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Real Estate

Pooch Draws Home Buyers to Town

Pukka, a handsome German Shepherd, sits next to her mistress, Elaine Falkenberg, and stares intelligently up from Elaine’s business card and advertisements. “She wasn’t supposed to be in the photo,” says Elaine, but she’s had such positive reaction from her real estate clients that Pukka is now part of Elaine’s team. The dog has even attracted new clients to Elaine. “I’ve had people moving out of Manhattan who have a dog, and they want to know about dog parks and dog-friendly places. Of course, I know all those places because of Pukka,” she says.

Elaine got her start in real estate just six years ago, after a long career in sales in New York. “I’d always thought real estate was interesting so I decided to give it a try,” she continues. She took out a home equity loan on her Rowayton cottage, wrote a business plan and got going. “I knew that the first year is pretty slow for new agents, so I decided to market myself everywhere,” she says. Everywhere included standing at the Rowayton station early in the morning handing out business cards to commuters, cold calling local builders, and sitting at public open houses for other agents.

“I ended up selling a bunch of houses that first year, mostly to people I’d met at the open houses,” Elaine says. One of the builders she’d pitched liked her sales plan so much he hired her to sell four new houses in Rowayton. She was on her way. “I was very naïve and didn’t really know any of my competitors,” she says, laughing at the memory of two older brokers who came to her open house and asked if her husband had built the houses she was selling. “I didn’t have a husband then, and it just didn’t occur to them that this new agent could have got these listings just by marketing herself.”

Business has suddenly picked up in Rowayton in the last few weeks – and it’s positively hopping in Darien. “I’m working with people who are relocating from out of state and people who are downsizing,” she says. When she’s not working, you’ll probably find Elaine on her sailboat, a Pearson 28, which she keeps at Cedar Point Yacht Club.  Elaine has won her club's summer race four years in a row. And to keep her even busier, as of this summer Elaine has a brand new husband, Charles Goodrich. Luckily, Charles is a sailor too, otherwise he might have a tough time keeping up with his energetic wife.

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