A Los Angeles native, Jennifer Caras attended Marymount High School and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has worked in real estate for almost 18 years and has been recognized as one of the South Bay’s top producing agents for the last decade.
Why did you choose this line of work?
I landed in real estate after a successful yet unfulfilling career in pharmaceutical sales. My husband encouraged me to get my real estate license, and initially I was just trying to find lots for him to build on. After forming a handful of valuable client relationships in the first few years, my heart was in it and it continued to grow and expand year after year.
What has been a game changer in your career?
I started my career with a smaller, local boutique firm in 2004. In 2015 our brokerage became Vista Sotheby’s International Realty. Having the backing of Sotheby’s—a global real estate firm with a long history of excellence and prestige—has taken my career to the next level.
Tell us your philosophy about working in the real estate industry.
My business is so much more than just helping clients buy and sell homes. It’s about being relatable and understanding while incorporating my experience and knowledge and fostering relationships. I am committed to providing the highest quality of service in each step of the transaction, and I pride myself on being approachable and consistent.
How has your professional performance exceeded expectations?
I never dreamed I’d sell over $100 million of homes in a single year. That’s a level I didn’t think was attainable since I don’t have a large team of agents working for me. Last year I sold close to $120 million, which exceeded my expectations and is an all-time career high. It’s proof that bigger isn’t better; it’s about quality not quantity.
How do you encourage honest, open client dialogue?
I always remind clients that I’m on their side, and the more I know about their thoughts about a particular property, the more it will help me during negotiations. You have to be a team player, having solid relationships not only with clients but with other real estate colleagues as well. Being trustworthy and standing behind your word goes far in this business.
What is the best advice you live by?
Be authentic. As simple as that sounds, I think it’s been critical advice and a key to my success. I don’t “sell” my clients on a home I don’t think is right for them. I may lose a sale in the short term, but it’s about putting the needs of my clients ahead of everything else. That is what is valued in the end and where the trust is earned. The trust I build with my clients by being genuine and honest generates more long-term value than any individual sale.
What has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Lack of inventory! Which is why it’s so critical to be working with the right agent first and foremost—one who is connected with and respected by other top agents, has knowledge of off-market and coming-soon properties, and is a fierce client advocate with a proven track record. What role does your family play in your career?
My family plays a critical role in my career. I truly could not do it without their love and support. My husband is a developer, commercial broker and licensed contractor, so he understands my business and is very hands-on with help whenever I need it. I’ve also fondly dubbed my twin daughters “the interns” since they were little. Now that they’re entering high school, they are legit interns helping their mama!
What advice do you give your kids?
Be kind. I believe this wholeheartedly—whether you’re a child in school, an adult at work or just running errands at the grocery store. You never know what is going on in other people’s lives. Our oldest child has special needs, and when others look at him and smile and are compassionate, it makes such an incredible difference to him and our family. Kindness matters, and we can never have enough of it in this world.
Tell us about a few of your passions.
I have a renewed passion for traveling as a family! We just returned from two weeks in Greece, an itinerary originally planned for 2020. I think it was that much sweeter that we had to wait until 2022 to embark on the journey. We were so grateful to finally be there again. We soaked in every moment and didn’t take anything for granted.
Tell us your favorite quote.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
How do you stay grounded?
I’ve been through an incredible amount of loss in my life, between losing my sister at a young age and my dear father more recently. I’m a firm believer that my strength and tenacity have brought me through these tough times. My colleague recently referred to me as “velvet steel,” relaying that I was kind and empathetic yet have a strong backbone. I took it as a massive compliment!