Penny Stokes-Hilton turned a lackluster real estate experience into a launchpad for success. When she and her husband decided to move to Florida from England in 2012 and purchase their dream home, she felt that many things could have been handled better. “I found some of the process a little baffling because I was unfamiliar with the Florida contracts and the American way of doing things here.” She decided there was an opportunity to help others by becoming a realtor who fully listened to her clients and provided honest advice.
At first, she thought her niche would be in helping international clients, but it soon became clear that Americans needed her service as well. “There are people moving here from every area of the country, and many of the laws and contracts are different from state to state. I’m here to help people understand everything from the get-go, not assume that everyone understands the process, and be as helpful as possible. That approach has propelled me to success.”
According to Penny, the Orlando real estate market is one of the strongest and most active in the country. Often, when people visit the area on vacation, they love it so much that they decide they need a property themselves, whether it’s a vacation home rental property or a private residential home. “Around 50-60% of my business is with investors, but I also have many clients who are purely interested in residential homes. We have beautiful homes from $400,000 into the millions, to fit everyone’s budget.” As a luxury home investment advisor with Top Villas Realty, Penny provides expert guidance in helping clients determine which vacation homes will offer the maximum rental return on their investment.
Whether she’s selling a private home or vacation rental, Penny still gets excited when she’s able to show and view property. Even as a child, she had a passion for real estate. “From the minute I was born property must have been in my veins, because as a young child I would ask if we could go look at houses,” she recalls with a laugh. “My mother would tell me other children want to go to the toy store, but you just want to look at houses!” With a reputation for frequently working 12- to 14-hour days, Penny has a reputation as a non-stop dynamo who eats, sleeps, and breathes real estate. Living by the motto of “work hard today, reap rewards,” she has achieved amazing success. Last year she closed just under $40 million in sales.
In her spare time, Penny and her husband, both self-described “foodies,” love cooking at home and entertaining as well as dining out at all of the amazing restaurant options that Orlando offers. As she looks ahead, she sees no limit for her thriving business that’s built on old-fashioned customer service. “This area is growing tremendously, and I want to continue growing with it. It’s been an absolute joy and honor to have had the last 11 years here in the U.S. I’ve loved every joyous moment of it. I really am living the American dream.”