Allison Silver, Koenig & Strey GMAC, Deerfield

What was your first job in the realty industry?

I started in real estate buying commercial properties, mostly strip malls and storefronts. I got my license to start purchasing properties for myself and, instead, my career in sales flourished. I realized that I found my niche and have been focusing on sales ever since.

Who inspires you?
People with innovative ideas and positive energy. My husband recently started a new business called Greenmaker, which is the first company of its kind in the state that supplies all green friendly building materials. His unique idea, strong work ethic and desire to help our environment have allowed him to succeed in his business, and his constant positive attitude and unconditional support of everyone around him truly motivate and inspire me on a daily basis.

How did you learn the business?
My father has invested in commercial real estate since I was a little girl. On weekends, we frequently traveled to his various properties, as he managed them as well. The education I gained from following him around was invaluable. I have now taken over for my father and manage some of the properties. When I jumped into the residential market, I spent countless hours of research touring active listings, and taking various classes and seminars to learn the residential market, and gained the experience to get me to where I am today.

What was your most difficult sale, and how did you succeed?
When you are a real estate agent you find yourself wearing many hats. I went for a final walkthrough on a cold and rainy night. We walked into the basement and the house was flooding. The walkthrough was at 8 p.m. and the closing was the next day at noon. I was able to get a crew of workers at the property at 7:30 a.m. the next morning. The walls were taken down, exterior dug up and a large foundation crack fixed with a lifetime warranty by 11 a.m. and had a smooth closing at noon. Not only did I have to keep all parties to the transaction calm so the transaction would not fall apart, I had to do the impossible with contractors and get a job done instantly.

What was your worst job, and what did you learn from it?
I have never had a real estate job I really disliked. Before going into real estate, I had a couple of jobs I disliked as I found myself bored when I mastered the position. That is why real estate is such a perfect fit for me: Every property is different and the market is constantly changing. I am always challenged and learning something new.

Where do you go to network and meet new clients?
Everywhere! I have gotten sales at open houses, the grocery store, Blockbuster, client referrals and I even got a listing while getting my watch battery replaced. In real estate, everywhere you are there is a potential buyer or seller. I’ve learned the key is to listen to people and always offer your services. More people than you think are looking for extra help.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Rising to the top of my field in a short time. In less than three years, I sold the most homes in my office in a single year and won an award for the most 100 percent customer satisfaction ratings.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago?
Chicago is a city known for fabulous architecture, so picking a favorite building is not easy. I have always loved the Tribune building from my first steps on Michigan Avenue. I love the gothic revival design and the attention to detail. As a world traveler, I think that it is very significant that they have included stones from historical places around the world including the Taj Mahal, Parthenon, the Berlin Wall, Notre-Dame de Paris, the Great Wall of China, Abraham Lincoln’s tomb, the Trondheim cathedral and the great pyramids of Egypt.

What is your personal motto?
Honesty, integrity and hard work will never fail me.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Talk to everyone, everywhere! Hard work pays off.


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