BELLEAIR BLUFFS, Fla. — In 2010, Justin Helmus had been working as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley for two years, but it just wasn’t the job he dreamed it would be.
“I remember making cold calls and I just couldn’t stand the job,” says Helmus, broker/owner of The Gulf Life Realty Group in Belleair Bluffs and one of the professionals recently honored as a National Association of Realtors® (NAR) “30 Under 30” for 2015.
On a whim, he decided to pursue a real estate career.
“I enjoyed the sales and luxury side of real estate,” he says, “but I wanted to do it my way, and that wasn’t happening.” So, Helmus, 27 years old, took another leap of faith, earned his brokerage license and along with a partner, opened his brokerage in 2012.
He adds, “If you’re working for some company, they have a set way to do things. My partner, Scott McNay, and I wanted to build a brand that we took pride in, something that allowed us to have an unfiltered way to do things.”
Now, Helmus wakes up with a burning desire to get into the office and make each day meaningful. “If you’re not motivated, someone else is; there’s another agent who will take over my business, and that drives me,” he says.
He’s also intent on changing the perception of a real estate agent. “Real estate has a certain stigma attached like we’re all part-time, or it’s our secondary job. I want to change that stigma. I want people to look at us as offering a professional service with trained agents,” Helmus says.
That’s why he earned his master’s degree in business administration from Florida Gulf Coast University. “I come from a finance background and am serious about growing my business,” he adds.
One way to start turning around the perception is to raise the standards and requirements to enter the real estate profession, according to Helmus. “We need to change our educational requirements. It’s good for everyone.”
When Helmus isn’t working, he’s road cycling, playing golf and tennis or hanging out with friends. He also is actively involved in his community and volunteers at concerts and events at his local Belleair Recreational Center. “I am continually participating and sponsoring golf tournaments and other activities,” he says. “I want to make our city a fun place to live for all ages.”
Helmus also has an affinity for public speaking, a talent he discovered in college and first practiced on behalf of his fraternity. “I like public speaking because it scares me, but I use those butterflies as a motivator,” he explains, adding he has spoken at local Chamber of Commerce meetings and at his local real estate association. “Any chance I have to dive into the unknown, I do.”
For now, Helmus says, he’ll focus on growing his brand and expanding his brokerage. “I like to operate outside of my comfort zone.”
A member of the Pinellas Suncoast Association of Realtors®, Helmus is dedicated to his profession and to his community. He was named as one of the National Association of Realtors’® (NAR)“30 Under 30” honorees for 2015. The “30 Under 30” program recognizes 30 rising young stars in the real estate industry – successful young Realtor professionals across the U.S. who exemplify ingenuity, dedication and leadership in their careers.