Planting Roots

Lisa Brown Relocated Often—Until She Saw Basking Ridge and Knew She Was Finally at Home

Lisa Brown has moved a lot.

She had lived in six states before she settled in Basking Ridge 22 years ago and, as part of the process of starting over so many times, she has bought and sold a total of nine houses.

“Any move is hard and stressful, especially with children, but moving to New Jersey was my toughest because of the expense,” she says. “I sat in the real estate agent’s car and cried because I was buying a fixer-upper for $700,000, which was double the cost and half the house I was leaving in Yardley, Pennsylvania.”

At that time, she and her husband, Michael, who is in the pharmaceutical business, were being relocated every eight months to two years because of his work, uprooting their three young sons in the process each time. (Their fourth son entered the picture shortly before they got to Basking Ridge.)

The New Jersey relocation, Brown says, was the right move because the agent persuaded her to make real estate her career. “She told me that I should come to work for her office once I got settled in because it was an extension of what I was doing: researching the area, looking for sports teams, piano teachers and schools for my children and nurturing family members through the process.” 

It was, she adds, “something I was destined to do.”

Since she joined Coldwell Banker’s Basking Ridge office 16 years ago, Brown has sold 400 houses in Somerset, Union, Morris and Hunterdon counties, averaging 30 to 35 per year. She also handles rental properties.

Relocations, which have been so much a part of her own life, are her specialty.

“I love everything about selling real estate,” she says, adding that it gives her an opportunity to use her sales and negotiating skills and to meet people and help them get settled comfortably in their new homes. “I’m constantly in my clients’ lives. I send them holiday gifts and home- anniversary gifts and keep in touch with them. I’ve done three to four transactions with some of them, and I’ve also worked with their children.”

Brown has owned three homes in Basking Ridge, which she says has the feel of a small town, and takes pleasure in showing her clients “how beautiful the area is” and acquainting them with its amenities, which include top-notch schools, parks and downtown shops.

“I also love the access to New York City,” she says, “because it supports my hobbies and interests. I love New York City theater.”

Reading is a major form of relaxation for Brown; she’s partial to novels and current works of fiction. So is walking. She logs three to four miles every day (except in wintery weather when she hits the gym instead).

Brown, an active advocate for the community, is a volunteer patient advocate for Cancer Hope Network, a volunteer at the Morristown Community Soup Kitchen and serves on the board of the Somerset Hills YMCA, where she frequently goes to work out.

Her work for Cancer Hope Network is particularly poignant. At 30, right after she gave birth to her third son, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I’m proud of my age—I’m a 61-year-old cancer survivor,” she says, adding that while she was a stay-at-home mother, she spent a lot of time volunteering at her sons’ schools.

Brown, who is originally from the Chicago suburb of Naperville, began her career in sales: first for Illinois Bell Telephone Co. and then for the investment bank and financial services firm Oppenheimer & Co. Real estate was a natural transition.

Like the agent who took her under her wing all those years ago, Brown mentors her younger peers. “To be successful, you have to find something you love and know your strengths and weaknesses,” she tells them. “There’s no secret; it’s just working hard.”

At the end of last year, Brown and her husband moved into their third Basking Ridge house—a large Cape they share with their lovable two-year-old Red Fox Labrador, Lucy. “She’s named after my mother, Lucille, who died of COVID-19 in 2020 while she was in assisted living,” Brown says.

They aren’t planning on moving any time soon. 

“We’re empty-nesters, and we’re on a 10-year plan,” Brown says. “It’s a wonderful place for us to entertain our children and three grandchildren, and it has a first-floor primary suite so we can get old in it.”

Learn more about Lisa Brown at lisabrownrealestate.net.

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