Eileen Lacerte got started in real estate 41 years ago. Eileen's father was in the military, so her family moved frequently when she was young. Eileen learned a lot from watching her father fix up old homes. "Every time we moved, he bought a fixer-upper and spent the next couple years fixing it, and sold it when we left," she says. "Then we moved on to the next house. I think my interest in houses started there." In addition to her depth of knowledge and experience, Eileen emphasizes the relationship aspect of her business. Over her years in resort real estate, she has built strong connections with her clients, and her dedication has earned her a place in the Hall of Fame for Hawaii's Top 100 Realtors®.
Eileen serves Kona and the Kohala Coast. An impressive 90% of her business comes from repeat and referral clients, a testament to the bonds she forges and the trust she inspires. "My favorite part of working in real estate is meeting people," Eileen says. "I live and sell in a resort, so the people I sell to are here on vacation. They're in their happy place already when I meet them. And because of the price range, they're buying in, my clients tend to be successful entrepreneurs, so meeting them and hearing their success stories is fascinating."
Selling in a resort presents its own challenges, especially staying in contact with clients who are predominantly located on the mainland. So Eileen has developed a comprehensive system for keeping in touch with clients and nurturing those important relationships. She reaches out several times a month via BombBomb video emails. She also uses direct mail to market her listings far and wide and has a huge email database to rely on. Another marketing tool she finds useful is the ability to send out 3-D Matterport videos of listings through her video emails. The results speak for themselves: Eileen has recently sold two homes for over $11 million and over $6 million respectively, both as a result of her video emails.
Another exciting recent development: Eileen has just rebranded her boutique resort real estate office as a Better Homes & Gardens franchise, which will pave the way for an expansion that's in the works. Eileen has plans to open two more offices, and will be able to use Better Homes & Gardens' national umbrella to gain more visibility for this new venture.
When she is not working, Eileen loves oil painting, particularly seascapes. Once a year she helps teach a class in oil painting on the East Coast, which draws students from as far away as Europe and all over the United States.
Eileen's advice to anyone just getting started in real estate is to "understand that it's a relationship business, and your reputation is your biggest asset." She continues: "All my business is referred to me by clients, and your reputation among clients is all you have. You have to be ethical and look out for your clients always."