How did you get into real estate?
I started getting involved with real estate around 2010–2011 and got my license in April 2012. I was on the verge of divorce and had been out of the workforce for a little while after a long consulting career…and was looking for a career that would provide me flexibility to be with my children but also be as lucrative as I could make it, and real estate provided great opportunities for that.
What kinds of homes do you sell?
My niche is predominantly single-family homes on the east side of Cincinnati, starting from downtown up to about Kenwood/Madeira and as far east at Milford. The Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout area is where the bulk of my sales comes.
Why focus on the east side?
Real estate is very neighborhood-oriented, and the more familiar you are with that neighborhood the more successful you’re going to be. I live and work in Hyde Park. I run it on a daily basis. I know every crack in the sidewalk on this side of town. [I know] what’s coming on the market and how the market flows over here, so it really just becomes your niche when you live, work, and breathe in it every single day.
How many clients have you helped find or sell homes?
My business is not gigantic. Each year, I probably do about 18 to 20 transactions, and that lets me stay very personal.
When’s the best time to buy or sell a house in Cincinnati?
A really hot time to have your house on the market is between February and June. We will always see a dip in the market in July, because people are engaged with vacations and starting to think about school. Personally, I love the fall as a season to list or buy a house, because the competition’s not as significant. If you’re listing a house [in the fall], you don’t get the same number of buyers, but your quality of buyers increases. If you’re representing a buyer in the fall, you don’t have the same volume of houses to look at, but the number of buyers has dropped so you don’t have as much competition.
What real estate trends have you noticed recently?
I’m starting to see a lot more interest in the border neighborhoods like Evanston, Madisonville, Walnut Hills, Pleasant Ridge, and Kennedy Heights. We’re really seeing some great resurgence and jumpstarting in those areas and some nice renovations taking place to make home ownership affordable for lots of people.
What’s your favorite part about being in the real estate business?
Even though we’ve seen so many changes in technology and communication, it all boils down to in-person contact, and that really appeals to me. Most of my business I get now is from friends and friends of friends who call me and say, Ann, I would love for you to represent me or Ann, I have a friend I’d like to refer to you, and that comes from having experience in the business and those personal relationships.
What real estate–related achievement are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of every single time I successfully put somebody in a new home. It’s one of the top financial investments people will make in their life, and it’s very emotional. I really do find great satisfaction with making my clients happy and helping them find a home that they’re really going to love.
Do you have any bizarre stories to share?
Mostly it’s the crazy things we encounter while showing homes to buyers, like the time the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) description said “large friendly pet in basement,” and my buyer and I were quite surprised to find the basement floor littered with lettuce and a 200-pound tortoise roaming free. I’ve also encountered full-size suits of armor, a condo with every possible surface covered in wallpaper, a room full of life-size cardboard cutouts of Justin Bieber, and a dining room covered with fake plastic plants—glued to every wall and even the ceiling.
What surprised you most about becoming a real estate agent?
Most people don’t realize that it’s a difficult business. You’re working 100 percent commission, and you get up every day and you gotta work really hard at it in order to make something happen. It has great flexibility and freedom, but it’s hard. Harder than I ever thought it was going to be.
Your clients call you RealtorGirl.
It just came about one day. I was working with buyers and they’re like, Ann you’re like a superhero finding us a house; you’re like RealtorGirl. And it kind of stuck. I have a great marketing person I work with and she ran with it, so it’s on my Facebook page and it’ll be my tagline on things. It’s [even on] my license plate. Real estate is very serious. We’re helping people find a huge financial commitment and there are contractual elements to it, but you can have a lot of fun with it too.