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  • October 31, 2014

Ask an Agent: Their Favorite Things - Ladue News: Special Features

Ask an Agent: Their Favorite Things

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Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:28 am | Updated: 9:37 am, Thu May 31, 2012.

They help you sell or buy your home, but how well do you really know your real estate agent? We went beyond listings and contracts and interviewed several local realtors to learn a little bit more about them.

JEN ROSS

UPPER END PROPERTIES

LN: How did you get into real estate?

JR: I worked for my dad at a bank as a credit analyst. It was extremely boring, so I got my real estate license at night. Growing up, my family probably moved around the St. Louis area at least 17 times, so real estate is just in my blood.

LN: Favorite St. Louis tradition?

JR: I love musicals, so it’s always fun to go to The Muny and then to Ted Drewes (1). We grew up going to the The Muny—it’d be 100 degrees outside and we’d be sitting there in tights!

LN: Favorite restaurant?

JR: We probably go to Oceano (2) three times a week. I love the scallops there, and my friend is the proprietor, so it’s always fun to go in and gab with him.

LN: If you didn’t live here, where would you be selling real estate?

JR: I think it would be fun to sell in Hawaii (3). It would be awesome to sell real estate that looks over nothing but islands and ocean.

LN: What is some advice you’d give someone starting out in real estate?

JR: Find someone you respect who can mentor you. Real estate is a trial-by-fire industry, and you’re not going to get any better experience than watching somebody who knows what they’re doing and can give you pointers.

SUSAN HURLEY

JANET MCAFEE REAL ESTATE

LN: How did you get into real estate?

SH: Twenty years ago, I was looking into selling my own house. Once I got my license, joined an office and saw what the process was about, I thought, Oh, I could do this. I didn’t think about it as a career at first, but now it’s been 20 years.

LN: Favorite restaurant?

SH: I love Robust (1) where you can go for small plates and they’re so helpful about suggesting new wines to try by the glass. Going a little farther west, we enjoy Edgewild and the different dishes they offer.

LN: What is your favorite city or vacation spot outside St. Louis?

SH: I would say Vancouver (2)— there’s so much to do and it’s beautiful no matter what direction you go. The city has a lot of great energy.

LN: If you didn’t live here, where would you like to sell real estate?

SH: I’d like to sell in Chicago (3) because there are so many different neighborhoods with a variety of cultures, like cities within a city.

LN: What is some advice you’d give someone just starting out in real estate?

SH: Persevere. I think many people who enter the business give up way too soon—they expect instant gratification, but it’s a building process. Once you build that clientele, it starts to snowball, but you have to give it time.

LIZ DOOLEY

LAURA MCCARTHY REAL ESTATE

LN: How did you get into real estate?

LD: I graduated with a degree in elementary education and was a teacher for a few years at Maplewood-Richmond Heights. I loved working with children and other people in education, but I didn’t like being in a classroom all day. Real estate was an easy transition because I’ve always been very organized and good at multi-tasking.

LN: When you’re not showing houses on the weekends, what do you enjoy doing?

LD: We have two children, so we spend a lot of time outside, taking walks, going to various places around St. Louis like the Zoo (1) and Purina Farms.

LN: What’s your favorite restaurant?

LD: My husband and I go to Amigos Cantina all the time. They have fabulous margaritas (2) and it’s always a fun atmosphere.

LN: What is your favorite city or vacation spot outside St. Louis?

LD: My absolute favorite place to go is Seaside, Fla.—I grew up going there. Also, last year, my parents took us to Sea Island off the coast of Georgia, which was amazing, and my kids love Hilton Head (3). So basically, anywhere with a beach!

LN: What is some advice you’d give someone just starting out in real estate?

LD: The most important thing for a real estate agent is to be there for your clients when they need you. Also, there are busy times and lulls in real estate—you have to be able to run hard and keep up during the busy times and hang in there during the slow times.

STEVE BREIHAN

PRUDENTIAL ALLIANCE REALTORS

LN: How did you get into real estate?

SB: When I got out of college, I started in the management training program at Mercantile Bank. From there, I got into corporate and commercial real estate, but didn’t like it, so I left the industry and worked for Maritz as a travel director for many years. In 1994, I decided I wanted to try real estate again, but on the residential side.

LN: What neighborhood or area in St. Louis do you love selling the most?

SB: I live in Clayton, so I do a lot of business there. The quality of life is just great— you have restaurants, entertainment and beautiful neighborhoods close to everything.

LN: Favorite restaurant?

SB: We like I Fratellini—we can walk to it from home and it’s a little place that makes you feel like you’re in a New York bistro.

LN: What is your favorite St. Louis tradition?

SB: We love going to Forest Park (1)—you can bike, run, play tennis, golf, go to museums or the zoo—it’s a gem of St. Louis.

LN: If you didn’t live here, where would you be selling real estate?

SB: I would say Santa Barbara (2). We just bought a place there, and years down the road, that’s where we’ll retire. I’ll still be selling though, and I’m looking forward to doing it out there. It has the ocean and mountains all together, plus a laid-back atmosphere and perfect weather.

KAREN HOEMEKE

COLDWELL BANKER PREMIER GROUP

LN: How did you get into real estate?

KH: My father was a building contractor here, so I was around new construction all my life. That experience, plus my background in advertising with an international agency for 15 years, made a difference when I got into real estate in 2006 after we moved back to St. Louis from Louisville.

LN: When you’re not showing houses on the weekends, what do you enjoy doing?

KH: I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not working, but we enjoy spending time with our grandchildren and going to their ball games. We also try to go to the Lake of the Ozarks (1) every now and then.

LN: What’s your favorite restaurant?

KH: We go to Farotto’s (2) in Rock Hill pretty often—we know the owner and it’s just a nice neighborhood restaurant.

LN: What is your favorite city or vacation spot outside St. Louis?

KH: Definitely Louisville. We lived there for 18 years, and it’s just a wonderful place—I miss it every year during the Kentucky Derby (3).

LN: What is some advice you’d give someone just starting out in real estate?

KH: Interview different companies and choose one that has extensive training and a sharing atmosphere in the office. If you’re just starting out, you can’t just rely on the classes you took to get your license.

GAIL WAMSER

DIELMANN SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY

LN: How did you get into real estate?

GW: I’m a retired school teacher, but I’ve always worked, so when I retired from that career, I thought, I need a place to go where I can interact with people and provide a service. I also have experience in the antique and estate sale business, so one thing led to another and I got into real estate eight years ago.

LN: When you’re not showing houses on the weekends, what do you enjoy doing?

GW: Spending time with my dog is a favorite pastime. I also love gardening (1), reading, and needlepointing things for my family that they probably don’t want, but I do it for them anyway!

LN: What is your favorite city or vacation spot outside St. Louis?

GW: My favorite city is New York (2)—I have family there and I know it well, so it’s a wonderful thing when I get to visit.

LN: If you didn’t live here, where would you be selling real estate?

GW: It would be fun to sell in a city like Denver with its natural beauty and lots of outdoor activities (3).

LN: What is some advice you’d give someone just starting out in real estate?

GW: You need to be resilient and persevere. And if someone you know well goes with a different agent, don’t take it personally. Never let real estate business interfere with friendship.

JOHN RYAN

COLDWELL BANKER GUNDAKER

LN: When you’re not showing houses on the weekends, what do you enjoy doing?

JR: Our family has owned and trained horses for the last 40-plus years, and I played polo (1) for 38 years before retiring from that. Now we spend time with the horses and our two grandchildren.

LN: What neighborhood or area in St. Louis do you love selling the most?

JR: We sell primarily in the central corridor, and I really enjoy selling in Huntleigh because it’s such a great community and it’s where I live. People don’t realize how many large properties are left this close to the city and how unique a lifestyle it is.

LN: Favorite restaurant?

JR: We like to support the local restaurants, from Cardwell’s and Schneithorst to Sportsman’s Park and Lester’s (2).

LN: What is your favorite St. Louis tradition?

JR: We definitely support the civic events like the VP parade— it’s something our family has enjoyed for generations.

LN: What is your favorite city or vacation spot outside St. Louis?

JR: San Francisco (3). One of our sons lived there for five years and it’s just a great city to explore—there’s so much cultural activity there and it’s a very interesting place to visit coming from a more conservative city like St. Louis. Plus, wine country is only an hour away.

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