Where did you grow up? I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood, and moved to the western suburbs in 1983.
What is your favorite free-time activity? I do lots of volunteer work, and love that we can each make a difference in the world by just giving a little bit of our talents for causes that we feel strongly about.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I am an avid reader. If I’ve got nothing to do, I will pick up my current book and read a few pages. I will even read different things simultaneously.
Growing up, what did you want to be? I wanted to be a priest, and even attended the seminary for high school, until I did some soul searching and realized my talents would be better somewhere else. I also thought about teaching, but fell into real estate. I planned on it being a transitional career until I found something else, and here I am doing it 30 years later and loving every minute of it.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? That would have to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Growing up where I did, the civil rights movement was always at the forefront of our lives, as the neighborhood integrated in the1970s. LGBT people are going through many civil rights struggles right now, and it makes Dr. King’s message even more important. Civil rights are civil rights, and discrimination is discrimination. We have much to learn as a society.
What do you love most about the industry? I really enjoy how agents can so positively impact the lives of clients. I really view that as a mission; I am always striving to give the best service so that a really stressful situation turns out to be something very positive. I really love that the industry and the public are demanding more and more from us in the way of customer service.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I visit my clients before, during and after a transaction, and pride myself on really getting to know them and their priorities and interests. I always strive to listen to both what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I meet lots of clients through volunteer work, as well as through networking with past clients.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Personally, I have raised three tremendous young adults who make me proud to be their father. Professionally, I have built a business I can be proud of, and I’ve not only survived many downturns in the market, but I’ve actually increased my transactions.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? I am in love with the octagon Chicago bungalow. My grandmother lived in one in Gage Park, and I can still picture every nook and cranny.
Smartphone or paper? I use both. I’m fairly “old school” and have worked with a yellow pad and written calendar for years, but I’ve really amped up my use of a smartphone and enjoy all the benefits of it.
What is your favorite city after Chicago? I love Palm Springs. Great weather (although a little hot in the summer) and lots of wonderful history. There are lots of great restaurants, antiques stores and friendly people there. I am also crazy about NYC, London and Rome. Such history!