Top Players in Real Estate: Danny Lewis

The Chicago native fell into real estate by chance, but his drive and commitment to client services have helped him to become one the top agents in the city.

As a Chicago native and graduate of DePaul University, Danny Lewis was destined to become a top real estate agent in Chicago. After falling into real estate by chance, Lewis leveraged his background in advertising and communications into a successful career and the industry has taken notice. Lewis was named a Chicago Agent Magazine "Who's Who" in Chicago real estate for 2017 and one of the top agents in Chicago from UpNest. With $25 million gross sales in 2017 and an impeccable track record for client services, Lewis has made a name for himself in Chicago.

ESTATENVY caught up with Lewis, now a Senior Broker/Team Leader at Exit Strategy Realty, and he broke down his keys to success and shared some advice for up-and-coming agents.

How did you get started in real estate?

It all started when my grandfather moved from his home in Skokie. He was going to sell the home himself, but I convinced him to let me sell it instead…and the rest is history! I immediately fell in love with real estate. I decided that this is what I was meant to do and got my license a few months later.

To what do you attribute your success?

I attribute my success to my hustle. I work hard to create meaningful relationships with my clients that last way after the transaction is over. I also have an amazing assistant who created a great system for me. It's easier for me to focus on my client’s needs and wants when I don't need to worry about details like paperwork and scheduling.

How do you make yourself stand out to potential clients?

I make myself stand out by being completely authentic with my clients. I always tell the truth whether it's something they want or don't want to hear. I understand the importance of referrals so I never try to leave a client unhappy. I always want every deal to be successful.

What is the key to closing deals in the real estate industry?

I would say the key is organization. Being able to know exactly where each deal is and what needs to be done. Also developing a system of going through each deal flawlessly so you can go from one deal to the next.

What trends do you see in the market right now?

Recently I've been seeing a lot of ambivalent buyers. I'm not sure if there's a concern about the upcoming tax season or the current political climate, but buyers have significantly been more cautious than previous years I've worked.

What excites you about the future of real estate?

I'm excited to see what type of technology comes out helping us agents connect better with our clients. The current MLS system is pretty dated so I look forward to seeing how the MLS can compete with other real estate websites.

Why is Chicago a good place to work in real estate?

Because it's the best city in the world! There's something for everyone in every price range. We have access to the best restaurants, nightlife and even the beach. So many new areas are popping up and there's so much going on in the city at all times.

What's the hottest neighborhood in Chicago, or the Chicago suburbs right now?

The West Loop is definitely the hottest neighborhood right now. There’s always a new bar or restaurant coming up. It’s a great place to be. I'm not just saying that because I live there, everything is being built and developed in the West Loop right now.

What tip should buyers/sellers keep in mind when working with an agent that they might not already know?

Always ask for research. Don't just take an agents word for it. There are a ton of untrained agents out there who don't do what's best for their clients. Always ask questions and make sure you understand what your best position should be.

Who is your real estate idol?

That's a great question. I really look up to my managing broker Nick Libert. I think he's done a fantastic job of creating a successful office in the city. He started my brokerage with less than 10 agents and has built the agency into the number one Exit franchise in all of America. I'm extremely proud to be the number one agent at the number one exit office in the country.

Do you utilize social media to enhance your business? If so, how?

Yes. I post closings, new listings and sometimes inspections on my social media. Whenever I do cool showings I like to feature the properties in my Instagram stories. This gives my friends, clients and the general public an idea of what I do on a daily basis and it really helps my business. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

What advice would you give new agents?

I would advise them to join a team immediately when starting. There's no substitution for experience. Joining a team gives you experience when you're in a position where you might not be able to get much on your own. My team members share my listings with me and get leads. There's no better value you can get from working with an experienced team member and the team.