Prudential Rubloff Properties,
Q: You’ve been a lifelong resident of the Chicagoland area; how important is your familiarity with Chicago’s many markets regarding your position as a managing broker?
A: Managing up in Lake Forest, and being familiar with this area and this community, is significant on a number of levels, not only on knowledge of the market and familiarity of the market, but also community and relationships within the community, and I think that applies on a grander scale to the whole Chicagoland area. From a purely managerial standpoint, I think it is extremely important to be familiar with the community where you work and live in.
Q: Before entering real estate, you had a successful law practice; why did you end up leaving the law for real estate?
A: I was never 100 percent committed to law. I went in to law school with the understanding that I knew it would be a good degree to have, but not so much that I was committed to being a career attorney. So immediately after law school, I was offered the position at the firm I was clerking at time, so I took the position, but my heart was never in to it, and I didn’t know that real estate was really my passion until I worked my brother and then some friends – one bought an investment property, another bought a condo – that I figured out that real estate was my passion.
Q: And how does your legal background help you in real estate? And should all managing brokers have a broad knowledge base for their jobs?
A: It was extremely helpful with my familiarity with contract law and negotiations, and the overall understanding of the legal system that I think comes in to play routinely in real estate transactions, and I thought that it gave me a leg-up on the transactional side, and I also think it also gives some assurance to not only my clients, but also to anyone I worked with, whether it be clients or associates. In one of my offices, I was the agent on the floor that all the agents would come to as the resident agent/attorney.
Q: Are there any unique challenges to managing an office in a higher-end, luxury market like Lake Forest? And how did you overcome any of those challenges, especially during the housing downturn?
A: It was extremely challenging in the sense that our communities was one of the last to get hit by the downturn, so we’ll be one of the later ones to come out of it as well. So the challenge is, like any challenge for agents, offices and managers, you have to adapt to the conditions, and that’s what I’ve really been focused on in terms of working with my agents.
Q: How do you approach the training of new agents? What are your goals when coaching them through the buying and selling process?
A: With new agents, Prudential Rubloff has training at the company level, which is fantastic. But me as a manager, what I like to do also is training at the office level. And so what I will do is, from my standpoint, I have personal training that I do with my new licensees, and I also do a mentorship for new trainees, where they will work hand in hand with experienced agents in the office for however long they’re comfortable with, to get familiar. I think training is critical, and I think often times, a lot of companies do the company training, which is great, but I think there are differences between the markets, from the city versus the North Shore versus even the specific communities within the North Shore, so I’m a big believer in training at the office level as well.
Q: What have been your best recruitment strategies over the years? How do you recruit top agents?
A: My whole recruiting strategy, and I may differ from other manager in this, I am a big believer in relationships and building relationships, and I think that from a business standpoint, too many companies are focused on numbers. They just want as many agents as possible, and they will take any and all agents, and I am very different. I tend to meet with any agent, and will meet with lots of agents, but I will specifically choose those agents that I feel fit what I’m looking for.
Q: As the real estate market turns the corner, what are your priorities for your office?
A: As the market turns, [my priority is to] continue to prepare our agents for adapting to the new market conditions. I feel like more new agents are getting back into the business, and so I think the one silver lining of the downturn was it got a lot of Realtors out of the business who were not really “in” to the business, and I think that as the market starts to improve, and more new agents come in to the business, I think from an office standpoint, we’ll focus on continuing to do solid business and build a strong office, and that mostly lies with me continuing to bring in quality people and continuing to gain market share in our local market.
“Mark is an awesome leader. He is extremely knowledgeable, optimistic and dedicated to all of his agents success. Mark is always available to support our business. He has also created a fun environment to work in that fosters excellent working relationships within the office. I joined Mark’s office this year after being with another broker for over seven years. I am confident it was the best decision!”
–Elizabeth Jakaitis, broker, Prudential Rubloff Properties