While a return to the boom days of the real estate market might still be a long way off, local agents are coming up with a lot of creative ways to make it work. These are the top agents from area agencies for 2011.

The Irvine Team


Sue Eagleston, Colleen Lawler, Caroline Whiting, Kate Thompson

LN: What made your team so successful?

Colleen Lawler: I tell people that I do not do miracles and I don’t have a magic wand. We just have really good systems, we work hard, and I think that if you have a team of people working with you who are smart, you really don’t have any limits. I was kind of surprised when I saw the year-end numbers, because my perception was that it was not as tough as 2010. Our production was up last year in terms of number of sales and sales volume, and I was really surprised to see that overall the numbers were down. I think it’s because we had our noses to the grindstone and we show up every day and work from sunup to sundown.

LN: What tip would you give to people looking to sell their home?

CL: It’s a beauty pageant and a price war, so it’s all about condition and price, and making the house accessible for every single showing.

Kim Carney


LN: What are your predictions for the market in 2012?

KC: At the end of January, I’ve already doubled the business I had at the end of January last year. I have more than $5 million pending right now and I just see it as the biggest year yet. The referral business is the key; it’s taking care of people and giving my name out, it’s just making a huge difference. So many people are complaining about the market and how homes aren’t selling, but I feel like my homes are selling!

LN: What do you suggest to people looking to buy a new home?

KC: Interview at least three agents—whether you’re buying or selling. The agent you choose is the most important thing in the whole process, so you need to know exactly what they’re going to do. I put a marketing plan in writing that explains every single thing I’m going to do.

The Robb Team


Sabrina, David and Elizabeth Robb

LN: What made you so successful in 2011?

David Robb: I think there are a couple of reasons for our success in 2011. We have a very strong team, which has a diverse array of skills experience and strengths. We bring all of that to bear for our clients. Throughout the shifted market, we continue to maintain our level of dedication, spending the time necessary to get good outcomes for them. Finally, we are very focused on the types of client relationships that we maintain and the types of properties that we serve. I think by maintaining our specialty of working with distinctive properties, we’re able to get great results instead of trying to be all things to all people.

LN: What are your predictions for the market in 2012?

DR: Interest rates are going to remain low, but don’t seem to be driving demand among homebuyers. There’s still going to be tremendous pressure on asking prices. However, the upper-end market will continue to move in premium communities. We’re also seeing a resurgence of new construction that’s not speculative. It’s people paying a premium for teardowns in good locations and hiring a custom builder.

Ann Wroth


LN: What neighborhoods are looking hot for 2012?

AW: I wish I had a crystal ball and could make a prediction. We’re seeing that Clayton has been hot and I think it will continue to do so this year. I think it depends on pricing right now. People are pricesensitive and looking for a bargain in a good location. We’re hoping the suburbs around Clayton will be able to benefit from the location.

LN: What are your top tips for people looking to buy a home?

AW: Educate yourself, get a good real estate agent and learn about the market. Get your financing in line, then try to focus on a particular area and watch that area. Study it and prioritize, and when that perfect house comes up you’ll be ready to buy. I think education is the key.

Barbara Wulfing


LN: Why were you so successful in 2011?

BW: I think we’ve worked very hard to achieve our success. I work full-time, and I have a couple of associates who help out because it’s so important to be available. Recently we received a contract at 9 p.m. and I went over to the sellers’ house at 10 p.m. to finish the work because I knew they were about to depart for a family trip. You have to put forth that extra effort.

LN: What are your predictions for the market in 2012?

BW: If I’m any judge—and believe me, I’m not an economic forecaster—what we’re seeing right now is more activity in the market. I like the fact that people are showing houses, and the more appointments you have, the better chance you have of selling. Rentals have gone up 15 percent and homes have gone down on average 20 to 30 percent, so how could you not buy instead of renting?

Megan Rowe & Joan Schnoebelen


LN: What are your predictions for the market in 2012?

Megan Rowe: People are sick of waiting to move. The nice weather we’ve been having, coupled with the interest rates being so low, have le d to a very early spring market. Normally in January and February, we hunker down and get organized, but since we got home from Christmas, I haven’t stopped. It’s craziness. If there was two feet of snow outside things would change. Our business is very weather-dependent.

LN: What would you say to someone looking to buy?

MR: I think this might be one of our last years for really good deals if you’re thinking of moving. My guess is after the election rates are going to go up, so if you you’re thinking about that move up or even scaling down, this would be the year to do it.

LN: What is it like working with family?

Joan Schnoebelen: It’s wonderful, we’ve been doing this together over 22 years, and I’ve been doing it for 38, and it’s really, really good. If I were to say a negative, it’s that every time you’re together, you’re working. But we definitely make a good team, and the whole family gets into the act.

Kristi & JT Monschein


LN: What’s it like working with your son?

KM: It’s absolutely an amazing, wonderful thing. It’s my blessing every day. I think we learn a lot from each other, and he’s been with me now for 13 years. He brings so much on the technology side, helping me embrace Facebook, You Tube and other social media to help our clients, and he has a lot of knowledge and compassion. I think we’re a good balance for one another. Our motto is you don’t have to be a rocket scientist in this industry, but you have to take really good care of people. I’m the oldest of five kids and I think that’s why I love this so much.

LN: What neighborhoods are looking hot for 2012?

KM: We’ve been watching the marketplace quite bit, and in 2011 we saw the million dollar-plus market picking up in places like Ladue and Town & Country, but all of a sudden the upper-end market is really sparking in Chesterfield and Wildwood. People’s buying potential has increased so much with low rates and values on properties, and even though it’s been a struggle, I think this is an exciting time.

Jen Ross


LN: What are some of the reasons you were so successful in 2011?

JR: One of the reasons is probably a little bit of luck. I had a lot of great leads from my network of clients and friends last year. A lot of the deals couldn’t have been accomplished without staying in such close contact with other agents. A couple of the deals we put together offmarket because I knew of a house coming up for sale or we knew of a buyer looking for something specific. It’s talking to these other agents and finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients.

LN: How are you preparing for 2012?

JR: I think it’s going to be an exciting year; it’s all about working your sphere of influence and your network to find opportunities that you might not have known existed. I think it’s really important to write down and look at your goals, so we’re putting those in place early this year and coming up with a plan of action.

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