Today we’d like to introduce you to Greta Couper.
Greta, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Born in Santa Barbara, California, from a family of noted sculptors, artists, and musicians, I have always been attracted to the arts. In college, I was an Architecture/Mathematics major at UCLA, later obtaining an MBA in Marketing from Pepperdine University, and a Certification in Interior Design. Having been told that the arts are not an easy place to earn a living, I started working as a Project Manager for Citibank, while constantly doing volunteer work in the arts and music. Eventually this led me to leave the corporate world, and teach at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
While there, I have volunteered with the Melina Mercouri Foundation in Athens, Greece; the Santa Monica Fire Department as a technical writer and CERT member; Habitat For Humanity in home building and restoration; and the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. My interests in interior design, architecture, and marketing have now led me to work in real estate, where I can apply my combined skills into assisting clients with buying, selling, and leasing, as well as financing through my banking experience. I often travel and give academic lectures worldwide, most recently in Dubai, as well as writing articles about my relative’s sculpture in Boston, and throughout the United States.
I also work with an architecture firm in Tuscany, Italy, sharing ideas on home staging and client needs. I love living on the Westside, and have worked on architecture research with professor Jody Greenwald, and art historian Esther McCoy. While working as a college faculty member, I have been privileged to meet and invite many interesting guest speakers to my classes, such as war veteran and Olympic champion Louie Zamperini, of the “Unbroken” book fame. I am very grateful that my interests have now led me to a profession where I can work in both business and the arts.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Actually, it has been smooth financially, but when my artistic interests were not being used in my work there were some frustrating times. Luckily, I am good at technical writing, so that helped me obtain random consulting jobs while I searched for a business that would use my skills in both marketing and the arts. My writing has also been used with architecture firms in developing functional specifications and obtaining grants; and with academic research. Thus, that one skill allowed me to explore many vocational areas, eventually leading to real estate.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
There are many agents working in real estate, and they have a broad range of skills. Though the industry is very competitive, I apply my strong business skills to the legal paperwork, while using my marketing skills to promote properties, and my interior design skills in staging and offering creative advice for home improvements.
In addition, I have taken graduate courses in psychology, and like to explore homes that are not only a good match to my client’s structural size and location requirements, but that are also a style that accommodates their emotional needs for an inviting and relaxing environment. It is always fun to explore how a home can be modified with only a few changes, that make it a much more pleasant place to live. Thus, clients can visualize how they will fit into their new environment. I also use videos to showcase a home, whether for sale or lease. This attracts more buyers and renters, and is part of a Closing Package that I provide owners in digital form, with copies of the full set of legal documents and photos for their reference. This is very useful for taxes, financing, home history, and future transactions.
Many clients stay in touch and have become friends.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have left corporate work sooner, and explored more possibilities in jobs that were a better match to my interests in architecture and design. I believe many people stay in jobs that pay well, but are not personally satisfying or rewarding, even if they are not utilizing their real skills and talents. It takes some bravery to follow your heart.
- Website: www.GretaRealtor.com
The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising for FIDM