Shannon McCarthy's passion for real estate has paid off

A 19th century mansion on Clement Avenue in Saratoga Springs that sold for $3.45 million. A $2.16 million new-build home in Saratoga’s most desirable new neighborhood. And a $1.5 million condo in the Adelphi’s luxury resort project.

These are just a few of the luxury homes that Shannon McCarthy has listed or sold in Saratoga Springs this year.

The real estate agent leads The Shannon McCarthy Team at eXp Realty, which had more than $144 million in total volume of sales in 2022. McCarthy is growing her team, and has her eye on what’s next in the resort city.

What are your memories of growing up in Saratoga? I was raised by a single mom, I have two older brothers, so it was tough. We struggled and we lived in a two-bedroom apartment with four people. She was really a hard worker, but being a single mom with three kids, it was tough, but it was a really good childhood. A lot of what we would do together would be all the great things that Saratoga Springs has to offer, many of them free.

Where does your interest in real estate come from? I went to college to study business. I knew I wanted to be a business leader. I was very ambitious. I came from this upbringing where my mom told us, “You can be anything you want, all you have to do is work hard.” I was inspired by some of the women real estate agents of this area, like Sharon Byrne, who I looked up to as a young person and thought, wow, she’s so accomplished and she’s such an amazing businesswoman. The more I learned about the industry, the more it became something that I got really excited about. The cool thing about real estate is how hard you work is in direct correlation to how successful you’re going to be. So you’re not at the mercy of a corporation or a company that might hire you, and then it gets sold or something happens.

How did you grow your business to what it is today? I subscribe to the philosophy of work hard and do exactly what you say you’re going to do. Make sure that you’re giving your clients 100% to help them have a successful real estate transaction. That has served me because the majority of the business that I have been able to capture is word-of-mouth. So you help someone, you do a really good job for them, and then they recommend you to their friends and they say, “Shannon worked really hard. She did a really good job for us.”

Earlier this year, your team joined a new brokerage, eXp Realty. What are your growth plans? We have three full-time support staff and we’re about to hire two more. So it will be a team of five support staff and 11 agents. I would like to keep it to around 25 to 30 agents. I want to be able to have my entire team together and feel like I have a really close relationship with each and every person. If it’s too big, I worry that I would lose that. And it’s really important for the agents to know that they have me as their support.

You’ve listed some of the most notable historic properties in Saratoga. What’s your networking strategy? Living here my whole life and growing up here and seeing all these mansions in Saratoga, I always was so in awe of them. I thought, if there’s any way that I could ever be lucky enough to sell these properties someday, I would be so excited to do so. My networking strategy is that I’m very passionate about what I’m doing, and I think that that comes through to the clients that are interviewing me, and they choose me because they can feel that passion for historic homes. Each one is so unique that it’s like a piece of art. Each house when they were built was done by craftsmen and the woodwork and the design, they truly don’t build like that anymore.

The luxury home market in Saratoga is going strong. What’s the market for the entry-level buyer? You can probably expect to spend north of $400,000 — $450,000 might be a little bit of a safer number. As far as the city of Saratoga Springs, you’re only looking at a couple-mile radius. So it’s a very small area. Of course, there’s a lot of great communities directly around in the greater Saratoga Springs market that you can still get great homes for $300,000 to $350,000. The cost to entry for downtown has gone up significantly. That’s one of our issues that we have as a community.

How can we solve that problem? We need to figure out how to build more affordable housing for people and make it desirable for the builders to do affordable housing. We need to create spaces for people where they can have homeownership and be able to live in the community and work in the community. That coincides with meeting income levels for the area. It’s an issue that I hope that we’re able to all work together as a community to figure out, especially workforce housing. It’s going to take the government, the builders and everyone working together. We have to be able to have the members of our community that are working here be able to also have homeownership. And when you have people that are coming from out of the area and they’re paying cash and they’re short-term renting these homes, it’s very hard as a first-time homebuyer to compete with those types of buyers.

Interview has been edited and condensed.

Shannon McCarthy

Title: Associate broker, eXp Realty, and team lead, The Shannon McCarthy Team

Age: 44

Grew up/lives now: Saratoga Springs

Education: Florida International University

Family: Husband, Chris Wilson; two older brothers, several nieces and nephews


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