Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSM Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law. This week we are pleased to introduce you to North Shore moms and real estate duo, Stephanie Hofman and Erin Smith Rutman. They are the Stephanie and Erin team with @properties Christie’s International Real Estate in Highland Park!
Chance brought Stephanie and Erin together to form a team in 2016 when a friend asked them both to help a family members sell their home. They haven’t looked back since. In fact, the two have tremendous admiration for one another. When asked what they love about working with one another the answer is instant. “Erin has the biggest heart. She is the kindest and most giving person and she channels that all into being a realtor,” says Stephanie. “Stephanie is meticulous. She does not miss a beat and is always 10 steps ahead,” explains Erin. Get to know this real estate duo and think of Stephanie and Erin for your next home buying or selling journey.
Hi Stephanie and Erin! Please introduce yourselves.
Stephanie: I grew up in Highland Park and moved back to Chicago after college. I met my husband Alan, also an HPHS grad, and we decided to settle back in Highland Park since we both have such wonderful memories of growing up here.
Erin: I also grew up in Highland Park and lived in New York for a few years after college. I came back to Chicago in 2001 to be close to my family and lived in the city for many years. I now call Deerfield home.
Tell us about your family!
Stephanie: My daughter is 23 and graduated last year from Miami University in Ohio. She just moved to her first apartment in the West Loop and just got her dream job doing oncology research! My son is a 6’6” junior at Iowa State University, majoring in Finance. They are just fun, awesome kids!
Erin: I have two daughters; my oldest is 16 and a sophomore at Deerfield High School. My youngest is 15 and a freshman also at Deerfield High School. They are both very busy teens who are learning to drive (Ah..help me!,) studying, volunteering and babysitting.
Stephanie and family.
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
Stephanie: I’ve always been an avid reader and somehow became the “go-to girl” for book recommendations, so I started a bookstagram to post my reviews (@stephsalwaysreading) and share my love of reading. I also can’t get through a day without a Bar Method class or Peloton ride!
Erin: My first step into the working world was in the teen publishing market and I had a fabulous internship one summer in high school at a magazine called YM (Young Miss) in downtown Chicago. Little did I know it would set me up for my first job after college at Teen People (which had just launched) when I was living in New York. It was fun to attend one of the first Jingle Balls with my colleagues and get to be at the forefront of the market.
What are your favorite local stomping grounds for anyone new to the North Shore?
Stephanie: My family loves taking our two Alaskan malamutes to the dog park on Waukegan and 22 in Lake Forest – it’s great to walk around there and just let the dogs romp. We also love to do brunch at Country Kitchen, or grab dinner in downtown Highland Park – and we always need to hit Dairy Queen afterwards!
Erin: We love Taco Vida in Deerfield and eat there often! The elote corn is our very favorite item to order. We also love taking our dogs on walks through our neighborhood in the summer ending up at Cookies and Scoops in Deerfield for dessert.
What gets you through a tough day?
Stephanie: My partner, Erin, of course! She’s always upbeat and positive. Exercise is an amazing outlet, too. Knowing my Peloton is waiting for me or there’s a Bar Method class I can attend is a lifesaver!
Erin: Stephanie definitely makes this job more fun! Plus doing yoga & baking & snuggling with my dogs helps too.
What are you currently… reading? watching? listening to?
Stephanie: I’m catching up on Fauda and I’m always reading multiple books at once…currently I’m reading a fascinating memoir called From Miniskirt to Hijab for the book club I lead, as well as Greenwood.
Erin: I recently finished three of Kelly Corrigan’s books; The Middle Place, Glitter and Glue and Tell Me More which I very much enjoyed. Loved Yellowstone and want to start the prequel 1883. You can also catch me watching Dream Home Makeover and checking out the design, decor and trends.
And your career…. You both have been real estate partners since 2016. How did that come to be?
That’s right! We both have both been in the residential real estate business for 13 years and started our careers separately, but at the same brokerage, Stephanie being in the Highland Park office and Erin in the Deerfield office. We met at a women’s networking group and had a potential client reach out to both of us to see if we had interest in selling her parents condo. We said, “Why don’t we do it together?”… and that was the start of our amazing partnership. It happened very organically and wasn’t forced, to which we attribute its success. We have now been working as partners as the Stephanie and Erin Team with @properties Christie’s International Real Estate for 6 1⁄2 years. It’s hard to believe that we were both in this profession by ourselves for so long. There is absolutely a benefit working as a team. It’s not only us who feel this way; our clients give us that feedback as well!
Describe something you’re both most proud of as it relates to your business?
We are super proud of how client-centric we are. It’s core to our business, and everything we do is for and about our clients’ best interests. We act as educators, guides and advocates throughout the entire home purchase/sale process, consistently communicating with our clients so that they can make the best decisions possible. Knowing we enable our clients to do this is so gratifying!
What towns or cities do you specialize in for real estate?
We focus on the North Shore – particularly Deerfield, Highland Park, Northbrook, Glencoe and Lake Forest. We also go as far south as Evanston and as far north as Lake Bluff, and into Libertyville and Buffalo Grove as well.
The real estate market has seen some crazy swings lately. What is the current market like right now, winter of 2023?
The market has definitely changed since the COVID market of 2020-22. Inventory is really low…but the rise in interest rates has kept prices from skyrocketing the way they did during COVID, despite the huge demand. That said, are still seeing multiple offers on properties – it’s a great time to sell!
What has been your favorite, most wild real estate selling or buying experience?
During Covid we had a client move here from the West Coast and only was able to see the house on Facetime – it was a risk for everyone but they found and purchased a home they love and are super happy there.
What’s the best way to prepare your home to be sold?
Go through, room by room, and declutter! Buyers want to see your home, not your furnishings. They need to be able to envision it as their own.
One of the services we offer to our clients is a complimentary room by room staging walk through and consultation. Our clients take advantage of this service before hitting the market so that we can optimize a home’s appeal. And, Erin is a certified home stager!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your business?
We consider ourselves the “hub of the wheel” in every transaction and have an extensive network of service providers to recommend for whatever needs our clients have. We are so appreciative of each and every client who places their trust in us for such important transactions, and we go above and beyond to provide the best experience possible.
How do our readers learn more about working with you or reaching out to you both?
Visit our website, StephanieAndErin.com, or check us out on Facebook (Stephanie and ErinReal Estate) and Instagram (@StephanieAndErin). Or simply call us – we’d love to set up a time to take you to coffee to discuss real estate!
About our Meet of Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].