Meet Valerie Aliwarga, Real Estate Professional at Compass – San Francisco
Q: You moved around quite a bit in your early years, what was that like?
VA: I was born in Indonesia and have an international family, which has allowed me the opportunity to travel and learn new cultures around the globe. We moved back to the states to live with my mother's family … when my parents divorced, I traveled the world. It was difficult to constantly be the “new girl” until I learned to accept the blessing and opportunity of meeting new people. As I grew, I began to realize that change is necessary for personal growth. What a blessing! Now, meeting and connecting with new people has become a tremendous asset. Learning the process of moving everything and all the challenges of finding a new home and in a new community were invaluable. Instead of resisting, I grew to love the excitement of starting fresh and getting to know my new environment.
Q: Tell us how your career started in Real Estate?
VA: It started with the structure and design of buildings and homes. I found myself intrigued with each property and wanting to know about the people who live there. I became inspired by large industrial spaces when I was producing fashion events. Very naturally, real estate became a huge interest of mine. Living in Los Angeles, I met some amazing people and through the grapevine, found myself working on a team at Keller Williams. The team was highly diversified, but we had a focus on finding investment properties for Japanese clients who needed to invest in a property with high land to value percentage. Without getting into detail, I learned the commercial side of multi units (five plus residentials). Cold calling, GRM and cap rates became my specialty. A life change moved me to San Francisco and gave me the opportunity to expand my market knowledge. Determined to learn from the best, I sought out top agents in the industry. Now I work for The Townsend Group at Compass, who have generations of market knowledge and expertise.
Q: How long have you been in the Real Estate business?
VA: 2 years.
Q: What types of property do you handle?
VA: My main focus is in residential real estate. That said, I have experience in multi-unit properties and continue to pursue an education in commercial real estate as a member of The NCREA (National Commercial Real Estate Association).
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with the “Midwest Work Ethic” – can you share with us the meaning and how you implement it?
VA: It is a blue-collar work ethic and mindset of getting things done the right way. In a way that cares about your neighbor because you grew up with them. I moved around all the time so that doesn’t necessarily apply to me … but it’s the way you care about what you do with the integrity of everyone involved. For me, this is the old school community way of living which is starting to disappear in today's society. Bringing this mindset to large cities means building lasting connections by genuinely being interested in someone. Whether I’m working with an investor or a friend, it’s about getting to know someone’s needs like they are your own and finding the best solution for everyone involved.
Q: What two things separate you from the competition?
VA: Empathy, hustle and trust. One of my strengths is connecting with people and understanding their needs like they’re my own. This is why it’s easy for me to work so hard for them and to build trust with each client. My determination has allowed me to achieve every goal that I have set. I learned at a young age to use others mistakes as my own lessons.
Q: What would a previous buyer and seller that you represented say about you?
VA: That I took the time to teach them something that they didn’t understand before and had their best interest every step of the way.
Q: Can you give us your insight on how you think changes in tax reform will play out in 2018 for Bay Area buyers and sellers?
VA: The San Francisco market will not be affected too much by tax reform. The reason why is because the market in the Bay area has one of the highest housing prices in the country. This tax reform will mainly deter buyers who will need a $750K - $1.5 million mortgage to buy property. Buyers over the $1.5 Million price range are more liquid with their assets and may be less affected by ramification of the tax reform. While the individual standard deductions are rising significantly, the mortgage interest deduction has decreased from $1 million to $750K; which is not encouraging to buy in the million-dollar Bay Area market for those in this price range. On the bright side, a good portion of the local economy will see a tax break of some kind and that is an incentive to invest.
Q: Any further predictions for the next two or three years?
VA: Rising interest rates will have an initial impact on rising purchase prices. Home value appreciation should plateau … once that becomes the new norm, our perpetual lack of inventory will kick start and keep home prices rising. Barring any unforeseen negative socio-economic events, the market will essentially still favor sellers in the Bay Area.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
VA: Coco Chanel inspires me because she revolutionized the image of women and broke social norms that limited us. She freed women from wearing corsets and unleashed our ability to wear comfortable and practical clothes. Coco believed, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it’s not luxury”. She created the revolutionary ‘little black dress’ worn across the globe. In 1925, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel challenged society by wearing trousers and men’s clothing and lived life on her own terms. Starting life as a daughter of a peasant and then as an orphan when she learned to sew. Coco followed her passion and revolutionized being a woman in today's society by creating a global brand that changed the image of every woman for centuries to come. Coco reminds me to be a strong woman and create the standards and norms that I believe in for success as a woman.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
VA: We were not raised in a society to collaborate. We were raised in a system that is based on grades, averages and competitions. It’s been proven that the most successful brainstorming happens during community timeframes, like the lunch hour, when no one’s competing, and everyone is sharing; that’s when the great ideas are created. Bringing women together can be one of the most powerful collaborations for success.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
VA: Supporting other women to be the best of who they are. Connect and collaborate, that’s the future.
Q: Can you offer advice to parents with daughters graduating from high school?
VA: While I don’t have children, I think as a young woman, to know how to establish boundaries and flexible goals is invaluable. Understanding personal limitations is a learned experience and parents can set their daughters up with success by having a conversation to give them the tools of this mindset. Flexible goals are the stepping stones to personal growth and success. Being flexible gives room for self-compassion to accomplish these goals.
Q: What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
VA: Working with Compass Real Estate is a huge accomplishment. The company has immense integrity, client experience and agent collaboration. I am honored to be working with the Townsend Group at Compass, who have established generations of relationships in this industry. I chose to work with the best in the industry and that’s why I chose Compass.
Five Things About Valerie Aliwarga
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Albert Einstein because he thinks beyond the ordinary about the simple facts of life. I have so many questions!!
2. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
That I can’t save the world by myself.
3. Can you share with us one of your passions in life?
I love science micro and macro, from chemistry and physics to biology, environmental sciences and space weather. On the contrary, beauty and fashion is a huge part of my life and career. Working in makeup for over 13 years as well as producing fashion shows for health research like the Alzheimer's Association has shaped me as a business woman.
4. Where is your dream vacation?
Brazil. I studied Portuguese language and culture in college, but never had the opportunity to visit because my career started so young.
5. What app can’t you live without?
The Compass app and Facetime because effective communication and building meaningful connections are the most valuable part of relationships.