Real Estate Agents of the Month Janice Livshits & Jill Barbera

Janice Livshits and Jill Barbera

Taking Real Estate to a New Level

 By Jan L. Apple

What do you get when you combine the star power, tenacity and passion of REALTORS Janice Livshits and Jill Barbera? A team that not only spells success at selling real estate and building relationships, but one that is fast becoming a model for others in the industry.

The Livshits/Barbera team of EveryHome REALTORS has taken the profession to a new level. And these award-winning dynamos wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re proud to be trendsetters, providing leadership and guidance to like-minded agents – new to the profession – in building their own unique brand.

With five team members under their watchful eyes, Livshits and Barbera share insight into their still evolving success story. They describe their team – created in 2015 – as a grassroots effort, a win-win model.

The duo met a decade ago through EveryHome REALTORS – each arriving at real estate from very divergent paths.

Drawn to Real Estate
When Livshits, who was raised in Northeast Philadelphia and resides in Horsham, gave birth to daughter, Grace (now 10), she left a career in finance and a steady paycheck.

“Katie was a friend of mine,” said Livshits, referring to EveryHome owner Katie Kennedy and husband, Paul Heck, broker of record. “I had been helping out in her office and one day she said, ‘Why don’t you just go out and get a real estate license.’”

Livshits heeded her advice. “I never looked back. Within eight months, I was onboard full-time. I became one of the top agents. I love my clients and I love what I do.”

At about the same time, a newly married Barbera was feeling burned out from a decade-long demanding culinary career.

“I was working 13 or 14 hour days,” she recalled. “I was a chef at a Stephen Starr restaurant in Center City, then I worked in corporate dining.”

Following several promotions, she was managing upward of 25 employees and a far cry from living her culinary passion. Barbera was also searching for a work/life balance. “I wanted to have a family life; I wanted to have children.”

Barbera decided to enroll in real estate classes. Shortly after acquiring her license, she and her husband, Vince, put their starter home in Conshohocken on the market. Interestingly, Barbera’s first sale was her own home; she liked the feeling of accomplishment from closing that deal.

She had met Katie Kennedy and began dabbling on EveryHome’s website, checking out the market. Somehow, she felt she had stumbled upon a career path and put her hunch to the test. She gave up her salary and full benefits. Within months onboard, she too became a top agent – with the convenience of working from home.

And, she was able to fulfill her dream of family life. The couple now has three young sons, Logan, Hayden and Bryson.

Forming a Team
“In 2006, we were two of only four agents at EveryHome,” recalled Barbera. “Today, EveryHome has 54 agents.” A friendship flourished between Livshits and Barbera; they shared insights and tools of the trade. Their management styles were admittedly different. Livshits is highly analytical, while Barbera is more instinctual. Yet both are driven and committed to integrity, patience and the seriousness of helping clients purchase a home.

“We’re both type A personalities,” said Barbera. “No doubt about it.”

“We were reading each other’s thoughts,” Livshits added. “When we were together, our quirks turned into strengths.”

Not only did they complement one another, they were the constant go-to REALTORS and the recipients of Philadelphia Magazine’s coveted Five-Star agent award. Newcomers were relying on Livshits and Barbera to show them the ropes at open houses, negotiating, writing contracts, navigating social media. The aha moment came when they realized, with their leadership, they could meld 20 years of combined experience to help rising agents become successful. After months of tweaking and collaborating, Team Livshits/Barbera was born.

“The relationship with clients is the key to this business,” said Livshits. “When you first meet a client, it’s all about establishing a friendship, a relationship, building comfort and trust,” Barbera said.

It’s a continuum. One that both women keep their pulse on; always striving to read a client’s needs, level of comfort, guiding them every step along the way. They send birthday greetings, Christmas cards, keep in touch via phone calls, text messages, Facebook. They’ve gotten to know the families of clients, keeping abreast of their children’s activities, life cycle events. The relationships have grown, as have word of mouth referrals and repeat business.

Living the Life
Being a REALTOR they agree, is 24/7; you’re always on call. “It’s more than a profession,” said Livshits. “It’s a way of life. You can never take your foot off the gas pedal.”

Yet, neither seems to mind. It’s who they are. “It’s great to know we have each other,” said Barbera, adding that in real estate, the concept of vacation doesn’t really exist.

“This isn’t a 9 to 5 job, where you leave your business at the office when you come home. It’s always there in the back of your mind. My boys, ages 6 and under, often come with me to showings. They know I have clients; it’s all they’ve ever known.”

Both know that the key to success in the industry is taking that time to step back when needed to recharge. Barbera makes time to paint, run and practice yoga. Every summer, she and her family indulge in a weeklong getaway on Long Island Beach Island. Livshits unwinds with wine tastings and activities with her daughter, Grace, including horseback riding and deep-sea fishing. The two travel to Marathon in the Florida Keys to indulge in this pleasure.

“It’s the only time I can truly disconnect,” she said, yet her phone is always nearby even on a boat in the middle of the ocean, “just in case a client calls.”

Another key to success in this industry, notes Livshits, is being creative, thinking out of the box. Her diverse skillset encompasses the ability to envision.

“I love design,” she said. “When I walk into a house, I have a knack for visualizing all it’s potential.”

Barbera, on the other hand, calls herself a pleaser. “I want people to be happy,” she said. “I will do everything in my power to help clients through the process of finding the right home.”

That process is something they pride themselves on.

“We’re the first person you see and the last person you see,” said Barbera. They may delegate certain tasks to other agents, but Livshits and Barbera are there from the initial meeting through settlement.

Grateful for their success, they feel compelled to give back. “We love the Barkann Family Healing Hearts Foundation,” said Livshits. “All the money raised goes directly to people in the Delaware Valley.”

The two have sponsored events and offer support whenever possible.

“It takes a lot of patience, self-motivation and a tough skin to keep going in this industry,” admitted Barbera, who sets a goal at the beginning of each year. It’s how she can gauge her success. “There are definitely highs and lows. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture.”

Where do these women see themselves in 10 years?

Not surprisingly, they both chime in with the same answer, “I want to keep doing this for as long as I possibly can. We love what we do.”

Livshits/Barbera Team EveryHome REALTORS

1741 Valley Forge Road
Worcester, PA 19490
(215) 699-5555