Stride Stories: San Francisco real estate guru shares her secret to success
Silvana Messing has been a successful realtor in the Bay Area since 1992. You can learn more at Silvana's website here.
Hi, Silvana! Can you tell us a little about your background?
Silvana: I’ve been a realtor for the past 25 years, but before real estate, I was in advertising and sales. After I had my daughter, it was important for me to find a job with more flexibility so that I could be a hands-on mom. I loved the real estate industry, so I got my broker’s license and since then it has been a really successful journey.
What advice would you have for people looking to enter the real estate business?
Silvana: It’s definitely a challenging work space, as you’re constantly riding the ups and downs of the market. A lot of people actually don’t last as long as I have. From my experience, I’ve found that it’s all about your connections, your network, and your customer service. A lot of my business begins with a referral. From there, it’s so important to build positive relationships with clients who have also become friends - that’s how I’ve managed to stay in this business for 25 years!
How do you build these positive relationships?
Silvana: We stay in touch! I continue to connect with my clients year after year. I remember the dates they purchased their homes, I find out what their goals are for the following year, I learn more about them than just their names. My goal is to become more involved in the longer term goals and needs for my clients.
When you were first starting out, what would you say were some of your biggest hurdles?
Silvana: Back then, I had a lot going on. There was my real estate business and my husband’s construction business. To add to that, I was raising and supporting two children in private schools with extra curricular activities! The biggest hurdle was creating a good workflow and schedule. I had other things happening around the same time which took precedence over my own business, so learning how to dedicate my time to my career was very important.
What would you say is the craziest or strangest thing you've experienced since you've been self-employed?
Silvana: How about when the market crashed in 2001! I knew realtors at the top of their game then all of the sudden, the news broke that the market crashed. That was just the craziest thing that I’d ever experienced.
It seems like it was yesterday but it’s been about 16 years. It was a setback for many people. If you were wise enough to make it through, and even buy more real estate during that time, you did very well. The market bounced back and now has close to doubled. As the saying goes, “buy low, sell high.” Real estate will always be a hot commodity.
What is your biggest tip for people who want to become a San Francisco or Bay Area home owner?
Silvana: Save up, and get into the market! Buy whatever you can. It’s not always going to be your perfect property, but you should start small and build up. Do whatever you can that will help you get your foot in the door to creating wealth through real estate.