When Marie Presti describes herself as a lifelong learner, the broker/owner of The Presti Group and 2017 Greater Boston Realtor of the Year is not using the phrase lightly.
Take, for example, the story of her first real estate license: “When I was in my early twenties, I was living in New York City working for a regional bank, and I was thinking of buying my first house. I wanted to learn more about real estate [before buying] so I got my license down there,” she said, later adding with a laugh, “I wouldn’t even recommend that to the average person. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I just said, ‘I want to learn.’”
Presti also has degrees in math and computer science from Mount Holyoke College, an MBA in marketing from Babson College and, as Lisa Rinkus, president of LJPR, likes to say, “an alphabet soup of professional designations in the real estate field,” including as a Certified Buyer Representative, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, Accredited Buyer Representative and GREEN agent, among many, many others.
“She’s really a one-stop shop for her clients’ needs,” said Rinkus, who nominated Presti for a Women of FIRE award. “And she wants to get better and better all the time.”
This from a woman who never planned to work in real estate.
Even after getting her New York license, Presti used it only as a referral agent. She moved to Boston and was working in the high-tech industry when her company went under following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In need of a job, Presti got her Massachusetts real estate license while looking for more permanent work.
“I got three offers that year to go back into high-tech, but with each position I just kept saying, ‘You know what, I kind of like what I’m doing … Until I get a perfect offer in high-tech, I’m not going back,’” Presti said. “And lo and behold, it’s been 17 years.”
Seeing as Presti opened her company’s second office in Stoneham earlier this year, it seems clear she’s in the industry to stay.
One of Presti’s favorite parts of her job is simply being able to help her clients.
“Homeownership is a huge proposition for most customers … When people need your help [as a Realtor], they’re usually making a major life transition. They need someone to guide them through,” Presti said. “People have said to me over and over again, ‘Marie, I could never have done this without you, and I can’t thank you enough.’ That is why I keep doing this job.”
Fittingly, she’s also very passionate about teaching, whether her pupils are other agents – Presti is a certified real estate instructor in Massachusetts – or consumers interested in learning more about the real estate field. She has taught more than 100 courses through Newton Community Education since 2005.
As the current president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors (GBAR), Presti admits that she hasn’t had as much available time to teach – but she’s still found ways to help others learn. She created a scholarship in partnership with the local Boys & Girls’ clubs that gave awards of $500 to 19 different students. Outside of her work in real estate, Presti is a longtime active member and past president of the Newton Rotary Club.
“My head spins from everything she does,” Rinkus said. “She is one of those people who, I don’t think she ever sleeps. She’s the most hardworking person I’ve ever met in my life.”