You can take a gal out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the gal. After becoming one of Chicago's top producing Realtors, Hillary Deck returned to her roots in Austin and joined with Kuper Sotheby's International Realty. Her real estate expertise is complemented by her previous experience as a mortgage consultant in Los Angeles and marketing executive with a high-profile agency in Chicago.
A Certified Negotiation Expert, graduate of the Realtor Institute, and member of the Austin Luxury Network and the National, Texas and Austin Board of Realtors, Deck has done hundreds of real estate transactions. She is ingrained in the community and has valuable knowledge of off-market properties.
When she is not working, Deck spends time with her husband, two daughters, and dogs. She serves on the Elizabeth Ann Seton Board, is a leader in the Junior League of Austin, and is on the Saint Louise House Mother & Me Tea committee. She also enjoys designing and remodeling her Tarrytown home.
We chatted with Deck to find out more about her work and what drives her.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Hillary Deck: My dad was a mortgage banker, and I would work for him during the summers and after college. My parents also owned and renovated historic homes in Dallas, and I watched this whole process and was interested from a very young age. They also were landlords to many properties throughout the Swiss Avenue historic district. Homeownership and its perks were ingrained in me during my formative years. I went away to college, worked for a nonprofit in Los Angeles, writing grants for kids without means, then worked for a prestigious public relations company in Chicago.
My work didn't fulfill me. I thought about going back to nonprofit, but on a trip back to Texas I found an old listing sheet that I had kept, and started to wonder if becoming a real estate agent was my calling. After further investigation and a big realization that being a real estate agent isn't just about houses, I decided to take the plunge and get my license at the end of 2009.
When I started working as an agent, it was in the middle of the recession. Many sellers were upside down on their homes and would have to short the bank in order to sell. It was a rough scene in Chicago, but there was also an opportunity for buyers to get good deals. As a team, we still did well and created opportunities for our clients. In a tough economy, we were able to help clients get out of tough situations and into better ones. We were able to educate our clients and help guide them to a better future.
Because I started with that in mind, I will always carry that with me. It's always about the client and their well-being, and how I can help create wealth for them and their families.
CM: What's one piece of advice you'd give to people looking for their dream home?
HD: Focus on a few top priorities, and listen to your expert agent about what is realistic. I teach a class to the Junior League of Austin about being a smart homebuyer and seller. In the class, we talk about prioritizing what's truly important and then possibly adding value to the home.
CM: And advice to those who are selling?
HD: The market dictates the value of a home, not the seller. Don't get greedy. There is such thing as a "worry price," where buyers worry that the home will be scooped up by someone else. When you price a home well, it can and will result in multiple offers.
CM: Sum up Austin in three words.
HD: Smart. Ever-changing. Innovative.
CM: What do you consider your "special skill"?
HD: Problem solving. Every client and transaction is unique, and each comes with its set of issues that need resolving. Sometimes, it's time or money, sometimes it is working with unique personalities. Either way, my job is to get the deal done in the best interest of my clients.
CM: What's one thing people might not know about you?
HD: I’m a third generation Austinite, with a long history in this town. My grandfather, Jay Arlon Matthews, helped create the museum at Camp Mabry.
See Hillary Deck's latest listings here, or contact her at 512-468-6214 or email@example.com.