With more than 31 years of experience of residential real estate experience and 27 years as a Palisadian, Sue Kohl has a deep understanding and appreciation for the areas she serves. Kohl works as the assistant manager at the Palisades Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices office, guiding other associates through their transactions.
Post: Tell me a bit about your background. Where did you grow up and what led to a career in real estate?
Kohl: I grew up not far away in Beverly Hills and went to Westlake (now Harvard-Westlake) and then Northwestern University for undergrad and graduate degrees in speech and language pathology.
After college, I lived in Manhattan Beach and taught special ed in the junior high and high school there, while moonlighting in residential real estate.
After moving to Brentwood, I took several years off from work to begin raising a family of five children. We moved to the Palisades about 27 years ago.
My mother had worked in real estate and the experience in Manhattan Beach gave me a taste for the business. I discovered during time spent with children at home that I really enjoyed the interaction with adults found in the business world. So, when I went back to work, real estate was my first choice.
Post: How many years have you worked in real estate and what are some of the things you’ve learned over the years that help you in your work today?
Kohl: I have worked in residential real estate for 31 years. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is to prioritize and focus on the positive. This can be a wild business, and transactions can sometimes be complicated and difficult.
Clients are often buying or selling their main asset, so it can be a stressful time for all concerned. Focusing on the positive aspects of one’s life can be incredibly helpful in maintaining a healthy state of mind when dealing on a daily basis with all sorts of situations.
There have been many lessons learned during a long career, but I’d say that’s the main one.
Post: How has COVID-19 impacted real estate in the Palisades?
Kohl: When COVID-19 first hit the news at the beginning of March, there was a brief slowdown, as no one really knew what was happening or coming. As more information became available, the statewide real estate industry provided protocols which made it possible to conduct business and show properties.
As soon as that happened, business boomed, and the market has been extremely active and positive ever since. I think people began to more fully appreciate the value of the place they spend most of their time, especially with so many working from home.
Post: Now that people are spending more time at home than they have in the past, what are some of the things that people are looking for in a home?
Kohl: Many people simply want more space, both inside and outside. Having an extra room for a home office has also become a priority.
Post: What neighborhood of the Palisades would you recommend for a family to buy in?
Kohl: This is an impossible question to answer! I’ve never found a bad neighborhood in this town. I always try to find out the family’s priorities: Do they want a view? Or would they prefer the flats? Do they want to walk to the Village? Any information a buyer provides can help to narrow down the neighborhood options.
Post: What advice would you offer a first-time home buyer?
Kohl: I would advise first-time buyers to take some time in their search for a home and not be in a rush. There is much to learn along the way.
I would also advise them to get their ducks in a row: Develop a relationship with a lender and figure out how much to borrow and put down as a deposit, so that when the right property comes along, they are ready to write an offer.
Post: What is your favorite room in your house and why?
Kohl: My favorite room is the kitchen. I love to bake! It’s the best stress reduction therapy in the world for me.
Post: When you are not busy working, what are some of the ways you give back to your community?
Kohl: I have been the Area 5 (Alphabet Streets and Village north of Sunset) representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council for the past seven years, and I hope to continue in that position for the next two years.
There have certainly been challenges and controversies along the way, but I have enjoyed every minute of involvement on the PPCC. It’s been a terrific opportunity, getting to know our local Palisades and LA City officials, and learning about issues affecting us on local and state levels. I also treasure the friendships I’ve made.
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