Responsiveness, creativity and persistence are the keys to Darlene Streit’s success as a real estate broker.
A national top-producing agent with the Corcoran Group, Streit focuses primarily on luxury properties in Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, Delray and all of South Florida.
“Buying or selling a home is a major transaction for most people. Understandably, they always want to know what’s going on,” Streit says. “Communication is extremely important to me and to my buyers and sellers. I answer the phone and I get back to people right away. I know clients can be concerned about their transaction at times, and part of the worry can come from waiting in suspense. The quicker I can address a concern or a question, the better. Sometimes concerns come up because of something that isn’t clear, which can easily be resolved with a quick phone call.”
To Streit, it’s not about just getting the transaction accomplished.
“I really care about people and doing the very best for the buyer or seller,” she says.
In her career working in a variety of market conditions, Streit has gotten so busy at times that she’s closed nearly a transaction a day. In 2021, for instance, she closed 322 real estate transactions, earning her the No. 26 spot among individual agents nationwide by sales volume, as ranked by RealTrends in the Wall Street Journal. In today’s less frenzied market, Streit says, checking in with buyers and sellers is just as important — if not more so.
“I have my own staff to facilitate the transaction, and that allows me to communicate constantly with my buyers and sellers,” she says.
“When I have a listing and showings are slow, I like to check in with the seller to let them know what I’m doing to market the property, whether or not I have received any inquiries, the general state of the market — whatever it is, people appreciate updates,” she says. “One thing I always say when teaching other agents is that no one knows you’re working if you don’t tell them what you are doing for them, especially now that properties are staying on the market longer. You could be working incredibly hard, but the seller may think you’re not paying attention to their listing unless you let them know you’re on top of things. It’s all about communication.”
Throughout a stellar career that has spanned two decades, Streit has closed more than $1.9 billion in transactions. She has excelled in red-hot markets, downcycles and every type of market in-between. She gets transactions done through responsiveness, creativity and persistence — which takes a front seat in uncertain times such as the current market.
“Transactions sometimes get complicated with so many variables,” she says. “You have to look at a transaction from all sides of the equation and try to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
When buyers are having trouble finding something that checks all their boxes, she taps into her vast network.
“I’ve found so many properties for people off-market,” she says. “It’s about knowing the right people and making connections. If I have a buyer who wants something specific, I’m often able to find a property that meets their criteria or one that is quite similar. If someone looks at a house and says it doesn’t work, I’m good at visualizing cost-effective solutions that would make it work and be beneficial for them.”
Before getting her real estate license, Streit was a successful designer who sold her products to Neiman Marcus and other high-end retailers. She also holds a master’s degree in psychology.
Streit got involved in real estate while investing, helping to develop and selling a 476-home community in Santa Fe, N.M., designed by New Urbanist pioneer Andrés Duany, co-founder of DPZ CoDesign, a Miami-based architectural firm that also helped design Seaside, Florida.
No one in her investment partnership of 16 partners had development experience, leading Streit to problem-solve by finding someone to successfully manage the development. She took charge and located an experienced developer, Tommy Gardner, and as fate would have it, she wound up marrying him. At the same time, she restructured the lot sales program to facilitate sales to home builders while advising and marketing homes for the home builders. Sales were increased substantially, and the development was a very successful New Urbanist community.
Now based in her native Florida, where Streit has lived at various times throughout her life, she continues to work with her husband, along with her marketing director and talented staff, all collaborating on the extensive marketing campaigns she undertakes for each of her properties as Florida continues to attract buyers from across the country and the globe.
“It’s a fascinating and ever-changing market in that it’s not a seller’s market or a clear buyer’s market — it’s a bit of both,” she says. “I think people are waiting to see what happens in the next couple of months. I think things will be much more active in the spring.”
This was the cover story on our February 2023 edition of Behind The Hedges, which hits newsstands in Palm Beach in March. See the digital version of the magazine here. For more on Palm Beach real estate visit our website.