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An Interview With Steve McKenna, of Steve McKenna and The Home Advantage Team

What did you do before real estate and how did you get started in the business?

I had several jobs when I was starting out, everything from managing a woman’s shoe store in Newton to working as a doorman in a Boston nightclub. I was saving money and one of my friends in real estate suggested I buy a condominium as an investment. I bought my first place when I was 22 and sold it for a profit only two years later. That is when I saw the value, literally and figuratively, in real estate. I started at Bowes Real Estate in 1986, and with the guidance of Bob Bowes I became the #1 agent and team in the area. Now, with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty at the helm, I know we will reach new heights in servicing the town of Arlington and beyond.

What is something your clients find comfort in that makes them turn to you for their real estate needs?

My team and I realize that buying or selling a home is very personal and emotional, and I have to say our tagline sums up why people continue to choose us for their real estate needs: ‘Put Your Home in Our Hands.’ When someone works with us, we take the burden of buying or selling a home off the client’s hands and we manage the entire process — start to finish — and we are a resource to clients long after the sale has closed. Because we have a team (not just one agent) we can absorb the emotional and logistical weight of the real estate process, so our clients take comfort knowing they are in good hands.

What are some of your favorite local activities or organizations that you participate in?

I find great satisfaction in giving back to the community. The Home Advantage Team and I have volunteered at many local organizations. Just before the pandemic, we were at Arlington Eats to assemble food packages for those in need. This past year we hosted ‘Charity Saturday,’ which paired a local business with a local charity to both drive business and raise money for a number of important programs in town.

There was a fantastic turnout at all locations and many people were excited about the opportunity to support their local businesses and charities. Because of the overwhelming participation, my team met its goals to donate to five charities a check for $2,000 each, for a total of $10,000 in donations.

What do you love most about the industry?

I genuinely enjoy helping people. When someone is moving, chances are they are experiencing a major life event. Whether it is a marriage, a divorce, downsizing, a death in the family or a child on the way, these are big events and emotional times, and when you add the process of moving to the mix it can be incredibly stressful. We have helped thousands of buyers and sellers in all of these situations, so I think we bring an empathy, understanding and knowledge of how best to guide people through the process to make it seamless and less stressful them. There is great satisfaction in that.

What is your advice for someone new to the industry?

The most important advice is to be sincere and honest with your clients. They are entrusting you with one of their most important assets at a critical time in their life. You need to provide them with the confidence that you are the best person to help them.

What do you love most about where you live and work?

Arlington has changed so much since I first started living and working here. The community is diverse, caring, strong and everyone seems to have a vested interest in making this a great town. There is the Minuteman Bikeway and so many great restaurants and shops. It has that urban feel, yet you can walk down the street and almost always see someone you know.

What is Arlington’s best-kept secret?

I find many people who come to Arlington have heard about the restaurants and shops, but they are surprised and impressed with the abundance of outdoor recreation in areas such as Menotomy Rocks Park, Skyline Park and Spy Pond.

What part of the world would you most like to travel to?

My wife and enjoy traveling through Europe and are very fond of the Cotswolds in England. Hopefully, we will all be able to travel safely in the near future.

What are three sources of joy in your week?

Spending time with my wife is #1. She’s made me a better person. I can’t really say my job, because it doesn’t feel like a job, but #2 is working with my team and helping people. I’m fortunate to have a dedicated staff that enjoys helping our clients as much as I do. Exercising is #3. I wake up every morning at 4:30 and get my workout done and it helps me prepare for the day mentally and physically.

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