Earlier this year, a television scout wanted to meet Macon Realtor Joanna “JoJo” Jones.
Jones said yes, but she asked if she could wear her tennis outfit.
She tries to play every day, so she often wears the uniform, complete with leggings, hair in a ponytail and no makeup, to meet clients who are signing contracts for their new homes.
“I’d be like, ‘Look, this is what you get, this is what you see, and this is the way it’s going to be,’ and it would just immediately put them at ease. I think they really liked that because, you know, they play tennis too or they jog or they swim.”
But that isn’t the most bizarre outfit she has donned in her career selling houses. When Jones met with the TV scout in February, Jones told her about the time she closed on a property wearing a nun’s habit. (She was on her way to a rehearsal for “The Sound of Music” at Macon Little Theatre when friends asked to see a house.)
The TV scout needed to find a Southern real estate expert with a big personality. She found her in Jones.
In September and October, Jones filmed seven episodes of a new real estate reality show premiering Jan. 7 at 11 p.m. on HGTV.
On the show, called “Beat the House,” Jones competes against New York City-based real estate expert Christopher Kromer. Jones and Kromer both try to convince couples to buy a house each has picked out for them.
“(Jones) is very outgoing and very approachable,” Kromer said, “which really helped when she and I would meet the buying couple for the first time to learn about what they’re looking for.”
Proud to be a product of Macon, Jones began selling houses here in 2000 after 13 years as the owner of a retail store on Vineville Avenue called The Midnight Pickle.
She said she quickly became a top-selling agent at Sheridan, Solomon & Associates.
“That’s my main passion,” Jones said. “I love the people I work for, and I love to sell Macon, and I love making people happy and finding the right house for them.”
Steve Solomon, president and CEO of Sheridan, Solomon & Associates, has known Jones since they attended Stratford Academy in Macon.
“She’s been one of our top producers since she started with us,” Solomon said. “She has a knack of listening to her clients and trying to tie in their wants to realistic expectations.”
Solomon shared camera time with Jones on his local real estate show in the mid-2000s and said he was supportive of her filming the TV show in New York despite losing her for two months.
“She’s really talented and quick on her feet, so I think this is a great opportunity for her,” Solomon said.
On “Beat the House,” Jones and Kromer showed couples houses they found in New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester County, N.Y.
In a promotional video available online, Jones stands with Kromer and a young couple in front of a house they are thinking about buying. Kromer reminds the couple the house he picked out is 20 percent larger than the one they originally had in mind, but the woman can’t get over the large walk-in closet in the house Jones picked out.
Jones said first-time home buyers often get swayed into buying houses that aren’t what they need.
“I hate to see anybody get stuck in something and then not be able to get out,” she said. “I want the whole buying-a-house process to be a happy experience and uplifting.”
She said she falls in love with the people she shows houses to and never forgets them.
“I want them to love where they live, love the fact that we’re friends, but also that I know what I’m doing and you can trust me,” she said.