by Laura Matiz
The new year has taken off like a rocket. I can't believe that today is MLK day. I already miss the bustle and energy that surrounds my children and friends who visit during the winter break. Most have returned to begin the spring semester at their respective colleges.
But, I am also glad to be back working with clients after taking a couple of weeks off at the end of the year to focus on family and holiday events. I cherish this time with family and friends, and it motivates me to do more in my professional life as well.
This past week I had the opportunity to share what I do as a real estate broker with a group of a dozen students from the Grace Institute that visited the Douglas Elliman mid-town office. The Grace Institute is a workforce development organization that helps women-in-need find their calling. It is a wonderful organization that I have followed and supported for years.
I shared a bit of my life story as it relates to selling real estate. I told them about my family and my schooling. I told them about my grandfather's natural food store in Queens—one of the first of its kind in New York in the early seventies. There, I absorbed many lessons on customer care. I described how I loved working the register, composing trail mixes, and helping customers even though I was only in junior high school.
After some personal anecdotes, I described what I do as a real estate agent in the greatest city in the world. I explained the difference between co-ops and condos. I shared with them that the most challenging, but rewarding task was negotiating on behalf of my customers. I also described how I help my customers compile the extremely complicated board packages that all buyers have to submit to co-op boards in order to get approval to purchase the apartment. I explained that buying a co-op was more like applying for membership to an exclusive club.
I discussed the serendipity of apartment searches, the explorations during showings, and how I often get to know my customers really well, many becoming repeat customers. I also explained how brokers work on commissions and that it is possible to invest many hours with clients that never purchase or sell an apartment. That was an opportunity to explain how important it is to stay positive and to be resilient.
The women asked a lot of questions and I was quite pleased and relieved with how things went. The next day, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a handful of wonderfully worded thank-you notes from students. The notes were a nice touch and most generous. They made my day knowing I had made an impact. What a nice way to start 2016.
Happy New Year!