Agent Snapshot: D. J. Stavropoulos, Realtor, Keller Williams

by Chicago Agent

What was your first job in the real estate industry? Agent
Where did you grow up? Springfield, Massachusetts (90 miles west of Boston)
Growing up, what did you want to be? I wanted to be an architect because that’s what Mike Brady did (on “The Brady Bunch”). I got into Rhode Island School of Design, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Syracuse University and chose Syracuse. But three months into the program, I realized I couldn’t stay up all night in a studio forcing creativity and couldn’t get continued scholarships with a C average (typical for architecture students), which I desperately needed to pay for school. I could study for exams and write papers and get straight As, so that’s what I did. I switched majors to computer science and graduated summa cum laude.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I take a hot bath and shut my eyes. That typically nearly puts me to sleep and clears my mind or allows me to think pleasant thoughts.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? George Washington. I’d ask him all about what it took to be the first president of a new country, establish the U. S. Constitution, and how he came to free his slaves.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? On my screened porch. There’s no place like home. We can sit out there three seasons of the year (even in the rain) and feel and smell nature with our pets. We get to be outside without actually being outside.
What do you love most about the industry? It requires such a vast array of skills that I never had the opportunity to use. My corporate jobs were extremely rigid and one-note. I have never used so many different skills in a single job nor realized how important they all are in contributing to a successful real estate career.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I think way outside the box and try to do what no one else does. It’s very easy to R&D (rip off and duplicate) what other successful agents have done, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. It takes ingenuity, wisdom, and courage to discover something new that works and makes you different.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Adjusting my persona to better match that of my clients. People like to work with people like themselves.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Parties are a great way to meet new people with no risk involved. You can easily approach anyone there and strike up a conversation, which ultimately leads to the question, “What do you do for work.” That’s your opportunity to ask lots of questions, tell them how much you love real estate, and pique their curiosity about hiring you to help them.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Being the first in my family to attend college and getting a master’s degree. Surviving two layoffs in my corporate career. Reinventing myself for my Second Act three years ago.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? Ryan Serhan’s latest book, Sell It Like Serhant, was a great read. I love watching him and the other New York agents on BRAVO’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.” As fake as reality TV may seem, I learn a lot by watching them, and it helps me think about new approaches to take on the job.
What is your favorite restaurant? Tiny Lou’s (in Hotel Clermont), but we rarely eat twice anywhere because Atlanta keeps opening new restaurants, and we can’t keep up. We’re eating there a third time for our honeymoon this fall. The food, atmosphere, and service is top notch. We had no less than ten people wish us a happy anniversary there last year.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Atlanta? The Lilli is outstanding. I love that Atlanta’s skyscrapers are far enough apart to view them as distinct pieces of art. She looks beautiful from every angle. There are several “Jenga-like” buildings going up in big cities like New York. This is ours right now, and it feels like a chic, luxury condo inside, especially from the rooftop. I’m surprised these are only rentals.
What kind of car do you drive? A black 2008 Honda Civic coupe. I buy and drive cars for about 12-15 years and then start over. To me, real estate is a better investment because it appreciates in value. I was pressured to buy a Mercedes when I started selling real estate, but I didn’t think that made sense at the time.
Smartphone or paper? Both. I make heavy use of my phone for calendaring and apps, but I still carry around manila folders like a pack rat. Everything is in orderly piles.
What is your favorite city after Atlanta?Amsterdam. I spend three days there on my way back from India seven years ago. It’s beautiful, everyone speaks English, and there are farms full of tulips just outside the city.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? It’s not as easy as it looks, so work hard.
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? The new Keller Williams app. It hasn’t been released to the public yet, but it looks like it’s going to change the world.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? I don’t use enough to have a favorite follow. I prefer Instagram because pictures say so much more than words. ToulouseLaBanane makes me laugh. He’s a French sock monkey similar to our own. I’ve taken ours around the world and even photographed him at the Taj Mahal as tourists watched curiously.