After 20 years in advertising, marketing, & media, David Jablonowski decided he was ready for a career that would allow him to focus on his “top three.”
A Ravenswood dog dad with an eye for design, David loves helping his clients find the right house & visualize how to turn it into a home.
We chatted with David to find out what he loves most about his neighborhood and what his experience in real estate has been like.
At Home with David Jablonowski
@properties: How do you start each day?
David: I meditate every single day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. After the dog has been fed, and I have one shot of espresso, I give myself the quiet time in front of my fireplace to simply breathe and go through my list of gratitudes.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate that my gratitude list is lengthy and filled with wonderful people, places, and things. I try to be aware of what we easily take for granted, not everyone has ease of access to these things.
@properties: Describe your own first home.
David: I loved my first home. It was at the top of my budget, but I was so happy once I had moved in.
It was the top floor of a three-story six flat in Buena Park. No parking, no laundry, and only one bathroom, but I knew it was “the one” after walking in and sitting on the back deck swing — it felt like home immediately.
This home also speaks to my ability to have vision. When we first saw it, it was relatively empty except for a 300-gallon fish tank with a 5′ iguana! Needless to say, it was the gorgeous molding, the exposed brick and that vintage fireplace that helped me make that decision.
@properties: What is the first big-ticket item you bought when you moved into your current home and why?
David: I am a hardcore bargain shopper, so I found a custom, caramel leather Mies van de Rohe “Barcelona” daybed — it was literally the one missing piece in the whole house.
It sits right underneath a pair of windows that overlook a huge old tree on Greenview – I call it “the perch” and you can often find me reading there.
At Play with David Jablonowski
@properties: What do you love most about your neighborhood?
David: Ravenswood is a great neighborhood for owning a dog — I love walking up and down the beautiful blocks, seeing the beautifully manicured lawns, the different styles of houses, and everyone always comments on my dog’s coats! They all have her name on them.
@properties: Where is your favorite place to eat in the city?
David: My answer changes yearly, but as of late, I have found myself going back to the Cherry Circle Room again and again.
It is nestled in the back corner of the Chicago Athletic Association, and it feels like you’ve walked into an exclusive private dining club from the 1950s. Having said that, the food is impeccable (I always order a Manhattan from the bar cart, and the beef tartare), and the service is obscenely phenomenal. Friendly, congenial, gracious and fun!
@properties: What do you read every single day?
David: Honest answer? Page Six. Don’t judge.
@properties: How do you stay involved in your community?
David: My parents instilled in me early the importance of giving back to the community. They said there are two ways to do this — money and time.
I’d love to personally volunteer at every charity I love, but I focus my time and effort on ALIVE Rescue which is one of the most amazing animal rescues I have ever seen.
I also support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Lambda Legal. Oh, and if any of my friends run a marathon or raise money for charity, I do my best to support each and every one of them financially. Even a little bit here and there helps!
@properties: You have a full day free in your town with no obligations and cost is no object. What would you do?
David: Afternoon at Prairie Wolf Dog Park with my partner John and our dog Penny, followed by dinner at Cherry Circle Room.
Since cost is no object, let’s have dessert in a helicopter over the city at night!
@properties: What is your proudest achievement to date?
David: Honestly, it is that I have learned to lead with kindness. Thad has been an inspiration in this respect, and while it may seem like a little thing, it’s very humbling to stop, pause, reflect and know that *I* have the power to put kindness out into the world.
At Work with David Jablonowski
@properties: How did you decide that real estate was the right career for you?
David: After 20 years in advertising, marketing and media, I was ready for something that allowed me to be my own boss, and give me the flexibility to spend time with my “top three” — my friends, my dog, and international traveling.
@properties: How did your experience in the advertising industry prepare you for real estate?
David: People seem to think that advertising and media are a huge departure from real estate, but honestly my 20 years in that field prepared me perfectly for this role.
I know the value of flawless, consistent and thoughtful customer service. I also know that it’s essential to have a thorough and highly detailed project management approach. I tell my clients that I am like their cruise director, I involve them in all discussions and decisions as appropriate, but I also try to take the burden of worry or nervousness off their shoulders.
@properties: What is your favorite part of the job?
David: Helping people to visualize how they could make a potential house into their home. I also do interior design on the side, and so I offer my clients my services for free — everything from helping them shop for appliances, to picking out paint colors, to helping them think through how they plan to use the space so that it’s truly rewarding and relaxing to come through their front door each day.
@properties: What is one thing you literally could not do your job without and why?
David: My team leader, Brett Novack. Having worked in corporate America for over two decades, I was used to having people with whom I could troubleshoot, bounce ideas off of, talk through issues or challenges.
In addition to being an amazing mentor, he is a great friend — another item on my list of things for which I am grateful!
@properties: Tell us the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on the job.
David: I don’t want to get into too much detail, but an agent at another agency sent me and my buyers to a home in Bucktown (on a lockbox) and there had been a serious violent crime there — and it was not cleaned up. I’ve tried to block out some of the more gory details.
@properties: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
David: If you can’t get motivated to do anything, at least make your bed. Then you will have accomplished at least one thing that day!
@properties: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new real estate agent?
David: If you think it’s anything like House Hunters or Million Dollar Listing — you’re in for a big surprise. You will work harder than you ever have, but you’ll love your life even more than you thought possible!