Barbara Leogrande was a stay-at-home mother of three when the time came to put her family’s home on the market. The process of selling her own home inspired her to go into real estate.
“I was feeling very frustrated,” Leogrande, now of Douglas Elliman, recalled. “I truly felt communication was lacking. I thought I could do a better job myself.”
Leogrande has certainly made a name for herself. The agent, who specializes in the Babylon-Islip area, was recently voted one of Pulse’s 2017 power brokers. Just to be nominated, Leogrande had to be at the top of her territory based on listing and sales information. But she hasn’t forgotten the basics or why she got into the business in the first place.
“One of the things I express to my clientele is that communication is key to success. I really attribute my success to really getting personally involved and always putting my clients first,” she said.
Leogrande shared tips for finding a top-notch realtor, upping the value of a home and loving and living the best life on Long Island.
Your own experience with a realtor wasn’t the best. Knowing what you know now as an agent and former seller, what are attributes people should look for in a realtor?
There’s a difference between a good agent and a great agent. A great agent is very hands on. As the listing agent, you are the voice for your seller and they are relying on you to speak to all the nuances, the updates and amenities. If you are not truly present during the entire listing term, I think the service is lacking. It’s important to see how available an agent is. Also, how knowledgeable are they about the area? A lot of times, people aren’t just buying a home, they’re buying an area.
How can people find this out about an agent?
Zillow and the Internet. Before you make the appointment, you can just Google certain agents. Testimonials are important. Most people won’t write something nice if it’s not true. If you do set up an appointment, ask them to bring their market share. Let them show you why they are qualified.
We’re sitting at one of your waterfront listings in Bayport. What makes Bayport special?
Our proximity to Fire Island—it’s a boat ride away. You get to enjoy everything a waterfront lifestyle offers. Our school district is highly rated. Most times, I do have families coming here because this is where they want to raise their children. It’s a quiet little hamlet. It’s a close-knit community. [People] look out for one another. We have all the industry we need on Sunrise Highway…Then we have the quaint little town to brunch and shop. We’re close to Patchogue which offers all kinds of eateries, nightlife and live music. We can retreat quietly back to our homes, but if we want the nightlife, we can drive a couple minutes. The proximity to the Hamptons is great—it’s 35 minutes to Westhampton Beach.
What are some ways people look out for each other?
If any of us hear of someone in need, the outpouring in the community is so overwhelmingly touching, whether it be organizing a meal for families, helping a sick child or someone who can’t quite make ends meet. There’s always some type of fundraiser, someone available to help.
What are really cool places to hang out in the Bayport area?
Right on Corey Beach we have JT’s on the Bay, which is definitely a hotspot in the summer. It’s an outside eatery with all fresh seafood and often live music. You can come by boat. They recently took over what was Stage Cafe forever and it’s now JT’s Cafe. They sell breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have Off the Block Kitchen. You can go and get whatever kind of cut of meat you want and they’ll custom-make it to your liking. It’s a unique concept. It’s very casual but it’s nice you can go in and get exactly what you want.
What’s a big misconception about selling a home?
The biggest is condition. Condition matters. When a professional is trying to advise you, please try to be open-minded. Little changes can equal dollars in your pocket, such as a fresh coat of paint or peeling off some old wallpaper.
When it comes time to sell a home, what are tips to make the house look and feel like a home?
Staging has become a big part of my business. We really want to show a house in its best light. Part of the listing process, I roll up my sleeves and help clean and stage. Typically, after we sell a house, the homeowner loves so much of what we did they usually commission me to help them with their new home. I work with some very talented stages. We love going on Pinterest and Houzz. We have a wonderful Home Goods up the road.
What are some of your favorite ways to decorate?
I would recommend rooms be interchangeable. I would go with a neutral palate so it can change with the seasons. I love throws; my husband makes fun of me all the time. Fresh bowl of fruit, flowers, candles, all those little touches bring a room to light.
Read more about Leogrande in the May issue of Pulse, out now.