MOTHER’S DAY: Mother’s training helps former teacher become real estate success

COVINGTON, Ga. — Rhiannon Townley says the training she received from her mother allowed her to successfully switch careers and be successful in what has become a stressful time for real estate professionals.

Townley, 31, works as an independent real estate agent under the umbrella of the ReMax Around Atlanta East agency in Conyers owned by her mother, longtime area realtor LeAnne Long.

Townley, a Covington resident and mother to a 2-year-old, switched careers in 2018 following more than five years as an elementary school teacher in Newton County schools, she said.

She followed her mother into the real estate business and never looked back — selling 30 houses in 2021.

“I owe my success to my mom,” she said.

Townley said they sometime “butt heads” because both are “highly opinionated” and approach the business from different directions but “for the most part we work well together,” she said.

Long, a Social Circle resident and veteran of more than a quarter-century in Newton County and Metro Atlanta real estate, said she raised Townley “to be a strong female.”

“Now that I’ve trained her so well, we have moments where we have to agree to disagree,” Long said.

“I am so proud of Rhiannon, and I would never let anything come between us; life is too short,” she said.

Townley recalls growing up going to open houses and appointments with her mom who worked the odd after-hours and weekends work schedule of a realtor.

“I always tell people we were raised real estate kids,” Townley said. “We heard the business and the lingo our whole life.”

She got her first taste of the business by assisting the regular receptionist at Long’s agency while a Newton High School student.

However, she said she did not set out to be a Realtor and instead worked as an art instructor before earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art education from UGA.

Townley taught third and fourth grades for more than five years in Newton County schools during which she said she essentially got burned out on the job.

“Business was picking up for my mom and she said. ‘Come work for me. I think you’ll enjoy it.’ I felt she could benefit from me, I could benefit from her.

“I just took a kind of a leap of faith and went and joined her as a licensed agent. It was more of an assistant role while I was being trained.”

She eventually began working as a full-time agent in her mother’s agency and has seen success in a relatively short amount of time.

“I don’t work for her anymore,” she said. “We don’t share clients.

“If I need help, she helps me. We bounce ideas off each other. She’s more of a mentor role for me.”

She said both have strong personalities and sometimes disagree because they have “different views of the way we want to handle our business,” Townley said.

“Things she’s strong in and that I’m strong in are two different things. I’m very analytical, very detail-oriented where she’s high-energy, she has the sales mindset. We work off of each other and we help each other in those areas.”

However, she also is somewhat of a competitor to her mother as they both work in an industry that has seen dwindling supply and a boom in those working as real estate agents.

Townley said she has never gotten to the point of “throwing my hands up in the air” and ending their business relationship.

“Sometimes our personal lives will enter into the business. My daughter is her granddaughter and we’ll end up talking about that … and I have to get us back on track.”

She said her mother’s training and connections from decades in the business were main ingredients in her rise in the business, Townley said.

“What’s funny now is I’ve learned so much from her. I know so much about the real estate business now. It’s all been her training in those areas.

“She trained me how to get business. If you do what she says, you’ll do well.”

Long said she knew Townley would “have to stand alone to make it, stay relevant in real estate, and not ride on my coattails.”

“Now she’s part of my competition, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Long said.