If you’d asked me, as someone who grew up in Poland at the end of the Communist era, if I’d become a real estate agent later in life, I would have been confused. This profession didn’t exist for me at the time.
My dream career was nursing, and it’s what I studied and earned my degree in.
Nursing required a lot of thought - which was part of the draw for me. Before attempting to help anyone, as a nurse, you have to ask a lot of specific questions. You can’t help someone until you get to the core of their problem.
At the same time, I also learned that people often feel more comfortable talking about their biggest problems, worries, thoughts, and needs with strangers rather than with close family members. The goal, especially in the post-operating room, was to anticipate a patient’s needs and never let them reach the point they felt pain.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but these are the exact skills that I would later need in real estate. I always listen first and ask a lot of questions. Not because I’m nosy, but because the only way I can learn what a client needs is to listen to them. Knowing their needs, wants, worries and thoughts are how I make sure they avoid unnecessary pain throughout the process.
In some cases, the diagnosis (my advice) is not what they hoped for but it is always better to learn the reality sooner rather than later. This way, we can make sure we have time to fix (or treat) the problem.
During the course of my career, which began in 2000, and especially when my children were born, I’ve learned plenty of lessons about real estate. When my family purchased our first home, that’s when I first realized that buying or selling a home rarely has anything to do with the brick and mortar that makes a house or the four walls, backyard, and garage.
Deep down, at the core of every buyer's and seller's heart, there is a feeling, a need, or in some cases, a pain motivating your decision.
Many times it’s something new and wonderful happening in your life. It’s a new baby that will greet the world in a few months and a desire for a better school district and better future for your children. Sometimes, it’s a need for a smaller home since the kids are all grown or the second home in Naples that will finally bring the entire family together again, especially the grandkids, for holidays. Often it’s the well-deserved reward for hard work and a lifetime of sacrifices; it’s your dream home on the beach or the golf course.
In some cases, sadly, it will be a divorce or a need to leave behind the familiar after a spouse passes on.
Beyond the desire for a new home and behind all of these individual decisions to buy or sell, there are much deeper emotions and needs. I see my job as first discovering those deeper needs and then using that knowledge to better meet my clients’ goals.
I tend to surprise new clients at the first meeting. Instead of getting straight into the details of what home they want to buy or sell, I ask one question first. “Every home has a story. What’s yours?”
Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand that the selling and buying process is never a smooth ride. There are so many technical steps and at the same, it can be an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved. It’s filled with bumps along the way.
I sincerely sympathize with my clients and make sure they understand the process ahead of time. Sometimes simply knowing what each step is can alleviate the stress and worry. Some issues can often be avoided completely as long as we work together as a team and everyone understands their role. Believe me, we all have our part to play from beginning to the end of buying or selling a home.
Negotiating is definitely an acquired skill, and something that is always improving over time. It’s something I believe has to be fair to both parties in the real estate transaction. Ultimately, what we are trying to accomplish during the process is to make both sides, often with completely opposite goals, happy and satisfied with the outcome.
Since there is more than one way to skin a cat, a successful real estate transaction is one where anything is possible (as long as it’s legal of course), everything can be negotiated, and a lot can be accomplished by thinking outside of the box. As a real estate professional, sometimes I have to get creative in order to get the job done. Just because you never heard of it before, doesn’t mean it’s impossible or that it can’t be done.
I think my attitude comes from the fact that I am the first generation of immigrants, growing up in a completely different economic system. From my early childhood years, I had to learn to think outside the box, and that’s where my negotiation skills, as well as my listening skills, were born. From a nursing career and throughout motherhood, I’ve carried that ability into my real estate career, as well.
In real estate, especially while searching for a property to buy or marketing a listing, technology plays a big part, and we are proud to be pioneers in many new ideas. We employ the best companies and partners in the industry to help us showcase a seller’s home. We also go above and beyond to find the perfect home for our buyers. The tools, however, don’t determine our success; it is our ability to use them well that makes the difference.