Real Estate Agents of the Month Spiczka Marketing Group

Spiczka Marketing Group

Turning Tragedy to Triumph

By Susan Cushing

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This wellworn quote, attributed to both President John F. Kennedy and his father Joseph, might sound trite, but its veracity is undeniable. Cynthia Spiczka of Counselor Realty, is a perfect example.

Cyndy and her husband Mark were going through a difficult time. They had three young children, all under the age of three, and the economy seemed to be conspiring against them.

For a while Cyndy tried to help make ends meet by cleaning homes part time. Fortunately for the Greater Twin Cities real estate community, one of her client’s was actually a licensed REALTOR working with Cyndy’s brother, a local builder.

“I looked at the money she was making, and thought ‘I can do that,’” she says. “She made it look easy. Boy, was I wrong! She was just that good.”

Within a few days, Cyndy visited a small brokerage. When the broker asked, “How would you like to make more money than your husband?” she was sold.

“I was very naïve,” she confesses. “I really knew very little about the industry. All I knew was that I’d never be broke.”

The couple weathered those hard times and are rapidly approaching their 40th wedding anniversary. But for Cyndy, a whole new world had opened up.

The Juggling Act

“I went to real estate school, but it was very hard for me,” Cyndy recalls. “I had only a high school education and with three little kids at home, the schedule was hectic to say the least. But I survived, and started with Coldwell Banker.

“I remember, the first thing they wanted me to do was cold call,” she continues. “My response was, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I just wanted to sell pretty homes! Needless to say, I was very naïve and terrified to do anything. Fortunately, I worked with a great mentor and decided that I’d give it three years to make it.”

During those next three years, Cyndy worked harder than she had her whole life. Still not liking the idea of cold calling, she held open houses, worked her circle of influence, and spent every free hour developing her business. In the ensuing years she would hang her license in the offices of Burnet Realty, RE/MAX and finally, in 1997 found a lasting home at Counselor Realty.

“I certainly gained great experience, training, and lasting friendships at the other offices,” she says, “but the reason I was drawn to Counselor is that it’s a nonprofit company. We’re very unique here, not a big company but rather agent-owned. A lot of the people are volunteers in their positions, and we are very fortunate to have our own group within the brokerage.”

Now with more than 25 years in the business, with her own broker’s license and her own team, Cyndy looks back at all that she’s achieved and how much she’s grown.

As the children, Kelly, David, and Lyndsey grew, Cyndy found that real estate allowed for a schedule that was flexible enough to accommodate field trips, sporting events, and other activities with her kids and her family. The children became integral to her business, helping distribute flyers, prepare for open houses, and becoming quite proficient at quietly entertaining themselves during long transactions.

Although, during their formative years none of the Spiczka children expressed an interest in following mom into real estate, one-by-one, they each did, each bringing a unique talent and perspective.

Next Generation

Middle-child David, didn’t want a traditional nine to five job. He knew he wanted a career that would allow him flexibility to do what he loved – hunting, fishing, golf, and the great outdoors. Real estate off ered him the opportunity and challenges to grow.

David got his real estate license in 2004, and just like his mother before him, seemed to take to the business like a duck to water.

“I love working with Cyndy,” he says, “I think she and I are very similar in many ways. She understands how I work. I was never a real fan of school either, but have my own strengths.

“She and I joke about Lyndsey being the smart one,” he adds lightheartedly. “We’re just out there doing what we do. I think our strengths are dealing with people face-to-face, one-on-one. When we have a question, we ask Lyndsey.”

Youngest daughter Lyndsey is very forthright in declaring her intentions.

“In high school, I had two goals,” she says. “One, I would never work in real estate and two, I would not go to the University of Minnesota, because that’s where my dad went.”

In complete contrast to her strong statement, both women break out in laughter, sharing that she ended up doing both.

While earning her Bachelor of Science in business from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Lyndsey also worked full time as her mom’s assistant. (So far, she was 0 for 2.) She continued her studies to complete a Master of Arts in International Peace Studies, with a focus on economic development from the UN-Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.

In 2005, on the day of her graduation, there was a terrible fire at the family home. In addition to the devastating destruction, the fire also claimed the life of their beloved dog. Six weeks after, Cyndy’s mother passed away. It was a tragic and trying time for everyone, but Cyndy in particular. Fortunately, her family was there for her.

“David was already working with her,” says Lyndsey, “and I was home working on my thesis, so I started working with her more. It was a very difficult summer, but we all pitched in and came through it together.”

With her very impressive resume, it’s not surprising that Lyndsey received many lucrative job offers. But life had different plans it would seem.

“The first open house I did for her, we got five offers on,” she says smiling. “I think that’s when I made the decision to get my license. I just thought, ‘this is amazing.’ I figured I’d pay off all my loans and head off to parts unknown to begin my social work.”

Obviously, that didn’t happen. Again, a variety of circumstances, not the least being the market crash of 2008, conspired to keep the Spiczka’s together.

Lemons to Lemonade

Those were hard times for everyone, but the new Spiczka Marketing Group, did what they do best – turn negative into positive.

“I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that when one door closes, another will open if you choose to not dwell on the bad,” says Cyndy.

During 2009, the team became proficient at contending with the fallout from the economic downturn.

“We handled a lot of short sales,” says Lyndsey, “in fact, we were doing our own. They were difficult times, very stressful and emotional, but it helped build us up as a group and work as a team. From that moment forward we learned we had to work cohesively, as a team to do the best for our clients.”

Eldest daughter Kelly is now an active team player as well. Kelly, who put her license on hold for the past few years, works with SMG as a stager. Also, Cyndy’s sister Lori Anderson Olson, who has her own new construction cleaning company, has worked with the team for decades as a stager. It’s a tight-knit family group.

“When we go into a home, we feel we bring a comfortable family atmosphere,” says Cyndy. “It really helps us and our clients establish a fast and genuine relationship so that we can get down to the business of getting the home ready to list.”

Spiczka Marketing Group is a multigenerational team comprised of people, each with their own unique talents and perspectives, yet who share the same goal, which is to provide the most expert and personalized service to each client. It’s a team that seems to offer something for everyone. Male or female, from the “old school” mindset of doing business or a millennial, seeking the latest tech tools, there is a Spiczka who is a perfect fit.

These are people who don’t give up, give 100 percent and always find the silver lining. Most importantly, they understand the importance of doing their best for clients during a major transition in their lives.