***In case you missed it, this is a reprint of the Daily Mail & Register Star's feature on Regina Tortorella in the Sunday, March 28th issue's special Who's Who In Real Estate Section.
2021 Is The Year Of Expansion For Regina Tortorella
Regina Tortorella is the top performing agent at the top selling real estate company in Ulster and Greene County*. At Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty’s annual awards ceremony last week, she received a Coldwell Banker International President's Premier award, given to only the top 1% of the company's 94,000 agents worldwide. We chatted with Regina about what it means to be a leader in the Upstate real estate.
First, congratulations on the amazing Coldwell Banker International Presidents Premier Award!
I've been reading your testimonials, and a lot of people said you are the best in the business, you have all the answers, and your knowledge of the area is complete, and you can 't get better than that! Something that came up a lot was how responsive you are, no matter how much people threw at you, you always were patient and came right back with the answers and made sure they got what they needed and wanted.
Being responsive is a top priority of mine. Each of my clients deserves my full attention as though they're my only client. My job is to represent their best interests. In order to do that, it's imperative that there is a consistent line of open communication between us. Buying and selling real estate is what I live and breathe everyday; which is why my clients chose me. It's my responsibility to have a clear understanding of what their comfort level is at different stages of the process, to be aware of their sometimes changing levels of motivation, and to understand what their end goal is. In today's market, everything is time-sensitive and there are a lot of moving parts.. I have to be on my game at all times and I love that.
Do you sleep? Because, how do you do over 80 deals in a year?
Nope, not really. My wheels are always spinning with visions of my clients' needs, wishlists and marketing strategies dancing in my head. If I'm at dinner, I'm on my phone. If I'm on a date. I'm on my phone. If I'm in bed, my phone is next to me. Procrastinating is a pet peeve, so putting something off until the next day is usually out of the question. I'd like to mention a story, because moments like this one are what motivate and excite me: I received a text from a past client during the Coldwell Banker awards ceremony. I sold her and her husband a house during the very early stages of the pandemic-this was a very uncertain and chaotic time that was accompanied by a lot of challenges in the industry. My buyers, like many, were looking to find an upstate escape where they could social distance and breathe a little easier. I received a picture of adorable twins sitting in their bouncer seats in front of the mountain view from the house that I sold them. It turns out she found out that she was pregnant one week after closing. She told me how much the babies love their home and the view and she wanted to thank me. She made my day. Knowing that those babies will have an opportunity to see, smell and experience the Catskills throughout their childhood similar to myself is what truly fills my heart. Moments like this are what make answering my phone at all hours worth it.
I see what you mean. Here’s something about selling: I know it’s always a big issue for people coming up with the right selling price, and I understand with your background in appraisal that you are amazing at pricing homes. I wonder if you want to talk about that a little bit.
Absolutely, negotiating has always been one of my strongest attributes. My background as a certified appraiser certainly comes into play. As an appraiser I provided lenders with the estimated values for pending sales. The reports and supporting documentation that I provided ultimately affected whether or not a loan would be made. I apply those same techniques when arriving at an asking price for a seller or when negotiating the best possible price for a buyer. Having this knowledge is invaluable. Who wants to get through the entire process only to arrive at the appraisal phase and realize that the property won't appraise and that the bank won't loan. That's devastating to all parties. Setting realistic expectations is key.
And that goes along with how many people in your testimonials said how trustworthy and knowledgeable and honest you are. That ties in with the idea of not giving people false hope on what price they might get to for their house.
So true. I'm a very honest and direct person. It comes along with experience and being the expert in the markets that I service. I'm also mindful to work with an equal number of buyers and sellers most years. Seller s are always going to have very high expectations when it comes to the value of their house. Most have biased opinions of their property's value and an emotional attachment that they end up factoring into their asking price. Fortunately, I've had the benefit of working with a tremendous pool of buyer clients throughout my career and I've learned what features they're looking at while house hunting. I've had many enlightening conversations and received very valuable feedback from my buyer clients. I'm able to share this insight with my seller clients. It's all relevant and factors into pricing. Part of my "charm" is that I don't just tell people what it is that they want to hear. This is because I don't want to set unrealistic expectations for my clients. Doing so is detrimental to all parties and doing so wouldn't make me a professional. This isn't always easy, but it is necessary. Ultimately, most of my clients recognize and appreciate this mindset. It gets results.
You said you have an equal number of buyers and sellers. Is that something you do on purpose?
Yes, although this past year it shifted a little bit because I had more listings than buyers when the pandemic hit. In-person showings weren't permitted for months, so I obviously wasn't working with as many buyers during that time. The ratio was a bit unbalanced last year. But typically, I am a 50-50 buyer/seller split at the end of the year.
You make a point of trying to keep that balance?
Yes, to an extent, because I don't want to lose my edge with understanding what the buyers want, "what's trending". Their insight is invaluable. Who my buyer was 10 years ago wasn't the same buyer five years ago, is not the same buyer today and won't be the same buyer next year. It is important for me to "hear" them and to be able predict where the market is headed.
That's interesting, the idea of making sure you hear what the buyers have to say in order to know how to deal with the sellers. A bunch of people mentioned your negotiating skills; one in particular said you're a tough negotiator and saved him a ton of money.
Negotiating is one of my strongest skills and is one of my favorite parts of my job. The appraisal background certainly plays a role, but I also just enjoy getting the very best outcome for my clients',
Would you say your number-one priority is your business?
Definitely. I'm very fortunate because my son and several family members are professionals in various aspects of real estate including agents, appraisers and property managers. We have the same work ethic and drive so all understand when the other is taking a work call during a holiday dinner. For me, for us, it works.
Is there anything you would like to add that I haven't mentioned?
Building relationships and communities with professionalism, integrity and an absolute love for Upstate New York is what I hope to share with as many as possible. I’m a designated Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist and while I do specialize in the second home markets, I also represent year-round sellers and buyers. I live in Saugerties, and I’ve owned houses in Woodstock, and I am going to be focusing on those areas this upcoming year with my team. I’ve been laser focused on Windham, and it is always going to be my priority. I’ve really honed in on it and know it. When I started out over a decade ago, I wanted to learn one town, one area, the mountain-top, and that is where I chose to specialize. Now I have a team that’s expanding, and I really look forward to that next year, and to the extra hands helping me branch out. We're going to be covering a lot more territory. I have a very large pool of downstate buyers. My family has roots in New York City, but I and my siblings were raised in upstate New York and have always had an appreciation for this beautiful area. My personality is a combination of city and country. I’m excited for me and my team to take our services off the mountain-top in 2021.
Connect With Regina:
Real Estate Salesperson
Amy Wallace - Marketing