When Louise LiVolsi Petersen became a real estate agent in 2002 she was looking for a change. She was tired of working for someone else and figured that being an agent would give her the opportunity to be her own boss. When she spotted an ad in the paper for an opening at William Raveis in Wilton, she jumped at it. Real estate was nothing like what I thought it would be, she says. An agent has so many roles psychiatrist, mother, hand-holder. Sometimes, she says, you find yourself telling a client what they should do, as if they were your kids.
This isnt the first time Louise has been an entrepreneur. Shortly after she was married, her new sister-in-law asked if she wanted to go join her in running a fabric store in Ridgefield. We were all sewers in the family, she says. I told her that it sounded like fun but I didnt know anything about running a business. Working in the store gave Louise the flexibility to work and raise her five children, taking them with her to the shop when they were little. When they closed the store in 1984, Louise started another venture making draperies and slipcovers for clients all over Fairfield County. Needing to support her children after her divorce, Louise studied to become a paralegal and joined a large corporation. It wasnt for me, she says. I didnt like the office politics. There was too much nonsense.
Louise credits her various jobs over the years with giving her the skills she needs to be a successful agent. She learned the value of customer service when she was running her fabric store in Ridgefield and helping clients decorate their homes. Her years as a paralegal taught her how to put deals together and read the fine print. She says that becoming a proficient negotiator is the hardest thing to learn. You have to convince the seller that their home many not be worth what they think it is, she says. Then you have to convince the buyer that its worth more than theyre willing to offer.
These days Louise works out of the William Raveis office in Stamford. Most of her customers are referrals from satisfied clients, and she has a large network of friends and family throughout Fairfield County. "I get on well with people," she says. "And I get a lot of clients from working at open houses."
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