Love what you do. I wake up every single day grateful and thankful for the industry I am in and the relationships I have formed along the way. You only come to this world once. Doing something that you are passionate about is key to success and happiness.
As part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Selen Arditi.
Selen Arditi is a real estate professional with a diverse entrepreneurial background in fashion design, sales, marketing, and business development. Cultivating this extensive experience, Selen has channeled her talents to bring a strategic yet personable approach to the home buying and selling process. Drawing from years of exceptional client relations, Selen has built a reputation for professional customer care and proven ability to obtain the best value for her clients.
Selen was born in Turkey and later moved to Boston, where she began her career as an on-air reporter for WHDH NBC Channel 7 Boston. After much success, she decided to focus her creativity into a career in fashion. Selen went on to successfully run her own luxury women’s wear collection. She relocated to Miami where she continued her fashion career and collaborated with respected local designers, overseeing sales and marketing initiatives across markets from New York to Los Angeles and overseas.
With her background in sales and experience working with a high-profile clientele, Selen decided to embark on a career in real estate. As an expert in fashion and avid world traveler, Selen has mastered the skills of ingenuity, persistence, and communication. She belongs to a family of seasoned real estate experts, who have developed numerous significant properties throughout South Florida, New York, Washington DC and various international cities. Being immersed in the real estate development world has provided Selen with exceptional knowledge of global markets, making her an unequivocal go-to resource for her clients.
When not assisting clients or previewing properties throughout South Florida, Selen spends her free time golfing, skiing, pursuing her love for culinary, and has a passion for wine. Selen holds the WSET Level 4 Award in Wines and plans to continue her education in this field. Selen is fluent in English, Turkish, and conversational Spanish.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
I come from a family of seasoned real estate experts who have developed significant projects throughout South Florida, New York, Washington D.C. and well as various international cities. After running my own luxury women’s wear company for over ten years, and selling it, the next natural step was to follow the footsteps of my family and join them in the real estate industry.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
A celebrity who shall remain unnamed was referred to me, to help her find her dream home in Miami. As you can imagine, I was quite nervous and intimidated when I met her for the very first time. Within minutes, we found out we had a lot in common… including fashion! Our day not only entailed house hunting, but included a shopping trip to some favorite local boutiques.
I did find her dream home and we have remained close friends since. In the end, celebrity, non-celebrity, male, female, young, old, it’s all about building trust and forming long-lasting meaningful relationships.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am always working on something exciting! I have clients all around the world and get to travel frequently to see them. My latest endeavor is working on bringing one of Miami’s hottest restaurants to the downtown Aspen, CO area. I have known the owners for over fifteen years and recently flew to Aspen to work with local Compass agents and help find the perfect restaurant space. I love traveling to new cities, meeting with agents, and exploring what each city has to offer.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Compass is changing how agents and clients navigate the process of finding or selling a home through their proprietary platform of innovative tools and programs. From the minute my team and I joined Compass, the entire staff’s focus was to make sure they did everything in their power to help us be better and more productive. With the mindset of a startup and the sophistication of a luxury brand, Compass is the future of real estate and an industry leader.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Without a doubt I owe my success to my two partners, Michael Martirena and Ivan Chorney. They believed in me and my potential success from day one. Without their support, guidance, mentorship and experience I would not be where I am today as a “top producer”.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?
Women may dominate the real estate industry, but they still don’t occupy as many executive-level positions as men, according to the Urban Land Institute’s 2015 survey of women in leadership. Having a career in Real estate requires you to work 24 hours, 7 days a week. It is extremely competitive and requires a huge time commitment. With that being said, this industry can be challenging for women who are trying to raise families at the same time. Women try to juggle both, but naturally family, and children tend to set precedence. Not being able to make the full-time commitment in this field, allows for the person competing against you to do the next big deal or development.
My advice to women seeking advancement is to keep aspiring to be better. Pay attention to opportunities even if you’re concerned there are others in the ring. It will make you stronger, better at negotiating. Go up the ladder. Each step teaches how to handle increasing responsibilities and stress.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
Keep pushing yourself to do better. I encourage training, mentorship, learning the ropes, personal development and networking extremely valuable. These should be done across all facets of our industry to support this gender gap. Companies should do a better job of implementing industry training, personal development, and mentoring which would make a difference in the growth of leadership within our field. Women will feel more confident, empowered, and more likely to become leaders.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
- Pay Inequity. The pay for men outpaces those of women in real estate.
- Limited Leadership Roles. One of the key reasons for a lack of pay equity is the lack of leadership roles for women.
- Lack of Mentorship. Finding a mentor can be challenging for women seeking career development in real estate. A mentor can provide crucial guidance and accountability. Most top performers credit their success in large part to a mentor early in their career.
- Work/Life Balance and/or Gender Discrimination. Women who choose to seek a healthier work/life balance, for instance, often face criticism from both men and women. They can be overlooked for advancement for choosing to prioritize time with family, or taking extended parental leave.
- Career Advancement. Even when they work harder, put in more hours, and sell more, women are often overlooked for C-level and executive roles in real estate.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
1. People and their stories. Everyone has a story, and each one fascinates me. It’s the people I meet, that I would otherwise not have known, and the life stories they share with me that I love the most about my job.
2. Each day it’s something new. Sure, there are regular tasks, but every day brings a different combination of things. New people, new properties, new obstacles to get past … no two days are ever the same.
3. A chance to do good. Moving is high on the list of stressful things to do, so when I’m able to ease stress and burden for my clients and to help them get where they want to go, it feels really good.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. Cultivating a Database. It is shocking to me how most agents overlook the importance of staying in touch with their contacts on a regular basis. Inexperienced agents focus on the immediate sale and fail to follow up with their clients after the transaction. Cultivating your database for leads and referrals is crucial if you want to succeed. Don’t be shy to ask your clients for referrals. Engage visitors to your website seeking information who are early in the buying cycle. Schedule emails to promote your next listing, or something interesting happening in the market, and onboard new clients with a strategic drip campaign.
2. Adapting to Technology Trends. Few industries evolve as much as the real estate industry. Markets and technology change on a regular basis. Buying or selling a home can be extremely stressful. One of the reasons my team and I joined Compass is because of how technologically advanced they are. Their tools make the process for our buyers and seller’s a positive and enjoyable experience.
3. Higher Level of Education. Everyone thinks that it is easy to be a real estate agent. South Florida has over 65,000 agents. As I mentioned before this is a 24 hour, 7 day a week career. People run out, get their license, and think they will become millionaires overnight. This is definitely not the case! I think they need to make it much more challenging to get a real estate license, by making the state exam more difficult, and require several training sessions to further your education throughout the year.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Persistence, drive, communication, encouragement, and support. I am a perfectionist and I always thought I could do everything myself. With the help of my partners and my team, I am able to perform at the highest level possible. We are a family and invest in each other. We all work extremely hard, but also have fun along the way. The team environment allows you to celebrate each other’s successes.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
1. Love what you do. I wake up every single day grateful and thankful for the industry I am in and the relationships I have formed along the way. You only come to this world once. Doing something that you are passionate about is key to success and happiness.
2. Invest in your clients. This industry is all about building relationships and creating lasting ones. I run into so many agents who are only interested in “closing the deal”. If you care and invest in your clients, they can become lifelong friendships. They can open doors to many other opportunities and possibilities.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are constantly learning something new in this industry. I have always been extremely inquisitive. I never stop asking questions. The agents in your brokerage firm are one of the best resources for you to obtain free and insightful information.
4. Be different, be creative. Find ways to set yourself apart from the rest. I have always been an extremely outgoing, personable person. Not only is it important to build relationships with your clients, but I also focus on building them with agents all over the world. Building your referral network could potentially bring you up to 40% of your business.
5. Find a mentor. Especially if you are just starting out in the real estate world, to be able to “shadow” a seasoned agent/broker is more valuable than any class you will ever take, or book you will ever read.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Practicing gratitude and positive thinking everyday! 2019 was one of the most difficult years of my life. Not only professionally but personally. Practicing daily gratitude, positive thinking, and meditation, helped me overcome my anxiety and depression. I wish everyone could implement this into their daily lives. Practicing gratitude will help you accomplish your goals, change your mindset, and encourage the development of patience, humility, and wisdom.
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