Here’s a riddle: what do a passion for art, lifelong dedication to community and a past career in high-end fashion have in common?
The answer is Michelle Browne, a 31-year real estate industry veteran who landed at @properties two years ago after a stint as a journalist and selling luxury designer shoes at Neiman Marcus.
Armed with sales training and communication skills, Michelle began her career in investment real estate and has worked the gambit studying investment analysis, financial planning, price/finish analysis, price/value analysis, design, complicated negotiation strategies and marketing.
What does all of that mean? Michelle Brown is the real deal.
At Home with Michelle Brown
@properties:: How do you start each day?
Michelle: I start each day with gratitude. Then, I always check out the news.
@properties: Describe your own first home.
Michelle: A small condo in a then-emerging neighborhood. It was a complete remodel but very plain and very 80’s.
@properties: What is the first big-ticket item you bought when you moved into your current home and why?
Michelle: When we buy a new home we usually do a major renovation, but we really do not buy things — we already have things. We do buy art.
I always advise buyers to live in their homes a while and then make major purchases. Big ticket items that I would buy as specific to a new property would be a sofa, a dining table and a bed.
@properties: What is your proudest achievement?
Michelle: My children and family.
At Play with Michelle Browne
@properties: What is your favorite local restaurant? Why? What is one amazing dish you always order/recommend?
Michelle: Victory Tap on South Michigan. I love the grilled calamari.
@properties: What do you love most about your neighborhood?
Michelle: I am really a person of two neighborhoods: South Loop, where I currently live, and Bronzeville. I love the vibe, the energy and the neighborhood feel of Bronzeville. I like the convenience, amenities and easy lake access of the South Loop.
@properties: What do you read every single day?
Michelle: I read Crain’s, check Google Alerts for Bronzeville andd usually some food or lifestyle magazine.
@properties: How do you stay involved in your community?
Michelle: Volunteering in neighborhood organizations.
@properties: You have a full day free in your town with no obligations and cost is no object. What do you do?
Michelle:I would sleep in a bit, and then go for a walk along the lake. I’d have a great dinner and check out some local jazz music with my husband and children or friends. In the summer, maybe outdoor event if the weather cooperates.
At Work with Michelle Browne
@properties: How did you get involved in real estate?
Michelle: Living in the Uptown Chicago community and doing a lot of volunteering and activism brought me to realize that the best way to change and uplift a community is to beautify the area and bring in residents who care and are willing to invest in the community.
One way to get those folks into the area is to sell them on the area. So real estate became the obvious choice.
@properties: What is your favorite part of working in real estate?
Michelle: There are really many favorites: I love finding solutions. I love meeting new people. Specializing in new construction/rehab, I really like architecture and working to create wonderful spaces for people.
@properties: What is one thing you literally could not do your job without and why?
Michelle: My smart phone. You have to stay fully plugged in these days and that means email, text and voice.
@properties: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Michelle: In real estate you are very likely to see the same people again; always treat people well.
@properties: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new real estate agent?
Michelle: You are always learning in this business and make sure to help someone whenever you can.