Jennifer Bell’s company, The Gramercy Group, specializes in new construction real estate sales in underserved and often ignored areas such as The Gap, Bronzeville, North Kenwood and Woodlawn.
Bell is a real estate veteran in the Chicago area for over 20 years. She and her team offer unparalleled industry expertise and negotiating savvy that create winning results for their clients.
N’DIGO recently sat with Bell to learn more about The Gramercy Group and what it has in store in the near future.
N’DIGO: In your own words, please tell us who is Jennifer Bell and a little about your background.
I have worked very hard to become a top-producing broker with an impressive track record of sales. I have worked extensively with buyers, sellers, investors and developers, and gained specialized expertise in the area of new construction.
I am very hands-on with my builder clients, doing all of the interior design and project management for a majority of their developments. I have a unique flair for design and the ability to showcase properties at their best, which results in expedited sales and higher prices.
I do my best to remain a consummate professional who knows how to orchestrate successful deals. My background in mortgages gives me a unique advantage to provide insights to my clients while representing their best interests.
I was affiliated with top-name brokerage firms prior to founding Gramercy Group, which is a boutique real estate firm that focuses on new construction and re-sales. My team and I offer unparalleled industry expertise and negotiating savvy that create winning results with a personal touch.
How did the group come together?
The major brokerage firm that I was working for wasn’t willing to open an office in the community where I worked; however, they were willing to continue to reap the benefits from our community. I thought it was time that our community had proper professional and creative representation from people that have the same hue.
What is it that makes neighborhoods like The Gap, Bronzeville, North Kenwood and Woodlawn special and the concentrated areas you focus on?
These communities are special and amazing due to their history alone. The Gap is named The Gap because it was a huge piece of vacant land after the Great Chicago Fire. All the areas around it had been rebuilt, so when the community members back then would refer to it, they would call it The Gap and the name has stuck throughout the years.
Bronzeville and North Kenwood, like The Gap, were areas that most Black people lived in who came to Chicago with the Great Migration. We weren’t allowed to live south of 55th Street at the time. Whether you were rich, poor or in-between, if you were Black, we all lived in the same community.
This area has so much history – all of the musical greats are from within these neighborhoods, civil rights activists, all of Chicago’s Black heroes and heroines are from this community. Others may have just realized the wealth of this community and its prime locale within the city – the proximity to the lake, downtown Chicago and every major expressway.
So it is important to me that we maintain the integrity of the community during this current revitalization and that we aren’t all pushed out to other communities due to people realizing this area is prime land within the city. It is important to us that we continue to educate people on the value of this land.
Can you give us a few common misconceptions you find that people have when it comes to buying/selling properties?
The financial component, the difference between the down payment and the closing cost. Additionally, buyers tend to think it is okay to leap from agent to agent; whoever is available at the time they want to view homes is whom they will commit to at that moment. That’s like people being salaried to work for X amount of time, only to be made aware that they won’t be compensated for that time worked. Brokers aren’t paid on salary; it’s commission only if the transaction closes.
Tell us about your recent Art House Tour.
We took attendees of the tour through Bronzeville and showcased some amazing homes with phenomenal finishes and astonishing art pieces from emerging artists with national and international recognition such as Shala, Cam Be, Marco Miller, Brian Golden, and the late Eric Werner.
Shala is a personal friend of Rich Lomax, a broker at Gramercy Group. When we thought of the idea for this event, Rich naturally suggested his friend who has gained national recognition from his solar paneled pyramid that is being showcased at and powers the Gallery Guichard on 47th Street in Bronzeville.
In addition, Shala was featured in a Nissan commercial for his work, so we thought it would just be a great fit. Dani Jackson is a part of Shala’s management team and she has been a dream to work with as well.
Name three principles or ideals you try to abide by in your business dealings.
This one is very simple for me: Honesty, Integrity, and Loyalty.
Name a book that changed or really impacted your life?
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller. This book gave me the blueprint on how to be a successful broker.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I’m adventurous.
Best advice or words of wisdom for aspiring business professionals?
Consistency and resiliency.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
I am making space for more success to come into my life. I let go of excuses. I am productive and focused on results! Everybody wants to be a beast until it’s time to do what real beasts do.
What’s next for Jennifer Bell and The Gramercy Group?
It’s time for Gramercy Group to begin expanding with more brokers – you’ll have to stay tuned for upcoming events.
(For more information, connect with The Gramercy Group at Linkedin Page.)