Brenda Di Bari on Becoming A Successful New York Real Estate Player
Today, we all know someone who is in the real estate business in some capacity or another and typically, they are brokers. I went to a party just recently and met 6 people who were either a commercial or residential broker and it wasn’t even a real estate party! Well, I had the opportunity to sit down with Brenda Di Bari who is a real estate agent for Halstead Real Estate. Brenda isn’t just your ordinary broker, she’s a powerhouse! Brenda has always been a business woman but stepped up her game even more so after tragically losing her husband and having to raise 6 children on her own. Yes, 6 and that in itself is the toughest feat to accomplish but this power woman is getting it done every single day both personally and professionally.
SL: Tell us a little about your background. What led you to real estate and how long you’ve been in the business?
BDB: I got my first taste of the real estate business from the development/property management side. When I was still in college, I worked for a real estate developer in their property management office. Different from what I do now, but it opened my eyes to real estate as a business. Fast forward some years to 2003, I got my license as a real estate salesperson and it was an instant love affair! I went on to open my own brokerages in New York City and Miami, FL. I have been in residential sales for 15 years.
SL: What made you decide to work with Halstead and how is the work culture there?
BDB: I had a huge change in my personal life in 2011 (became a widow), which led me to move abroad and live in Italy for 4 years. When it was time to move back to NYC, I knew I wanted to expand my resources and network to offer my clients more services. I interviewed with the big firms and though others were impressive, there was a special energy to Halstead. It is the largest privately owned real estate company in New York City and maintains a supportive environment for its agents.
SL: How does Halstead get behind their brokers?
BDB: The element I find most important is the fact that whatever business or marketing concept I come up with as a creative thinker, they will listen, support and help me implement. When the market is tough, their accessibility and my focus equals a powerful combination!
SL: There are so many brokers vying for the same clients and positioning in the business. What are the qualities that make you stand out from others?
BDB: This is a very competitive business for sure and I thrive on that very culture. Some of the things you must have to succeed as a New York City real estate agent are not only a keen business acumen but product and market knowledge, coop know-how, marketing and salesmanship skills and networking ability. Beyond that, you need to have exceptional listening and intuitive abilities. I definitely believe in myself as a unique value to my clients. I have not only run my own businesses in New York City for over 25 years, but I have also raised my 6 children in this very ambitious city. I am extremely motivated not only for my clients’ success but to be an example to my children as their mom and a woman in business.
SL: Do you find that being a woman in this business is easier or harder than it is for men?
BDB: We know that it has been established over and again that women have to prove themselves at a higher standard than their male counterpart in any business and often for less pay. Having said that, this is a fact that is changing and in particular residential real estate sales seem to be a fairly equal playing field for men and women. I will say that I personally feel no more or less competition from my peers based on gender.
SL: Where would you like to see your career in 5 years?
BDB: In 5 years I expect to have broadened my client base and team. This can only be attainable by delegating what can be delegated and focusing on what I do best, client service. I’m available to my clients 24/7 and I’m involved every step of the way. I under promise and over deliver and treat every client the same whether they’re a celebrity, an athlete or an individual just starting out.
SL: You’re a mother of 6, how hectic is it to get out of the house in the morning? I hope you have more than 1 bathroom!
BDB: I am indeed a mother of 6 but the funny thing about a larger family is that its members become autonomous by necessity! Three of my kids are now adults and gone are the baby days! I’m not going to pretend there isn’t a bathroom line to get ready in the morning, but we work it out.
SL: How do you find the work/home balance?
BDB: Balance is definitely a challenge, but I am definitely a multitasking master! My kids understand mommy works and I work 6-7 days a week. I have the luxury in this business of working from home on many tasks so that helps. I engage help where I can and I’m naturally blessed with incredible energy! I actually love to be busy.
SL: Let’s have some fun. What is your guilty pleasure?
BDB: I actually have several guilty pleasures. I am a sucker for a good glass of wine, some dark chocolate, taken leisurely in front of any Bravo reality TV Show. I especially love all of the Real Housewives shows. I also indulge myself in tennis, yoga, horseback riding, the beach, me time. That’s where I find my balance.
SL: Favorite Italian restaurant in NYC?
BDB: For years it was Da Silvano but sadly, he closed. There are so many amazing Italian restaurants in NYC it’s hard to pick just one. Amongst my favorites are; I Sodi, Marea, Carbone, Morandi oh so many more!
SL: Favorite go to sushi in NYC?
BDB: I love 15 East, Sushi Yasuda and Sushi Seki Chelsea.
SL: Chocolate or Vanilla?
BDB: Chocolate all the way, the darker the better!
SL: Red or White?
BDB: Red if we’re talking wine, but white if we’re talking interior décor or fashion.
SL: Favorite Holiday?
BDB: Thanksgiving! It’s about gratitude and time with family and friends over food. It kicks off the big holiday season, the weather is usually nice and crisp outside (at least here in NYC) and everything just feels possible!
SL: What would you tell your 8-year old self?
BDB: I would tell my 8-year old self not to waste time disguising your true self to conform to societal expectations. It took me far too many years to embrace my own uniqueness and not care what anyone else thinks.
SL: For more information about Brenda Di Bari, please visit: www.brendadibari.com or follow her on her social media pages: