What was your first job in the realty industry? I started with a small broker who was easily accessible to answer all my questions and help me navigate the intricacies of selling homes. She was also a fantastic mentor and led by example, always putting the client first.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I have two children in middle school, so most of my free time is spent with them. We like to go to museums and parks and play with our four dogs. Our home is pretty much ruled by the dogs, two English Mastiffs and two small mixed breeds.
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I grew up in Maplewood and attended a small Catholic school through eighth grade. I graduated from Bellaire High School and received my undergraduate degree from University of Houston.
Growing up, what did you want to be? My parents told me if there were a major in socializing, that’s what I would get my degree in so I guess being a real estate agent was a logical choice.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I would have lunch with my mom before she got Alzheimer’s.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? I don’t get to do it very often but I love hanging out around a campfire with good friends. There are no distractions, and it’s one of the only times I can get off the grid and relax.
What do you love most about the industry? I love being a consultant to my clients and the feeling of being needed and valued for my expertise. I am constantly educating my clients because no matter how many times they have bought or sold homes, there is always something for them to learn. Whether it is nuances of a neighborhood, identifying homes with good resale value or how to read an inspection report, the things we know as agents can make a huge impact on the client’s decision-making process. I never want a client to regret buying or selling a home, so I always point out the positives and negatives to help them make an informed decision. In the end, that is what I love most about my job.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I am a service fanatic. I handle all the details of the home buying and selling process so my clients won’t feel the stress. I work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure my clients have the gold standard of representation. I become as close to them as family during the process and we work together as partners. I totally respect agents who have business hours but for me, accessibility and availability to my clients is very important. Buying and selling a home can be a very emotional experience and I want to be available when I’m needed, regardless of the hour. I think my clients appreciate my knowledge and direct communication style. I will tell it like it is, even when that is something that they may not want to hear.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? I think the most difficult aspect of my job is when one piece of the process goes awry, and it is out of my control. There are so many moving parts to a real estate transaction sometimes things fall apart. Having to be the bearer of bad news is really difficult.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Well, going back to my earlier comment about majoring in socializing, I naturally meet lots of new people just by going about my regular life. I meet parents from my kid’s schools, parties and happy hours, lunch with old acquaintances. Most of my new clients come from referrals. I don’t believe in being a walking advertisement – people come to me because of my reputation, not because I’m always selling myself.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? In terms of my career, my greatest accomplishment would be entering the real estate business full time in 2008, the year of the housing collapse. I left a very lucrative career in technology staffing to become a full-time agent. I had obtained my real estate license on 2006 but didn’t make the full-time plunge until ’08. Everyone told me I was crazy but when you are laser focused on your goal, nothing can stop you. I was fortunate enough to have friends who trusted me to represent them as a new agent and in my first year I closed six deals. I soaked up everything I could learn from the agents I was working with on the other side of the transaction. I watched and listened to the way they did business and emulated those who were ultimate professionals, excellent negotiators and had the highest level of ethics. I really attribute my success to those agents early on who represented what a top-notch agent looks like in action. So I guess I would say my biggest accomplishment is jumping into a new field with no safety net, two young children at the time and building my business from lots of hard work and determination.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I just finished “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. It is a book about two sisters who lived in France during WWII, and their struggles and contributions as women left behind to fight the war in their own way.
What is your favorite restaurant? Oh, that’s a hard one because Houston has so many great restaurants. We love Houston’s – the filet and spinach dip are my favorites.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Houston? My favorite quirky architecture would be the beer-can house. Most representative of Houston would be the Astrodome. St. Luke’s Tower in the med center is one of my favorites – it’s cleverly built to look like two syringes and like Williams Tower for the galleria, it’s a beacon for when you are lost. It’s also where my kids were born, so it has sentimental meaning to me as well.
What kind of car do you drive? My client car is an Infiniti QX70, and my kidmobile is a Dodge Durango.
Smartphone or paper? Definitely smartphone! I am 100 percent paperless!
What is your favorite city after Houston? San Francisco
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Never stop learning, find mentors, anticipate obstacles on every transaction.
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? RPR
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? Donald Trump…just kidding. I like to follow Houston-related tweets such as Visit Houston Texas. Michael Weiss is a very talented journalist and for funny tweets I love Scary Mommy.