What was your first job in the realty industry? When I first started in real estate, I was like a fish out of water trying to learn all the trade secrets. I went against the grain and started quickly into rental deals, focusing on Brickell and the surrounding areas. After spending one year in rentals, my second year turned into a year of sales from my rental clients who wanted to own their own home. Those sales ranged from clients wishing to stay in a condo and another who purchased a beautiful 3/3 fully-renovated turn-key home in The Roads.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I have several things that I do to relax depending on the time of the day. I found a special interest in home renovations and learning about them after spending a couple weekends binge watching HGTV. So my partner Fernando and I bought a home of our own, which was a large fixer upper. There are still many more projects to do on our house. People in our neighborhood have been so impressed with the work that we have invested that we actually had someone want to purchase the home. Instead, I offered to find her her own fixer upper and give her ideas on how I would fix it up. Other than spending time on home interior projects, my partner and I spend time with our French bulldog, Luke, walking the neighborhood and building community connections.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in the midwest, where integrity, honesty, trust, loyalty and respect for others are integral parts of growing up and interacting. After attaining a Bachelor’s from Manchester University in Indiana, I spent more than 20 years successfully building sales teams and sales strategies at various luxury retail brands – of which many were in luxury home design. It was a natural transition into real estate, where I use that luxury experience to represent a wide array of residential clients, giving them an extra special and unique customer-oriented experience unlike anyone else.
Growing up, what did you want to be? Growing up I had a lot of different interests. I wanted to be a business owner. I wanted to help people. I loved being creative. I excelled in science and math. I put my creative, business-savvy personality to the back burner and went on a science/math path of becoming a doctor. I attained my pre-medicine (biology-chemistry) BS degree in 1996 when I discovered that sales was my true passion. I stepped away from my path of becoming a doctor when I was 21 to follow a path that was more creative and business driven. Home, interior design and real estate was a natural evolution.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? I have so many favorite places to hang out. I moved to Miami in 2008 after living in Chicago, Los Angeles, Indiana, Michigan and Tampa. I finally had found the city and place that was perfect for me. I love all the diversity that Miami has to offer. It truly is the best city in America! I spend time all over Miami dining, shopping, dancing and just loving life. But to point out a few places: Lincoln Road in South Beach is perhaps the best place to sit, enjoy the weather, have a bite and drink a cocktail while people watching (Lincoln Road has the widest array of people from all walks of life which makes a very interesting place for people watching); Brickell, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District are all great places to just dine, shop and enjoy Miami as each place is uniquely different from one another; and I must not forget the horse races at Gulf Stream!
What do you love most about the industry? I love meeting people, hearing their wants and needs, and finding a home that best suits them. Upon first meeting, my clients will give me a list of wants and a budget. I love how the wants change throughout the process because of what opportunities are out there. I love seeing the glow on clients’ faces and the glimmer in their eyes when we find the perfect home. I also love the gratitude my clients share with me about my punctuality, my desire to help, my enthusiastic attitude and my patience. When we all can close on a home with all boxes checked and everyone happy, that has to be the biggest thrill!!
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? Miami has one of the largest concentration of Realtors in the country. We all run into other Realtors. Nearly 85 percent of those Realtors do not work as a Realtor full time. Many of those Realtors will only close on one or two transactions in a year, as they have other obligations to a full-time career. I am in the 15 percent who works full time as a licensed Realtor. I am available 24/7 to answer any questions. I have impeccable response times when clients text, call or email. I also know and understand the market, as well as a strong knowledge and skill in negotiations and contracts.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? I don’t find any difficulties in my job as a Realtor. I am doing what I love to do. I love helping people find a home. It’s such an intimate thing to do.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? My favorite place to network and meet new clients is through friends. I am big on network events and turning those events into a business deal by passing out my business cards. I find it far too impersonal. I like to meet people and not just make them a client. My ambition is to make them a friend first and foremost. I like personal connections and interactions. I am not a salesmen in the traditional form.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? To date, my greatest accomplishment is graduating from college with a BS degree and, while in college, being able to give back by spending two months in Nicaragua, where I was part of a team of people setting up a medical, dental, pharmacy and eye clinic in a village for people who do not have access.
What is your favorite restaurant? I love Peruvian food! It is absolutely my favorite. I love that their cuisine stands out on their own just as Mexican, Italian and Chinese cuisines do. With that said, we spend a lot of time visiting all the Peruvian restaurants in Miami. My favorite three are:
I’ve had a lovely opportunity to spend time in Lima, Peru. So I really look for traditional style Peruvian food nothing with too much pizzazz.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Miami? There are so many buildings to choose from. I love any building that adds interest to our skyline. I love buildings that are lit up with color, like our famous Miami Tower!
What kind of car do you drive? This may surprise people, but I drive a very simple car – a VW. I am a firm believer in staying grounded/humble and appreciating the simpler things in life.
Smartphone or paper? Smartphone or tablet. In 2015, we can do everything electronically. That makes life easier for everyone involved. No need to print, sign and scan these days. Save a tree and produce less trash.
What is your favorite city after Miami? I absolutely love Chicago!! It’s an amazing city – full of city life yet feels so much like a small town. The city is tremendously clean. You can really see how much the residents of Chicago love their city by how clean and neat they keep it. The public transportation and train system is unlike any other city. The people must be the friendliest I have experienced, and we cannot forget the deep dish pizza!!
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Do the right thing!
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? REDFIN.
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