Posted: 3:25 pm Friday, February 28th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
Jimmy Baron – formerly part of the legendary Morning X and most recently on the now defunct rock station Dave FM – is now more than two years removed from radio.
But he’s found a new calling: a Keller Williams realtor.
Better yet for a radio geek like me, two of his most recent clients are radio folk themselves: his former 99x Morning X co-host Steve Barnes and former rival on the Regular Guys Larry Wachs.
“I’m very grateful that people who have known me for so many years in one career have the trust and confidence in me to handle arguably their most valuable asset,” Baron said today in a phone interview. “That means a lot to me.”
Baron is currently finishing brokering a deal to sell Barnes’ condo near Atlantic Station. The deal is pending and the asking price was $275,000. (Barnes was renting it out.)
The two of them had their share of friction while working at the Morning X but have long buried the hatchet. Barnes, in an interview today, said he had another realtor working his condo to no avail so he decided to give Baron a chance.
Baron closed the sale in less than a month. “I was very impressed,” said Barnes, who will readily admit he’s tough to please. “I wrote a big endorsement for him on my Facebook page last week. He’s the most thorough, effective realtor I’ve ever used.”
He still had to tease Baron though: “The worst part was sitting in a meeting while he was explaining every detail of the contract to me. I could have taken three naps. We should have filmed it. I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re killing me!’ “
Baron, knowing how demanding Barnes can be, was not surprised the condo was in immaculate shape, which made it easier to move.
Wachs, in the meantime, is selling the Johns Creek home he purchased for $223,500 when he moved here in 1998. The opening price: $385,000. This was the home he and his ex-wife raised their daughter.
Now a single man, Wachs is moving on. The house hit the market Thursday, Feb. 27 and as of today, Baron said they are expecting an offer. Nine people have looked at the home already. Baron doesn’t expect it to stay on the market long.
UPDATE, March 10, 2014. Wachs tweeted this news:
Baron said surprisingly, Wachs and Barnes were “some of my best clients I’ve had so far. Both of them are real doers. When they have something in their focus, they attack it.” Both were realistic in pricing and were open to his suggestions in terms of “staging” their homes for sale.
When Baron did a guest stint on the Regular Guys last fall after Eric Von Haessler was let go, Wachs mentioned he was looking to sell. Baron followed up. (Wachs used to make fun of Baron when the two competed but that was more for show than reality.)
Baron said Wach’s anal retentiveness on air extended to his house, which was in great shape. “It was kept very crisp,” Baron said. “He had gorgeous hardwoods throughout the house, which is not common in his neighborhood. And he loves his lawn, which looks great. And he was willing to invest money into his home in ways that would make it easier to sell.” For instance, Wachs had carpeting in the main bath, a no no. So he quickly had tile put in.
Wachs also invested in spray foam insulation in the attic, which makes the house much more energy-efficient. And he added a bonus den.
The house, priced at $385,000, is comparable to others in the neighborhood but has upgrades.
In an interview, Wachs said he wanted to give Baron a chance and so far, so good. “He seems like a smart, competent guy,” he said. “The whole process has been very smooth.”
Baron, who received his real estate license back in 2007 when the market was crashing, has only been in real estate full time for a couple of years. But Keller Williams, the biggest realtor in town, hired him last year from a smaller firm. Bernie Sotola, a realtor at Keller Williams and a radio geek, met Baron at a seminar and recommended him to John Fountain, a team leader there.
Fountain, also a big fan of the Morning X, said Baron is “eager to learn. He’s coachable. He wants to get better and become the expert.” He feels Baron has the character, the emotional intelligence, the sociability and the drive to be a successful agent long term.
Baron knows his celebrity status is both a plus and a minus in the realty world. Sure, people love to meet him and talk about old times from his Morning X days. But he has to show he has the knowledge and personality to handle their home sale.
“At the end of the day,” Baron said, “you have to know your stuff. What I tell people is I do this sun up, sun down and beyond. This is what I eat, breath and drink – this job. I read everything I can and learn everything I can. The great thing is if a client has a question I don’t know the answer to, I have a half dozen top agents I can call. Agents at Keller Williams work with each other, not against each other.”
(Baron, after he left Dave FM in 2011, briefly tried to do a video production company where he interviews people and creates personalized video biographies of them. Unfortunately, he found video editing way too solitary for his taste.)
About the Author
I'm the media writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ajc.com. I've been following radio since 2001, TV since 2005. I cover everything from the local radio and TV news scene to shows shot in Atlanta ("The Walking Dead," "Real Housewives of Atlanta") to networks based here (CNN, TBS, Up, Weather Channel) to celebrities who visit town.