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801 Greer Street in Covington is a mixed-use space that houses Sparen Realty and 1- to 2-bedroom luxury apartment units. The historic building dates back to the late 1800s and was recently restored by Joe Stevie of Sparen Realty. / Image: Phil Armstrong, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 6.16.18
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A Passion For Beautiful Buildings At An Early Age That’s Led To So Much More

Remember the question your third-grade teacher used to ask…

Sally, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Gary, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Janie, what do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m not sure how Sally, Gary, or Janie responded—probably astronaut, lawyer, and firefighter, if I’m tossing out random guesses. I do know what Joe Stevie would have said, though. Joe said he wanted to work in real estate.

“Riding through the streets of Covington as a child with my father, I was in awe of the ornate detail and grand stature of the homes we passed," Joe relayed. "As I grew older and saw the condition of some of these (once beautiful) homes deteriorating, I felt compelled to bring them back to life.” And he’s done just that. Joe graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in Construction Management. For the past 10 years, he’s been buying and renovating properties to add to his portfolio at Sparen Realty, the company he founded and where he serves as the president.

We had the opportunity to walk through his most recent project, a late-19th century building on Greer Street in Covington. Sparen purchased the building in April 2017. “This place is a gem, a classic piece of local history with amazing architecture,” explained Joe. “We gave it the major facelift it needed, restoring parts of the building to its original state while creating luxury rental property and our commercial real estate office.” The renovation took about 11 months. And as Joe mentioned, the Sparen Realty office is now located on the first floor of the building. The rest of the property includes a mix of 1- to 2-bedroom apartment units for rent.

What Sets Joe & His Team Apart

Bespoke. That’s the lens with which you should view Sparen. Because like your tailor, Sparen is all about creating a custom experience for its clients. Which is a spot-on way to think of the company once you peruse its catalogue of work. That archive includes renovations of roughly 25-30 historic homes, mostly in Covington but a few in Newport and across the river as well.

Now what sets Joe apart from the pack is not the fact that he can do it all, from the purchase of a property to the renovation of your kitchen & bathroom. Yes, he’s a licensed realtor, broker, and contractor in both Ohio & Kentucky. The full-service aspect of Sparen Realty is wonderful.

But what truly sets Joe apart is Joe himself. He’s the guy with whom you want to share a beer and the one who can actually deliver on his promise to make your house your home. And that’s hard to come by. Because either someone is too nice to get the job done or a mean son-of-a-gun with whom you’d never like to interact. Not Joe. And not his team. They’re one-part Southern charm mixed with two-parts Dewar’s on the rocks. No, wait. I meant doers.

The point is, if you want the job done—and done well—AND if want to enjoy the process along the way, the list of applicable candidates to fulfill your wish is short. But at the top, you’ll find the ever-pleasant Joe Stevie.

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Sparen Realty is a full-service real estate company providing services for residential, commercial, and investment properties with an office in Covington at 801 Greer Street (41011).

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