Under shelter-in-place, home is more meaningful than ever. Home is a sanctuary, it’s where we find refuge, comfort, and our loved ones. And now it’s also the office, the gym, a school, playground, and more. From Los Angeles to the Bay Area, our agents are adapting their business to serve their clients like never before — from within their own homes. In this series, we take a closer look at a day in the life of our extraordinary Compass agents in the place they know best.
Q + A with Compass agent Michele Downing
Where’s home for you?
My husband and I have lived in South Pasadena, California for 33 years. We moved to South Pas for its award-winning great public schools, small community, safe environment, and close proximity to downtown Los Angeles. We raised both our daughters in South Pas. They attended K-12 in the SPUSD school system and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
What hats are you wearing at home these days? (Example: real estate agent, parent, teacher, yogi, chef de cuisine, etc.)
Because I have grown children who are married, my hats are close to being the same as before Covid-19. The hats I wear in our home are wife, dog mother to our 100-pound black lab, house manager, neighborhood watch captain.
Tell us about a recent deal or client service during SIP.
During Covid-19, I received a call from a first time buyer who was renting a house and needed to buy a home for their family of three. They were referred to me by my dear friends and past clients. I spent hours on the phone probing them to learn about their dream home.
How did you/your clients overcome obstacles?
The biggest obstacle was not being able to meet in person. I have a system in place for all new clients, and I had to alter the system because we were all working from home. Eventually, we were able to view some homes and meet in person. I prefer not to meet my clients for the first time at the home I am showing them but under the circumstances I had to overcome this and it all worked out.
“I prefer not to meet my clients for the first time at the home I am showing them but under the circumstances I had to overcome this and it all worked out.”
What was the outcome?
I love the outcome! It was a “meant-to-be” success story. Prior to meeting the new buyers, I had been mentoring a Compass agent on listing her own personal home. We discussed the pros and cons of using the “Compass Coming Soon” to sell her house. At the time I was not working with my new clients. In the end, my clients bought her home “off market” and it will close escrow next week.
In the end, my clients bought her home “off market” and it will close escrow next week.
What is your favorite feature of your own home?
Our home was built in 1923. It has an abundance of charm and character. I love that our home was used to film the movie “13 Going on 30” in 2004. It took 20 years but we finally have updated the entire home. I have lots of favorite features of our home. When we remodeled the kitchen 15 years ago we built a huge kitchen island in the middle of the kitchen. Through the years it has been where we all congregate and share stories. My favorite feature is our kitchen!
Have you redecorated or undertaken any DIY projects under SIP?
In the beginning of the quarantine (like the first week) my husband and I were on a cleaning roll. We cleaned out closets, drawers, cabinets, basement and the garage. It was short-lived but a huge success.
What is the one room you can’t live without?
We created an outside dining area in our backyard several years ago. A large space that we can entertain in during any type of weather conditions. It is a nice extension of our home and I love the space.
Tell us about your home office.
During SIP I have a revolving office depending on my mood. I have three areas: my kitchen island, my living room game table, and my backyard outdoor patio table on a beautiful sunny day.
What do you look for in a home?
Comfort, Cozy and Character!
“I want my clients to do their due diligence in learning as much as they can about the property, even if it means knocking on the neighbor’s door to learn about the neighborhood, or taking a visit to the local building department to learn more about the history of the house.”
Do you have a favorite architectural style?
In our Pasadena area we have many strong architectural styles. My favorites are Spanish, Craftsman and Monterey Colonial. Because I live in a Colonial home I am partial to said style.
What evergreen advice do you always give your clients?
We all know the best advice in buying real estate is location, location location. I want my clients to feel confident about their purchase. I want my clients to do their due diligence in learning as much as they can about the property, even if it means knocking on the neighbor’s door to learn about the neighborhood, or taking a visit to the local building department to learn more about the history of the house. I want my clients to listen to their heart knowing they will be happy in the house for many years to come.
What local business are you supporting during SIP?
I am supporting as many South Pasadena business’ during Covid-19. We shop at the local markets, farmer markets and purchase gift cards from our boutique stores.
How did you find your way to your career in real estate?
I got married at the young age of 22 and graduated from college at the same time. My husband and I are hard workers and entrepreneurs. We started buying and fixing up houses during our first years of marriage. After two years of hard work and completing eight houses, my husband suggested I get my real estate license. The rest is history.
Why do you stay?
I stay in real estate because I love it! It brings me joy to help people to make their dreams come true. Although my degree is in agriculture science, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but real estate.
What trends have you noticed among SIP homebuyers?
The buyers looking at homes during SIP are serious buyers. They are ready to buy a house now.
What is the most wished for home feature?
Buyers have learned from SIP that outdoor living space is important. Also, homes that have good natural light and feel spacious are important for SIP times.