What motivated you to get into real estate?
I have always been fascinated with the nature of real estate. In essence, it is just like a school project. You are assigned a project and then have to evaluate and analyze what is needed to complete it. You have to put the tools, team and marketing strategy together, implement systems and see it through to completion.
I have two degrees from Florida International University, one in Psychology and one in International Relations. Once I finished college I went straight into business. I started in real estate for myself, buying and selling foreclosed properties. Six months into it I thought of getting a real estate license for myself. I was always intrigued by the process of taking a transaction from beginning to end. After I had my license for a year, I decided to take a broker’s course and exam and ultimately opened my own company, which I operated for 13 years. During that time, I basically went where the market went.
You have more than 15 years of real estate experiences in a variety of roles. How did your experience outside of development sales help what you are doing today?
My biggest strength within the industry is being able to adapt to the market. I did foreclosures during the downturn, managed 2,000 units for developers during the condo conversion era and worked with investors. In stronger markets I represented high-profile athletes and celebrities in their residential purchases. So the ability to adapt to market changes, identify and analyze the current market and foresee what the next level have fueled my growth and success in the industry.
With Keller Williams, I was able to share my leadership skills and, in essence, help others reach the next level. As with everything in life, there are always special mentors that assist you in the upward professional climb. Claudia Restrepo, the operating principal of Keller Williams Coral Gables/Coconut Grove, is in fact a very special mentor to me.
Ivan Ramirez, Regional Vice President of Sales of One Sotheby‘s International Realty, has also played a very important role in my career as well. When I was given the opportunity to direct the sales of Merrick Manor Residences, Ivan recognized my experience and abilities as a leader and gave me the opportunity to be part of this amazing luxury project in the heart of Coral Gables.
What is your favorite part of working at ONE Sotheby’s International Realty and Merrick Manor?
I actually had sold some units at Merrick Manor as an outside broker, so I had plenty of familiarity and appreciation for the project. It is a unique project and one that is very dear to my heart. It is special to be part of a project of the quality of Merrick Manor in a world-class city like Coral Gables with the quality of builder in Henry Torres and the Astor Companies. It has been incredible to get to know the human side of Henry, along with the business side. He is bringing Coral Gables a luxury project at a class unlike anything we have seen in the city. The beauty of Coral Gables from a real estate standpoint is that its property does not lose value regardless of what is happening in the overall market.
I feel blessed and honored to be part of the ONE Sotheby’s family. From the outside, it might seem like it’s all business, but being a part of it I know that the personal homegrown family touch is the cornerstone of its success. It has given me the ability to reach buyers and brokers at a global level. The company operates with a mantra that “it’s not about influence; it’s about influencing the influencers.” I love that.
Why are buyers attracted to Merrick Manor and Coral Gables?
When dealing with buyers, the most important part is to show the value proposition of the project. You have to feel and experience Merrick Manor to really love Merrick Manor. People fall in love with it when they come to the Sales Gallery or tour the project. It is extremely powerful to show buyers the quality of finishes Merrick Manor has and the fact that all residences are consistent when it comes to finishes. That maintains the value, as you won’t have neighbors doing different things to affect the resale value. Merrick Manor stands apart from anything else that is in the market.
What’s your favorite local restaurant to dine out at?
It really depends on whatever I am craving that day, as Coral Gables has something for everyone. There are so many different restaurants just footsteps away from Merrick Manor. I frequent Villagio at Merrick Park personally and for business lunches. Elsewhere in the city, you have Hillstone, Christy’s, Red Koi – dining out in Coral Gables never gets old.
What are your hobbies, or activities you enjoy during your spare time?
I like to run, as I love exercising and being outdoors. It gives me time to be with me and enjoy the fresh air. I certainly enjoy the beauty of South Florida and taking advantage of the ocean. I love to read and re-read. Knowledge is power.
And of course, I love to spend time with my two beautiful children, Giorgio, 20, and Katherine, 18. At this stage I am sort of an empty nester, like many of our buyers at Merrick Manor, so it is precious to be able to have my kids come home and spend time with me.