As a longtime realtor and true Miami native, EWM Realty International’s Val Byrne hasn’t just sold homes in almost every neighborhood in the area… she’s lived in them. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Byrne lived in Coconut Grove before becoming a 20-year South Miami resident and has worked with clients to buy and sell everywhere from Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest to Key Biscayne.
That deep understanding of each specific neighborhood has fed Byrne’s passion, spurring her to keep a close eye on market trends and daily action, not just for her clients but for a big picture understanding of South Florida real estate. “There’s not one day that goes by where I can’t tell you what went on and off market, who the realtors involved are and what it listed or sold for,” says Byrne, who learned the business via her mother in-law’s boutique real estate firm, Byrne Rinehart & Company. “We’re in a competitive market. If a good property goes on the market in a desirable neighborhood you have to be the first person there. You have to know the inventory to do that.”
Byrne’s strategy has paid off. Though she says success can be measured in varying ways, she views her own real estate success in terms of numbers, reputation, and repeat business. “I grossed over $50 million in sales last year and was number 10 company-wide in Dade and Broward counties,” she says. “But respect from your clients as well as your real estate peers is incredibly important as well and I always strive to keep myself in that category.” In the end, however, Byrne is always keen to measure her success by the relationships she has fostered over the years. “Sellers and buyers become my friends. You have a lifetime rapport. I don’t want one sale, I want your entire lifetime of sales. I have so many clients with whom I work three generations deep,” she says. “They come back to you because they know you have their back.”
One of Byrne’s strongest attributes as a realtor is her ability to listen, something she says is key to finding success for both herself and her clients. “You have to be a master listener and understand what your client is telling you,” she says. “You need to know what the important factors are. It could be style of home, price points or school districts. You have to listen and know.” But it’s not always that easy. Byrne says she often works with clients to help them understand the nuances of Miami’s diverse neighborhoods… and traffic. “Sometimes you need to literally drive a client from workplace to a potential house and time their commute,” she says with a laugh. “You have to be honest.”
On the listing side of a transaction, Byrne employs a mix of thoughtful marketing and smart strategies. “Pictures are everything,” she says. “Now everyone looks online before they reach out to you. They know what the house looks like and what the floor plan is within minutes of a property going on the market. A great set of photographs and maybe a video are first and foremost, and knowing which outlets to display them in so the house gets the most views is just as important.”
The ever-evolving technology and marketing trends in real estate are always at top of mind for Byrne and her associates. “I’ve made myself fluent with technology, social media, and online marketing – a successful realtor can’t survive without it in the 21st century,” she says, crediting her company with a strong support team. “EWM has the brightest and best in the marketing and advertising departments, so that helps a lot, and it has paid off in their success as well as mine. EWM was ranked number one in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, and South Miami last year.”
When asked what her best advice is for someone wanting to buy or sell a property, Byrne says, “Find someone you trust instinctively, communicate with freely, and by all means make sure they have experience. Buying or selling a home is one of the most important decisions one will make in life, and there’s very little room for error or experimenting. Team up with a pro and do it right.”