Real estate is a business built on trust, and when clients find a Realtor they connect to, it often becomes a partnership lasting years, sometimes decades.
The Sun Gazette checked in with the clients of a number of local real-estate pros, to see what qualities they looked for in finding the perfect match.
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It took just one conversation about real estate with Dean Yeonas for Marie Kouba to realize she had a knowledgeable Realtor for life.
“Dean is our guy. He is super-responsive, is always so cool and calm, and I always recommend him to others,” Kouba said.
Kouba is an elementary-school teacher. She knew of, and eventually met, Yeonas because she taught two of his children, with Yeonas’ wife being a room mother at one point.
Over about a five-year span dating to 2006, Yeonas, of Yeonas & Shafran Real Estate, helped Kouba purchase three different homes and sell another.
The first purchase was a two-bedroom condo on Lorcom Lane when she was single. The second was a small single-family in the Maywood section of Arlington, that Kouba now rents.
In 2006, Yeonas helped Kouba purchase her current home in Country Club Hills, where she coincidently lives next door to the Realtor. Yeonas also advised Kouba during the tear-down renovation of the property.
As a friendly gesture, Yeonas also advised a family member of Kouba’s who was selling a house in Maryland, making a trip to the property.
Additionally, Kouba said other family members have used Yeonas on her recommendation.
“The biggest thing with Dean is his super knowledge base about everything about a property, and how he understands the total product – the roof, the basement, the furnace, everything,” Kouba said. “He explains things so well, and goes above and beyond.”
Kouba said she still calls on Yeonas for advice about her home. “He always knows someone to help, like if you need a gutter cleaned out,” she said.
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The first time Jim and Ellen Graham met Karen Briscoe, they were impressed and developed a trust. The couple liked the Realtor’s honesty, high energy, positive attitude and her thorough knowledge of the local real estate market throughout Northern Virginia.
Over time, Briscoe – of the HBC Group of Keller Williams – has helped the Grahams buy and sell four homes and purchase some investment properties.
“Karen has been wonderful,” Jim Graham said. “She is painfully honest, she has a good eye for what value is, she is one of those people who goes out of her way to put her customers first, and is refreshing as far as her candor. She understands and tells both sides of the transaction.”
Graham said Briscoe and her husband, Andy, work well as a team, leaving no details of a transaction unturned. Andy Briscoe handles the home-inspection matters.
“Karen has surrounded herself with a very good team and quality people,” Graham said. “They have everything at their fingertips as far as getting things handled, fixed or done.”
Briscoe first helped the couple purchase a townhome near George Mason University so they could open a non-profit business named Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates in Fairfax Circle. The shop employs adults with intellectual disabilities. The Graham’s daughter, Cameron, works at the store.
At the same time, Briscoe sold their longtime house on Georgetown Pike.
Within the last 18 months, Briscoe helped the Grahams purchase a home in McLean while selling the townhouse. The Grahams have plans on opening a second similar shop in McLean, and Briscoe is on the lookout for a location.
Jim Graham explained there had been no homes on the market in the particular McLean area they wanted to move, which was within close walking distance of the McLean Giant. He said Briscoe contacted homeowners and people she knew in that area, finding an eventual seller.
“Karen made it happen and found a home,” Graham said. “She has been especially helpful to us for a long time.”
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A few years ago, Natalie Roy was introduced as a referral to Kim and Dave Nahom to be their real-estate agent.
Now, after working and being satisfied with the Keller Williams agent on multiple transactions, it’s the couple’s turn to recommend her as a Realtor for others.
“We had two closings in two weeks, and that can be very stressful,” Dave Nahom said. “But Natalie made things go as easily as they can, and everything worked out fine.”
A military family of 32 years, the Nahoms initially worked with Roy when she helped them purchase a townhouse in Rosslyn. She then rented and later sold the property when Dave, an Air Force fighter pilot, was deployed to the Middle East.
Upon his return a year later, Roy was there again and helped the couple buy their current single-family home near Fairfax High School.
“We researched where we might want to move, we told Natalie what we were looking for, and she got us a house,” Dave Nahom said. “She’s just full of energy, easy to talk to and she gives great advice. I hope we don’t have to move again for a while, but if we do, we will work with Natalie.”
• In other transactions, Roy helped Julianna and Steve Kirtz buy two homes and sell one in Northern Virginia.
“We’ve referred her to friends and family time and time again, because she offers the whole package,” Julianna said. “She made the whole process simple and easy to understand. She walks you through.”
Julianna explained that both houses they purchased had multiple offers and said their offers were picked because Roy knows how to make your offer the most competitive it can be, with escalation clauses, waving inspections, offering rent back options and working directly with the listing agent.
“She was always in the know about the houses we were interested in, contacting other agents and getting the inside scoop on the house,” Julianna said. “I’ve described her to friends looking for an agent as a bulldog – she’s sweet as can be, but she’ll go to bat for you. She always made us feel like her only client. She’s always available.”
• Madlen Fizicki and Larry Mayer are other repeat clients of Roy’s. She helped them sell a house in Arlington, then found them an agent in New Jersey, where they bought and sold property.
“She has the capability of being both a strategic thinker – new ideas, approaches, that becomes inventive at times that no other Realtor can match – as well as tactically almost perfect,” Mayer said. “Yes, I know her wild hair might lead some to believe she couldn’t be tactically strong, but that might be her secret – nothing gets dropped through the cracks. Even after five years, we can call Natalie anytime with any real-estate question.”