- Chelsea Roy, a former “Bachelor” contestant, became a real-estate agent in Maine two years ago.
- She also posts about New England travel and shopping to 140,000 Instagram followers.
- She did $3 million in home sales last year and attributed more than half that sum to social media.
Chelsea Roy has added a lot to her résumé since her time on “The Bachelor” in 2018.
The 33-year-old Maine resident is an influencer who partners with ritzy brands like the Four Seasons along with local shops like Near & Native or Wildwood Oyster Co. and shares recommendations for visiting and buying a home in New England with her 140,000 Instagram followers.
She’s also a real-estate agent. During her second year as an independent broker in 2021, as the pandemic inspired thousands of out-of-staters to move to Maine, she did $3 million in Portland-area home sales.
While the state’s top broker does about $39 million in sales a year, according to RealTrends, Roy sets herself apart as an early-career agent who has built her growing business in large part through Instagram. She credited leads that came in via social media with providing more than half of her $3 million in annual sales.
Her largest deal in 2021 was a $510,000 house. Realtor.com figures from late last year suggest the average home in Portland sold for about $429,000. But right now she’s showing properties that top that, including a new development just outside Portland with homes ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million.
Roy, who said she’d loved design since she was young, has worked in real estate since her early 20s but became an independent real-estate agent two years ago.
She was a prominent contestant on season 22 of the hit ABC show “The Bachelor,” which starred another real-estate agent, Arie Luyendyk, as the leading man. An early frontrunner, Roy received the “first impression” rose, which Luyendyk gave the woman he initially liked best. She was eliminated in episode six and joined the spin-off show “Bachelor in Paradise” that summer.
Roy said that while she was grateful for her time on “The Bachelor,” which boosted her social-media following, she preferred to focus her energy these days on helping people find homes. She also juggles influencing with parenting; her son, Sammy, is now 7, and she’s planning her wedding to Dave Gilman, the vice president of finance at a jewelry store, who has two children: Finley, 7, and Sawyer, 5.
Here’s how Roy typically spends her day.
Roy brews coffee — typically a fair-trade blend — and gets the kids ready for the day. Sammy usually eats his favorite breakfast, Trader Joe’s organic silver-dollar pancakes.
Roy, Gilman, and the three kids live in a four-bedroom 1940s Cape house in Portland that features natural hardwood floors and white walls. She described her design taste as midcentury modern meets “grandmillennial transitional” and said she loves furnishing her home with antiques and thrifted items.
Her followers especially love to keep up with how she’s updated her home, she said, and her feed is full of aesthetically pleasing peeks into the property.
Everyone is out the door about an hour after waking up.
Roy drives Sammy to school, a half-hour from their home. On the way, Sammy, a huge pop-country fan, likes to play DJ, queuing up tunes by Lil Nas X and Morgan Wallen.
Roy begins each workday by connecting and following up with clients in some way, often touring properties on behalf of people interested in buying.
Right now she mainly works with buyers, but her goal is to primarily represent sellers and listings.
One day in early January, Roy went to a showing for a new development in Cumberland, Maine, about 20 minutes outside Portland. Homes under construction there range from $1 million to $1.5 million. Roy previewed the lot for her clients, spoke to the builder, and gave feedback on the design.
Back at her desk, Roy opens her laptop and starts what she calls “home matchmaking” for her clients looking to buy, running down new listings on the “hot sheet” — a compilation of homes that are new to market and updates about prices and whether they’ve been sold.
She cross-checks the hot list with clients’ needs and desires, then sends them any suitable new listings.
Roy said 40% of her clients came from out of state, while 60% were making in-state moves. She added that most people find her through word of mouth or social media.
In the mornings, she also hops on
meetings with other Portland real-estate professionals to trade intel about new-to-market properties and share what her clients are looking for.
At the start of the pandemic, this hour looked a little different, as Sammy attended school sitting right next to her. Roy said they got through the time by setting small goals and rewarding themselves when they finished them.
After an hour of networking, Roy is on the phone “putting out fires,” speaking with title companies, and chatting with builders and inspectors, she said.
She said she ensures each client gets their needs met before a deal is closed.
“There’s so many moving parts to each transaction, and each transaction is drastically different,” she said.
On Thursdays, Roy has a standing call with a newer agent she mentors to answer questions and help her navigate the industry.
Roy grabs a light lunch — her favorite is sushi. About once a week she carves out time to grab lunch with a client or vendor.
She said that she’s a big believer in taking small breaks and that it’s crucial to combating burnout.
“I’ll admit I got burned out this past year — running around while trying to meet all the clients’ needs, making sure that they’re the first to see a property and the first to make an offer,” she said.
So taking time to rest — like a lunch break — is a priority for Roy in 2022. She said she took December off to reset so she could prepare to tackle 2022.
For a few hours in the afternoon, Roy gets to be creative. After lunch, she creates content for social media.
She often films videos to give buyers and sellers pointers and insight into the market. She also puts together clips of homes for sale or edits a montage of recent showings.
She said she calculated that last year, $1.86 million of her home sales could be attributed to social media. On top of that, Roy said she made roughly $30,000 in non-real-estate revenue on social media from things like sponsored posts and partnerships.
Roy’s Instagram feed is filled with images of decor and design as well as of life in Maine, centering on hotels, dining, shopping, and outdoor activities.
In a video post from June, Roy and Gilman sit outside a cabin in the woods — part of the Terramor Outdoor Resort in Bar Harbor — smiling while making s’mores. She’s featured a variety of Maine boutique hotels in other posts. In her Story highlights, she shows off local New England restaurants and brands.
Roy drives the half-hour back to grab Sammy from school.
Roy said that sometimes Sammy is her “sidekick,” accompanying her on afternoon viewings. She says he doesn’t come to every viewing, but she thinks it’s important to show him what she does.
“I love it when there is an opportunity for him to see my work,” she said. “I think it gets him kind of pumped up and proud. It shows him that this adult life can be fun.”
Some of Roy’s buyers are on the West Coast, and some are not available until after work, so Roy often has evening calls or property tours.
For those who can’t be there in person but are itching to sign a contract, she offers virtual showings.
This is time for Roy to unwind.
She often makes what she calls “refrigerator stir fry,” where she throws whatever she has into a pan with a protein and serves it over rice.
Cooking is one of her pastimes. “It’s one of my favorite things, because it’s a very mindless but creative outlet for me,” she said. “I have to focus on it, which means it’s pulling me away from the thoughts in my head about real estate.”
After dinner, it’s bedtime for the kids and back to work for Roy. She follows up on emails and texts that came in during “present time” with family, she said. She keeps in touch with her West Coast clients, who may be up a little later.
She said she believes that the key to her success is how available she is to her clients, how quickly she is to respond, and how well she communicates with them.
“Clear communication will lead you to the closing table successfully with the least amount of hiccups,” she said.
She also may post on Instagram. As the years have passed, she said, her followers have become less interested in her time on “The Bachelor” and more interested in learning more about Maine.
“My DMs are very telling of that,” she said. “I have much fewer messages from fans … and more of ‘Hey, I was really curious about the town of Cumberland. Wondering if you have a moment to talk about it?'”
Roy begins to wind down for the night. She and Gilman debrief about their days and watch a show or two together. They’re just starting to watch “Criminal Minds” on
, and Roy just finished “Emily in Paris.”
Roy puts down her phone — which she says is typically glued to her — and prays she’s asleep by 11:30, she said.
She said the housing-market frenzy of 2021 — and the long hours it led to — meant she’s resolved to be intentional about how she spends her time this year.
“One thing that I’ve learned from not just shutting my phone off this past year is that it’s really important to pick and choose your buyers, your clients,” she said.