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The Keys to Success

Buying, selling and inspiring dreams

Being successful in business takes hard work and perseverance. Achieving that success as a young woman in a mostly male-dominated industry requires a whole other level of commitment.

Real estate broker Michelle Pais, who at the age of 30 founded Signature Realty NJ in 2010 and  knows this well. “We are one of the most successful independently-owned real estate brokerages in the state,” she says. “It’s a woman-owned brokerage and the Michelle Pais Group, which is a luxury division of Signature Realty NJ, was ranked number one in the state by Real Trends in 2019 under the medium size team category for both units and volume. 2021 has been our best year yet! I’m particularly proud of that because we’re independently owned and I’m one of the youngest, if not the youngest, broker that has achieved this level of success.”

Michelle wants to inspire other women to achieve their own dreams and spends time as a mentor and coach. “They can compete and they can have a seat at the table. My advice - be true to who you are, do the right thing, and follow the Golden Rule, because all you have is your reputation.”

She feels the most important element for success is mindset. “I always tell people that fear will hold you back, so you need to just ignore that voice inside you that says you can’t do it and go after your goals.”

Surrounding yourself, as she does, with people who will uplift and support you is another key ingredient. She now has 350 agents and that number is constantly growing. In fact, Signature Realty NJ recently made the INC. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in America! Michelle knows she wouldn’t have reached this milestone alone. In addition to her team, whose members she calls “a great group of dynamic individuals who have the ‘seek to serve mentality’,” she also gives thanks to her husband, Jonathan Steingraber, who runs the business alongside her.

She and Jonathan support their agents in return. “We’re really big on training and teach our agents not to just become great agents, but how to become business owners, so we’re very much invested in their success.”

The couple also strongly believes in giving back in other ways. Michelle’s agency is the main sponsor of Be the Change, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding the homeless. “It’s something that’s really true to our hearts,” she says. “My husband and I come from extremely humble beginnings. We consider ourselves to be very fortunate, so anytime we have an opportunity to give back, that’s something we want to do.”

Another way she hopes to bolster others is through her new book, Secretary to CEO, which outlines her journey while giving tips, tricks and important advice on becoming a successful business owner. “I had to learn and overcome obstacles and heartaches and I want to help other women navigate those challenges.”

The title of the book reflects her own path. While in her early 20s, she worked as a secretary at a real estate office while putting herself through college with the goal of pursuing a law degree. But, things changed quickly after she made her first sale.

“I felt euphoric and I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she says. “I enjoy the process of helping people, of marketing their homes, and being able to get their homes sold for more money than they thought they would ever get.” Secretary to CEO is due for release this year.

Michelle and her husband, who live in Morris County, have another new and exciting venture coming up - their own real estate show right here in New Jersey. Stay tuned for that!

Even with all these accomplishments, Michelle says her biggest joy is being a mother to 19-month-old Madison Rose. “Being her mom is my greatest success story and my greatest achievement by far. So all the trophies, all the awards and all the recognition – nothing compares to that.”

She and Jonathan truly cherish family time. “We love taking mini-getaways,” she says. “We’re beach people so anything that has sand and sun is for us. In addition to that, we just love simple things. We like going to parks, taking afternoon strolls and going out to lunch.”

Signature Realty NJ and the Michelle Pais Group currently have three office locations, Summit, Westfield and Somerset and have plans to open several more this year. Even with so much growth, Michelle feels it’s important to note: “Every one of my clients feels like they’re my only client. When they hire me they get all of me, and they know I will get the job done.”

To find out more about how she and her team can assist you, go to and to   

  • Michelle Pais Founder  & CEO Signature Realty NJ,  Michelle Pais Group