In 2000, Susie Banas came down with a serious case of cabin fever.
“I was caring for my three kids at home and I wanted to find something inspiring to do,” she says. “So I went out and got my real estate license. My intention was not to go gangbusters.”
But go gangbusters she did. Banas did $7 million in sales her first year and next thing she knew, she had found her passion. Banas also had her fourth child in 2009, adding to family obligations while also enjoying one of the busiest times of her career. But she didn’t mind one bit.
“I thrive on a challenge and multi-tasking with a busy lifestyle, which becomes second nature,” she says. “It helps that I’ve always enjoyed decorating. And because I’m a neat freak, I enjoy putting a good presentation.”
This attention to detail sets Banas apart from her competitors. She obsesses over the right lighting, the right staging, and presenting a fresh and clean look for her selling clients.
“Today’s standards for buyers are so high,” says Banas. “Everything has to be perfect.”
Banas learned early on the importance of listening to her clients. Understanding their situation and their needs is paramount to providing good service.
“Each client is different,” she says. “A millennial buying his or her first house is not the same as a 65-year-old couple who’s been in their home for 40 years.”
The ability to listen to her clients—perhaps derived from being a stay-at-home mom to four active kids—has allowed her to establish long-term relationships with clients who keep coming back.
“I have become good friends with many of my clients. Having the integrity to establish long-term relationships is very important to me,” she says. “The idea of service is kind of vague but for me it’s about being connected, always listening, and having intuition.”
Banas was born in Hinsdale, raised in St. Charles, and holds a business degree from Northern Illinois University. While she considers her path to the real estate business to be a bit of a fluke, she was well prepared for it.
“Lots of realtors can show houses to buyers who never buy,” she says. “My interest is getting deals together and closing them.”
Banas has parlayed her business skills—and a personal hobby—into establishing a special focus on equestrian properties. Mettawa, just north of Lake Forest, has become horse country. Banas knows the landscape.
“It’s a personal hobby of mine and all my kids rode,” she says. “There are four or five equestrian areas near Mettawa. It’s a diverse business, with stables, vacant land, and areas for riding.”
While Banas has worked for other real estate companies, she praises the support and visibility she gets from @properties and how its support benefits her clients.
“As @properties moved in aggressively in the North Shore market, I wanted to take advantage of their newer approach to marketing,” she says. “We have so many tools at our disposal with new technology, even video captured by drones.”
Banas’s ultimate metric for success is how many of her clients come from referrals, and the number of clients that keep coming back. It speaks to her approach to keeping relationships and getting results.
“Real estate can be a humbling business,” she says. “I take a lot of pride in the relationships I’ve developed.”
Susie Banas can be reached at her @properties office, 600 N. Western Avenue in Lake Forest, 847-707-9755.