Valentine’s Special: Allan Domb (and Others) Talk About Falling in Love

With Philadelphia real estate, that is.

allan domb

Allan Domb’s heart beats for real estate. Original photo by Laura Kicey.

At first glance, it might seem an unlikely pairing: romance and real estate. But they often go hand in hand. There’s such a personal relationship with your home. You want to make sure you choose “the one.”

That’s not only true for homeowners, but also for people who work in the industry. We asked a few of Philadelphia’s real estate icons to talk about their their love of the business — and the highs and lows of their relationships with it.

The Butterflies

“I’m passionate about real estate,” says Allan Domb, of Allan Domb Real Estate and current President of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors. “You can’t be successful if you don’t love what you do. For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision they will make in their lifetime. For four, five, six months, I’m involved in that process, and that’s incredibly special.”

“For me,” says Diane Bryant of Bryant & Wilde Realty, “I was inspired by the sales end of the business, placing buyers in a home they were excited about.”

Michael Rosman, branch manager of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, has worked in the lending industry for 15 years. Here’s what he loves: “Every day brings a new situation, new client, a new challenge that I can impact for the positive.”

The Perfect Match

Deciding to buy property is typically the largest financial investment a person will make in a lifetime. It’s important to work with knowledgeable professionals and recognize that you’re building a relationship. Trust, communication and support are paramount for a successful match.

“Ask for recommendations from friends or family and identify the agent’s reputation. If you haven’t bought a home before, ask around and see what people liked about the agent or didn’t,” advise the folks at Bryant & Wilde.

Brokers will want to build an intimate relationship with a specific neighborhood: “Learn a block and learn it better then anyone else. Become a one-street specialist.”

Speaking for lenders, Mike Rosman — who has owned his own business — sees value in pairing up rather than going it alone: “Working with a larger institution, such as Wells Fargo, offers support and resources that aren’t available with smaller shops,” he says.

The Ups and Downs

Every relationship has its high points and low points.

David G. Marshall, Chairman and CEO of Amerimar Realty Company, counts the two and a half years developing The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominium as a high point.

“Finally we were getting ready to open. We had hired much of the staff and they were all scurrying about in last minute preparations. I walked into the kitchen and there was ordered turmoil with ‘real food’ coming of the concrete, steel, and assorted equipment, that I knew little about. The thought came over me that this must be what a woman feels like when giving birth after all the struggles of labor. I honestly felt like crying, but I didn’t. I had a 650,000-square-foot baby to raise.”

The romance surged for Bryant & Wilde Realty after successfully selling all of the condos and doing the re-sales at The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums. They were approached in 2005 to work on a new project, The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton. “Being approached by The Ritz, based on referrals of others in the Philadelphia market, was such a compliment for us,” says Margie Wilde, co-owner of Bryant & Wilde. “It’s always nice to be recognized for accomplishments, and the project presented a wonderful opportunity.”

For Mike Rosman, running his own mortgage brokerage was both a high and a low point. “Running my own business allowed me to appreciate the business much more,” he says. “The low point was when the market crashed in 2009 and it was my business I had to end up closing.”

That was a common low point for many.

“Looking back now,” Rosman says, “if you can make it through 2008/2009, you can make it through anything.”