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Do you know what’s on the minds of today’s homebuyers? In the following interview, RISMedia’s Lesley Geary catches up with Danielle Claroni of New England Land Company. Read on to learn about Claroni’s creative advertising methods and her key to success in real estate.

Danielle Claroni
New England Land Company
Years in real estate: 15
Principal region served: Fairfield County, Conn., and Westchester County, N.Y.

What’s most on the minds of today’s homebuyers?
The biggest challenge buyers face today is getting a mortgage. Banks are watching buyers’ finances very closely. For example, I was working with one client who had moved money from one account into another. Both accounts were bank accounts he used consistently. But the bank questioned the move and held up the closing. I had another client whose parents gave $5,000 to the couple’s two-year-old grandson for a college fund. The bank held up the closing for that as well, and my client was required to show proof of where the $5,000 came from. And this was a $2 million deal! Today, buyers just need to take a deep breath, comply and be patient.

Why do you prefer working with buyers?
I like to see the excitement that comes with buying a home. I had a really bad experience when I bought my first house, and I don’t want any other buyer to go through that. I always put the needs of my clients first. I never consider what the commission will be when I am trying to make a deal for my client. I do the work and am available pretty much at the drop of a hat. If someone calls and needs to look at a house in 30 minutes, I try to make that happen. I respect the client’s time table.

Please describe some of the more creative advertising you are using?
I am creating a blog and working with all aspects of the Internet and social media. My goal is to be one of the top Greenwich brokers with an individual Internet presence. I am fortunate to have a broker who allows this—many area brokers do not allow agents to have their own sites. On my site, I provide a great deal of information to educate consumers. I am always trying to uncover new ways to maximize my Web presence, so I take the time to travel to seminars and workshops to learn new strategies.

What’s the best way to turn this market to your advantage?
Hard work. I love being a REALTOR®, but there is no way around the fact that if you want to be a great real estate professional, you have to do a lot of work. I am working on being as innovative as possible.

I see on your website one of the top buttons is “Foreclosures”—even in Greenwich, Conn.?
There are foreclosures and short sales in Greenwich. The key is knowing that they are hard to come by, because once a foreclosure hits the market, there are immediately 20 agents out there. I let my clients know they have to be ready and to come with cash in hand.

The one thing you can’t live without?
My BlackBerry. My whole life is in here.

Why did you become a Member of Top 5?
There are so many opportunities to learn. I send the Top 5 articles to clients, which allows me to educate them through all the work Top 5 does. I have also found many outside networks, like 1parkplace and Coffee with Krisstina, that I would never have known about if not for Top 5. Also, Top 5 is invaluable for referrals. I always check Top 5 first for any referral I make.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
I have done a great deal of community service. I was the 2010 Greenwich REALTOR® of the Year. I was the head of the committee responsible for making a lot of changes that help our REALTORS®. We added online forms, we changed lock boxes so you can use them with smartphones, we added a new tax program online so REALTORS® don’t have to run down to City Hall. I also just received another award from Westchester Magazine. It is the “Five Star Professional” Customer Service Award. This award was voted on by readers (consumers) for the agents they feel give the best customer service. I believe my community service and my diligence pay off. And, of course, to be successful you have to love what you do. And I do love real estate.