Dynamic Duos: Power Couples In Real Estate

Home is where the heart is, but for some, it’s at the workplace too.

Love has always been an enormous part of the @properties culture, from the iconic love mural painted on our Bucktown office to #thelifeweshare campaign encouraging people to celebrate the beauty in everyday moments.

While some of our real estate brokers found love where they least expected — while selling real estate — others have found real estate success teaming up with their spouses or significant others.

Sara and Jeff Baker

For some people, it’s love at first sight. For others, like Jeff Baker and Sara Baker, a friendship develops first.

After meeting at a bar and three years of friendship, Jeff knew that Sara was “the one” when she agreed to camp with him at a Phish festival in northern Maine for three nights.

She said: “I loved that he could always make me laugh and I loved how kind he was to everyone. Now, I love working together because we just really balance each other out and it is just so much fun.

Jeff is more business-minded and I bring more of a carefree, creative element to the picture. We are who we are when we are out with clients together. We like to meet them together because it is just very natural and I think it helps our clients who we are just meeting for the first time feel comfortable and relaxed. I like to think they are getting the best of both worlds.”

He said: “I love watching Sara’s personality shine when we are with clients. I have more of a financial mindset, so my priority is ensuring my clients are making the right financial decision.

Sara is more in touch with the emotional side of buying a home, which is a great balance to me, especially when I tend to overthink.

I truly love how she cares for each of our clients and how she develops great long-lasting genuine relationships.”

Renee and Tom Clark

How many people can say they met the love of their life in an elevator?

Real estate brokers Renee Clark and Tom Clark can.

After a chance meeting on the elevator during a sales call, the couple dated for three months before getting engaged, and have been married for 34 years.

Now, they work together with their son at Renee Clark Real Estate Group.

She said: “Tom made me laugh non-stop. Our decision to work together was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We have different strengths and skill sets, and we’re much better together.

Working with Tom, I get to see him more often, have great conversations and meet interesting people together.”

He said: “We talk more than ever before because we share common ground, mutual interests and have a better understanding of what the other is facing. We have committed to making sure we get away for a few days a couple of times per year.

By working together, we have a greater understanding of the frustrations one another faces and can be more helpful and empathetic when we have challenges.”

Eve and Mike Del Monte

After meeting through mutual friends, Mike Del Monte and Eve Del Monte began their life together – both at home and selling real estate.

Mike convinced Eve that she would be a “superstar” in real estate and it was his belief in her that brought the couple closer together.

She said: “We have way different personalities, and we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

We work from home, so we work in separate spaces so that we can have time together and apart. When we go to the office, we are often together but when we are out in the field, we are often apart. We like to be together when we aren’t working, so we spend time with our family and find activities we enjoy.”

He said: “Eve is always so calm, clear-headed and trusting. We can relate to one another because the other person knows the highs and lows of the business — it can be a roller coaster ride.

We have two great kids that we raised through college and it has been a good 34 years.

Every day is a new day.”

Diana Kim and Mike Koerner

Beginning a new job can be exciting — but even more so when you meet your soulmate on the first day.

Diana Kim describes her relationship with Mike Koerner as a “classic boy meets girl at the office” story, having met under the same team three years ago.

Both real estate brokers, Mike was assigned to field train Diana, so she shadowed him to showings and open houses.

Before long, they were making excuses to see one another and Mike, also a private chef had won over Diana with his gourmet dinner parties.

She said: “I love that we can play devil’s advocate but still keep each other on our toes.  It’s also good to have a person you can trust in this business that also has your clients’ best interests in mind.

The best part is our closing gifts to our clients: Mike cooks a four or five-course dinner for our clients in their new homes. It’s our way of sharing both of our passions with our clients: real estate + fine wine + dining together.”

He said: “In this business, it’s nice to have someone to trust and talk to. I can’t think of the number of times where I was so thankful Diana was there by my side.

We take breaks from work to enjoy the finer things in life like a great steak or a weekend camping. It can be hard to shut off the switch, but the payoff is having clients say things like ‘you are such a great team,’ and ‘you two are like each others yin and yang.’

We always laugh when we get home because they just have no idea how many hours we spend talking over every little detail.”

Kristine Kramer and George Schultz

This couple met while working in the hospitality industry in 1998 and enjoyed working together so much, they found their way to @properties and a career in real estate. 10 years later, Kristine Kramer is a real estate broker and George Schultz is the managing broker of @properties’ Bucktown office.

From spontaneous limo trips to Lake Tahoe to trips to Disney World with their two daughters to real estate transactions happening at the dinner table, Kristine and George have settled into a work/life balance rhythm that is a true partnership.

He said: “Relationships are simple and complex at the same time – like a real estate transaction. It just comes down to communication, identifying common goals, and being present when you are together with a lot of empathy for the natural obstacles of being a Realtor.

Though there are so many advantages of being active in your kids’ lives as a Realtor, you have to understand that your spouse will inevitably pick up the phone in the middle of dinner or right before you leave for an event. It is the nature of the business.

Just stay focused when you are with your family and really be with them.  Show up for every appointment you have so you are truly present and all will be good.”

Lindsey and Leigh Marcus

When you work with your partner, keeping your work at work is no easy feat, especially in the real estate industry when meeting with clients and colleagues become part of your life.

After a decade of working together, Lindsey Marcus and Leigh Marcus have it all figured out — as the business manager, Lindsey is the backbone of the Marcus Realty Team, helping run the team so Leigh can sell homes.

She said: “We met on Friendster before online dating even existed. When he spontaneously bought us tickets to Costa Rica, I decided I had to marry him!

The best part of working together is that we get to dream together and then work together to achieve those dreams. Plus, working with your spouse is the best way to have the ideal travel schedule.”

He said: “Lindsey the best business partner I could hope for. Her strengths compliment my weaknesses. We know what each of us are best at so there is little overlap and we meet regularly during the day to avoid work flowing into our personal time together.

Working together [with your partner] can be the best experience in the world if you work on it.”

Joyce Olsen and Brian Guzman

A career in real estate brought real estate brokers Joyce Olsen and Brian Guzman together, and their relationship brought them full circle to @properties.

After meeting in 2009 while working for different brokerages, the couple married in 2012. Around the same time that Joyce became a licensed broker, Brian made the move to @properties and, as they say, the rest is history.

He said: “Joyce and I generally know what the other will think about something before we ask. We also have different strengths, which makes us a more well-rounded team.

We make a point to do things together where you do not talk about work.  On the flip side, you also need some space now and then, so “me” time is important, too.”

Mary Vallender and Jack Quill

When this couple met at a fitness class, they quickly found that they shared one another’s values: kindness, listening to one another, laughter and spending time with family.

Today, Mary Vallender and Jack Quill are a real estate partnership, where they bring their values to the office, too.

She said: “We can relate to one another, share experiences and cover for the other when needed. We plan time together away from work, as well as the space for our partner to plan time with friends away from each other and work. We make each other’s priorities our priorities.”

He said: “Working together is great because we are able to spend more time together and understand one another’s issues. We can share our business experiences and help support each other.”

Nancy Weber and Joe Kennedy

I’d like to think that most of the people who work for @properties consider it one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.

For Joe Kennedy and Nancy Weber, there’s no question.

The couple met the year they both started working in real estate. Nancy, newly licensed, and Joe, about to take his real estate exam, met at a Bucktown coffee shop to talk shop.

Coffee turned into lunch which turned into dinner.  After a three week trip to Argentina, Nancy had fallen in love with Joe’s entrepreneurial spirit and their shared passion for travel.

Today, the Weber Kennedy Team works with buyers and sellers with the belief that real estate is about more than just a transaction — it’s your home, and ultimately, your life.

He said: “Nancy is so incredibly detailed and organized. She really cares about her clients — and looks at things in such a different way than I do. Once we talk through it, we find that we are saying the same thing, just from another angle. It helps us understand our clients well.”

She said: “We have different strengths so it’s nice to be able to leverage them and help each other out. We also understand why the other may need to take a call during dinner.

Working together allows us to keep a work/life balance as we can take time for ourselves individually or with our son when we need it and the other can handle client business.”

Mary and Mark Wortman

While most of our @properties couples met in Chicago, Mary and Mark Wortman met at 30,000 feet — on an airplane over 30 years ago.

It was love at first sight, but another 15 years before the couple began working together in real estate.

He said: “It is a perfect fit. Mary provides a fun approach that people love and I work more on the marketing and details that are necessary to be successful.

Balancing work and family is a key to our success and we make sure we have time for all of our kids, grandchildren and time for ourselves.

We love what we do and enjoy helping people find their dream homes.”

Juliana and Benjamin Yeager

Raising children while nurturing your own business is more than a full-time job — it’s the way of life for real estate brokers Juliana Yeager and Benjamin Yeager.

The Lakeview couple met at a Gold Coast bar in their early twenties and immediately clicked.

With complementary personalities, but matching drive and determination, they’ve built both a business, The Yeager Team, and a family together over the past 14 years.

She said: “It is so great working with my husband because he ‘gets it.’ From understanding our non-traditional schedules to being able to bounce ideas off of each other for client presentations, we have such a natural flow due to us being husband and wife.

Benjamin and I have completely different personalities which really gives us a great balance in both work and life. We see things differently which certainly keeps it interesting but also aids in how we do business in how our styles compliment each other.

It is so fun to be able to celebrate little and big wins in business with the one you love.  It just makes it that much sweeter.”

He said:  “I can honestly say that it doesn’t feel like a job working with Juliana.  We love what we do, we have the greatest clients ever that usually become friends, and we get to spend a lot of time together.

We work a lot. Most people do date nights, but we do day dates.  We grab lunch between appointments, we go shopping, and on rare occasion see a movie during the day.  Our nights, when we don’t have evening showings, are for family time.

We are two different people in every way imaginable, and that’s what makes us perfect for one another.”

Written by @properties
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