Total existing-home sales—completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops—rose 3.1% from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.00 million in January.
SPOTLIGHT ON: Christina Prostano
A Modern-Day International Gypsy
Christina Prostano, an Associate Broker with Compass in Manhattan, has been in the real estate business for almost 20 years, but traveled quite an eclectic career path to get there.
A sort of modern-day international gypsy, Prostano has enjoyed stints as a wedding band singer, an indie rock band performer, a promoter for Planet Hollywood restaurants, and a tourist book producer who has lived in London, Paris and Hong Kong. She has also traveled to almost all 50 U.S. states and visited exotic locations like Dubai, Thailand and Singapore. Prostano even spent a month in Mexico volunteering at an orphanage during her college days.
Today, she’s putting all of her international travel background to good use serving as the Co-Chair of HGAR’s Global Business Council and reaping the benefits of her membership with FIABCI, a worldwide business networking organization for all professionals associated with the real estate industry.
While she has been with Compass just a little over a year, Prostano spent 17 years with Corcoran, where she began her real estate career. She was involved in relocation consulting for many years, working with both domestic and international executives relocating to New York.
While she grew up in the Connecticut suburbs, Prostano has always considered herself a “city girl,” and has called Brooklyn her home since 1999. “It’s a very special market and clients will always know if you’re from Brooklyn,” she explained. “You have to know the character of the neighborhoods and which budgets will fit into which communities.”
A student at Fordham University in the Bronx, Prostano took to radio at WFUV on campus before breaking into theater and singing gigs. She holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature and International Studies and an M.A. in Music from New York University. “I was actually in a band in high school and then got into an indie rock band later, touring colleges and local clubs throughout the country,” she recalled. The band, Palomar, put out five albums—the last one in 2012. “We all have kids now and one of the members lives in L.A., but hopefully we’ll get together again.” Prostano has two girls, aged 13 and 15.
Oddly enough, it was the band experience that piqued her interest in real estate. “I wanted a flexible career so I could go on tour,” she said. Plus, her parents were investors, and she witnessed their success and ability to work for themselves.
During her college days, Prostano also had the opportunity to be part of a service project in Mexico and volunteered her time for a month at an orphanage. “We did everything from helping out with the kids to building a new home for the older children there,” she remembered. “No one spoke English, so it was great to put what I learned in a book to real life. That actually triggered a love of languages, so I started to learn French and Italian as well.”
One of Prostano’s other interesting career choices was working with a British publisher producing travel discount books for vacationers in 25 cities around the world. Prostano worked on the New York, London and Paris books, spending five years in London and one year in Paris. “We had to visit various attractions and sign them up to offer a discount to tourists,” she explained. “We did everything from selling them the idea, to writing the text and publishing the book. We wore all the hats.”
Also along the career path was a short stint as a marketer for Planet Hollywood restaurants, where she had the opportunity to travel to places like Hong Kong for new openings.
A member of the Real Estate Board of New York for many years, Prostano eventually joined NAR and HGAR after meeting HGAR President Tony D’Anzica earlier at a FIABCI event. Even with her extensive background in international travel, she admits she never thought about combining that with real estate.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she started an interview series on Instagram Live, featuring people who had moved out of New York City. After she took the series to Clubhouse, it started to garner international attention and her interview subjects grew to brokers from around the globe. “I made a lot of great connections, attended international property shows and also earned my CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) designation. In addition, Prostano is a Crypto Certified Agent.
Currently, she’s working on building her Compass team—the CP Global Team—and has added a person who speaks Mandarin Chinese.
As for Prostano’s favorite global destination, it’s Italy hands down. “I have an Italian passport and we usually go somewhere there every year,” she said. “Venice is always amazing.”
As Co-Chair of the association’s Global Business Council, Prostano is striving to ensure that HGAR will again be honored with NAR’s Platinum Global Achievement Award, as it was last year. “Growing any business—domestic or international—is based on entrepreneurism,” she said. “To be successful in real estate, all you have to do is take it seriously and treat it as your own business.”