Three is a lucky number for Noah Levy, a broker in Coldwell Banker’s Winnetka office. That’s the number of times she’s sold the same exact home in Highland Park.
The first time Levy sold the house — an arts and crafts-style house in Highland Park’s Ravinia neighborhood with a “wonky floor plan” — was back in 2006, when she represented a couple who had lived there a long time. A year later, in 2007, the people who bought it were transferred to the East Coast, so guess who they hired to sell it? Then in 2012, the woman who’d purchased the home from the second owners relocated to California and asked Levy to be her listing agent.
It’s not like Levy was gunning for the property; she hadn’t kept in touch with the three buyers in a meaningful way. In fact, she was on the other side of the deal during two of the transactions, so they weren’t exactly repeat customers. While there was an element of luck to it, what played an even greater role was Levy’s knowledge and expertise about the town of Highland Park. It was something that made an impact on both the second and third buyers of the home – which is why they hired Levy when they decided to sell.
“I think they recognized that I’m an expert when it comes to the North Shore,” Levy said. “I live in Highland Park, and I sell all the way down to Wilmette. One of the things I always home in on with buyers and sellers is the fact that I’m not going to the city or places like Buffalo Grove or Hinsdale, because I don’t know the area. I’m going to show and sell homes in areas I’m very familiar with, so I can advise clients with a level of authority.”
If real estate is local, then real estate experts need to be hyperlocal, Levy advised. “Whether you’re representing buyers or sellers, I think it’s key to really know the community. And when you specialize and even live in that community, you’re just going to inherently know a lot of things that people can’t necessarily look up on the internet.”
From what’s unique about the different North Shore park districts (the best dog parks, quietest beaches and kids’ programming, to name a few) to libraries, theaters, farmers markets, food trucks and restaurants, Levy has her finger on the pulse of each North Shore community. She said that’s particularly important because clients are largely buying for these reasons. “If you didn’t grow up in Wilmette, you might not know where the CAGE is or what it stands for — Chestnut, Ashland, Greenwood, and Elmwood streets,” Levy said. “Or which streets have block parties. Or what’s coming soon, like the new streetscape plan in Wilmette. That’s where I come in.”
Levy recommends agents get involved in the communities they specialize in by attending town hall meetings and keeping abreast of school district events and changes. “In today’s market, we’re seeing a lot of out-of-area brokers — be it friends or relatives — or consumers who use a broker where they get money back,” she says. “That person is just unlocking doors and showing buyers the house. I think sellers are looking for you to not only represent the home but to sell the community as well.”
It’s a philosophy that’s paying off for Levy. Just the other day, she got a call from a woman looking to sell. “I walked in the house and looked at her and started laughing, because I was the listing agent when she originally purchased the house.” A couple of days later, Levy got a call, and — you guessed it — she’s going to attempt a two-for-two.