Between doting on his adorable twins, planting roots in the same town where he grew up, and establishing relationships with clients that extend well past closing day, it’s clear that Zak Knebel is a family man.
With a business background and a knack for real estate, Zak joined @properties and considers one of his most defining moments as starting the SWK Group with Patti Sprafka Wagner. While Zak may be all about others, this week we’re getting to know him.
Alright, first thing is first; How did you land in a real estate career?
While attending Ohio State University I had an uncle who worked for a new home builder in the area. I worked there part-time, walking people through model homes and showing upgrade options. I found the buyers’ excitement buying and customizing their homes to be inspiring. Experiencing the process with them was something I never forgot.
What kept you busy prior to real estate and how did it prepare you for that career change?
Prior to real estate, I helped build a successful Audio Visual company in Phoenix, Arizona. This helped me while building my own real estate brand, business, and team. My previous experience also gave me an edge in visual marketing and computer expertise.
What would you say is your favorite part of working in real estate?
Having the ability to help people reach their real estate goals while building lasting relationships well after closing. I feel the emotional process of buying and selling brings you close to your clients very quickly. This process you experience together, whether finding your first home or moving on to a new stage in your life, creates a memorable bond. I enjoy staying in contact with everyone I have had the good fortune to assist.
What is one thing you literally could not do your job without and why?
Easy, phone. It’s everyone’s crutch nowadays but I don’t understand how real estate was done prior to the cell phone.
What are 3 things you never show up to a showing without?
Paper and pen to take notes on buyers’ likes and dislikes. Also, my phone with the DocuSign app – Need to be ready to write an offer immediately with our current market.
What was one of your most defining moments?
Joining @properties and starting the SWK Group with Patti Sprafka Wagner.
If I weren’t a real estate agent, I would be…
I have always admired firefighters and have a few in my family.
Let’s go back to the beginning… How do you start each day?
My day starts at about 5:00 a.m. when my 19-month-old twins wake up. I spend time with them before work begins. My business day starts with my database. I want to connect with several people on a daily basis to see if there is anything I can help them with. I want to support the friends, family, past and current clients who help grow my business. Whether that’s a recommendation for a service provider, a conversation about the real estate market or any other way I can be of assistance.
We’d love to know, tell us a little bit about your own first home.
My first home was a yellow stucco Colonial in South Oak Park, near where I grew up. It was a recent renovation that had been previously owned by my local Pee Wee football coach. We spent several great years here and built lasting memories.
What is the first big-ticket item you bought when you moved into your current home?
We decided to replace our windows in our current home when we moved in a couple of years ago. As far as cosmetic work goes, it would have been much more fun to do the kitchen!
What do you love most about your neighborhood?
The urban-suburban feel of Oak Park-River Forest creates a unique and exciting place to call home. Our local restaurants, boutique shopping and accessibility to the city also make it highly desirable. As a fan of architecture, Oak Park and River Forest offer a wide variety of homes. Growing up here gave me a detailed appreciation of the many styles and characteristics. I now get the incredible opportunity to tour many of the homes admired as I grew up.
If we had to try something at one local restaurant, what should it be?
Maya Del Sol in Oak Park is amazing and has an incredible outdoor patio. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner there and highly recommend their fish tacos.
You have a full day free in your town with no obligations and cost is no object. What do you do?
I would start with an early trip to the Zoo with the kiddos. Then I would spend the afternoon at Wrigley for some baseball and finish the day with an incredible meal at Monticello – a recent favorite in the West Loop.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
That would be becoming a father. My twins Henry and Greer are my proudest achievement.
The best advice I have ever been given was…
Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.
The best advice I have for a new real estate agent is…
To treat your real estate career as a business and prospect consistently.
Who in the industry has made the most impact on your professional journey?
When I decided to start building my business in the Oak Park-River Forest area, I had the opportunity to work in a small office with a wonderful group of industry veterans, including @properties’ own Patti Sprafka Wagner and Greer Haseman.
In 10 words or less, how would you clients describe you?
Reliable, Informative, Patient, Caring, Funny, Hardworking,