Debra Dobbs Real Estate Broker

COMPASS, Lincoln Park, The Dobbs Group

What was your most interesting job before going into real estate?
I opened Chicago’s first gelateria back in 1981 or so, after training in Italy to make gelato; a job that prepared me for real estate with the commonality of being a 24/7 profession! And, I produced a play in Chicago, “All Men Are Whores” by David Mamet.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in South Deering, Dolton and Lake Tahoe. Then, I moved to an apartment in the Gold Coast for my first of 43 years in Chicago.

Growing up, what did you want to be?
A private detective.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
Cook, bottle margaritas under my label, Wacky Girl Margaritas, do pilates and binge-watch crime shows.

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
Oh boy, what a tough question! Julia Child and Eleanor Roosevelt.

What is Chicago’s best-kept secret?
The fabulous street art you find in every neighborhood of the city.

What do you love most about the industry?
The joy I see on the faces of my clients when they find the home of their dreams.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?
Being authentic.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Saying no.

What’s your best advice for generating new leads?
Stay connected to your friends and clients, learn how to ask for business in a way that is authentic, make a plan and be consistent. Do not chase every “latest and greatest” lead-generating system that comes along. Get back to the basics.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
This year, I am celebrating 40 years in real estate and building relationships with countless former clients who are now dear friends.

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately?
Reading “Unreasonable Hospitality,” listening to “Wiser Than Me” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and binge-watching “Mission: Impossible,” the original TV series from 1966.

What’s your favorite meal in Chicago?
The four-course dinner at Sepia and Ca Bam (Hanoi Style Monkfish) at Le Colonial.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago?
1555 N. State Parkway.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
The listing agent on a home I wanted to show my buyers confirmed the showing and provided keys as she could not attend the showing. My clients and I walked into the house, looked around the main living level, went up to the second floor, and walked in on house guests In flagrante delicto.

What’s one thing people are surprised to learn about you?
That I have a sense of humor.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
Paris with my daughter Kat. Paris was the first city I visited when I traveled out of the U.S. for the first time and the first non-US city I traveled to with Kat. I’ve been to Paris at least a dozen times over many years.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Find an agent you respect/admire and join their team.

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app?
An app I am developing, still in process and top secret. 🙂

Who are your favorite people to follow on social media?
I am not a social media devotee and thankfully have a fantastic social media guru to manage my professional social media. I do like hearing about life and love adventures from friends and family but overall find social media more of a distraction/disconnector than an intimate form of communication.

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