Marzena Wawrzaszek: Multicultural Insights in NYC Real Estate

Real Estate Agent Magazine sat down with Marzena Wawrzaszek, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with SERHANT, to talk about her journey into the real estate industry, her experiences navigating challenging transactions, and how she leverages her multicultural background to enhance her career in the diverse market of New York City.

REAM: What inspired you to become a real estate agent, and how did you get started in the industry?
MW: I don’t recall a specific moment that made me want to be a real estate agent because it’s something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. Even when I was very young, I loved architecture and design. Whenever my family drove by an open house sign, I’d bug my parents to check it out. I used to draw floor plans of my dream houses, and since my dad worked in construction, I’d sometimes tag along to his sites. Something about seeing a sketch turn into a cool building fascinated me. I loved the exciting fact that every day is different when you work in real estate..

REAM: Did you have a career in another industry before embarking in real estate?
MW: I technically entered real estate during my last year of college. I needed one more internship to graduate, so I joined a small firm. While studying for my license, I helped out at a local real estate firm. Throughout college, I did various jobs like waitressing, bartending, and event planning, worked for an accounting firm, and had a one-year finance internship at a big international bank. Through all that, I figured out that I enjoy being around people, and a regular 9-5 desk job just wasn’t my thing.

REAM: Could you provide an example of a particularly challenging real estate transaction you’ve handled, and how you successfully navigated it?
MW: I was helping an international family in search of a pied a terre. We saw everything on the market then they suddenly went silent, not responding to my calls and emails. I kept on following up like a crazy ex-girlfriend for five months. Eventually, they responded announcing they would be in New York the next day and wanted to revisit five buildings. I moved everything on my schedule to accommodate them. They decided on a new development downtown, negotiations took 6 weeks, dealing with a very difficult sponsor. At the final walk-through, the apartment had many issues including leaks and a cracked window on the 26th floor! The developer insisted on closing, but my clients were frustrated and ready to walk away losing out on their 10% deposit. After another round of intense negotiations, we got a deal! The sponsor agreed to hold a specific amount in escrow and provided my clients with a temporary apartment in the building rent-free until all issues were resolved. Eventually, they moved in and were grateful for my assistance and coming up with a creative way to get it done. It’s moments like these that make my job meaningful.

REAM: Given your experience in real estate investments, how do you incorporate that knowledge into assisting your clients, especially in terms of potential challenges they might face?
MW: I think it’s crucial to educate clients, especially when dealing with developers. I believe bringing in a real estate professional early in the process is vital. Architects are incredible in making your vision real, but they don’t deal with clients every day, understanding their challenges and keeping up with trends. I think having a team with the right architect, a real estate pro, and an interior designer can truly make or break a project.

REAM: As a New Yorker with roots in Poland, how do you leverage your multicultural background and experiences in your real estate career, especially in such a diverse market like New York City?
MW: I believe being multicultural is a valuable asset in navigating the diverse market of New York City. Growing up in Poland and traveling to different countries really helped me in understanding various cultures which allows me to connect with clients on a deeper level, tailoring my approach to their unique preferences and needs. It truly enhances communication, builds trust, and facilitates smoother transactions.

REAM: How are you involved in your community? Is there one group you support especially? Why did you select that cause/group?
MW: Local volunteer and charity events work raising money for different causes, especially, cancer related. I know too many people who lost their lives or loved ones to this horrible disease.

REAM: What is something your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
MW: I took a two-week solo trip to Europe. Even my parents didn’t believe me I was going alone!

REAM: Tell us about your first sale.MW: My first sale was a 2-bedroom coop in West Village for $1 million. I was representing a buyer who worked as a nurse at NYU Hospital and was buying his first place. Knowing it was his first time, it actually made me feel more at ease since neither of us really knew the ropes. I talked to some top agents in my office, gathered lots of information, and created a detailed guide to follow. Luckily, this deal was pretty straightforward with no tricky situations, but it still made me pretty nervous. If only every deal could be this simple!

REAM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies? Sports?
MW: I love traveling – traveling exposes us to different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles and can be very humbling. Staying active is a significant part of my life – I lift weights and do Pilates regularly.

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