TOP REAL ESTATE AGENT IN FLORIDA – DIANE STERLING
“When your last name is Sterling, you have to be really, really good at what you do,” says Top Real Estate Agent in Florida Diane Sterling of Orlando, Keller Williams Advantage Realty. “My motto is, ‘Sterling Quality…Sterling Results.’” Carrying a long list of commendations, including a Five Star Customer Satisfaction Award and multiple number one rankings for sales volume, Diane has clearly proven her commitment to that motto.
Originally from the Washington, DC area, Diane moved to Florida in 1982, looking for warmer weather and a change of scenery. She immediately grew to love the Central Florida area and has called it home ever since. She immediately found a job in the Defense Contracting field, where she had previously worked up North.
Always one for a challenge and for more education, Diane decided to attend graduate school full-time in the evening while continuing to work full time during the day. She earned a Masters Degree in Educational Media from the University of Central Florida, to add to her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland. With her advanced degree, Diane was able to procure a position as a Research Program Director in Academia, which she parlayed into a position with a Fortune 500 telecommunications software company. In 1987, in an attempt to find distraction from the grief of a miscarriage, she began taking night classes to obtain her real estate license. “I figured it would keep me busy in the evenings and take my mind off things,” she says. “I still kept my corporate day job, and continued renewing my license every two years, using it for personal investments and referrals.” In 2003, following a massive corporate layoff at her workplace, she decided the time was right to put that license to use full-time. “It was disheartening to be laid off after ten years with the company, and having given so much of my time, energy and talent to them. It was at that moment I decided that I needed to have my own business, so that my destiny would be in my own hands from then on, and not subject to some corporate entity’s decisions.”
Joining up with the regional Watson Realty Corporation, she hit the ground running and quickly rose to join the top one to two percent of REALTORS® in the Central Florida region. Her years in Strategic Marketing, Market Research and Training had helped her develop a skill set that transferred readily to real estate sales. “Many of the critically important skills I had used in the corporate world are still integral to my success as a top real estate agent—good communication skills, analytical and research skills, marketing, and a keen ability to really listen and understand what a client needs.”
In January of 2012, Diane moved to Keller Williams. Though she has only positive things to say about Watson, she felt it was time to make the switch from a regional company to one with a national and international presence. “I chose Keller Williams because I want to continue to grow my business, yet achieve a better balance between my work and personal lives, and Keller Williams can help me do that,” she explains. Diane also points to the company’s emphasis on continuing education for their agents as a key component of her decision. “Keller Williams is very ‘agent-centric versus corporate-centric; and has a strong focus on growing your knowledge base, and keeping on top of new trends and new technologies.” Hardly surprising for someone who has already racked up an impressive list of designations: CRS, ALHS, AHS, ABR, REO and TRC among them. Additionally, Diane also has her broker’s license, which she obtained “not because I ever plan to be the office broker, but because I wanted to be more knowledgeable for my clients.”
While conceding that Central Florida has been hit hard by the market downturn, Diane has been able to weather the storm quite well with her strong work ethic and by providing her clients with top-notch service. “I always do my homework,” she says. “I make sure my clients have an accurate view of the market, whether they are buying or selling. It’s important to set expectations for them and look out for their best interests, above mine. It’s about both taking care of people as well as caring for people. The old saying ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ is very true in real estate. Helping clients with the sale or purchase of a home (for many people their largest investment ever) is a big responsibility, and one that I don’t take lightly.” Even beyond the sale, I want to be the first person they think of and call when they need a roofer, electrician, handyman, etc. I aim to be my clients’ ‘REALTOR® for Life’ not just for one transaction.
Diane, married with two college-age daughters, is looking forward to expanding her business and her presence in the Central Florida region. “I’m looking forward to adding people to my team who share a similar work ethic and commitment to excellence.”While she acknowledges that her work requires much more than a ‘nine-to-five’ weekday schedule, she still finds time to be active at her church and do volunteer work. She and her husband of 25 years, Gary, volunteer to help the homeless through their local church, with a charity called The Vines— The Forgotten Ones ministry. The Vines provides meals, transportation and assistance for the homeless. “There are a lot of good people out there who, through no fault of their own, have become homeless. I’m thankful that we are blessed to be able to help provide meals and monetary assistance for them to make a difference in their lives in their time of need.”
For Diane, “Sterling Quality…Sterling Results” has been far more than the clever use of a fortunate surname: it’s been a highly successful business plan.