Grass is Greenest

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Helene Barre caters to the community of Greenwich, Connecticut, as an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty. Here, we chat with Barre about her experience as a resident of the town—an enclave that “offers a sophisticated lifestyle while being so family friendly.”

Q: Explain your background—why real estate?

HB: My career of 25 years began in New York with Sotheby’s International Realty. When our family moved from the city, I continued in Greenwich. There is no other firm that offers the global reach of Sotheby’s International Realty, plus the brand association with quality. 

I have a degree in education and psychology that I supplemented with two years at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), so real estate is a natural fit for me. My knowledge of design continues to be a very valuable tool in helping my sellers to prepare their homes; today’s buyer demands a home that is either new or looks updated. The staging business has grown rapidly, but I can update a room with three three simple tweaks: new wall color, less cumbersome furniture arrangement, and simplified window treatments.

One of my favorite gifts to my sellers after their homes have sold is a hardcover coffee-table book with pictures of their home that I put together. They are always so grateful for this memento.

Q: What skills differentiate you from others?

HB: When working with buyers who are new to the area, I draw on my own experience when making the transition to Greenwich. I can relate firsthand to their fears and concerns, so I make sure that they feel comfortable asking any questions they might have. Usually, I give them a brief tour of the town, pointing out its many amenities.

I advise my clients to think about the “Three Cs” and the “Three Ls.” When considering a home, remember: you can change the Cleanliness, the Color, and the Condition but you can’t change the Layout, the Location, and the Lot.

Q: What are some of your successes as an agent?

HB: I have sold many significant properties over the years, but to name a few:  a well-known Great Estate; a 1926 magnificent Twachtman masterpiece;  a 1935 Platt Brothers Art Deco jewel; two different Queen Anne Victorians from 1911; a Conyers Farm brick-and-limestone classic Georgian; and a 22-acre Conyers Farm lakeside estate manor reminiscent of the Gilded Age of retreats. All were significant sales. But my biggest success lies in the relationships that I have formed through these transactions. In the books that I mentioned I give as closing gifts, I write a dedication—a note expressing how grateful I am to have worked with them and formed a lasting friendship with them. u

For more information, contact Helene Barre of Sotheby’s International Realty at 203.618.3123 or helene.barre@sothebyshomes.com.