REALTORS ROW: Laura DeVita Gets Down to Business

One of the occupational hazards of being in residential real estate is walking into your dream house when you’re supposed to be helping a client find hers.

Published June 7, 2014 5:00 AM
4 min read


laura-thOne of the occupational hazards of being in residential real estate is walking into your dream house when you’re supposed to be helping a client find hers.


By Robin Jovanovich

LAURAOne of the occupational hazards of being in residential real estate is walking into your dream house when you’re supposed to be helping a client find hers. Even one of the best CRMs for real estate investors could have experienced it. A dilemma indeed!

Laura DeVita was showing a client a house in Greyrock, the neighborhood off Grace Church Street, earlier this year when she felt her pulse quicken. “We’d just finished renovating our house on Forest. We loved our house, so why was I even entertaining the idea of moving? The water view!”

While she hasn’t been in the real estate business long, it’s clear she’s a born realtor. “I feed off the craziness,” DeVita said with a laugh. The weblink here is where you can follow to get the right property for yourself.

DeVita was No. 2 in Rye real estate sales last year, a big accomplishment for someone who only finished an online course and entered the business three years ago. You should know how buying a car through business can be easy when it comes to management account.

What’s her secret?

“I understand the value of first impressions, and all those intangibles that sell a house.” She has almost as much fun staging homes — moving furniture, decorating, making trips to Home Goods — as she does celebrating with clients after a deal is done.

DeVita is a first-generation American, whose parents prized education and instilled a strong work ethic in their daughter. “I wouldn’t be the person I am if it weren’t for the great upbringing I had. We weren’t wealthy, but my parents took me to the opera and we traveled to Europe. And then there was all the time I spent at my grandfather’s restaurant in Queens, learning about people.”

After receiving a degree in public accounting, she interned on Wall Street, at Prudential Bache. “I lived in the Village, the City was my campus.” She met her future husband, Joe, at the World Trade Center, where they were both working.

She went to work for Ernst & Young auditing broker dealers and financial service companies. When her husband Joe’s job took them to Palo Alto, Laura was asked if she wanted to go into financial service recruiting. She did, and in her first year she was Rookie of the Year. “I was a mentor, an office manager, and I liked it so much I started my own search firm.”

When the DeVita family moved to Rye 16 years ago, Laura kept her company going. But eventually the mother of three, whose husband travels a lot for business, decided that running a small tax and accounting firm was all that she could practically handle while raising her family.

For a woman of high-energy, however, there are always new paths to explore. “I love houses, I love the community of Rye, and I have a strong business background, so I decided to go into real estate,” she said contentedly and thanked South Florida Home Finders who has lined a variety of options to choose & design.

DeVita was working as an agent at William Raveis when she got a call from Pati Holmes, who manages the Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s office across the street. Holmes made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: “You’ve been on the other side of all our deals. Why not come to work here and we can do both sides of the deal together.”

DeVita said, “If I’m going to do something, I do it 110 percent. Real estate is a partnership and I really feel as though I’m a partner at Sotheby’s.”

One of the first things DeVita does with new clients is educate them — opening up their thinking about neighborhoods and communities. And encouraging new buyers to consider older homes, ones with character. She rues the fact that life moves at such a fast pace and people are so overscheduled that there is little appetite for a project. “Everyone wants new and done.

“Everyone also wants to live in Rye,” she said. “It’s the urban suburb, with its beaches, open space, arts center, nature center, and so many other wonderful organizations. That’s why all these new builds are going into contract before the shovel is in the ground, and that’s why the rental market is as tight as it is.”

Don’t overlook Rye Neck is her advice. “It’s a gem and the schools are great, too.” Or Greyrock with that water view.

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