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Katherine Benfer flashes a broad smile when she recalls her first experience as a realtor. Her broker asked her to show a brownstone to a client who was a gold broker. Right on the spot, the client decided to buy the property all cash and Katherine “strolled into the office waving the deposit check! My broker almost fell off his chair!”
From that hopeful start, Katherine has spent nearly 30 years working with buyers, sellers and investors with the same success, while maintaining a parallel career as a classical singer in the New York area. She credits her success in both venues to the same strategy: preparation.
“Singers practice for years for that one “main event,” Katherine explains. When working with texts in a foreign language, it’s critical to know not only the word but also the general translation and literal meaning of the word, in order to do justice to the spirit of the music. Likewise, when preparing to show a property to a client, or to meet with a potential selling client or investor, she strives to learn the history behind the property – “what’s behind the walls” is the metaphor she uses – to ensure her clients have all the information they need to make the best decision.
Consistency also aptly describes Katherine’s character. Consider that she has worked with some clients for over 20 years now – landlords and investors who know her talents and her work ethic. In addition to her encyclopedic knowledge of the Hoboken market, Katherine believes the clients she keeps also value a much more basic characteristic: fairness. “Though I work with a lot of landlords, I am always fair to the tenants, telling them everything there is to know about the apartment, pros and cons.” Both parties, she believes, benefits from a candid discussion of the property and the transaction, which ensures that the match is a perfect fit for both sides.”
What’s changed in all those years? “At Hudson Place, some aspects have changed and others have, fortunately, remained the same.” She explains that what she values at the firm is the overall “forward-thinking, entrepreneurial” spirit. “My broker always wants to know what’s new and what’s next in technology and marketing, in the ways we can better serve our clients.” What has remained the same, she says, is the same intelligent and sophisticated mindset that has distinguished Hudson Place Realty since 1979.
When not in the office, Katherine enjoys tennis, golf, painting classes at the adult school and gardening. Though she and her partner now live in the suburbs, Katherine’s ties to Hoboken and the market remain strong. How does she keep her enthusiasm after such a lengthy career? Katherine respects and admires the spirit of change that her clients bring to the table. “I believe it takes fortitude and optimism to change addresses”, she says, “whether you're buying, renting or selling. You have to respect that.”
“As new arrivals to Hoboken coming from a far away state, my husband and I had not a clue about Hoboken real estate. My husband was renting an apartment here and I would fly up for a few days, walk into a few real estate offices and inquire about what was available. I would be asked a few simple questions, would provide my email and subsequently would be sent a list of units for sale. There would never be any follow up unless I instigated it. I was becoming extremely frustrated as nothing seemed to be what we were looking for.
“One weekend, my husband and I decided to go to a few open houses. At one of these, we had the good fortune to meet Katherine. Her calm demeanor and sense of humor put us immediately at ease. She seemed to understand our frustration and quickly went to work for us. When I look back on it, I am astonished she stuck with us at all! She had double duty. She would have to show me units when I could fly up, then later in the week show the units I liked to my husband!
“Katherine's commitment to her clients is unprecedented. She quickly discovered our likes and dislikes and never wasted time showing us property, albeit in our price range, that she knew we wouldn't care for
“Because of Katherine, we have everything we wished for in a home. I would highly recommend her (and do) to anyone; especially those coming from other areas!”
- Steve and Martha I.