Tracy Mansolillo is a second-generation real estate agent working at HomeSmart Professionals Real Estate based in Warwick, where she works with sellers and buyers who own or wish to acquire property close to the water, including many buyers from out of state. In addition to her real estate license, Mansolillo recently acquired a broker’s license after going through the requisite 90 hours of continuing education.
Mansolillo became a real estate agent several years ago, following in the footsteps of her mother, Lorraine, after working for two decades in corporate marketing.
PBN: You’ve said that a big part of your profession is storytelling. Why do you say this, and how big of a difference can it be to your bottom line to be a good storyteller when it comes to real estate?
MANSOLILLO: Real estate is about building relationships, fostering connections and providing exceptional customer service. To do all three effectively, you need to understand your client’s needs and wants, but you also need to understand where they’re coming from and where they want to go. For me, that means learning someone’s story. Do they have a growing family and need more space, or are they downsizing for retirement? Are they relocating for a new job, or to be close to family? All of these details are part of the story.
When it comes to selling a property, whether it’s one steeped in history or newly built, there’s a story to tell potential buyers. I believe the ability to effectively communicate that story impacts the bottom line.
PBN: What did you learn from your previous jobs in marketing and how do you apply those skills to real estate?
MANSOLILLO: I spent years developing strategic plans for a variety of products and services. I learned to think creatively, be adaptable, and anticipate and navigate issues. I also created integrated marketing programs for those products and services. All of these skills come into play every day in real estate.
Because no two real estate transactions are ever the same, you need to solve problems as they occur, research and analyze the nuances of a situation, and strategize the best path forward for a client, whether that’s finding alternative housing when a new build is behind schedule or helping a seller address an unexpected issue a week before closing.
When marketing a property, it’s important to develop an integrated plan targeted to the intended audience. Understanding the audience and the best way to reach them is critical. My background enables me to implement a plan that utilizes the right mix of advertising, public relations and social media marketing, all skills I developed in my corporate marketing positions.
PBN: As part of your work, you deal with a lot of waterfront properties, with some buyers coming from out of state in search of these highly sought-after amenities. How can you effectively sell someone a home from out of state?
MANSOLILLO: To be effective for your clients, whether they’re sitting across the table from you or on a Zoom call across two time zones, you need to understand what your client needs and wants. Not just the number of rooms or the desired square footage, but what’s the vision they have for the property and how do they see themselves using it. Do they require a bright space with a chef’s kitchen that faces east, a bedroom with a wall of windows overlooking the water, or an outside kitchen to entertain a large family?
Whether your clients are near or far, you need to take the time to get to know them, which starts with asking the right questions. Once I understand what they’re looking for, I preview homes, conduct video walkthroughs, measure spaces and refine the search based on the feedback they provide. It’s a collaborative process and is fine-tuned as we go.
It’s also about developing trust – the basis of any successful relationship. If I’ve done my job well, my clients are comfortable making an offer even if they haven’t seen the property in person.
PBN: What do you think about the level of new construction that we’ve seen in Rhode Island currently and during recent years?
MANSOLILLO: Rhode Island is like many locations throughout the country. We have a deficit of new construction homes, which has impacted the supply and affordability of homes. The lack of new construction is not new, however. The issue began after 2008 and we never really caught up.
The pandemic further complicated inventory issues. Recent estimates from Freddie Mac suggest the country is short about 3.8 million units of housing for both sale and rent. That’s quite a deficit and not one that will be filled overnight.
In Rhode Island, we have the added issue of land use policies that often prevent more development. I’d love to see changes at the state and local level … [that] allow more options for a range of housing throughout R.I.
Land is one thing we can’t create more of, but we can utilize the space we have to house more residents and create affordable options. New building technologies such as modular construction or advancements in manufactured homes could also help ease the inventory pressure.
PBN: You recently obtained a broker’s license. What did that take to accomplish and what does that allow you to do, compared with a normal licensed real estate salesperson?
MANSOLILLO: To obtain a real estate broker’s license in Rhode Island, you need to have two years of full-time experience as a real estate salesperson and 90 hours of approved continuing education. Once you’ve completed the course work, you then must pass the national and R.I. broker licensure exam.
Initially, I didn’t set out to obtain my broker’s license, but I’ve always believed knowledge is power and I took many classes after I first received my license. I wanted to ensure my clients were well represented regardless of the type of transaction they were considering. It’s also critical to remain up to date with the many changes in real estate. Soon, I realized I had the number of hours required so I decided to complete the process.
All real estate licensees work under the direction of a real estate broker, something many consumers may not realize. As a broker, you can work on your own if you meet the requirements outlined by the [R.I.] Department of Business Regulation. I don’t have any plans to do so though because I love being a part of HomeSmart and I work under one of the best brokers in the state. In fact, PBN agreed and just honored my managing broker, Dean deTonnacourt, as a 2023 leader and achiever, an honor that is well deserved.
Marc Larocque is a PBN contributing writer. Contact him at Larocque@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter @LaRockObama.
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