the wolves. You really need training to be successful, and Connie goes above and beyond to provide that.”

It was Connie’s propensity for helping others that led her to a real estate career. In 2000, a friend asked Connie if she would drive her to Weeki Wachee twice a week to attend an evening real estate class. Connie, then 25, agreed. 

“I could either sit in the parking lot for several hours or take the class with her,” she recalls. “I decided to take the class just for the heck of it. I knew nothing about real estate and had no desire to go into real estate.” 

But Connie became enamored with her teacher’s real-life tales from the real estate industry—from heartwarming first-time buyer stories to the deal-gone-bad horror stories. She had accidentally stumbled upon destiny. 

“I joke around that real estate must’ve been in my DNA and I had no idea,” Connie says. “Going to that class discovered it.”

She graduated from the class, passed the state exam in 2001, and quit her two jobs, one stocking shelves inside a Webster warehouse during the day and the other making sandwiches at a small Bushnell restaurant at night. 

Connie landed a position at Micki Blackburn Realty’s Webster office. Of course, ditching one career to embark on another isn’t for the faint-hearted. It means saying goodbye to the comfort of familiarity and hello to uncertainty. 

“I knew nobody in Sumter County,” Connie says. “I wasn’t born and raised here so I didn’t have a built-in network to call on. In fact, I had only been living in the county for six months.”

That didn’t keep her from starting off with a bang. The rookie Realtor completed 27 transactions in her first year. As a result, the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties named her the 2001 Rookie of the Year, marking the first time a Sumter County real estate agent won the award. 

“It was the most money I had ever made in my life,” Connie says. “It didn’t seem like work. I just loved it; I loved it from the beginning.”

After that first year, Connie discovered that networking is the cornerstone of a successful real estate career. In an effort to meet people, she began a door-knocking campaign and became active with local organizations such as the Sumter County Youth Center, Relay for Life, and Kiwanis clubs. She was elected president of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce in 2006.  

That same year, she was included in a local newspaper’s “Top 10 Women to Watch in the Heart of Central Florida.”

“My career really took off when I began meeting people and business leaders in the community and establishing relationships that I still have today,” she says. 

Connie, who was a multi-million-dollar producer for 10 consecutive years, decided to open Connie Mahan Real Estate Group in August 2011. To say she started from scratch would be an understatement. She had no office, no staff, and no business cards. But she was armed with one essential office tool: the ever-handy Post-it Notes. 

photos provided by Connie Mahan

“During the first chamber event I attended after opening my office, I handed everyone a Post-it Note with my information on it,” she says. “Looking back, it was a little embarrassing, but I didn’t think much about it at the time because I had to get my new information out there.”

Connie eventually settled into an office, purchased necessary supplies, hired staff, and generated business in no time. Before long, awards started pouring in from the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce. She won Small Business of the Year in 2012, Businesswoman of the Year in 2013, Innovator in Real Estate in 2015, and repeated as Businesswoman of the Year in 2017. With those accolades, Connie Mahan Real Estate Group remains the only award-winning real estate company in South Sumter County. 

Her business offers residential and commercial real estate, vacant land, and property management. But not everyone comes to Connie to benefit from her vast real estate knowledge. Leaders of local organizations call Connie for her generosity, and anything related to children particularly pulls on her heartstrings. 

Connie gives a quarter of her profits back to her community, ranging from school bands, art programs, and scholarships to day camps, sports programs, the Sumter County Youth Center, and more. 

“There is some poverty here in Sumter County, but it’s certainly not the fault of children when they’re born into that situation,” Connie says. “Somebody has to step up and help take care of the little guy. Kids deserve to be kids, regardless of their family’s economic situation.”

That culture of philanthropy is what attracted agent Jessica Duteau to the company several years ago. 

“When I attended events, I would always see Connie and Erin,” Jessica says. “At the fair. At baseball games. At festivals. I knew I wanted to be out in the community just like they always are. When I decided to finally transition into real estate, Connie Mahan Real Estate Group was the only company I called.” 

Although relatively new to the industry, Jessica, a 2001 South Sumter High School graduate, was the company’s multi-million-dollar, top-producing agent with 35 transactions in 2018. Whenever she has questions about real estate or life in general, finding an answer is easy. 

Just call Connie.