The Power of Connecting With Others, and Knowing That Real Estate is About More Than Just Property
“The market is on fire.” Like any successful entrepreneur, she knows that being responsive and ready to meet the needs of clients is key. Jennifer Caras’ business tutelage started early in life, on the floor of her family’s Marina del Rey restaurant many years ago. “My father put us to work at a young age, and we learned the value of hard work,” she recalls. “It was an honor and a privilege to work our way up to being a server; that’s where we learned some really invaluable life lessons.”
A psychology degree from University of California, Santa Barbara followed, and afterwards she embarked on a successful career in pharmaceutical sales. “I’ve never seen myself as being ‘in sales,’” she points out. It’s the negative associations, of being pushy or aggressive, which are a far cry from her natural personality. “I’m all about the relationship.”
Wanting to shift gears into a field that held more personal interest, and with the urging of her husband, Jennifer Caras got her real estate license in 2004. “My heart was in it so much more,” she says of the switch.
Nearly 16 years later, Jennifer Caras is still all about relationships—and has added significant expertise in new residential development along with real estate. She and her husband own Caras Homes, a development company that specializes in custom homes in exclusive South Bay neighborhoods. As a result, new construction is a focus of hers, as is selling lots to clients who are planning to build their own homes.
Despite the growth of her business, Jennifer Caras has sagely kept things focused on working one-on-one with clients: This, she notes, is the heart of her business. “I get deeply involved in each escrow, and each relationship—I am invested.”
Though she has someone assisting her behind the scenes, producing disclosures and other paperwork, she knows that adding others to the mix would change the nature of her business. “I want to be my client’s point of contact and guidance throughout the process,” she states. It’s something they appreciate, given that about 90 percent of her clients are repeat business or referrals.
This ability to connect with others has everything to do with Jennifer Caras’ relatability, which has been honed by facing down challenging situations in her life, and turning them into strengths. Like losing her sister at a young age, and more recently, her father.
“He continues to inspire me every day,” she says. Turning loss and personal trials into positives, Jennifer Caras points out, “has made me the driven business person that I am.” Thankful, too. Taking stock of blessings, from her family to an upwardly evolving career that, years later, still has her energized, is a daily practice.
That’s because real estate, to her, is much more than just selling homes. “It’s so layered,” she says of her work, which features both finance and emotion. Family, work, romance, memories—it’s probably easier to list what buying or selling a home doesn’t involve. And not all transactions, explains Jennifer Caras, occur around scenarios that are “perfectly rosy.” That’s okay; she welcomes the chance to shepherd her clients through the transaction, no matter the journey.
“I really enjoy that part of the job,” she says, adding good-naturedly: “I’m a fierce client advocate.”