News & Information: Orlando REALTOR® magazine - Special Feature

2018 YPN "20 Under 40" Rising Stars In Real Estate

Friday, August 24, 2018  
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An outstanding group of up-and-comers has been identified as the Class of 2018, ORRA Young Professionals Network "20 Under 40" Rising Stars in Real Estate.

These notable young REALTORS® were selected by the ORRA Awards Committee for their demonstrated excellence in career and service to both community and the real estate industry.

"Our '20 Under 40' honorees epitomize the ideals of REALTOR® devotion to their homebuyer and seller clients," says ORRA President Lou Nimkoff, Brio Real Estate Services LLC. "In addition, these individuals demonstrate incredible resilience by successfully persevering through Orlando's challenging housing market conditions, such as today's low inventory level. We can look forward to these individuals guiding the future of the association and the real estate profession with their leadership skills and commitment."

The award recipients were feted during the YPN "20 Under 40" Havana Nights celebration, held at Ace Cafe on August 15. See photos

2018 ORRA Young Professionals Network "20 Under 40: Rising Stars In Real Estate Awards Recipients

Daniel Araque
Fidelity Property Brokers LLC
Daniel has taken his enthusiasm for incorporating technology into his business to new heights: He’s developed three apps specifically for REALTOR® use! As a broker, Daniel places a heavy emphasis on office organization and works to ensure that agents are clear on rules, policies, and how to execute their jobs. He’s also a strong proponent of agent empowerment and recognition for a strong work ethic and for a job well done.

Daniel Betancourt
RE/MAX Town Centre
Daniel became interested in the real estate business at the tender age of 10, when he relocated from New York City and accompanied his family on the home search. He recalls thinking that new-construction agents have awesome jobs, working out of lovely pool homes and everything. Daniel cites switching from a part-time practitioner to full time and signing up with a coach as pivotal moments in his career, and he always values input from mentors and coaches.

Katie Bray
Mainframe Real Estate
Katie discovered her passion for helping people find a place to call home while attending the University of Central Florida, where she worked for the student housing community where she lived (and rose to general manager after graduation). She later transitioned from property management to buyer’s rep and now specializes helping those who covet downtown Orlando’s historic and eclectic homes. Katie is a devotee of social media marketing, and video in particular.

Justin Core
Core Group Real Estate LLC
Justin got his real estate start during college, when as a student he earned his license and went to work for a brokerage with hundreds of rentals near campus. After graduating he jumped right into sales with a belief in the unlimited potential of a real estate career, and he now has his own brokerage. Justin strives to provide high-achieving agents with a highly supportive environment that includes a team of admins so they can focus on clients.

Ryan Ditmar
Lineage Real Estate
Ryan spent 15 years in the food and beverage industry and credits working in the “front of the house” with developing the critical listening and serving skills he now uses as a real estate professional. He focuses on relationships rather than properties and employs state-of-the-art customer relationship management software to find and fill gaps in industry service standards. Ryan is currently chairman of the ORRA Community Relations Committee.

Anthony Fiengo
Rencher Realty Group
Anthony spent a decade in customer service before entering the real estate profession and brought with him a sweet referral database. However it’s his pleasure in helping families find their dream home that drives his ethic, which includes making himself personally available at all times. Despite being a proponent of online processes for contracts, showings, etc., he still believes in old-school networking and direct mail to gather potential clients.

Benjamin Gilbert
Keller Williams At The Parks
Benjamin transitioned into real estate after establishing several of his own companies plus managing the production and operation sides of others’. He now applies those learned skills (particularly working with multiple groups on a mutually agreed upon goal) as a REALTOR® specializing in divorce, probate, and bankruptcy situations. Benjamin uses his iPhone 8 and iPad enthusiastically and is a fan of Top Producer, REALTOR® Property Resource, and Dotloop.

Mahdi Jaffer
Advanta Realty
Mahdi is all about the math! He holds a degree in finance and was further educated at the London School of Economics. After graduation he sought out a field where he could implement concepts such as cash flow analysis, leverage, and growth: investment real estate, of course, with the belief that the greatest wealth most individuals have in tangible assets is real estate. Mahdi also finds that investment clients appreciate his understanding of the time value of money.

Elizabeth Jones
Mainframe Real Estate
Elizabeth initially thought real estate was all about decorating; she didn’t realize it was about people who wanted homes for their families or investments for their retirement. That outlook quickly changed, and she was hooked for life after that first transaction. Elizabeth was a competitive gymnast who now applies the practice of serious daily training to her business in the quest for a gold medal at the closing table.

Judy Julien
RE/MAX Town Centre
Judy’s greatest challenge on the way to becoming a successful REALTOR® was overcoming her fear of cold calling. Once she set objectives (and realized a hang-up needn’t be a devastating setback), she preserved and is now on target for exceeding her 2018 sales goal. Judy’s favorite transaction involves a single mother with a wish to become the first in her family to own a home. Several years and a high-school diploma later, the client’s wish came true.

Peter Luu
Premier Sothebys Int’l Realty
Peter wasn’t happy with his “regular job” following graduation, but he sure was after his wife gave him a Groupon for real estate school! He now leads a team whose standard for commitment to customers stems from being ignored by a model-home sales associate, an approach that has the team on track to close $40 million in 2018. Peter values the personal-interaction aspect of real estate and brings that sensibility to his YouTube realty show.

Amy Miller
All Real Estate Investments
Amy cites becoming a REALTOR® in 2007 — one of the worst years for real estate — as one of the best things that ever happened for her career. She learned to persevere, to never take a market for granted, and to develop crucial problem-solving skills. Amy minored in real estate at the University of Florida but first became interested in the profession at age 13, when she began helping the family custom-home business by putting together permit packages.

Kenneth Pozek
Keller Williams Classic Realty
A parental gift of Carlton Sheet’s “No Money Down” VHS tape series is credited with sparking Kenneth’s interest in real estate, along with the purchase of an investment property right out of high school (flipped for a nice profit). Kenneth blends old school-marketing and networking with new technology, and he cites saving a family from foreclosure through persistence and creativity as a particularly meaningful career achievement.

Victoria Rice
Nicole-Hudson Realty Corp
Victoria is a third-generation real-estate professional who began attending Women’s Council of REALTORS® events when she was 12, and NAR and CCIM events not much later. She’s now set her sights on becoming the youngest REALTOR® to achieve the CCIM designation. This commercial specialist works with her clients while juggling a full-time schedule at Valencia College and taking advantage of her peers’ enthusiasm for social media to generate business relationships.

Richard Sapp
Core Group Real Estate LLC
Richard’s passion for his clients’ financial wellbeing extends to talking them out of buying or selling a home when it’s in their best interests. He credits his consultative approach to securing many new clients at open houses, and he credits his undergraduate degree in finance and his MBA to securing their confidence that he can approach a transaction from all sides. This social media proponent puts a priority on creating new, informative content.

Melissa Service
Service First Realty LLC
Melissa recently undertook the challenge of transitioning from residential to commercial real estate. She overcame any trepidations by looking to CCIM, where she was accepted into the 2018 CCIM Mentorship Program and is now guided by one of the heaviest hitters of Orlando’s commercial scene. She is currently involved with affordable housing development projects and has a regular gig speaking to Evans High School students about real estate.

Wendy Stewart
The Property Pros Real Estate,
Wendy empathizes with the first-time homebuyers that she specializes in assisting, as she’s personally experienced many of their same challenges. She takes special care to stay up-to-date with assistance programs and to educate potential clients on preparing to qualify for a mortgage. Wendy even offers to meet monthly with families who are hoping to buy a home to ensure they are staying on budget and working on their credit scores.

Li Xu
Areate Realty
Li has lived in nine cities in the past 14 years, and still keeps in touch with REALTORS® from each. It’s an experience and a strategy that makes her recommendations to relocating clients particularly credible (ditto for those who are purchasing an Orlando vacation home from another location). In fact, Li sees herself as an Orlando ambassador. Li makes heavy use of technology to communicate with her international clients, such as the free WeChat application.

Paul Young
Young Real Estate
Paul cites his experience with the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army as helping him through the ups and downs of the real estate market, and believes that the adversity endured during military training helps in all aspects of life. He pursues not only real estate continuing education, but also finance and wealth-building strategies to guide his clients. To keep himself on track, organization and planning are key.

Dave Zembala
Preferred Real Estate Brokers
Dave was a loan officer and mortgage broker before becoming a REALTOR®, which allows him to ask important questions of lender, buyer, and seller to ensure a solid deal before even executing a contract. He has embraced the digital age in all facets of his business and is completely paperless, but believes that the more he can talk to someone in person or on the phone, the better he can do his job.

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