Realtor Zita Billmann a Valuable Resource for Home Buyers, Sellers
May 01, 2017 08:23AM
By Vanessa Orr
Realtor Zita Billmann
When Zita Billmann decided to change careers nine years ago, she was hoping that her new role as a REALTOR® would enable her to have an impact on people’s lives. Having successfully helped hundreds of clients buy and sell their homes over the years, she is confident that she made the right decision.
“My diverse background in sales, marketing and management has allowed me to bring a whole new level of customer service to my clients in real estate,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to be able to help families make good choices about where to live, and to offer them advice about how they can protect their investments.”
Billmann works as both a buyers’ and sellers’ agent, and in both cases, offers her expertise and advice to help buyers find the perfect home while assisting sellers in marketing their homes to move quickly and for the appropriate price.
Selling a Home
“On the sellers’ side, it’s all about being on the same page,” Billmann explained. “You have to be honest. You want to put a house on the market that’s in the best position to sell quickly for the right amount of money.
“I believe that my candor is what makes me successful,” she added. “It’s sometimes difficult to tell people things that they may not want to hear, but I’ve found that my clients appreciate my honesty. I believe that this approach may be the key item that sets me apart.”
Billmann talks to her clients about the investments they plan to make, and whether those costs make sense as a return on investment. She also helps stage the homes, making recommendations in each room.
“I’m very hands-on,” she explained. “We make a list room by room of what needs to stay or go. About 99 percent of things are already in the house; they’re just not in the right place.”
Brad Makela worked with Billmann to sell his house when he moved from McCandless Township to Marshall Township. “I bought the new house before selling the previous one, and Zita was the seller’s real estate agent,” he explained. “I was so impressed that I asked her to list my property.
“I liked that she was honest about the changes we needed to make, but that she did it in a nice way,” he added. “She had a good list of professionals to help us with punch-list items, and the workers did a great job, which is a good reflection on her. She was also pretty accurate about the listing-to-sale price; she knew how long it would take to sell our home, and how to price it.”
What most impressed Makela was Billmann’s follow-up. “Even if there were no new details, she would call to say that she hadn’t heard anything,” said Makela, who had already bought and sold three prior homes. “Because she took care of every little thing in the process, it made it a lot less stressful.”
Buying a Home
Communication is also key on the buyers’ side of a real estate transaction. “When I’m with clients, I’m definitely connecting on their level and focusing on what is best for them,” Billmann said. “I’m not afraid to streamline the list of what they are looking for so that we don’t waste their time looking at properties that don’t fit their needs.
“I’m willing to give them feedback about what properties will or won’t work and why,” she added. “For example, a house with specific features that the buyer may not have even considered may not fit their lifestyle and might also be challenging on resale.” Billmann also puts herself in a buyer’s shoes and asks the question, “Would I buy this house?”
“I want my clients to make the best possible purchase so that I can help them protect their investment,” she explained.
As a Certified Relocation Specialist who was born and raised in the North Hills, Billmann is well aware of the best school districts, best neighborhoods, and easiest commutes for prospective homeowners. “We have a conversation about what is important to them, from walking trails and parks to convenient grocery stores and farmers’ markets,” said Billmann, who specializes in properties in the North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Mars, and Seneca Valley School Districts.
“I put their needs first,” she said. “If that means that I show them five houses or 50 houses, it’s all about finding them the right property with no pressure.”
Krystal King’s husband was transferred from Orlando, FL, to Pittsburgh, and she found Billmann through an online search. “Zita was so great; she even FaceTimed with us while we were still in Orlando. She was very organized, and always had new homes for us to look at, and was also helpful with the ones that we found for ourselves,” said King.
“We were flying blind; we had no idea about the area, and the way we started the search was much different than what we ended up with,” she added. “We wanted a couple of acres when we started, and found a three-acre house but didn’t realize that those acres were on the side of a mountain. We’re coming from a place that was flat! Zita helped us figure out what we needed; she thought ‘outside the box’ of what we said we wanted.
“She is very knowledgeable about the market and could tell us what the house was really worth versus what they were asking,” added King, whose family is now happily ensconced in a home in Zelienople.
Because Billmann takes such a personal approach with her clients, they choose to work with her again when moving out of the area, or upgrading or downsizing. Approximately 60 percent of her new business is referrals from past clients. Billmann also has a major online presence, not only to market her services, but to help sell the homes of her clients.
“Ninety-nine percent of all buyers now start their search online, so it’s very important to have a strong online presence on relevant real estate websites because it’s your best chance of capturing buyers,” she explained.
No matter what a client needs, Billmann, who was named the #1 RE/MAX agent in western Pennsylvania for four years in a row and is currently ranked 21st in the entire country, makes the extra effort.
“I have a quote on my desk that says ’Go the extra mile…it’s never crowded.’ It reminds me every day that I am fortunate to be able to be such a great resource to my clients and not to settle for just average,” she said. “I want to be my clients’ realtor for life.”