Enthusiasm. Experience. Integrity. These are just a few descriptors that paint the picture of humbly successful and longtime realtor Lonnie Shapiro, who is celebrating her 50th year as a realtor this year — and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hailing originally from Manhattan, Lonnie started her real estate career in July of 1973 in Ridgefield. This July marks her 50th anniversary in real estate — an accomplishment not many people can take credit for.
Shedding her wisdom on lessons learned in the real estate industry, Lonnie proves that a positive attitude isn’t only a desirable characteristic — it’s a business success strategy. As she confidently puts it, “What you see is what you get with me.” Another thing? Being a realtor has nothing to do with houses — it’s about people.
Prior to real estate, Lonnie was a school teacher. Coming out of maternity leave, a friend of hers asked, ‘Why don’t we try real estate?” “And that’s how I got into it,” Lonnie laughs.
Don’t let her nonchalantness fool you, though — she has received countless awards including the Realtor Emeritus Award, an award reserved only for realtors who have had a cumulative period of 40 years in real estate and have completed at least one year of service at the National Association level.
“That felt really good,” Lonnie said of receiving that recognition. Her biggest achievement of all, though, is her three grandchildren. “That’s more worth it than anything,” she says.
The experienced go-getter credits much of her success to her passion for people. “You have to love people to be successful in this industry,” Lonnie says. “You also have to be a bit of a psychologist and get into the brains of your clients to really understand what they're looking for — who are they emotionally? What’s important to them as a person?”
And that client-to-realtor relationship has changed drastically over the years, largely due to technology and the many different forms of communication utilized today. Before Zillow and Realtor.com, real estate agents held the keys to the kingdom. Now the buyers hold the keys.
"Compared to what we did 50 years ago, it’s so easy today because of the Internet!" Lonnie exclaimed. "Although, the action in real estate is not on the Internet — it’s within the people."
Now with five decades of real estate intelligence under her belt, Lonnie’s career advice ties beautifully with life lessons we can all learn from. “Take nothing personally and have a good sense of humor,” she tells me. “A lot of realtors take things too personally,” she adds. “And it ends up hurting them. They become their own stumbling blocks. Just do it (make the mistake) and laugh it off later," she advises.
She also emphasized the importance that communicating with your clients and colleagues holds. “Over the years I’ve learned you have to be a vehicle of communication,” she said. “It’s our job as realtors to stay neutral and be in control, and not get caught up in other people’s drama. Having a good attitude is everything."
As for how Lonnie’s celebrating? “By going shopping!” she exclaims. “I love clothes,” she says with a smile. “Really though, I’m having a great year. I love what I do and want to keep doing it. If Martha Stewart can pose on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 81 years old, I can keep doing real estate in my mid-70s.”
"If Martha Stewart can pose on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 81 years old, I can keep doing real estate in my mid-70s.”