SPOTLIGHT ON: Maria Weiss
Mary Prenon | June 2019
Going Back to Her Roots
Maria Weiss got her first taste of real estate at age 11, when she sat behind the desk of a real estate agent who was renting office space at one of her parents’ properties in Queens. “I’d diligently take down all the information from prospective renters when the agents were out of the office,” recalled Weiss, an agent with Houlihan Lawrence in White Plains and first-time HGAR Board of Directors member. “I always knew that one day I’d be working in real estate.”
Weiss has been an agent since 2008, when she decided to “reinvent” herself and start a new career. “My family has owned many homes throughout the years and I always had a passion for it, so it made perfect sense to take my new career in that direction,” she said.
The daughter of German immigrants, Weiss always found herself involved with her parents’ multi-family properties from an early age. “As a kid, I had a job washing down the halls of a six-family house and earned $22.50 a month!” she remembered. She also helped out with painting, wall-papering and many other chores.
“I guess I learned at an early age that putting money in the bank is one thing, but when you buy real estate, it’s with you and the value always goes up eventually.”
Growing up in Queens, Weiss enjoyed watching planes go in and out of LaGuardia and Kennedy airports and began her initial career with American Airlines. She started as a ticket agent in both New York airports, as well as San Francisco before becoming a supervisor. From there, she became the manager of American’s largest ticket sales office on 42nd Street in Manhattan. Weiss kept climbing the corporate ladder to area sales manager, sales manager and then corporate sales manager for greater New York and New Jersey.
Weiss stayed with American for 35 years before going back to her real estate roots. “I really liked working with the airlines—it never got boring,” she said. “In fact, it’s a lot like real estate because you’re always working with people.”
An early retirement package helped Weiss make the decision to skydive into her new real estate career full time. With her background in sales, she found the transition fairly easy. “I can deal with all different personalities and I’ve learned never to be too aggressive because that can turn people off,” she said.
Weiss also prides herself on her honesty and said that some have told her that she’s “honest to a fault.” She works with both buyers and sellers in Westchester and the Bronx, and especially enjoys helping first-time homeowners find the right place. “I like to see them glow. It’s so rewarding and fulfilling,” she said.
Weiss currently owns a multi-family home in West Harrison and still owns property in Queens. “I usually rely on my gut feelings when it comes to renters, but sometimes background checks are necessary,” she added.
In addition to being an HGAR Director, Weiss also serves on the association’s RPAC Committee and Education Council. “RPAC is so important for our future. I’m always trying to bring people on board with this to let them know it’s all about protecting ourselves and our clients,” she said.
Last year, Weiss served as treasurer for the Women’s Council of Realtors and she is also a consistent sales award winner. She has one daughter and four grandchildren ranging from age 16 to 21. She also helps care for her father, who is now 101 years old.
In her spare time, she loves to cook and bake, and admits that her neighborhood block party planners can’t wait to see what she’ll bring to their events. “I also love to dance and sometimes dance around my kitchen while I’m baking,” she quipped.
Of course, as a former airlines employee, Weiss loves to travel and has been to Germany, Austria and other European destinations, as well as Aruba and all over the U.S. While she sometimes misses the airline industry, Weiss says she’s definitely found a home in real estate. “I still remember my farewell dinner at American,” she said. “I already had my real estate license so I gave out my business cards to all my co-workers. I can’t ever let any grass grow under my feet.”