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Exploring Life & Business with Solveig Torjesen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Solveig Torjesen.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to my mom (who is from Korea) and my dad (who was from Norway.) My dad traveled often and they split when I was a toddler. From that point, it was basically my mom and I. She worked long hours at a law firm and I, to an extent, raised myself with the help of some distant family members and my friends in the neighborhood. My teenage years were somewhat troubled and I eventually went to boarding school to complete my high school education. During that time, my mom and I were at odds and almost never spoke. So, when it came time to choose a college, I chose Stony Brook University on Long Island so I could live on campus. In my younger days, I started school early which meant that I graduated high school at 16 and began college two weeks after my 17th birthday. Needless to say, I lacked some focus and dedication which led me to transfer to a community college in NY to earn my AA. About a year after that, I moved to LA to pursue acting and attend AADA. I lived here for seven years before some family matters eventually brought me back to NYC. But, before long, I was faced with all of the reasons why I left NY in the first place and I visited LA about once a year after I moved. LA always felt like home to me, even from 3,000 miles away.

In 2016 I became a licensed Realtor in NY while also juggling some college courses to complete my Bachelor’s degree and a server job in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan. My college was in Flatbush, Brooklyn which is about a 2 hour commute to my job in NY so the travel time alone didn’t allow much room to really immerse myself in the profession. The very next year, I moved to Austin, TX to explore living in outside NY once again with the full understanding that it was halfway to LA so if I didn’t like it, I could always move back here. At that time, my main objective was to get out of NY so I was willing to give Austin a try. Once I moved, I became a licensed Realtor in 2017 and hit the ground running as fast as I could. I spent the next five years navigating the real estate market and working with 60+ families in the Austin area. Looking back, the one change I would make with my approach is add more time to rest and remove some of the pressure to succeed. Ultimately both of those things led me to burn out a bit. However, that also led me to my first road trip back to LA where I realized it is where I belong. So, all in all, I have no regrets.

I made the move back to LA in October of 2021 and completed my real estate courses asap. I also started interviewing for acting agents to also give that another go. I’ve often wished I stayed with my acting pursuits and would actually love to write a screenplay in the future. In February of this year, I became licensed and joined Nest Seekers a few weeks later. Some of the nuances of the LA market are new but my experience in Austin has helped me become familiar quickly.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Definitely not. I guess, starting from the beginning, I was being raised by a single mother in one of the largest cities in the World. She also had a hot temper and never had the desire to be a mom. Needless to say, my upbringing at home was mostly me on eggshells counting the days/ years until I could move out. It was also tough for me to fit into my surroundings. At the time, it was pretty unusual to be a mixed race kid and it was hard to feel unwelcome both at home and in the World. I struggled to find a role model in my life and onscreen in tv and movies.

I think growing up in Brooklyn comes along with challenges as well. I was exposed to a lot at a young age. I realize now how those things can all be obstacles to success. Although, some of those obstacles can also prepare you for the real world as well. You are forced to develop a thick skin which, I think, is a good thing.

I also lost a few friends over the years which was really painful and confusing. A close friend of mine died on a motorcycle when I was twenty and one of my best friends took her own life before we were thirty. Sometimes I still wonder how I could have helped her. There were a few more painful losses and for the most part, they helped me grow up a lot. Losing a close friend or family member can really alter your perspective on life and losing a few can really change you.

In my early days, I think my biggest struggle was lack of family support. I was already young for my grade all through school. I was also shy and insecure but I think the silver lining is that it made me really independent. I think I’m also less afraid to try new things and take risks.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
When it comes to choosing a Realtor, buyers and sellers have plenty of options to choose from. What I think sets me apart is dedication to my clients. When I am working with a buyer, I always run the comps before submitting an offer and educate them on how to compete and win in a multiple offer situation. When I am working with sellers, I give them a snapshot of how the market looks now and use sold comps to indicate what they can reasonably expect for their property. Trust is a key attribute in the real estate industry and I do my best to let my clients know that their interests come first. Always.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
The real estate market is cyclical. What we often do is look at past trends as indicators of future movement or changes. However, the recent few years have been gamechangers in many ways. Most of our lives have changed in ways we would have never imagined. For real estate, that meant a lot more people were buying homes. The trend continues today and I expect it will for a long time in most markets where inventory is very scarce.

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