When it rings – or, well, these days, when it chimes or buzzes or vibrates or plays a song – you pick it up. Simple as that. In fact, for REALTOR® Susan Gee Berry of Keller Williams Peninsula Estates in the south San Francisco Bay Area and San Mateo County, answering your phone is the most basic thing you can do. To Susan, it sets the tone – pardon the pun – for the rest of a potential client transaction.
“It’s just the personal side of the things. We’re a customer-based, relationship-based business. I answer my phone, I keep in contact with my clients when I’m working with them, They are my priority. When the phone rings I answer. It sounds like everybody should answer their phone but not everybody does. It bothers me as well when other agents don’t answer their phone when I call,” Susan said. “I pride myself in terms of being communicative and helping them understand the process and answering any questions I can to make that process better.
Any time they have a question I am here, whether it’s small or not. I’m not just here for a listing. I’m here as a friend, I’m here to counsel them, just to be a resource to them. I’m not pushy; if the process takes a year, that’s fine. I’m not pushing you to buy or sell tomorrow.”
Susan, whose children are all grown now, got into real estate in 1997 after moving from Canada to California and the kids were in school. It was actually a return to home for Susan – the family moved north of the border because her husband was a professional football player with the Canadian Football League, but Susan is originally from San Mateo County. When she began her real estate career, she started in Menlo Park with a small, female-owned boutique agency and called it the best experience she’s ever had. It set the tone for her future. Now Susan works as a solo agent and occasionally partners up at KW with her daughter-in-law, who also got into the business.
“I generally do the Bay Area, but I have gone over to Alameda County (to Hayward, Union City, Fremont, and Newark, among other cities). I’m a more client-centric agent and not a territorial one. Most of my clients are referrals so I go where they go,” she said. “And if I’m not comfortable I am up front and tell them I can recommend a different agent.”
The San Mateo County area also makes it easy for Susan as potential home buyers are lured by its sterling reputation. The county is known for its high-ranking schools, protected lands, canyons, beautiful parks integrated into the cities, and the waterways especially in Foster City and Redwood Shores. When she’s not working, Susan loves to spend time with her children, grandchildren, and her mother. And she has no plans to slow down, saying she’d like to work for another 10 years.
“I would just like to continue to be grounded and be the best person I can for my clients,” she said. “I don’t foresee doing this forever. But I’d like to plan for my immediate family and to help my clients see their future. I can see it’s overwhelming for the young kids to get into the market and make their way.”