Ted Pickus parlays experience in his family’s construction business into a successful real estate career.
Take an early morning stroll along the boardwalk of Highland Park’s Rosewood Beach and you’re likely to find Ted Pickus engaged in his daily workout routine.
“Rosewood Beach is my sanctuary,” Pickus says.
A real estate broker with @properties in Highland Park, Pickus has deep roots in the North Shore. He’s lived in Highland Park for 25 years and has raised his four children in the community.
Pickus was born in Waukegan to a family that had real estate in its DNA. His grandfather started a construction company, which was carried on by his father.
“I grew up in the construction and development environment,” Pickus says. “I got a good taste of real estate so it was natural for me to go into the business. I knew I always wanted to do it.”
After studying real estate and finance at Arizona State University (he says the weather made it tough to come back home), Pickus returned to the North Shore to join the family business.
By then the business had purchased a large parcel of land in Island Lake along the Fox River and was developing a subdivision, including housing and retail. Pickus headed up marketing and sales for the project.
“It was very rewarding to see the development of a community, from raw land to a full community,” he says.
Pickus immersed himself in the business as it expanded to develop more housing and commercial properties.
The death of Pickus’s father in 2008 and the downturn in the construction business precipitated a move to establish his own real estate business.
“I started out buying and rehabbing homes and selling them,” Pickus says. “But I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of subcontractors, and after five homes I realized I just wanted to be a broker.”
More than a decade later, Pickus has firmly established himself as a top broker in Highland Park, from where 70 to 80 percent of his business is generated.
“I really love what I do,” says Pickus. “It’s very satisfying to help clients move into a first home, move up into a family home, or downsize into a home or a condo.”
He adds, “My kids played youth sports and I got to know a lot of parents going to their games. I parlayed those relationships to build my business.”
When he first started selling real estate on the North Shore, one thing Pickus noticed was that selling brokers rarely showed up for showings.
“I feel if a client has hired me to sell their house I should go to every showing,” Pickus says.
As his business expanded he added two team members, Lisa Schulkin and Aaron Walsh, to make sure there was representation at every showing.
“Together we learn the house so we can best represent the seller when showing a home to potential buyers,” he says.
While Pickus doesn’t give direct advice to buyers on how they might rehab or make additions to a property, his background in construction comes in handy.
“I have an eye that gravitates toward ceilings or water heaters,” he says. “I can provide insights into the home and opportunities for remodeling.”
He adds, “Buyers might ask me if they can open up this or that wall. I feel like I can give them an educated answer even though I advise them to confirm with a contractor.”
The journey from family business to building his own has been serendipitous, but Pickus has embraced it.
“I thought I’d be with the family business forever,” he says. “This is where I’m meant to be.”
Ted Pickus’s @properties office is located at 607 Central Avenue in Highland Park, 847-432-0700.