What was your first job in the realty industry? Realtor at Koenig & Strey in Lincoln Park.
Where did you grow up? Buffalo, New York.
Growing up, what did you want to be? After college, I went to school to be a teacher and even did my student teaching. I find a lot of parallels between working with students and working with clients.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? Yoga and running.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? This person isn’t well-known, but the one person I would love to have lunch with is my dad. He passed suddenly last October and I’d give anything for a couple more hours with him.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? At home with my family and friends. Hands down.
What do you love most about the industry? It’s always changing and evolving. You never have the same day twice!
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I’m very honest with my clients. I won’t let them buy a house just because they love it. It has to be a good investment as well. It doesn’t always work, though, and my clients have definitely made some mistakes in buying a poor investment just because they love it!
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Clients who dig their heels in on both on the sale and purchase side. A real estate transaction has to benefit both sides to be successful and there has to be some amount of give and take. It’s sometimes hard for your client see that they need to be a little flexible to get the deal done.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I get most of my clients though word of mouth and referrals. If I meet someone new when I’m out, I’m not shy about handing them my card!
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Professionally, selling a 42-acre, $1.5 million compound in Bonfield, Illinois. I was so glad to get that one off my plate. But as luck would have it, I’ve got it listed again! I‘m reselling it for the people that bought it.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I love to read and I just finished the “Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom. It’s a great piece of historical fiction set in the South in the 1800s. I haven’t seen any movies lately, but I just watched “The Night Of” on HBO. Gripping.
What is your favorite restaurant? There are too many to list! Eating out is one of my favorite things to do. I love RPM Italian and Prime & Provisions in the city. Libertad in Skokie is a hidden gem. We eat at Boltwood in Evanston at least twice a month.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? Not one, but several. All of the Museum campus. It’s beautifully situated on the lake. I love its history in that the Museum of Science & History is a remnant of the Chicago’s white city, built for the World Fair in 1893!
What kind of car do you drive? Black Lexus ES 350.
Smartphone or paper? Both. I use my smartphone for everything but scheduling. For that I still use an At-a-Glance planner. I’ve been using it forever. I like to see my week laid out in front of me on paper. I’ve kept them all dating back to 2003 when I started in real estate! I’ve occasionally looked at them for a trip down memory lane as they contain both personal and professional entries. Can’t do that with a smartphone!
What is your favorite city after Chicago? Buffalo, of course! I was raised there and still have many friends and family there. It gets a bad rap, but it has a great food and music scene, beautiful architecture including the Darwin Martin house, it’s home to Niagara Falls. And chicken wings! It’s a great place to raise a family.
What is your advice for someone new to the industry? Build your agent network. Find out about the great properties for your clients BEFORE they hit the market. Get organized right from the start! Build a database to stay connected with past and future clients.
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? I struggle with these apps. I try to use Midwest Homes, but I find the app cumbersome. I know I’ll get a lot of flack for this, but I often use Zillow for its ease of use!
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? I don’t use Twitter anymore. It’s all about Instagram and Snapchat! You have to stay up to date.