When Phyllis Stellato decided to leave her first career, she knew without question where she would end up next.
The former advertising executive had worked as a part-time secretary for a residential real estate brokerage during high school, so it only made sense take her advertising and brand marketing skills back to her roots.
“I had been considering a career change for quite some time,” Phyllis said. “I wanted to spend my days doing something I really enjoyed. That brought me back to real estate.”
Now with 12 years in the industry under her belt, Phyllis has plenty of advice and inspiration for her colleagues and clients.
At Home with Phyllis Stellato
@properties: Describe your own first home.
Phyllis: The first home I bought was a small, one bedroom condo, steps from Michigan Avenue in River North. It wasn’t huge, but it was filled with natural light, had a great city view of the river and Michigan Avenue Bridge. It was the first place I ever thought of as my own home.
@properties: What is the first big-ticket item you bought when you moved into your current home and why?
Phyllis: Appliances. I updated the whole house when I moved in, but I started with appliances because although house needed a lot of work, appliances were the easiest place to start.
@properties: What do you love most about your neighborhood?
Phyllis: I love my neighborhood! I have lived in West Lakeview just east of Hamlin Park for close to two decades. It is quiet, residential and easy to get anywhere I need to go in the city. I can walk to great parks, the heart of Roscoe Village or the Southport Corridor and in the summer, I can even walk to Wrigley Field for Cubs’ home games.
At Play with Phyllis Stellato
@properties: What do you read every single day?
Phyllis: The Crain’s Morning 10. I don’t miss it. It really helps keep me up to date on the important things happening in Chicago, business and our local real estate market.
@properties: Chicago is one of the best cities for dining out! What is your favorite restaurant?
Phyllis: I have three go-to restaurants that never disappoint. Coast in Bucktown for sushi — just surprise me with the sashimi plate and I am always happy. At GT Prime, the small cuts are amazing and allow you to really sample the meats, but the tagliatelle with black winter truffles and parmesan is also wonderful. At Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market in Lakeview, the crab mac and cheese or the barramundi are always delicious.
@properties: How do you stay involved in your community?
Phyllis: I have been a member of my Condo Association Board for years and was on my previous board before that. I also sit on the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee and have for several years. I was previously a Docent at Lincoln Park Zoo and have volunteered as a fundraiser for PAWS Chicago.
At Work with Phyllis Stellato
@properties: What is one thing you literally could not do your job without and why?
Phyllis: My iPhone. We have a love/hate relationship, but without it, I could not do what I do and do it well. It keeps me connected and allows me to be accessible and responsive at all times.
@properties: What advice would you give a brand new real estate agent?
Phyllis: Treat real estate just like you would treat any other career. Get up, get dressed, go into the office and keep talking to everyone you know. Every. Single. Day.
It is easy get lazy because you are now your own boss, but do not lose sight of the fact that you have a business to both build and run. Your business is going to come from those people who already know you and respect you. They need to see you as a professional.
Talk to people about real estate, about the homes that you have seen, trends that you see both in the market and in design, what’s happening in the market, and don’t be shy…you have ask for business.
@properties: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Phyllis: At the beginning of my career, a former managing broker gave me the same advice that I would give to a new real estate agent and it is the truth: treat real estate just like you would any career.