When you’re a real estate professional, checking your phone for business emails and texts before you get out of bed is just a way of life.

At least, it is for Risa Weiss, who has spent 14 years in real estate, the last two of which at the @properties Libertyville office.

The former elementary school teacher, administrator and university instructor found her way into real estate after ankle surgery laid her up for six months and she decided to take an online pre-license course in real estate.

“I enjoy helping people maximize their investments and getting their dream home for the best deal,” Risa says.

We chatted with the former educator about all things real estate and what the Mundelein mom of two does when she isn’t negotiating deals and moonlighting HGTV.

At Home

@properties: Describe your own first home.
Risa: My first home was a condo in Buffalo Grov. It was a great place to begin investing in real estate. The first single family home was an old farm house which was quaint and cozy and very unique. I spent lots of time enhancing the landscaping and curb appeal.

@properties: What is the first big-ticket item you bought when you moved into your current home?
Risa: I bought a new driveway and a paddle boat since we were located in a lake community.

@properties: What do you love most about living in Mundelein?
Risa: My neighborhood offers great homes at a reasonable price, lower taxes. As an added bonus for my family, we live close to the high school.

At Play

@properties: What is your favorite local restaurant?
Risa: I love going Tavern on 60, a sports bar in the Northwestern suburbs, so that I can play video slots.

@properties: What do you read every single day?
I read the headlines every day, if a topic interests me I will delve deeper into the article

@properties: With two teenagers, you must never stop! How do you manage to stay involved in your community?
I am very active in the high school show choir, band and theater program. Additionally I serve as a parent ambassador for the high school.

At Work

@properties: What is one thing you literally could not do your job without and why?
Risa: I could not work with out my phone. I used it to stay connected with clients, to navigate GPS, to negotiate with other brokers and to access files from my computer or other websites when I’m out and about.

@properties: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Risa: There are two pieces of advice. “Always take the high road” and “compartmentalize your life.”

@properties: What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on the job.
Risa: A few years ago I used to appear on several HGTV shows. One day I was walking down the street in Chicago, and some stopped me to ask if I was that realtor on TV.

@properties: What is your proudest achievement to date?
Risa: My kids are amazing and talented. My son will someday be a famous musical composer, and my daughter will produce or do makeup and wigs for theater productions. But, I am most proud of being named rookie of the year in my first year in business 14 years ago. I closed 58 transactions and produced $14,000,000 in sales.

@properties: What is one piece of advice you’d offer a new real estate professional?
Risa: Be sure to have plenty of money saved up so that you can continue to focus on building a career in real estate. Be patient. I like to say: “if you build it (a real estate business), they will come (clients).”

To connect with Risa, visit her website, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by Maris Callahan
Maris is the director of communications at @properties. She lives in Wicker Park and when she's not at work, she's usually cooking, reading, writing or walking the 606 with her chihuahua, Henry.