Peggy Smego's job as a real estate broker has always been about navigating life's changes, beginning with her own.

"I love helping people get from point A to point B," said Smego, whose own life took a dramatic turn in 2004 when a health crisis left her husband unable to work.

The stay-at-home mom of four needed to find a way to support her family. That's when she turned to real estate.

"Looking back, it saved my life," said Smego, a broker with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty who is still changing the lives of others by helping them buy and sell homes.

For most people, buying or selling a home is much more than a business transaction, she related. It's often wrought with emotion. The key to helping a client move out of a home or into a new one, Smego said, is trust.

"I bring trust to every transaction and every relationship," Smego said.

The Hinsdale resident said most of her business rests along the commuter train routes. But the city also is bringing her business, both from people wanting to buy in the city and those wishing to move from the city to the suburbs.

Among her buyers are plenty of first-time shoppers eager to find their perfect home.

Often, that means a move-in-ready home with plenty of updates. Young buyers are looking for attached garages, open concept living areas and outdoor living spaces.

"Those are the houses that are moving quickly," Smego said.

She said part of her job is to help buyers see the potential in a home, both by helping sellers stage homes correctly and by pointing out to buyers the things that can be changed and those that cannot. Countertops and flooring can be updated, Smego said. A small backyard will always be small.

"I like to talk about value," said Smego. A well-built home in need of redecorating can be a better choice than an on-trend home in the wrong location.

To help buyers see the potential in a home, Smego advises her sellers to get rid of tired, old furniture and remove clutter.

"Tired furniture affects a buyer's assumptions of what the house has to offer," Smego said.

Next, updated light fixtures, neutral wall colors and white trim help to make a home look more inviting to buyers.

Smego said buyers are outnumbering sellers in the current market, driving up prices in some cases, But she stressed that some truths of real estate never change, including the rules that an overpriced house won't sell and that being pre-approved for a mortgage is imperative.

For those who are thinking of selling, Smego said now is the time.

"Interest rates have already eked up," she said.

Some experts are predicting an uptick in inventory in late spring or early summer.

"This market is a living thing," Smego said of the quickly changing real estate landscape.

It's a landscape she still likes exploring.

"I enjoy helping people find the next right thing," she said.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean