“I find inspiration from my peers, although there aren’t many of them,” Karen Elefante says with a laugh. The veteran Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Compass has a warm and winning sense of humor, and while her assessment of where she finds personal and professional inspiration elicits a smile, it also reveals a truth about her standing in the business.
“Seriously, I’ve been doing this for 21 years, I’m fairly successful and I’m good at what I do, and it’s hard for me to learn from other people,” she adds. “There are a few people—especially a woman in another office—that I think I could learn from, but there’s not a lot of free time to do that.”
Taking a break here for a few moments, Elefante shares insights and observations about mistakes first-time home-buyers make—and how to avoid them—how cooking on Zoom brought her family closer, her perfect Long Island day and more.
What do you love most about your career in real estate?
“I love working with first time home buyers and mentoring them through the real estate process.”
What’s the best movie or television series you’ve seen about real estate?
I don’t watch real estate shows on television, to be honest with you—I live it every day! Actually, I do watch HGTV and some of the decorating shows, because I love to decorate!”
What aspect of home décor do you feel is overlooked?
“I would have to say lighting. It doesn’t matter if you go into a dark house or apartment, or what sun exposure a room has, if you install proper lighting it makes all the difference in the world.”
What is your favorite room in your own home and why?
“I like my kitchen because I love to cook. I can cook anything. I should have been a professional chef. I host family Zooms, like a cooking class. I started the family zooms during the pandemic. The first time I did it, I made the whole thing up. They loved it! I had my brother and his family from Chicago, my sister, my kids. I sent them the recipe in advance, and had them chop up everything before the zoom. Then, they would take a picture of what they made, put it into a group chat, and then everyone would add their comments. We took a break for the summer, but are going to start it up again in the fall.”
What three words best describe your professional self?
“I give everybody a chance and I value each and every person at every price point, I really do.”
What skill do you wish you had?
“I know one skill I have is when I have to pivot into another direction, I can do it quickly. I pay a lot of attention to the [real estate] market and know what I have to do to be successful. But I don’t do enough lead generation and I should do it every day. Even when the market is really busy, you should still concentrate on lead generation.”
What is the biggest mistake most first-time home buyers make along the way toward finding a first home?
“I would say that the biggest mistake is not putting their trust in me for my referrals. I give referrals that work, mine are top-notch and that’s not easy to find. Of course, many do use my referrals, but I think it’s especially important to get a referral for an attorney.”
What motto do you try to live by?
“I would say, ‘There’s Magic in the Mundane.’ I think because I never had a lot, I was always able to enjoy something small. I could have a cup of ice with Coke and think that this is the best thing in the world! For me, the magic is in the simplicity of things. I got the saying from someone many years ago and I wrote it down and keep it on my desk. I don’t strive to live in a big house or drive an expensive car. I live a moderate lifestyle.”
Describe your perfect day on Long Island.
“Going to the beach! I go to Long Beach and find it to be relaxing and extremely beautiful and serene. It’s how I destress from my real estate life.”