Michael Marin, Broker/Owner, Signature Homes Realty, Inc., Chicago, Evanston and Northshore

What was your first job in the realty industry? I started off as real estate investor, then the real estate “bug” got me. I enrolled in as many Coldwell Banker classes as possible and eventually earned my broker’s license and opened Signature Homes Realty, Inc.

Who inspires you? The senior Realtors who have been through market cycles. I always enjoy their stories and stamina. Also, I had Barack Obama as a professor at The University of Chicago. His talent humbles me. I would like to take him out bowling sometime.

What is your favorite free-time activity? I love trying out new restaurants and am a compulsive reader. I also watch “Mad Men” and “Dancing With the Stars.” I am fascinated by sharks and scuba diving. I recently was in a shark cage in shark-infested waters. As a side effect of the shark encounter, I have developed stronger negotiation skills.

How did you learn the business? “Trial and Error” and throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what would stick. I feel my dual masters in social service and health care administration grounded me for brokerage management. I believe I look at deals from a different lens and provide a consulting role or an “essential other” in advocacy. Where others are focused on defeat scenarios, I focus on plausible resolutions to conflict.

What was your hardest job, and what did you learn from it? My hardest job was working as a registered nurse. I am still licensed and volunteer for good causes. Clinical nursing, like brokerage management, requires precision and accountability. I also learned how to thrive during the real stress of “life passages” such as death and terminal Illness.

Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I never look at someone as a prospect or use sales techniques. Life places opportunities in our path and we embrace them, kind of like the movie “Serendipity.” Also, I believe talent is noticed and referrals come as a consequence. “When the tide comes in all the ships shall rise.”

What has been your greatest accomplishment? I have visited 62 countries and I have been told I have a good sense of humor.

What is your favorite restaurant? I frequently go to Bravo in Evanston. The GM is a client of mine and he has an old-school charm — like the Rat Pack.

What kind of car do you drive? Lexus SUV black pearl. I believe black, white and charcoal grey are the optimal colors for vehicles and the impression of luxury.

BlackBerry, iPhone or paper? EVO touch phone

What is your favorite city after Chicago? I am a loyalist and I sincerely believe that Chicago is the most dynamic city in the world. If forced to, I would live in Waikiki, Hawaii. No need for a red Ferrari — it’s pedestrian friendly.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? It’s not about the house, it’s about the people. Love it and live it!

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