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6 minute read

Lynn DeJohn & Jen DeJohn

A Winning Mother-Daughter Teamship

In 1982, Lynn DeJohn was a dental hygienist looking for a more lucrative career opportunity. At the time, she and her husband, Paul, were financially preparing to send their two oldest children to college at the same time as well as shelling out a lot of money to fund their youngest daughter’s burgeoning career as a competitive figure skater. Paul had been working as a part-time real estate agent to supplement their income, so, without too much thought, Lynn decided to join him in the industry. “I went to real estate school at night while still working two dental jobs and taking care of my family,” Lynn said. “Needless to say, I was literally falling asleep in my soup!”

After receiving her license, Lynn made a smooth transition into the industry where she was fortunate to be mentored by her wonderful first broker, Darlene Shemanski. Lynn and Paul worked together for several years, and she hoped to form a family team at some point in the future. “Probably back in the 90s, I asked my older daughter if she would like to join me, but she wasn’t interested. So, when I learned that my younger daughter Jen was studying for her license, there was no hesitation that we’d become a team,” Lynn said. “We had spent many hours and trips together over her skating career — I drove her to all her competitions, tried to make sure all the off-ice things went well and was, I think, her biggest fan. … It just seemed fitting that we’d continue our ‘teamship,’ and she would offer her support to me.”

In 2013, Jen DeJohn, who had spent 25 years coaching competitive figure skating and hockey skating and 10 years as the USA Hockey Arena Program Director, was battling recurring low back and foot injuries that made “living in skates 24/7” increasingly difficult, both physically and mentally. She was also recently divorced and wanted a career that enabled her to better provide for herself and her son yet still afforded her the flexibility of self-employment. “While I was coaching and directing full-time at the arena, I actually started the licensing process in secret by completing the course online in the wee hours of the night,” Jen said. “I always knew I could join my mom in the business. The offer was always there, but I wanted to see for myself if real estate was something that interested me enough to make it my second career — hence my secrecy out of the gate.”

Jen, who went from training full-time as a competitive skater to coaching full-time to pay for her first car and college, says that it was difficult to hang up her skates and step away from the profession that had encompassed her life since childhood. However, after getting licensed and shadowing her mom on a few appointments, Jen realized how much she enjoyed the business and how well her problem-solving, organizational and people skills transferred from skating to real estate. More so, both Jen and Lynn discovered that their “teamship” on the ice provided them a solid foundation for building a productive, rewarding business partnership in real estate. “What can I say? I’ve been trained by one of the best in the business!” Jen said.

Established in 2014, Team DeJohn at RE/MAX Classic - Plymouth has proven to be a winning combination.

“We are a great blend of ‘old school’ and the new,” Lynn said. “When we first started working together, I told clients that I was teaching Jen long-standing best practices and she’s constantly teaching me all the technology and sharing her valuable viewpoint as the younger member of our team — we are a fine blend of experience and expertise.”

Throughout her 38 years in the business, Lynn has sold over $115 million worth of real estate and distinguished herself with countless RE/MAX awards. As a team, Lynn and Jen’s career volume is over $44 million, and their trophy shelf includes many awards and titles, including Hour Detroit Real Estate All-Star in 2019 and 2020, RE/MAX 100% Club from 2015-2018 and RE/MAX Platinum Club in 2019. In 2021, Jen — the skilled “techie” responsible for the team’s social media presence — earned the RE/MAX Classic Technology Award as well as gained recognition from RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan for mastering insight posts on a new online platform.

Lynn and Jen attribute the success of their partnership to their shared values and practices: They are detail-oriented individuals who regularly communicate and collaborate with one another and with their clients, they genuinely care about their clients and they both enjoy seeing their buyers and sellers achieve their goals. With regard to their differences, Lynn says that sometimes she gets stuck in the wrong headspace, so she is thankful for Jen’s positive attitude and ability to redirect her. Jen jokes about their different filing habits: “My mom kills trees by printing everything; I try to save trees by keeping electronic records as much as possible.”

On a more serious note, Jen deeply respects and admires her mother and appreciates everything she has done for their family. “In high school, I watched my mom become the main wage earner for our family after my dad had his first debilitating back injury,” Jen said. “Her drive, organization at work and at home, and her ability to stay active in the lives of all her family members was always something I wanted to emulate as an adult.”

As a single mom, Jen has learned how important it is to ask for help. “I wanted to do all and be all, but it’s really not possible without a village,” she said. “I don’t know what I’d do without my family.” Jen’s 17-year-old son, Nate, is a junior at Salem High School and a former competitive musician. He spends most of his free time working in the electrical subgroup of the Lightning Robotics team and plans to study electrical and/or mechanical engineering in college. Jen’s significant other, Steve, is a professional photographer. They all enjoy spending time with their new puppy, robotics, cars, music, boating on Hamlin Lake and camping in Ludington.

Lynn and Paul have been married for 57 years and have three adult children, nine grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Their son Paul is a nurse in Ohio, and their older daughter Debbie is a special education teacher in Plymouth-Canton Schools. Due to health issues, Lynn and Paul had to retire from their favorite hobby — fly-fishing — but they still enjoy many getaways to Ludington in their camper, visits to Ohio to see Paul and his family and trips to Clearwater, Florida, to visit extended family. “We are a close-knit family, and my family means everything to me,” Lynn said.

“It has been so fulfilling to see Jen become financially independent and purchase her home as a result of our partnership,” Lynn said. “It also is rewarding to know that when I retire or slow down, she will be able to step into the business I created and carry it on to support herself and her son.”

WE ARE A GREAT BLEND OF ‘OLD SCHOOL’ AND THE NEW.

Of course, Jen is equally thankful that real estate has facilitated her financial independence and homeownership, as well as enabled her to be there for her son and be an active participant in all of his endeavors, just as her mom was for her. Above all else, the DeJohn “teamship” has imparted Jen and Lynn with the intangible blessing of precious time with one another. “What’s the one thing people regret when they look back? They want more time doing what they enjoy or being with the people most important to them,” Jen said. “I get both — I know I’ll never regret that.”