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Larry Bernstein

EXIT Team Realty, Chicago

What was your first job in the realty industry?
It was 1986 and I was bartending on Rush Street from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. I was green and just out of training from Sid Woods. I walked into the office both nervous and excited. The broker, Barbara Stevens, handed me the Haines Directory and told me to start with the Bs because the As were already used. It took 6 months to get my first sale which was for $65,000. I netted less than $1,000. It broke down to about $3 per hour.

Who inspires you?
I have seen many speakers, but my favorite workshop still has to be the Sweathogs program from Floyd Wickman. I made my broker a bet that if I sold five homes in two months, he would have to pay for the event. I sold; he paid.

What is your favorite free-time activity?
What is my favorite activity when I am not on a phone, driving a car or talking to a potential client? It is probably hitting a little white ball …

How did you learn the business?
When I was in college I needed housing. A tornado came through Carbondale Mobile Home Park and destroyed half of the homes. Many of the people living there wanted to move. Instead, I bought two mobile homes with my student loan money. It was not hard for me to get roommates, and learned that living for free was a good thing. During the next few years I even got to the point where I could live in a nice apartment while the rent from the mobile homes was paying my way through school.

What was the last good movie you saw or book you read?
I am a science fiction junkie and I love to laugh. The Wedding Crashers was fun. I was disappointed in the Da Vinci Code, I thought the book was better than the movie. Lately the books I read are more for learning, and The World Is Flat is currently ahead of the pack.

What is your favorite restaurant?
I love to eat, but my favorite thing is to nosh. Getting appetizers from many restaurants in one night is still my favorite. The Turquoise Café on Roscoe is the best.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago?
Navy Pier is my favorite building. I know it’s not just a building, but more of an event. I also like the Playboy Mansion on Michigan Avenue.

What kind of car do you drive?
During the summer I drive a red BMW convertible 328i, and my Volvo s80 in the winter.

BlackBerry, Palm or paper?
A spiral notebook

What is your favorite city after Chicago?
There are a lot of seconds, but I like Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, Mexico.

What is your personal motto?
Never do what you can do tomorrow today.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Thank all; expect rejection; overcome obstacles; hang around winners.

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