Passion for Community and Real Estate
“Carlie is as knowledgeable about real estate in South Mountain as anyone,” said Glen Fitzgerald, who is owner of the Keller Williams Lifestyle Realty in South Phoenix. “And for that reason she probably has fun making a living,” he added.
“Carlie” is Carlie Back, a real estate agent whose business is The Carlie Back Real Estate Team, also a franchise of Keller Williams, located on Baseline at 32nd St. She has also penned the “Residential Real Estate Column” for the South Mountain District News since it’s inception, nearly 10 years ago.
Friends and colleagues for more than 12 years, Fitzgerald described Back as “always available to help somebody out,” and the type of businesswoman who “cares about the people she does business with.”
Others say she is “personable” and “passionate about her career.”
Back grew up in Rochester, New York—in the kind of community where houses sat on acres, and kids could ride their bicycles to the next town over, just a few miles away. As a young entrepreneur, Back started a summer camp for children in her town, coordinating activities such as tennis, swimming and horseback riding.
Wanting to leave New York for a destination with more sunshine, she enrolled at Arizona State University and studied marketing. After graduation, she pursued a career in sales with a number of Fortune 500 companies—including Motorola, Alltel and Bank of America—before getting her real estate license in 1995.
Now 50, Back said a career in real estate seemed enticing, but she added, laughing, “I never wanted to be one of those real estate people.”
The allure and benefits of being her own boss won her over, and she set her sights on becoming the “Mike Mendoza of this side of the mountain.” Mike Mendoza also owns a Keller Williams franchise that sells luxury homes in Ahwatukee and north metro Phoenix.
Real estate became her passion. Today, Back even enjoys watching the reality-based real estate shows, including Flipping Out on Bravo, which stars Jeff Lewis, an interior designer and home-renovation specialist in Los Angeles. “He’s a character,” she said.
She’s always had a love of houses. Back bought her first home after college at the Pointe South Mountain, with help from her family. She was attracted to the variety of architecture in the area, and the way it reminded her of her hometown—“I liked it here because it wasn’t cookie-cutter,” she said. Even today, she has a diverse portfolio of homes that she sells, ranging from luxury, to farms and ranches to small trailers.
Community activist and organizer George Young, who has known Back for more than 20 years, describes her as “hard working” and “great at what she does.” Young is chairman of South Mountain Village Clean and Beautiful, and Back serves as a member of the board of directors—and also volunteers her time picking up trash as part of the agency’s mission.
“That’s the kind of gal she is,” Young added.
“You meet really interesting people, all the time,” said Back of her community involvement and career. Buyers are returning to the real estate market, she added, though all agents have had to learn more about working with banks and short sales, or selling properties at less than they are worth.
“This last year things have really started to pick up,” said Back, who had just returned from showing a $700,000 home. “The buyers are out here.”