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Grace Sergio, Co-Owner, Sergio & Banks Real Estate, Chicago

by Chicago Agent

Grace Sergio, co-owner of Sergio and Banks Enterprises, is consistently working to make sure her company is moving forward and growing. With a positive mindset, Grace is running a premier “boutique” real estate agency where clients come first. But why boutique?

“Our customer service policy reflects the type of attention you’d receive if you shopped in an upscale small boutique as opposed to a large, impersonal, cookie-cutter department store,” Grace explains, “yet, it maintains the personal touch to make our clients feel important.”

Grace acknowledges that especially in this economic time, selling real estate is a challenge, but a challenge is something she’s always thrived on.

“You have to be a chameleon in this market,” she says. “You have to reinvent yourself constantly. You need to be flexible and quick-moving. Short sales, foreclosures, new financing requirements and social media are all new forces in our marketplace today. Education, technology and Internet transparency are all important to stay ahead of the curve.”

“We jumped on the social media bandwagon right away,” Grace says. “Clients can really get to know you, and not just on a business level, but on a personal level too. From YouTube to Twitter, social media helps get our message out in a fun and efficient way.”

Grace makes sure her agents are performing at their best by offering several marketing tools and a supportive environment. The office’s in-house marketing department provides brochures, eblasts, open houses flyers and e-newsletters. The company offers floor time, Internet leads and uses virtual tours and YouTube videos to market listings.

Grace has an open-door policy when it comes to her realtors. She has one on one meetings with agents in lieu of big office meetings. She enjoys coaching her agents to keep them accountable so they can stay on track and achieve their goals. “We help agents save a lot of time and effort by focusing on the things that work to make them succeed,” says Grace. She emphasizes that paying attention to each and every client is necessary to client retention. “The bottom line is, every client counts!” she says.

In the real estate business since 1985, Grace formed her company in 1996, and since then, she has formed several long-standing relationships with affiliates and key people in the industry, including attorneys, developers and lenders. The company has also built new relationships with social media marketing groups to help stay on top of the new social media platforms.

The boutique style office environment is helpful and “easygoing” she adds. A lot of the agents have become close friends over the years and even agents’ family members have become part of the team. “We motivate each other,” Grace explains, “and we really want everyone to succeed!”

Years in real estate: 26
Number of full-time agents: 20
Staff awards and honors: Melanie Giglio: Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR) 2010 top residential producer sales $12 million-plus, 2010 Silver Level Achiever 129-170 units. Izabela Sloma: CAR top residential 2010 37-30 units, top residential sales $7 million-plus, top producer 2009 and 2010. Certified Negotiation Expert. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation. Melissa Govedarica: CAR top residential 2010 $7 million-plus and founding member of the NAR Green Realtors.

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