After spending more than a decade in the hospitality industry, of which she loved every minute, Tedi Smola obtained her degree in marketing and business management from Northeastern Illinois University before taking some time off to bond with her newborn daughter. When she was ready to go back to work, her mother-in-law, who had been a Chicago broker for more than 30 years, suggested she pursue a career in real estate. “My mother-in-law offered to pay for my classes, as she thought I’d be a great Realtor,” Smola says. “I took the class, passed the state exam, got started and love it! She was right; I am good at it, and I love what I do!”
A natural-born people person, Smola found her transition from the hospitality industry to real estate seamless. “My time in hospitality has helped me tremendously. I have a wealth of experience in being in front of people, smiling and making them feel at home, and real estate is no different,” she says. “I love hosting open houses and greeting everyone as they arrive. I welcome them in just as I would at the restaurant, and usually end up having some great conversations with people.”
Even though she’s fairly new to real estate, Smola has already made quite a splash in the industry. Last year, she hit her sales goal and ranked as the No. 3 agent in her office for most buy-side deals. “It was only my second full year in the business, and to rank third out of 120 agents was really inspiring,” she says.
Specializing in single-family homes, condos, co-ops, townhomes and multi-units, Smola focuses primarily on Rogers Park. “It is a special place to me, with great access to Lake Michigan, parks, public transit and awesome people,” she says. “I grew up here, went to school here, am raising my family here and never want to leave here.”