Most people know Julie Silveous as one of the Salt Lake Valley’s friendliest realtors, a woman who grins in her ads, takes her clients on tours of the city and says, “I can sell any place!” A woman who truly loves helping her clients find the right house.
But there is another side to Julie Silveous that few people know. As she puts it, “I tell my kids I wasn’t always a mild-mannered real estate agent.”
You see, before Silveous hung up her shingle she was a double major in political science and business at Augustana College, a prestigious liberal arts school in Rock Island, Illinois. Here she served as a member of the student Democrat committee and president of her sorority (“yes, it’s true!” she laughs). And what did she do senior year?
“I did some work with the UN as an internship,” she says casually. “One of my senior theses was on the [Turkish] occupation of Cyprus.”
During her internship, Silveous traveled through the island, the northernmost third of which the Turkish Republic invalided in 1974 and still controls today. This part is commonly known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and many nations – as well as the UN – don’t diplomatically recognize it. While in Cyprus and Turkey, Silveous says she traveled widely, met many people on both sides of the conflict (that is, Turks and Greek Cyprians), and even participated in a demonstration.
“My view is that Cyprus should never have been occupied,” she explains. “I marched with a group of [Greek] Cyprian women, and we were overtaken by Turkish gentlemen and the UN who stopped the protesting we were doing.”
After her internship, Silveous came home by way of Egypt and spent time studying in England, Germany and France (she speaks French fluently to this day). When she returned to Illinois she put her business degree to use working in a city planner’s office. Like just about all of QSaltLake’s Fabulous People, she didn’t plan to stay very long when she finally found her way to Utah.
“My family as originally from Oregon and Washington, and my great grandma was a baby on Oregon Trail, so I’ve always had family connections and yearning to the West,” she says. “I moved out here because I wanted to be closer to my grandparents, who live in Boise. I love the mountains and the atmosphere and the outdoors and skiing.”
“Now I have stayed for nine years,” she continues. “That was not my long term plan. My plan was to be here a few years and move further West.”
But the Greatest Snow on Earth alone didn’t keep New York-born Silveous in Utah. Instead, it was the one thing that she says motivates all her work choices: family.
“I met my partner,” she laughs. “She is a transplant from Philadelphia, and director of the technology assisted curriculum center at the U of U. [Meeting her] changed everything, so we decided to make our home and life here.”
Another change Silveous experienced after coming to the Beehive State was in her line of work. And here, her love for people and family can also be seen.
“I have a BA in poly science and business, so I’ve always been interested in marketing and I got into RA because I love the transaction with people,” she says. But more than that: “I love homes. I fell in love with some of the homes around Salt Lake and I love selling homes. I think it’s a wonderful and intimate connection between people. Real Estate is a very important process in people’s lives, and that’s why I got into it.”
An important process?
“Real estate is one of the biggest events in an individual life,” she explains, adding that she’s been in the business for four years now. “We need a home and a wonderful home whether it’s someone buying their first home or helping my sellers because they have to transfer and need the high quality of service I provide. It’s an intimate moment in people’s lives and I love helping them through that and making them happy.”
And Silveous does a lot to make sure that her clients are happy and comfortable. If they’re new to the city, she says she takes them on a tour. If they’re gay or transgender and worried that the city might be unfriendly towards them, she shows them gay friendly neighborhoods (like Marmalade Square where she currently sells) and reassures them that “Salt Lake City is a place for everyone.”
“When someone calls me to find a house, whether they’re looking for a condo or have questions about resale, the only way I can understand what they need is to meet with them, talk with them, find out what they like – the mountains, a city feel,” she says. “And the only way I can do that is to become friends, sit down, have lunch or a coffee and find out where they came from and what they’re looking for. It’s not as cut and dry as here’s 10 houses, here’s your loan amount, let’s choose one.”
It’s that personal touch that distinguishes Silveous in the local real estate market – which she admits is one of the toughest around thanks to new developments. As she puts it, “You have to work really hard and believe in what you’re doing.”
But when Silveous isn’t working hard, she’s playing hard – with her two children and her two dogs and three cats (“I have to stop volunteering at Yuppie Puppie or I’ll have a house full of pets!” she laughs). And houses and people are never far from her mind. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening (she’s a big proponent of desert-friendly xeroscaping), traveling and meeting new people.
“If there’s ever a day I decide this isn’t fun anymore and I’m not enjoying myself or helping people fall in love with a home, I have to stop doing it, because it’s about joy of helping others, and the fun I get out of real estate and seeing what’s out there,” she says.
Formerly with ERA Legacy Realtors, Julie Silveous now hangs her shingle at Urban Utah. If you need a house, call her at 502-4507.