Diane Mitchell, Wright Bros. Real Estate

Reinventing Herself After a 31-Year Corporate Career

Diane Mitchell, an Associate Broker with Wright Bros. Real Estate Inc. in Nyack, admits she got into the real estate business just “when the market fell off the cliff” in 2008. “If I can survive that, I can survive anything,” she quipped.

For the past 14 years, Mitchell has enjoyed a successful career, listing and selling homes in Rockland and parts of Orange and Westchester counties, while appreciating the picturesque and eclectic atmosphere of her hometown of central Nyack. She has worked with Wright Bros since 2011, and credits Broker/Owner Russ Woolley with mentoring her in her post-corporate career.

“Russ and I were in Rotary together, and I just started talking with him one day and the rest was history,” she remembered. “I get such strong support and help from everyone there, and it’s more like a family than just a place of business.”

Prior to her real estate life, Mitchell spent 31 years in “corporate America,” where she managed global business for medical diagnostic firms. A licensed medical technologist, she worked with corporate giants like Dupont and Bayer. During that time, she also traveled extensively for business to international destinations including Europe, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and many others. “I would love to go to Brazil one day, but my number one place to visit is Bora Bora, because no one could reach me there,” she joked.

While working with Bayer in Tarrytown, she took an early retirement when the business was sold. “The first thing on my mind was, ‘Well, I can’t just sit around and do nothing,” she recalled.

After trying her hand at rehabbing older homes, she made the decision that she’d rather sell them instead. “Rehabbing was fun, but expensive,” she said.

Her foray into residential real estate proved to be a bit of a challenge. “I didn’t grow up here or go to school here, and I had no friends or family in the area, but I just put my global marketing skills into play and that helped a lot,” she added.

To date, her most challenging listings are huge remote estates with big price tags that are far from New York City and not close to a commuter train line. Her most rewarding deals are helping first-time home buyers get into their dream home—especially in today’s seller’s market, chock full of bidding wars.

“I was working with buyers from New York City recently, and I wrote offers for 29 different homes before they finally got their house,” she said. “In this market, you have to be patient and just realize there is a match out there—you just have to find it.”

Mitchell admits she has never seen anything like the current market, with multiple offers, and many with thousands of dollars over asking price. “Thankfully, my clients are delighted with the home they have now,” she said.

This year also marks her first year as a member of the HGAR Board of Directors. Volunteering with fellow Board Member Roberta Bangs at the Hi-Tor Animal Shelter in Pomona, Mitchell said Bangs “strongly suggested” that she apply for an open Board member position. “I was honored to be chosen to serve on the Board, and it’s been really great,” she said. “I’m expanding my connections and my sphere of influence, and it gives me an opportunity to see what’s happening outside my own area.”

In her spare time, Mitchell loves to cook and take care of her two dogs, Sammy and Lila. “So many people have told me they love watching me reinvent myself, and real estate is a great profession,” she added.

Her advice to those entering real estate after a lengthy career in another industry—get in with a great agency and network as much as you can. “You also have to recognize that it’s going to take a while until your real estate business gets off the ground, so be patient, and make sure you approach this business with a sense of humor.”

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