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Inspiring Conversations with Deb Schrakamp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deb Schrakamp.

Hi Deb, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I began my career as a pharmaceutical sales representative out of college. I studied business marketing and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in business and a minor is Spanish. I always had a fascination with medicine and a natural propensity for sales, so pharmaceuticals felt like a great place to start. I was able to travel to a great many locations while studying for my new career and always found myself drawn to looking at properties in each new city. I was actually one of those people who loved to go to open houses and see all the different designs and architecture. So even though I didn’t begin my career in real estate until after I had taken a few trips around the sun, it was always a passion of mine.

After a few years of sales, I was promoted into management and ran an entire organization for the next several years. Running a successful sales organization with several strong, successful sales representatives helped me develop the ability to work with all different personalities! Early in my career, my husband and I were blessed with three wonderful daughters. After our third daughter was born and having a husband who traveled 2-3 weeks each month while I traveled the other weeks, I decided that staying home and raising our girls was better for our family.

My husband and I bought our first home near the beach in Capitola right after we graduated college, knowing that real estate was a fantastic investment, especially in California. We moved away from the beach to have our family network close by while our daughters were growing up. After raising three amazingly accomplished daughters, buying, building, and selling a few more homes, we found ourselves coming full circle back to the beach, but now in La Jolla. Here in La Jolla is where my real estate career started and this is where you can find me now, working and living life to the fullest in this beautiful community.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Losing a family member is never easy, but losing my father, my mentor, and my number 1 fan at the age of 25 was devastating. The realization that life can be cut short forced me to reevaluate my life goals and encouraged me to enjoy every day to it’s fullest. When I graduated college and began my career in sales, I had ambitions of running a company one day. Then three children came along and my priority suddenly changed from me to them! My husband and I wanted to make sure we were always there to support and love our children, but that one of us needed to be more available day to day. Leaving my career to raise my children was a surprisingly easy decision. I recall being asked multiple times, what will you do all day if you’re not working, and believe me, there were never enough hours in the day to keep up with my busy children. Finding the time to keep myself stimulated with something other than elementary school homework, meal preparation, etc… was always challenging. I became a substitute teacher specializing in Spanish to keep my language skills honed. I enjoyed this path throughout the years my daughters were in school. My daughters participated in high-level sports, so I found myself learning the nuances of college recruiting and team management. These skills helped me continue to focus on my relationship building and working with a multitude of personalities, which is always key to success in any aspect of life.

I believe that you are never too old to reinvent yourself, but starting a new career path in the later years of life has its benefits and drawbacks. While I had the business savvy that I acquired working in sales and marketing for many years, I was now faced with a new career path in a new community. I didn’t have a sphere to work with, nor did I have an established name within the community. After several months of learning all the nuances of real estate, meeting new potential clients, learning from my colleagues, nurturing relationships, and diving in headfirst, I was able to develop a wonderful client base and future referral business. Knowing that in sales, of any type, there will be successes and failures, good years and bad ones, it’s imperative to believe in yourself and persevere.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Standing apart from the hundreds of agents within each community is always challenging. Knowing how to connect with your clients is key for any relationship. A great level of trust has to be established in order for an agent to have a strong working relationship with their clients. Family is a huge priority for me, and I believe that treating my clients like family has helped me build a strong client base. Transparency and integrity are also key to being successful in this industry. I enjoy relationship building with my clients. Getting to know them as people and not just home sellers/buyers have been key to my success. Sending handwritten cards for birthdays, home anniversaries, welcoming babies, and other celebratory events is something I take pride in, and I know my clients appreciate the time I take to recognize them outside of the business transactions.

Another part of my success is that my clients also get to know me as not only their realtor but as Deb, the mother, wife, and community volunteer. My clients know that not only do I sell real estate but that I am actively involved with my family and my community. I pride myself in sharing with my clients the work that I do for the youth in San Diego. As a mentor with Promises 2 Kids and my work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster youth, my clients see that I am devoted to helping my community and those who need an extra hand. This makes me ‘real’ to my clients.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Losing my father, the first mentor I ever had, inspired me to find ways to mentor others. Not only have I been a mentor to young students for many years, but I have also been able to mentor other professionals within real estate. I believe that no matter how successful you are in your industry or how long you have been working your trade, you can always learn from a colleague. I have enjoyed networking with my colleagues, mentoring new realtors, and just getting to know what successes and failures my colleagues have had throughout their careers. I have a select group of colleagues that I find most aligned with, and I make sure that I keep in close contact. We are never too old to learn and grow!

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Image Credits
Hannah Claire Photography

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