Michelle Gonzalez sat down with Canvas Rebel Magazine for an interview about her story & how she got into commercial real estate in Miami!
Article property of Canvas Rebel
We were lucky to catch up with Michelle Gonzalez recently and have shared our conversation below.
Michelle, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today. We’d love to hear about how you got your first non-friend, non-family client. Paint the picture for us so we can feel the same excitement you felt on that day.
As a seasoned residential real estate broker, I knew the time was right for a change so I returned to FIU (Florida International University) for a Master’s Degree in International Real Estate. I figured the best way to transition from residential to commercial real estate was to be well-suited for a new fight. After the year long program I happily graduated and realized I needed to choose a niche market to specialize in. Giving credit to Alex Miranda (Godpreneur) he guided me with a simple question: what is your favorite thing to do…..EAT lol…. The options were varied but reflecting on my choices I followed my stomach and my heart to become a food and beverage broker. Now what? I had to come up with a business plan on how to accomplish this new feat so I made a list of my favorite eateries, walked in, spoke to the manager and he gave me the opportunity to search for their next locations. This was in 2016 and I continue working with the brands I love.
Michelle, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
My love of real estate dates me back to age 8 when I would ask my mom to visit open houses. Later as a teenager remember walking past a boarded up hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach, looking up at the building and telling my friends I would love to own this piece of land known as The Tides Hotel. While pursuing a Bachelors in Finance from FIU (Florida International University) I obtained my Real Estate Salesperson License to start selling homes while I also worked at a mortgage lending office. Fast forward to getting married, having kids, then deciding to open my own real estate office and mortgage lending branch in 2006….yes at the beginning of the economic downturn. Wow! What a time to start fresh in the business which took the biggest brunt of the market explosion. Fear not, we pivoted and began selling Fannie Mae REO homes. At any given moment we would have 80-150 properties being managed under our office which brought many learning skills, particularly working with the government.
In 2016, I obtained my Masters Degree to transition into commercial real estate. I love what I do and love who I work with. My husband Kevin and I own Floridian First Realty, a boutique firm in Coral Gables, Florida. While Kevin focuses on the residential side, I focus and enjoy working with commercial clients in the food an beverage industry. Currently we are working with MisterO1 Extraordinary Pizza, La Boulangerie Boul Mich, Karla Bakery, Oh My Gosh Brigadeiros, Poke House, Zumba and many other fun and interesting brands.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
Thankfully, we’ve found the old school way has worked best……..word of mouth. Most of our clients are repeat customers and recommendations from those same clients. Of course we use tech and social media cannels but nothing beats a loyal customer base that keeps us at the top of their minds.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
This is at the base of the previous question: we are ethics and service focused. I became a licensed real estate agent in 1996 (omg 26 years ago!) and maintain my clients best interest at all times. What comes first the commission or the deal…..the deal and all those involved in it! To me, it’s all about the clients, the deal, the agents, attorney’s, inspectors, and having a transparent negotiation through to closing. Not only does the deal run smoother, everyone is happier at the end of the deal. Hence, the recommendations. Honesty, commitment, trust, integrity, service, and ethics is my formula.
This might sound cheesy but I truly love real estate and the clients we work with.
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