It wasn’t surprising to Anam Hargey when she decided a couple of years ago to transition from a career as a licensed therapist to become a REALTOR® that the expertise she’d honed in her first profession would be invaluable in her new one.
What she didn’t anticipate, however, was how she herself would need to utilize the coping skills she bestowed upon her patients.
“One of the first things I tell a prospective client is that I have a counseling background, and it’s often a reason they choose to work with me,” says Hargey, who leads a team of five agents for @properties in Glenview, Illinois. “I get a lot of couples going through divorce, who are selling their house. You have to work with them individually and guide them through it. It’s a lot of separate phone calls,” she adds.
“Counseling helps me with clients a million percent. A lot of moving a deal forward with attorneys and egos, REALTORS® and clients on both sides, is just keeping everyone calm. It’s a reason I’ve closed a lot, because I’ve been able to keep deals together.”
Hargey has learned to help herself as well, recognizing that she’s not immune to the pressures and emotions that arise from working with people who are embarking on their biggest purchase or sale ever.
“My background helps me with clients and helps me with myself,” she admits. “Sometimes clients are really difficult to work with, and I am able to use the coping skills I’ve learned and tell myself okay, I’m going to get through this transaction and everything will be okay.”
Hargey, 35, completed 40 transactions in her first year in the business, totaling $15 million.
That success resulted in her being named one of the 10 finalists for RISMedia’s 2022 Real Estate Rookie of the Year. While she didn’t win, she and fellow nominees were honored during RISMedia’s 26th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner, held November 11 in Orlando, Florida, at the annual NAR NXT, The REALTOR® Experience.
“This is the biggest honor ever,” she said at the convention. “It’s a goal I set for myself. I wanted to win Rookie of the Year in Chicago but didn’t, so to get this is such a blessing. I don’t even care if I win. Just the nomination is amazing.”
Many folks would consider Hargey amazing, considering what she’s accomplished professionally while also being a mostly stay-at-home mom for the three children (twin seven-year-old sons and a four-year-old daughter) she has with her husband.
“I rarely go into the office; I work from home,” she says. “I go to a lot of house showings, but have started to enjoy when business is a little slow now. I’m able to get other projects done and still be part of my children’s lives—pick them up from school, go to their events and not have to miss anything special.”
Real estate beginnings
Hargey was raised in the Chicago suburbs of Palatine and Northfield. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and philosophy from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree in clinical counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
A real estate career was always potentially on the horizon, though, as Hargey came from a family of luxury real estate developers and investors.
“I did mostly life coaching but also marriage and family counseling,” she explains. “I also went to Rwanda and worked with survivors of the genocide there. Then I was counseling part-time while at home with the children. But I was always obsessed with homes. In my spare time, we would go to open houses. I loved to see what they looked like and also houses being built.”
About two years ago, Hargey decided to shift gears and become a REALTOR®.
“My family owned rental buildings and wanted someone in the family to help manage them,” she says. “During COVID-19 I gave it a try. Then I took a course in real estate, passed, and within two weeks was working for Compass. Within three weeks I closed my first deal. That was September 2020.”
Hargey would next make a move to @properties, where in short order she would have her own team.
“Being with @properties has been phenomenal,” she says. “The marketing, the listing presentations…it’s all so nice. It’s a luxury brand, and I want to segue into becoming a luxury REALTOR®. I was given the opportunity to start my own team, and I’m the leader. They’re all newer agents and trust me. All the sales they make go under their own names rather than everything just being under my name.”
Hargey was delighted to realize just how much her counseling background would play into being a successful agent.
“I never thought I’d do real estate full time, but it’s so much like therapy and counseling with patients,” she admits. “A lot of clients ask me if I’m still formally doing counseling and if they can come see me after they buy or sell a house. I’ve counseled a few REALTORS®, but don’t want to work with clients because it’s hard to establish new boundaries.”
Hargey notes that the industry has shifted from the frenzied pace of buying and selling that took place in the spring and early summer, when mortgage rates were historically low.
“The Chicago market has slowed down significantly,” she says. “Inventory is low and people are scared to buy. September and October were bad months, but I’m incredibly blessed. Our goal was $20 million in sales as a team this year, and we’ll probably hit $21 or $22 million. The goal for next year is $30 million, and we’d like to double our team size.”
With three children still needing her attention most days, Hargey is flexible when it comes to finding new clients and listings.
“I believe a lot of real estate is either investing your time or your money, so you can cold call, door-knock and reach out on social media,” she says. “I did a lot of that my first year, but it’s exhausting with three kids. This year I started buying leads and using different marketing.”