Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange from Compass chats with us about her first experiences in real estate and how she built her impressive career over the past 26 years. She also talks extensively about the importance of giving back to the community. Melinda’s top values are authenticity, honesty and respect. She believes caring about your clients is vital for success. Melinda also talks about changes that will come in the real estate market as a result of the current pandemic and how client needs and preferences may evolve.
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D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris, I am your guide and host through the show and in just a moment we’re going to be speaking with Melinda Jack KOVITCH Lagrange before we get to Melinda a couple of quick announcements. Number one, we have a brand new website. Please check it out keeping it real pod.com Every episode we’ve ever done can be streamed there. And we’ve also organized all of our different categories of episodes on the homepage if you scroll to the bottom, so for example, if you’d like our coaching moments series with Ryan D appeal, you can do that or our gogo social bootcamp series or Carrie McCormick Monday market series are all there so you can actually find the episodes you want much more easily. So please again, check out keeping it real pod.com Second, please tell a friend think of one other real estate agent that could benefit from listening to interviews with top producers to sharing their success strategies and send them over a link to our show. We greatly appreciate it and as always, we want to say thank you to all of our listeners who continue and our viewers to continue to support our show as we’re approaching our 200th Episode we want to say thank you, thank you thank you and now on to our interview with Melinda Jack KOVITCH Lagrange
Okay, today on the show we have Melinda jurkovich Lagrange from Compass. Now Melinda has 26 years of experience working with high end buyers and sellers in Chicago’s most upscale neighborhoods. Melinda has consistently been a top 1% producer in the Chicago area. Prior to a real estate career. Melinda graduated from Northwestern University and worked in the financial service industry. Now Melinda gives back to the Chicago’s cultural and nonprofit organizations she has served and serving on the women’s board of the Joffrey Ballet is also on the Ronald McDonald House auxilary board. She is co chair of forward momentum and is a founding committee member helping children in Inglewood and that is about 1/100 of all her accomplishments. But we are so thrilled to have to have Melinda on the show, please visit her website which is Melinda Jack KOVITCH jako V i c h.com. For more information about Melinda and what she offers her clients, and we found out just as we were chatting before we started the show that Melinda’s husband, who is a very prominent architect here in Chicago actually designed the building I live in, which is what an amazing coincidence. Anyway, Melinda, welcome to the show.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 3:45
Well, thank you very much, DJ, we are
D.J. Paris 3:47
so so thrilled to have you. i You have such an impressive history. And you’ve already told me about 10 different stories before we even started the podcast. But I would like to go all the way back to the beginning, if you don’t mind and tell us about how you got into real estate from coming from the financial services industry.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 4:07
Well, actually, when I was in the financial industry, I sold tax shelters, and I work for a company that developed presidential towers. And I am in my husband’s office right now and I am looking at presidential tower. So it’s kind of ironic, because that was unheard of. Yeah, I would have the opportunity to talk to people like Dan Rosen kowski Clement Stone and I was 20 years old or 21 years old at the time, so there was nothing I mean, that was skid road. So I people in those days, the taxes were 70%. So people used to look for any way not to pay their income taxes, make it in investments, and it happened to be always in real estate. So I actually fell and I used to trade at Morgan Stanley at the time and I fell and I needed back surgery and I just could not sit at The screens for 12 hours a day, which is what was kind of required for you in those days. And I took my real estate license. And I decided I’ve always liked real estate. It’s kind of like the wild wild west to me, I realized you weren’t, you didn’t have the jurisdictions monitoring you, as you did in the security to this, right. And there were a lot of like entrepreneurs and just I thought it was always fascinating. And I took my license, and I met a woman who still to this day I talked to, and I talked to my two mentors in this real estate. They were trailblazers, and that’s Aneta, grey, and Elaine Waxman, and forever grateful, they really showed me because in the securities business, there weren’t very many women, there were still a lot of glass ceilings. But in real estate, I noticed that women could were really thriving, as well as thriving, surviving. And the opportunities in real estate just were unlimited. And I just fell in love with it. Day one.
D.J. Paris 6:00
Wow. And so So 26 years ago, you decided to pursue Did you just immediately go full time? Or did you try to sort of do both? Or,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 6:09
you know, when I was at Morgan Stanley, I had I worked on the number one team, it was equities. That was the day of IPOs. Sure, my the head broker said, if you know your shit, no one can intimidate you. Yeah, that’s true. And you can’t do that part time. And I work for a company called Ken. And she my mentor actually started robe law. She met a grace. Yeah. And you had to wear a suit. I mean, she had certain things that were required of you, you had to spend so many hours on Tuesdays, knowing exhibit learning the properties, and there were no part time agents. She said that she hired me and I was brand new was kind of an anomaly in itself. But no, I, I still think you can’t do real estate part time I it’s just, if you really want to service your clients properly. It’s a full time job. It’s a way of life, actually. I mean, it becomes more than it’s not a nine to FiVER,
D.J. Paris 7:08
right? Yeah, it’s interesting, we get a lot of questions to our podcast, or the firm even that I work at, where people ask, do you accept part time agents? And it’s like, well, you can always find a firm that will accept a part time agent, but the question is, how much knowledge? And are you going to be able to provide your clients how, you know, are you going to be able to be successful that way. And it’s, it’s really hard if you’re part time,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 7:33
right. And I remember another great saying to a sock, because there was about three of us that were new. And she would said, if you are not making a bad day, 24 If you aren’t making $40,000 a year, and that was 1994 Get a real job and get a life. Because we work at nice, we work weekends and you know, so that this might not be the field for you, you know, you can give yourself maybe one year to make less but other than that, she’s she said Why do you want to do it?
D.J. Paris 8:04
Yeah, yeah, it’s it really become you almost have to be obsessed with it in a healthy way. But I think you have to, you know, we were talking Melinda lives actually very close to where I live. Her husband, obviously is built as designed buildings and in our neighborhood, and she’s in residence as well in our neighborhood. And we were talking about just various things that we share in common. She goes, she and I go to the same 711. And we were just joking around about some some things during the day here at Cafe is in fact, the person who works in our office, his wife’s family owns that eerie cafe or in zones or a cafe. And so we talk a lot we end up talking a lot about the cafe in my office, but for those not from Chicago listening, this is a famous Italian Steakhouse, so old sort of same family or somehow related to the family that has also gene and georgetti is another famous Chicago Steakhouse, Italian Steakhouse. But anyway, we had on Matt Larissa, who has an office just down the street on areas, as you know, and he was on the show. And he said, For the first five years of his career, he didn’t focus on sales. He only did I think, 10 sales in his first five years, but he would just wake up every day, put a suit on, and you’ve probably seen him walking around the neighborhood. He’s always always in the same blue suit. But he spent those times walking from building to building from eight to five and saying, What do you is this a condo building? Is this an apartment building, and just learning his craft, and he would do that full time. And he did that for five years. And then he finally felt like he knew enough to actually go out and serve his clients in in our area, which and I thought boy, that’s you know, I really haven’t heard that story before, but it makes a lot of sense. So few agents, you know, are are putting in that sort of time and energy to really learn the craft and the ones that do become, like yourself have become obviously extraordinarily successful and
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 9:55
I have nothing but respect for Matt. And that’s what I think we all have to be it’ll kinda and respect each other because it’s I need the broad the other brokerage community as much as I need the one time transaction. And I see him walking there. And I remember my first day and that a Greg called me. She said, Melinda, let’s sit down there. They were just getting rid of the books. We were going on the computer. Sure. And I said a net, I have appointments. She was how did you know how to do that? And I sold something my first week. But that but that, you know, that’s lucky. But I would be at the office at six to 10 Almost every Monday through Friday.
D.J. Paris 10:34
Wow. Yeah, that’s that’s what it takes.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 10:38
Yeah, it does. It’s like the outliners. Right. Outliers is the outline of you have to 10,000 hours really you have to dedicate the time to be considered to be master your profession. And I don’t think you can fake it. You know, so they say fake it to make it not in real estate.
D.J. Paris 10:55
I have never, I have never understood that I that I the 10,000 hours, Malcolm Gladwell, you know, brilliant, smart makes perfect sense. The Fake it till you make it I’ve never really understood or because I think people deserve authenticity, they deserve the truth. And if you’re not able to effectively service a client. Now, I’m not saying you Of course, I’m saying any anyone listening, you probably shouldn’t take on that client. Obviously, Melinda can effectively service clients because you know, she’s put in her 10,000 hours. But there’s a lot of a lot of people listening who might get a listing and in an area that they’re not familiar with, or maybe it’s the somebody wants to purchase a home in an area they’re not familiar with. And then the question is, can I effectively service the client? Maybe I don’t only you can answer that. But if you can’t answer if you the answer is no, then maybe referring it out is a good option until you have, you know, a good understanding of that area.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 11:50
Well, when I first started, I had a lot of racial relationships with traders and people in the industry. And I remember John McAfee at Morgan Stanley called me and said, I just went through the Morgan Stanley training program, and at that time it was before they merged with Dean Witter. I was working with all Harvard elite, and I mean, Northwestern isn’t shabby, but no, but I actually, I worked three jobs and put myself through school. So I have I’m a hard worker, but I was intimidated. You know, I’m a policeman’s daughter. I do. This was Harvard, Yale, and they belong to country clubs. And I just didn’t think I had the pedigree, but if you know your shit, you know, no one can intimidate you. But I remember I partnered with somebody, and I would bring in my relationships, we would get the listings, and I’ll tell you who the person is because he also is very important in my career was Rick Drucker. Sure, and I paid him handsomely to call this properties with me, but what he brought to me was worth everything. And because I didn’t think I could really I had the relationships, but I really didn’t know how to market the property. And I watched the senior brokers of the time, and I respected them. I didn’t you know, I just would watch them. I didn’t necessarily call them and say how do you do this or once in a while, maybe we would get together at lunch or at committees and talk and help each other. But Rick Drucker really, and his whole family, his wife was lovely. I ended up CO listing a house with her and Northbrook. But I, for two years, I really shared my business with him and he brought to me more than what that was in value. So and I felt like I was servicing the people that I knew properly as well.
D.J. Paris 13:37
My My girlfriend is a leasing an in house leasing agent for Catalyst, which is in the West Loop. It’s like, oh, yes, yeah. Yeah. Not far from us. Where we live.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 13:48
She was supposed to design that building. Oh,
D.J. Paris 13:52
that is incredible. That is amazing. Anyway, so you should know. Of course, you gotta be a bolt. So so she is she has a releasing license, which she only needs for her job. But she’s decided after seeing brokers come through over the years. She’s like, you know, I can do this. And so she’s in the process of getting your broker’s license, and she’s trying to figure out right now, should I should I, should I partner with somebody? Should I join a team? Should I go off on my own initially? Now she’s never been a broker before right. She’s done leasing but that’s it. And so, you know, it’s a great question that probably a lot of our listeners have who are starting out too is what are your thoughts? You’ve obviously partnered with somebody who was senior it helped you you know, become confident in what you were offering you were providing value as well bringing in clients and and learning the business has your thoughts you know, 26 years later, do you still feel that that’s a that’s a great strategy or do you do you see people doing it on their own or just curious what your you know
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 14:53
compasses about teams, but I and a lot of companies are about teams. Yeah, that doesn’t necessarily work for me. I was going to try it in January. And I felt like I was more of being a mentor and spending my time. I love my clients I’ve known for 26 years. I am not, you know, I love my clients. And I think they’re always going to be my priority. I think there’s mentorship programs out there, they’re fabulous. And there are people who are creating teams. I think I like the small, maybe three or four people I know, that’s a small team, but would I want 10 people, loving people, will they get great numbers at the end of the year, but I like, you know, my EB repeat business, which most a lot of us do. And I feel like we’re all part of a family. And, and that’s my priority. And even though I dabble in development, so I mean, my families are number one to me.
D.J. Paris 15:50
Yeah, that becomes sort of the challenge, when you run a team is now you’re running a business. And some of that time is going to be spent managing those people and it’s going to take time away from your clients. And for some people that trade off makes sense. Other brokers it doesn’t. And obviously, for you, your relationships are so important. Make sense? You know, why why a team may or may not be something that you would
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 16:13
want time is money, and sometimes the younger one, or people they forget that if I’m giving time, it’s kind of valuable to me, that’s all we have in life is your word and time. Yeah.
D.J. Paris 16:26
That’s absolutely right. I would love to talk because I know, being active and involved in the community and giving back to organizations that you’re passionate about, is is so important to you. And I would love to talk more about how that has related and again, fold, you know, with the disclaimer, that the reason to get involved is not to progress necessarily one’s business forward. But as as something I’m curious of, obviously, you are passionate about the organization’s your husband has been involved in some of those buildings that that house these organizations. But how important is it? Do you think for a real estate agent to get involved in their in their local community? Or
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 17:10
how could one that how could one, I mean, we’re we’re selling communities, we’re helping families move on. I can’t imagine, especially right now. I mean, I walked to Starbucks, and I hit another realtor on the phone and I saw for homeless people and I gave them I mean, they didn’t look like they were doing drugs or alcohol. But we need to help each other out. I was so proud in our neighborhood, the Sunday after, when I was walking down Grand Avenue, I saw people with brooms, like helping gene and georgetti, like shoveled the glass and we need to help eat no matter how small it is, or how large actually, I am now on this, the woman’s board the service club as well, which is one of the largest organizations of charities in Chicago. And I’m very proud to be on that as well. But I can’t imagine, we don’t give back because when you give you get, it’s just my philosophy. It’s my mantra in life, you know, but I don’t have children. So during this, these three months, I can imagine all the working mothers or what working fathers. So I really applaud to the people who are parents and have children, so I never had children. So with that time that I had I, I decided that that’s what I was going to do with it.
D.J. Paris 18:33
Yeah, well, you’ve built up this impressive, you know, a series of accomplishments, and you are really a legend here in the Chicago market. So our listeners are always wanting to know and there’s not an easy answer to this question. So you know, feel free to answer it. How are you feel? I see fit, but what are some of the maybe a bit of it’s just one thing, but what are mistakes that you’ve seen agents who are trying to become successful in this business, aside from not putting a
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 19:03
stake in it till you make it? Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. I was I thought you’re gonna say what is important. I think being authentic is really important and always being truthful and respectful. Don’t be late for appointments. I mean, there’s certain things if you know, care about your clients, be there on time know the properties know the neighborhood and sell their property. I don’t understand this lockbox thing I don’t think I’ve ever had a lockbox and 26 years. Wow. And I tried to show most of my own listings or my partner Frank, who is my co broker right now. We always show our properties I just the lockbox your value, you have to show your you have to show your clients your value. And they’ll appreciate it. I mean, and they do appreciate it and if they think about the commission, I always say don’t worry about my commission worry what I’m going to give you At the end result, I mean, that’s what’s important. And actually, since this has happened, and I was so worried, I am not the tech savvy, you probably anyone, people that have been working 26 years, I mean, I think we’re a little behind a net, but I can, I can hire someone who’s very tech savvy, but they can’t hire 26 years. That’s right by that you either have it or you. But you have to respect each other for what you bring to the table. So if someone’s tech savvy, you know that that brings a lot, but I’m noticing people are calling me because they realize experience does matter. Because we’re, we’re heading into a different territory, we don’t know how this is all gonna play out. But I’ve been really busy this past week, and more so than I was in February. So I think people are the value of their home is going to, it’s more important than ever right now. And what I noticed, like with Lucien and the first day, he both of us were working from home, and he’s designing buildings. And he got a call from he’s designing, you know, four floors of an lawyer’s office building. And right away, they’re thinking, how are we going to? Are people going to come to the office? Are we going to have to redesign the building? And our one bedrooms? I mean, is everybody going to now be selling one bedrooms in a den? Because people are going to be working? Like buildings? Did lots of things are going to come out of this? And we’ll just see how it changes? It’ll be
D.J. Paris 21:17
really interesting to see what happens to commercial office space to will that, yeah, like, what’s going to happen? Is it will things really kind of go back to normal once the the vaccine, everyone’s inoculated or or is that more of a thing of the past? It’ll be really how
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 21:35
do your your employees get to the office? Do they have to take public transportation and, and then as we all know, that everything’s so litigious these days, like, you have to be careful if someone’s but Lucy and asked his 14 or 15 Architects, do they had a meeting? And they said, Do you want to work from home or for the office? And 15 of them said they want to come back to the office? Yeah. So I like the office still. But I mean, there’s some value of being able to, you know, be on your sofa and read emails and things. But I really like seeing other people, I think you get energy energy is really important.
D.J. Paris 22:12
Yeah, we’re trying to figure that out here in our own office, as well as when did we start letting agents come in using the office? And it’s really something to think about, especially because it’s not the same 15 people every day, we have hundreds and hundreds of agents that we’re trying to, like, how do we do that? And very few agents really even want to use the office. But the ones that do it’s like, okay, how do you know? And so we’re all trying to figure that out. But I’m curious, since Go ahead,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 22:36
I’m sorry, I was just say, compass, I have to say I just started compass. And then three, four months later this happened. But they really have so many tools that they like they were in the right place for this. Because that you could work from home and look at zoom. I mean, will people stop doing zoom? I don’t know. We’ll just so many unanswered questions.
D.J. Paris 22:59
So for the last the last three months, while the pandemic has been happening, and will continue to, unfortunately, probably happen for some time. How has that changed with your communication? Are you are you doing more zoom meetings? Are you doing more phone calls? How has that affected your your day to day activity? Since you’re not able to get in front of clients as often?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 23:23
I’ve been picking up the phone and calling people I’m old school. I think there’s something to be said about that. I think sometimes zoom. I mean, we didn’t know like for people their photo is in or their picture they’re not on or they insulting the others are. I still like calling returning clients. But it did was very helpful, because this was the springtime for a lot of fundraisers, like the gala. And I was, we did a lot we did a couple of them on Zoom. We’re creative on how to raise money. That zoom was very helpful for and for us having committee meetings. But when it comes to my clients, I I would pick up the phone and call them and then they could, you know, call me back and I think a lot of us were a little shell shocked. And I think sometimes you can you can kind of it’s hard. It’s hard for me to fake it. So I’d rather just be on the phone because I wear my heart on my shoulders. And sometimes I just wasn’t in my pajamas. But I wasn’t necessarily like that. I didn’t have the matt Larose suit luck, necessarily.
D.J. Paris 24:29
So you have made a real name for yourself in the luxury market. You’ve you’ve done a huge, huge accomplishments and in luxury real estate. Can you talk a little bit about you know how that came to be? You know, there are agents that focus on non luxury properties, some focus in luxury. How did that unfold for you?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 24:48
I think it’s because I worked at Morgan Stanley and I went to Northwestern and I, when I was partnering with Rick, a lot of times I would be the one who would talk to the husbands and he would talk to like at the at the table or he was But the babies, I think that I knew my shit. And I think I think smart people who live in those homes appreciate and I think that they appreciate that I’m a hard worker. I remember the first time I got a listing at 209, the very prominent Chicago family hired me and I remember seeing they’re always in the, like, the front pages and I said, why did why? Yeah, the cut the policeman’s daughter, and even the money manager was there. And he said, Because you’re the policeman’s daughter.
D.J. Paris 25:37
Ah, yeah. Well, who?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 25:41
But that isn’t it wasn’t as I didn’t make it up to market. It’s just the truth. And I think I think if you’re authentic, I think smart people and people who have luxury, they’re no dummies? I mean, no. And you can’t you can’t fake it. And, you know, you just have to, they know who’s sincere. They know. And they’ve done the research on you if they’ve made calls. And sure they called their friends. And, you know, and I think then if someone you sell one, then another one will call and save Melinda was really great to work with. And I think it’s, as I mentioned, when you ask some things, I think it’s really important. We have fun. Yeah. And I think people I think people really have liked working with me, I actually make myself laugh. Sometimes I think of like, I think humor is really important in life. It’s like that to me, I want to laugh. I want to you know, we can’t I don’t take I take my work seriously, but not myself. Yeah. And I think I think people want to work with people they like, like people say, I don’t want to work with friends or family. I said, What do you want to work with people you hate? And you know, your enemies? I don’t understand that one, either? Well, I
D.J. Paris 26:50
think a lot of times when people say they don’t want to work with friends and family, my guess is that for the majority of people who say that, it’s that they’re worried that they’re going to make a mistake, and then that would be hurting the people closest to them. Which I guess is a fair thing to consider. But I always say, Well, who better to who’s more likely to forgive you if you do make a mistake is friends and family. So I always think, well, maybe when people say that, they think well, I don’t I don’t really know my shit, right? Maybe that’s what they’re saying. And they’re saying, I don’t want my friends and family to see that I don’t know, my shed or I don’t want to provide a lower level of service,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 27:29
I would work harder for someone that I cared about. But in this market to it’s been really important for the past least three years pricing. And if you’re not priced appropriately, there are times when the first broker, you kind of feel sorry for it, because they just have unrealistic expectations. I mean, we weren’t necessarily seeing the 80 19% increases in prices that we were seeing before the recession of the last time. And if people were thinking, well, I hear everyone’s saying, Oh, I read this, or in New York, I mean, San Francisco, like this is Chicago, and we have a lot of money, but we’re just it’s a different market. But when Pete if we can’t be realistic, if we listen and tell people what they want to hear it, you’re just like, sabotaging yourself. And you know, you’re not doing a justice. But sometimes they’ll say, I’ll try it. And I’ll say, let’s try it at this price. But if we don’t get any showings, we know it’s not priced properly, which is what I told you, you have to respect that.
D.J. Paris 28:29
And are you? Is it easier for you, you know, 26 years in to have conversations with sellers, about pricing, when the sellers expectation is not in alignment with reality?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 28:42
I have a hard time not taking that listing? Sure. I have to say, because I think you and I can go through the process are going to beat me up. I mean, that’s true. You think you should be thinking about your clients, at least every one of them once a day? Well, they’re thinking about you three times a day, what are they doing for me to sell this property? So I think, to be realistic about the market, you show them the statistics and the but everybody thinks they have the best house.
D.J. Paris 29:10
I know the statistics say this, but or they’ll say, Well, let’s try. Let’s just try and
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 29:18
get people signed that agreement that after 30 days, when they say let’s try, then you need to agree to sign where I told you to list the pricer walk away. But I need to do that myself. I mean, we hit if you don’t learn and keep on growing you die. So yeah, you know, and I’m trying to learn the computer and I need to grow, you know, and I am compasses actually challenged me. And I appreciate that.
D.J. Paris 29:44
Well, they’re very tech forward
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 29:47
in Colorado Baker, and they all I mean, I could see they’re all at the whole, the whole platform is changing. But you know, this is this is really accelerated. There was a great Inman seminar that was online was completely online. I was in New York in January, even the owner of Keller Williams, who was kind of resisting said this is this is disruption. This is you know, it’s but he also said we have to be kinder to each other as well. Let’s hope we you know, we get to work on this together.
D.J. Paris 30:18
Well, it is called a cooperative Commission, which is something that agents maybe sometimes forget I, I was having a Carrie McCormick from add properties comes on once a month to talk about the market. And she’s, I’m sure you probably know, Carrie, I’ve run into her. She’s a very lovely person. She was. So we were we were about ready to get on and she goes, she was at a she was a little shook up and I said always, there’s something wrong. You want to reschedule. She goes, No, she goes, I just can’t believe how some brokers talk to me. And she goes, You just wouldn’t I wish I could record some of these conversations. She’s like they some brokers just just are so rude, and so mean, and and she is not a complainer, but she’s like, she just couldn’t believe it. She’s like, I’ve been doing this 21 years. And It shocks me still how some people talk, you know, and, you know, the whole idea of working with kindness and empathy. And,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 31:12
yeah, well, when I first got married lot of people, some of my competition told people I was in Paris, like, I retired. I’m off in the Riviera somewhere, like, what about an open house where? You know, in my dreams, you know, but yeah, you just you shame shame. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 31:30
yeah, it’s, you know, and also to it, there seems to be an I’ve talked to a lot of brokers over the years on the show, who say, you know, sometimes I come in with an offer, the broker on the other side of the deal is a somebody I know very well, and we might not even be the the highest offer. And sometimes that broker who really will sell that to their client, because they know that I’ll get the deal done. And they trust me, and they like me, and, and so lonely.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 31:55
Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes you give a person an offer, and they don’t even respond to you for a couple of days. Like, shame, shame.
D.J. Paris 32:06
You said something very important. Earlier, I just want to go back to you talked about doing your own showings when when you have listings and not using lockboxes. And, and that is still an ongoing debate, I hear in the, at least here in Chicago, about should you do your showing, should you not? I don’t see any reason not to do a showing. But you know, that’s that’s obviously very important to you. And I just want to make sure I reiterate that point to our listeners that you are getting paid very handsomely to sell a property and to show up to assist the buyer’s agent is probably a good move, if you can, if you can do it. Of course,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 32:40
well, one of my first couple of years in sales, I sold the house to Liz fair. And Liz fair bought the house because I it was a it was it didn’t have garage, it was housed in Lincoln Park, and Pine Grove. But anyway, there was a little like reading nook, and I said the previous owner used to like to read her books here. And Liz said, I bought that house because Melinda said that her her broker was Bobby Doherty at the time, she goes, because that’s where I’m gonna write my music. She goes, after I bought, I realized I have to carry my drums and my guitar from because it doesn’t ever garage. But I was so fixated that that’s where I was gonna write my music. And if I would have left the keys there, Bobby would not have thought of that because it was the real truth. I did hear. You know, everybody has a story. And every home has a story. And it’s worth being told.
D.J. Paris 33:31
It is and it helps it helps the buyer feel more connected to the home to understand, like Liz fair, who’s a musician who needs that sort of space for you to be able to say, Oh, the previous owner, did you know they’re reading here, she then can then interpret that in what she needs. So I think you’re absolutely right, and what a what a great message. To to listeners to
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 33:53
real estate is a noun and a verb. You know, as for a real estate agent, we have to kind of communicate that relate how it feels to live in this house. And really, when you can do that you can see the other person kind of connecting. That’s why I don’t think there will ever be Realtors aren’t going to disappear. People aren’t necessarily maybe they’re buying homes at a certain price range without seeing the home. But the house could smell wrong. The Sunshine can’t be right the karma, the energy. I mean, I’ve had people even, you know, during the final walkthrough, like have an energy specialist come by and say are you sure this house is a good one for me? You know, or, like, you know, it’s
D.J. Paris 34:37
funny. When I bought my first condo which was an uptown million years ago, my realtor at the time I was in a completely different profession. But my realtor said you’re just no he was not. He was not a new agey, touchy feely kind of person. But he said, here’s what’s going to happen because it was my first time buying a property. He said we’re going to walk through about 20 places over the next month. And or however we were doing it, he goes, most of them will just feel wrong the moment you walk in, and when that happens, just tell me it doesn’t feel right. I mean, we can still walk through but if it doesn’t feel right, just tell me Well mark it off the list because one one of these places you’re going to walk in, and it’s just going to feel right. And when it does, you have to tell me that too. And he was absolutely right. That’s exactly how it works. There’s an energy to a home now that maybe that doesn’t work that way for everyone. But it’s so he was certainly right in my case. And the and I walked into it wasn’t even finished. It was they were converting it from apartments to condos. And I had a hard time even visualizing what is this going to look like? And in but I knew it felt right. And it ended up being the right purchase. So
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 35:44
but then there are you know, buildings like that you have to buy on floor plans. So yeah, the opportunity but if you kind of know the location and you trust the design, and you know, unfortunately the past 10 years since the recession, we’ve been seeing a lot of apartment buildings being built. Yeah, nine Walton and I think helmet yawns building is beautiful. I hope you know, there. There haven’t been that many beautiful, beautiful luxury buildings are built I think, in the city. It’s been mostly rentals. I think now they were starting to do I think the bowtique buildings are really interesting. It’s gonna be interesting to see how people are gonna get they’re gonna go to the suburbs to we’ll see.
D.J. Paris 36:27
Yeah, what is your thought on that? That’s actually a really great question. Do you have obviously no one has a crystal ball but but what’s your your your instinct on that?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 36:35
Well, I actually believe in it before this. I was working at six years on a project in one Winnetka, which was beautiful, and I had half of it sold. And we worked six years 36 committee meetings, and it did at the final hours, but I could see how people were attached to their country club to their grandchildren. And they didn’t want to leave the community, they weren’t ready to move the city. And Lucien is designing one and Oakbrook. Now, which the same I mean, people love the community. But I do see where people now are thinking if we have to bunker down, they probably would like a house, maybe. And then you know, I think once they’ve been made lot of people went to Lake Forest or the south suburbs where I’m from, and they’ve spent some time with their family. Because if you’re going to be locked in, you’re just need more space. It’s going to be interesting. And buildings are going to be designed with all this common area where people didn’t want to be in those rooms together again, or in the pools or in the big gyms in the fancy whatever they’ve been, will be I think coops might do well, or smaller vintage buildings again, because they’re more private and less, you know. Okay, do
D.J. Paris 37:42
you have more control later?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 37:44
D.J. Paris 37:44
have control about who’s Yeah, who’s coming in? And yeah,
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 37:47
right. I mean, we’ll see. But I think I mean, I always think the suburbs appeal to people for certain reasons. I think people like to go back to where they, you know, I’m a city girl. So there are people that always wanted to go back to the country club, and I think this mind accelerated a little bit.
D.J. Paris 38:06
Yeah, well, maybe and then and then but prior to the pandemic, there was, you know, there’s a lot of people who retire and then want to move back into I know, my, my parents are from the northwest, or they’re from North Shore, really. And but they we were up down in Central Illinois in Peoria. But they’ve always thought, you know, now they wouldn’t do this. But if they ever had moved back to Chicago, they would have loved to have lived in Gold Coast or somewhere somewhere around there. Because Oh, they know, they know and they’re thrilled that I live in River North but but the idea of of, you know, people retire they come back sometimes to the city. And I think that’s a really cool thing too. Because Chicago, we’re so lucky to have such the downtown we have is just up.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 38:49
Oh, and the lakefront I was just I have a listing on Astor 1300 When I went show the property I actually like just sat outside and said Look how beautiful this city in the street is, you know, yeah. Really beautiful. I just can’t wait for the farmers markets to come back and all the things that makes Chicago Great. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 39:12
it is. It is. We have beautiful architecture here. We have a beautiful city and you know, obviously.
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 39:18
Yeah, I just found out that he has a distant relative to Goldberg which is fun. And everybody who has been on the show always brings up architecture is really I mean Chicago does have beautiful New York has since they don’t have so many of them because we have height restrictions and our New York has grown so much because it’s probably easier to get a building built in New York than it is in Chicago because we’re pretty protective. You know, but we had the foresight like the retail families and local retail is disappearing. Montgomery Ward’s gave the millennial Park and Grant Park to the city and said never build this up. This will be a weaver free zoo Lincoln Park Zoo. You know how
D.J. Paris 39:58
lucky we are to have Have those things
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 40:00
D.J. Paris 40:02
Yeah. Well, for anyone listening who isn’t a real estate agent, but might be a buyer or a seller who’s looking to work with millennials, somebody like yourself with with all this experience and and you know, you’re obviously do a tremendous job for your clients. What is the best way someone should reach out to you in case they’re looking to work with you?
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 40:23
Well, I actually to call me I’m still old school 312-953-3425 If you ever see myself or my dog or Lucien, please stop by and just say hello. One thing I think that we did mention his passion and I’m very passionate about Chicago and I’m very passionate about real estate, please, or Melinda Jack a bitch le firstname.lastname@example.org. But feel free to call me because I do pick up my phone. Lucien said This is funny. He started his first big project since he left SLM was the Park Hyatt. Sure. And the Pritzker has called them and he said if he didn’t pick up that phone, he knows they would have called Helmut Yan. So pick up the phone.
D.J. Paris 41:07
Wow, what a great, what a great final message, pick up your phone call. And also you said something very profound. I just want to reiterate it, you said you should be thinking about your clients once at least once a day because they’re thinking about you three times a day. And and that’s that’s a very, very strong point. So let’s let’s end with that. But Melinda, this was such a pleasure for us. We had a wonderful time chatting with you. You know, I would congratulate you on I would thank you Well, I’m glad to hear that I would congratulate you on all your success. But I’m excited just to continue to watch your success I guess and, and I will hopefully run into you walking around the neighborhood which I tend to do a
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 41:48
lot buy you a drink at every cafe. Hey,
D.J. Paris 41:51
I will take I will take you up on that because it is literally four steps from where I live. So I will I will take a minute but anyway, it was a pleasure. On behalf of the listeners we want to thank Melinda for taking time out of her incredibly busy life to join us on the podcast provide value to our listeners and our viewers. And also on behalf of Melinda and myself we want to thank the listeners and viewers for continuing to support our show. Please follow us on Facebook which is facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod and also tell a friend think of one other real estate professional that could benefit from hearing this this great interview with Melinda and send them a link to the show. So we can continue to support more and more agents. So Linda, thank you so much. It was such a pleasure chatting with you stay healthy. Yes, stay and safe, stay healthy and safe and be
Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange 42:41
D.J. Paris 42:42
yes, be kind. Thank you so much. Okay. Bye