Transitioning from being a medical and surgical nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital to a Realtor® may seem like a tremendous change, but for Ellyn Wolfenson, it was another opportunity to use her skills in a different way. Almost 18 years later and now with Coldwell Banker – Minneapolis Lakes office, she believes she made the right move.
“One of the reasons I flourished is because there are really a lot of similarities between both careers,” she says. “You’re taking care of people in a life experience they don't have very often, and it's not something they're extremely knowledgeable about. So there's an educational aspect to it, but there's a little bit of caregiving too. There's also friendship and kindness, and those are many of the attributes that a nurse has.”
Ellyn can also stay calm under pressure and when emotions run high, as they often do when dealing with real estate transactions. “People react very differently,” she says. “Some are hysterical when the moving van pulls up and others just can't wait to get to the next adventure. Then there’s everything in between.”
While she enjoys the invigorating business part of real estate, she says what she really loves is the relationship part of it. “My tagline is, ‘It's all about relationships,’ and I really mean that. I love helping first-time home buyers. I love helping people who are leaving their family homes and transitioning to a condo. These life passages are very interesting to me.”
Ellyn also stays in touch with many of her clients and attends many of their life events such as weddings, christenings, and bar mitzvahs. Newlyweds she sold to years ago are now looking for a bigger house to start their families. Some of the children who remember her selling to their parents are now contacting her to find their own homes.
“You develop a trust with people and they see that you're not just doing this for a minute, you're doing it for a long time,” she says. “It becomes very multigenerational and it just couldn't be more interesting. I consider it a gift when somebody invites me into their life to help buy or sell a house.”
Although she does business all over Minnesota, a huge asset Ellyn has on her side is being very familiar with the Minneapolis Lakes area. “I was raised in the neighborhood. My parents lived here until a few years ago, and now I'm back. I have tremendous knowledge of the Lakes area and have a special place in my heart for Linden Hills and Southwest Minneapolis because it's where I grew up.”
Ellyn says that Minnesota is like a magnet. People grow up here and they sometimes go away for a certain number of years, but they always seem to come back. “I think it’s because the Twin Cities is just such a family-centric kind of place. My four children all came back, and of course, I'm thrilled to pieces.” She also has six grandchildren and having them close makes it easy for her to dote on them.
“There’s retail here, there are restaurants, trails, and biking,” says Ellyn. “There's diversity and culture, and baseball fields, and kids playing in the parks. There's the quaintness of a small-town feel, but there's the cosmopolitan piece of a sophisticated city. It's a marvelous place to live.”
She also loves the walkability of her current neighborhood. “I moved from Edina to Minneapolis about four years ago and take advantage of this walkability. From where I live, I can walk to my office. Unless I'm getting a ton of groceries, I walk to the co-op. I walk to Sunnyside Gardens to buy a gift and to Turtle Bread to get a muffin. I really try to live the way I think the community wants us to live.”
Her husband, Mick Belzer, is about to retire as medical director at Hennepin County Medical Center, where he has worked for 35 years. “That will be a new reality for us,” says Ellyn. “My work is very important to me, but I'm also a family-first kind of person. There are words I live by, and it was my dad who said them to me - ‘Fall in love with your family; don't fall in love with your work.’ And so, while I love what I do, I love my family more and I've managed to find a great balance.”
To find out more about Ellyn, or if you’re interested in buying or selling a home, contact Ellyn at (612) 644-3033.