Five Questions With: Leann D’Ettore

Leann D’Ettore is a licensed real estate broker and owner of Homistic Real Estate Inc., which has offices in Cranston, South Kingstown and Charlestown. She is a past president of the Greater Providence Board of Realtors and is now vice president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.

D’Ettore was recently named the Greater Providence board’s Realtor of the Year, the second time she’s secured that designation. She spoke recently with the Providence Business News.

PBN: You recently were the president of the Greater Providence Board of Realtors and are now in a leadership position with the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. What do these positions involve?

D’ETTORE: I’m past president now. You’re serving the members and you’re serving the board’s best interests. But as time changes, the strategic plan changes. The strategic plan is when a group of volunteers affiliated with the board gets together and they assess the needs of homeowners, the industry, the members and the board as a whole. The president’s job is to enforce and uphold that strategic plan. It’s involvement on every level. It’s traveling to Washington, D.C. It’s speaking with senators and congressmen about all of the real estate issues that could affect home ownership, and our industry as a whole.

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PBN: How did you enter this profession?

D’ETTORE: I was in the medical field. I was basically trying to find out what I was trying to do with my life. Everyone has their own path. For me, there was a lot of pressure … to follow some practical road, and that’s what I did. In the midst of that, a group of friends came up to me, real estate investors, and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to open up a brokerage. You are in college. Would you like to make some extra money?’ I started working at a real estate brokerage. I was working as a secretary. I fell up on real estate by accident, by working with this crew. I thought this sounds like a lot of fun. Why don’t I get my real estate license? I did not know I would become the top producer for the office within my first six months. I was working in a hospital. I was exhausted. I thought, this is not where I want to be.

PBN: How did you get started at Homistic Real Estate?

D’ETTORE: A year after working for that company, as amazing as they were, I knew it was time to follow my new dream and open my own real estate brokerage. I was 23 years old. I was still in school. I walked away from the medical field completely. I left it all behind. … [With a partner], we started with a different name. That company wanted to start a national franchise. I ended up trademarking Homistic Real Estate. It’s been 14 years now since we opened.

PBN: What is the greatest pitfall of the real estate profession?

D’ETTORE: With a typical business, people come up with a marketing plan and they abide by that plan and they’re successful. In real estate, the pitfall is there are many factors that allow you to lose control of your business. It’s very much based on the economy. You need to learn to adapt. When we opened up our business, we were working in new construction. All of it collapsed. I had to integrate foreclosures into my business.

PBN: What advice do you offer the person who is entering the profession on making it through the ups and downs?

D’ETTORE: If you like the routine life and you want every day to be the same, it’s not the industry for you.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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