Nina Krakowsky went looking for a home. Instead, she found a job.
She and her young family had just arrived in Ottawa from Boston, one of many stops in her globe-trotting career. After soliciting the services of Tracy Arnett, head of a popular, eponymous brokerage firm, Tracy, in turn, offered to make Nina part of her team.
Nina’s initial intention was to assist relocating families. After all, her life path had taken her from her native Germany to Hong Kong, Beijing, Raleigh, Boston, and finally, Ottawa.
“In 2008, I got the idea to start a consulting company where I would help people settle in the city,” she explains.
“That’s when I first met Tracy. I wanted to pitch my business to her and see if some of her clients might need a service like that. Then the market crashed. She told me, ‘Nina, it’s a super idea but no one is relocating. All of these big companies are shutting everything down.”
The following year, Nina and Tracy met again, this time as home buyer and agent. After finding a house for Nina, her longtime husband and their three children, Tracy asked for a favour in kind. Recognizing the dignified demeanour and professional determination of a winning real estate rep, Tracy encouraged Nina to procure her license. By 2009, Nina had joined Team Arnett—quite a career leap for someone with a background in sinology (the European form of Chinese Studies).
In a deviation from her original plan, Nina doesn’t specialize in relocations. That said, she often finds herself assisting young families from international backgrounds who are new to the nation’s capital. “I have had very personal experiences moving with a family, whether it’s across town, countries, or continents. So that’s often my focus.”
And a successful one it is too. As the old bromide goes, in real estate, 10% of the agents sell 90% of the houses. If Nina finds herself in the top percentile, it’s attributable to her dedication to the task. “There are realtors that only work part-time,” she explains. “If a realtor only sells three properties a year, it can be very overwhelming for the agent.” And the buyer, she adds cautiously, going on to offer those on the hunt some sage advice: “I would suggest interviewing your agent and asking them very openly, ‘How many homes do you sell per year? What kind of clientele do you serve? Are you better with condos? Investment properties? New homes? Old homes?”
She also advocates being just as inquisitive with anybody else. “House buying is a lot of teamwork. You want the best people on your team, ones who’ll work well with you. You need a good inspector, a good lawyer, a good mortgage broker and a good agent…your realtor can introduce you to all these people.”
As good as business has been for Nina, who’s amassed a long list of client testimonials for her ability to pinpoint needs and negotiate home buyer pain points, it hasn’t been pandemic-proof. That said, thanks to sound mentorship and personal acumen, she’s made out better than most. “No one knew how we were going to be affected,” she recounts, looking back on the first wave of COVID-19. “We were lucky because we were a small business. We were nimble. We took the time to be fully automated; all our processes went online.
We went paperless and utilized 3D virtual tours, something we already provided well before most others did in Ottawa .”
Her biggest hardship was the switch from putting time in at the office to working from home.
“Being away from my team was the hardest thing for me. I love my brokerage team. We genuinely like working and socializing
together. But I’m lucky. I have a cottage nearby Kingston on an island. That’s where I worked when possible with my family.”
Thanks to Ontario’s loosened restrictions, Krakowsky is back at the office.
New in town and looking for a place to live? She’d be happy to hear your needs.