SPOTLIGHT ON: Vlora Sejdi
Mary Prenon | June 1, 2021
Fulfilling the American Dream
Vlora Sejdi was just two-and-a-half years old when she came to the U.S. from Kosovo. She spoke no English and had to learn it when she went to school in the Bronx. Today, the mother of two young children is not only a successful real estate agent, but also the 2021 President of the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), Empire Local Westchester Chapter.
For the past three years she has served as Director of Sales for the Igor Krasnoperov & Team Success NY with Keller Williams NY Realty in White Plains. “One of the reasons I love real estate so much is that it actually provided security to my family,” she said.
Sejdi remembers how difficult life was years ago when her parents relocated to the U.S. from Eastern Europe. “We were poor, and my father struggled to find work initially. He worked two jobs for most of my childhood, allowing my mother to stay home and focus on us,” she recalled. “In fact, I had no idea I wasn’t in Kosovo until I started elementary school.”
The family settled in an Albanian community in the Bronx and moved quite often. “When I was in middle school, my parents achieved their number one goal – buying a house,” she recalled. It was a small multi-family investment property which became home for Sejdi and her three younger brothers for many years.
Eventually, they moved to Yorktown and for the very first time, Sejdi was able to enjoy her own bedroom. “This showed me that no matter where you came from, or how you started, you can build generational wealth through real estate,” she noted.
She found the Westchester suburbs to be quite different from the city, but Sejdi quickly got involved in as many high school activities as she could. “I’m a joiner—I always like to be involved,” she added.
Sejdi was actually able to start college at the age of 16, and graduated from Pace University in Pleasantville, majoring in criminal justice, with a minor in sociology and psychology. “It’s something I wanted to do from an early age,” she admitted. “I often thought about becoming an FBI agent and chasing the bad guys!”
Her plans to finish graduate school at John Jay in Manhattan were interrupted when she got married and moved back to the Bronx. “From there, I took a convoluted path to real estate,” she recalled. Sejdi worked in the medical field short term, then joined a commercial real estate firm in Manhattan. She started as an agent, and progressed to sales manager and finally to chief operating officer.
After the birth of her daughter, the family moved to Yorktown and Sejdi continued to drive to her job in Soho. “I just wasn’t happy with the commute and then I happened to see an ad placed by Keller Williams,” she said. “The job description sounded exactly like what I was already doing, so I applied and here I am today.”
Keller Williams NY Realty boasts more than 200 agents and Sejdi’s Team Success consists of six agents. “Sometimes I go on listing appointments, but I prefer to give the leads and clients to the agents,” she said.
For her, the biggest challenge in switching from commercial to residential real estate was the amount of time needed to explain the buying and selling process to clients. “When you’re selling commercial, you can just match properties with needs, but when it comes to selling homes, you need to know so much so you can explain things properly,” she said. “After all, people are making the biggest financial transactions of their lives, so you have a big responsibility.”
Sejdi credits fellow Keller Williams Realtor Teresa Bellmore for getting her involved with the Women’s Council of Realtors. “I think she just told me I was joining,” she laughed. “Anyone who knows Teresa knows you don’t tell her no!”
She attended her first meeting in 2019 and was hooked. Sejdi previously served as the organization’s program director, falling back on her own experience planning Albanian weddings. The WCR is currently working on its first live event since the pandemic at a local brewery.
Like most Realtors, Sejdi is looking forward to stepping away from the Zoom events and being able to network in person. She travels to her office as much as possible because she enjoys the structure—which is sometimes impossible when she’s working at home with her daughter Arya, 6, and son Luan, 5. “My son consistently interrupts me when he wants to do something that his babysitter won’t let him do. And then there’s the time he ran around naked while I was on a Zoom business meeting,” she quipped.
Interestingly enough, both of her children’s names translate to one of the world’s most revered animals. In Albanian, Luan means “lion,” and in Hebrew, Arya means “lioness.” To Sejdi, the translations are fitting. “My son will always say, ‘Momma go sell some houses,’ and my daughter aspires to be a mega real estate agent.”