Where are you from and who is in your family?
I am from Loudonville and currently live in The Village of Menands, which is within the Town of Colonie. I met my husband, Dave, who is from Westchester County 12 years ago while living in New York City and we decided to move upstate soon after our first son Warner was born. He is now 6 and we also have a 4 year old, James, and almost-2 year old, Margaux.
Why did you decide to become a realtor?
I have always had a natural curiosity and interest in the housing market. I used to trade mortgages at a financial firm in New York, so I was well aware of housing trends on the national and regional levels. When websites like Zillow and Trulia took off, I was fascinated by the data and how real-life factors were affecting the buying and selling of houses. Even after we bought a house, I continued to drag my husband and kids to open houses on the weekends. One day Dave told me that I knew more about these houses than the agents showing them. He was right, and I realized that becoming a real estate agent was ideal for me and our family: flexible, minimal start-up costs and risk, and infinite earnings potential! I was “sold.” I am one of the lucky ones who truly love what I do and almost never feel as if I am “working!”
What are some of the challenges that you face as a working mom?
My struggles are typical: finding good childcare (when your schedule is inconsistent it can be difficult!), making family time together at home (I often have to jet out the door when my husband comes home), and of course, the overall feeling that I am short changing my kids, my career, or both. The television sometimes has to go on so I can take a phone call or get work done, but I have happy kids and a very supportive husband so it is all working for now.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Even though I am a realtor and love houses, especially older ones, I long for the days of easy apartment living. I will happily downsize one day (once the kids are out!).
What is your favorite family activity to do in or around Albany?
The boys love sporting events and we try to go to a couple Tri-City Valley Cats and Albany Dutchmen games in the summertime. Joe Bruno Stadium has a fun kid area, and there’s always little giveaways at the Dutchmen games! We enjoy nature activities at Dyken Pond and taking field trips to local playgrounds (Cook Park in the Village of Colonie is a new favorite!). My kids also love eating at Applebee’s.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why?
Last year we drove to Florida for the first time. We took about 3 days to get both there and back, stopping at fun playgrounds, museums and other kid-friendly spots. It was definitely not the miserable drive we thought it could be! Once the kids are a little bit older we hope to vacation without grandparents (thanks Mom and Dad and in-laws for sponsoring us on the beach every winter and summer!).
If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been?
I would probably be doing something pretty corporate and business-like. Before kids, I loved working in a professional, higher-stakes job and had high expectations for my future self. However, my interests and goals have shifted and right now I enjoy being with my kids as much as possible, all while pursuing a different but fulfilling career!
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Ditch the “expert” baby and kid advice and do what works best for you.
How are you trying to reach moms in the community?
I try to reach out and help when I see people asking questions about real estate within local Facebook groups . I also let people know that kids are always welcome on showing appointments. Chances are pretty good that most clients have met my kids once or twice as well. Referrals from my “mom” friends will always be an amazing source of client generation and I am happy to report that many clients have become friends through the process! I am on Facebook as Johanna Clarke, Realtor and my Instagram handle is @johannaclarkerealtor.
Tell us more about buying and/or selling a house and working with you!
Buying and selling real estate is always stressful to some degree, but it’s my job to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible for my clients. When selling, I will make a few trips to the home and provide advice about repairs, note improvements, assess negative and positive attributes, and even do staging if that’s what the client needs and wants! I do a lot of market analysis and research to narrow down a price range, but sellers ultimately set the price. Once listed, I market the home to the fullest extent and see how the market reacts, which will help guide the sale. Once under contract, it’s my job to see it through to the end, and hopefully I have a great buyer’s agent on the other side!
Buying actually takes a little more work than selling as it entails more action on the agent’s part: submission of offers, scheduling and negotiating inspections, helping with the financing process, staying on top of title, appraisal and other deadlines, etc. Finding the perfect home for a client can be challenging these days, as market inventory is still pretty low. However, I am not afraid to dig deep- and I just might find something that was once overlooked or perhaps not on the market. Better yet, using a buyer’s agent doesn’t cost the buyer a penny! I absolutely have loved working with each and every client. It’s pretty amazing to see someone in their new home and embarking on the next chapter of their lives. You can expect full attention to details and hopefully a fun, stress-free experience, no matter your price point!
If you have any questions for Johanna, feel free to reach out to her! She is a great resource for someone looking to buy or sell a home in the Capital District!
Facebook: Johanna Clarke, Realtor