Home Hack: Jenna Pinchuk is your keep-it-real realtor
It's safe to say Jenna is one of my and Melanie's favorite people. Crazy smart, creative, a PR whiz kid, #coolmom, and newly minted Compass real estate agent with her mom Bea (also a queen), I met her at HOL when she came in to consult on Flower Club. In case you didn't know, FC was the predecessor to this site, and she was game from day 1. And the day I met her, she had her youngest son Teddy with her who was 3 weeks old. I kid you not. And here she was, bouncing around ideas with us, probably about to go pump in the car, and as bright and vibrant as ever.
Last year, she pivoted from PR into real estate and honestly, her content makes you consider how a mansion in Austin might be the move for you. But she also keeps it all the way real, no matter where you are in the journey. So this week's Home Hack is focused on some of the questions you might be too afraid to ask when it comes to diving into the home buying process.
Name: Jenna Citron Pinchuk
IG Handle: @jennacitronpinchuk
Identities you lead with: #BoyMom, Realtor, Storyteller, Hustler.
Give us the cliff notes on your backstory:
It’s kind of funny as I think about it. I’m the most proud Miami girl, but growing up, I couldn’t wait to try something new. I left MIA for college in Wisconsin then moved to NYC to pursue a career in fashion (that lasted all of 6 months). After a brief stint back in Miami, my boyfriend-now-husband and I moved to Denver for 5 years and now we're happily settled back home. I couldn't love this city anymore than I do today.
I had a 10 year career in PR, always working on the agency side. Spent half that time in the hospitality industry and traveled to some incredible destinations. The other half was spent as a traditional consultant working with some of the best brands in the world (J&J, EY, Google, Molson Coors, etc.), traveling all the time and acting as an extension of their corporate communications team. In the past 2ish years, I welcomed my two boys (Noah + Teddy) who are 14.5 months apart and it became very clear, very quickly that I couldn’t advance in my career on the agency side + be the kind of mom I wanted to be. So, I took a chance, started freelancing and eventually made the leap into Real Estate. I’ve been working with my mom for almost a year as Team Citron at Compass and we’ve recently expanded our team. It’s taken me awhile to get here but I have never been happier (at work or with my fam), which is crazy to say out loud during a time like this...
How did your PR career help you as you broke into real estate last year?
PR is applicable to any industry: it teaches you to be a compelling storyteller + effective communicator. I truly believe that PR is a great entry-level job for anyone out of college because you learn the basics of business very quickly. Even in a totally different industry, I leverage the skills I learned daily: client services, negotiating, business development, pitching, creative messaging, etc. I see such a white space when it comes to Real Estate Marketing (no one hates a 'Just Sold' ad more than me), so I’m hyper-focused on doing things differently.
Clearly, real estate wasn’t foreign to you because of your mom’s long history in the space. Were you nervous to make the jump? How’d you manage that?
Oh, I delayed this decision for YEARS. Part of it was nerves, for sure, but I think most of it was because of ego. I felt like I had worked so hard on this path that I chose for myself at the age of 22 and if I were to give it up now, that must mean I failed. It took giving birth/becoming a mom and developing that IDGAF-anymore mentality before realizing that the only thing that matters is how I feel about myself.
Growing up, my family moved 15 times. I always loved going out with my mom on showings and crashing her open houses. So, to combine my passion for beautiful homes and interiors with my background in marketing and client services is a real dream.
What’s the most challenging part—especially in a market like Miami— to match people with their dream homes....or their home for right now?
A lot of it has to do with managing expectations. There’s no such thing as the perfect house (even if you build a new one). There’s always going to be some quirk or something that wasn’t right or one room you’d change. And, often, we have big dreams for ourselves that aren’t necessarily backed by our bank accounts, so it can be a hard conversation when what you want doesn’t match what you can afford (talking mainly to myself here). Miami ain’t cheap and I think it’s a common misconception!
What’s the most rewarding part?
Closing days are always super exciting. But, what is most rewarding for me are the relationships. I helped one friend buy a home at the beginning of quarantine and it really strengthened our friendship. To go through such a big move at such a weird time was an incredible bonding experience. And now I’m seeing all the beautiful work she’s doing to her house and I’m just SO happy for her and her sweet fam. She is a forever friend now.
Let’s talk about young families (hi). What advice do you give your friends who hit you with the “I don’t know where to start”?
Like anything in life, one step at a time. The first step we recommend - even before window shopping online - is to talk to a Lender and get pre-approved. Before you start looking, you want to get a clear sense of where you stand financially and what you can comfortably afford. There’s nothing worse than falling absolutely in love with a home above your price range. So, definitely take the time to do your homework and ground yourself in reality before you begin your search.
And, one more thing. I feel like many young families (myself included) put so much pressure on ourselves to find that “forever house.” Maybe our parents still live in the home we grew up in, but that's just not how life works anymore. So, instead, I think it's best to find a home that works well for your family for the next 5-10 years. Consider that mindset and your home search may drastically change.
What about someone looking to sell? What’s the most common mistake people make?
Often, a Seller will delay putting their home on the market because "they have too much work to do before they sell." Your home does not have to be in picture perfect shape to go on the market. Yes, there are definitely some wise investments that have good ROI when it comes time to sell (like impact windows), but it's not always necessary.
What’s the first thing you notice in a home that makes you fall in love?
I’m a sucker for textured backsplashes, fireplaces + patterned wallpaper.
If you had to give us 3 top tips to buying and/or selling right now, what would they be?
1. Have patience! The market is crazy right now...there is so much demand and low inventory, which causes a bit of chaos. The good news is that more and more new listings are coming up each week, so if you don’t see something you love now, don’t be discouraged. It’s coming!
2. Hire a Realtor you can trust. Buying a home is such an intimate, personal decision. We get to know our clients so well during the home-buying process - we always say we really become family. So, if you can't trust your Realtor or if you don't want to talk to them on the phone 5 times a day, they might not be the best fit.
3. Keep an open mind. It's amazing how different a Buyer's initial list of "must-haves" might look from the actual home they buy. You learn so much from seeing different homes and exploring different neighborhoods. You often don't know it's "the one" until you see it, even if it's not what you pictured in your mind at all.