Cocktails With — Hope Harnett

Sunday, October 21, 2018

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Hope Harnett is a dynamic woman who has enjoyed a number of careers before becoming a realtor. Upon meeting her you're immediately put at ease; no wonder she's doing so well in her new-found career. Harnett is a great conversationalist, has an infectious laugh and winning personality. Over glasses of Merlot in the lounge of the Spanish Court hotel, the Style Observer (SO) picked up a few real estate tips as we got to know Harnett better.

Have you always been a realtor?

No. I have had my real estate licence for a mere two years but being a fanatic of HGTV and doing renovation projects of my own home, I saw, as a prudent business person, the continued increase in equity of the real estate market in Jamaica. I also had this passion and knack for transforming and repurposing “old” into “new”. In my working life, I spent seven years in the hotel industry and switched to the corporate world for 25 years, working my way up the ladder to my last position as general manager for Jamaica Packaging Industries Limited that I held for 19 years. In 2017, I opted to take early retirement to focus on real estate with the leading real estate dealer, Coldwell Banker Jamaica Realty, to give it my full 100%. I am also a co-owner of Musgrave Pharmacy located at 80 Lady Musgrave Road.


What do you enjoy most about your work?

My greatest joy as a realtor is extending total customer satisfaction to my clients . Working with a client from start to finish and seeing smiles on their faces, satisfied with their choices and decisions, makes me proud of a job well done. Not to mention the fact of closing a sale, and getting paid is the true reward.


Oftentimes, people start the house-hunting process without the assistance of a realtor. What are the benefits of engaging a realtor before starting this process?

The short answer to this question is that a realtor has knowledge of the market, the ability and the resources to network and is able to source and access housing inventory that will suit the desires and needs of the client. Realtors do the work for you by guiding the client through the legal processes from the start. Having a trustworthy realtor is key. The POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) laws are straightforward but involve a lot of paperwork which is mandatory. Engaging a realtor gets you started the right way with results in a shorter time.


To date, which has been your most memorable sale?

That's easy! My most memorable sale was my “first” sale. I photocopied the cheque and framed it! It was a proud moment and one I will never forget.


What trends are you seeing in the Corporate Area real estate market?

I see changes in the zoning of both residential and commercial developments. Although location, location, location still remains the key element of prime real estate in the Corporate Area, I also see trends of mixing residential multi-living apartments with commercial properties within the Corporate Area, eg 20 South on South Avenue.

Also, what continues to be trending is the shift in demand from single-family homes to gated communities where the developers are maximising on the space for multi-family apartments and townhouses.


What are five of the hottest Corporate Area neighbourhoods in which to purchase?

It all depends on the individual's budget of course, but I would say… Kingston 6 (Liguanea, Seymour, Widcombe, Mona), New Kingston, Kingston 8 (Millsborough, Cherry Gardens), Surbiton, and let's not forget Portmore which is now part of the Corporate Area.


In your experience, what (hidden) closing cost surprises most home buyers?

Most times, the surveyor's report and the valuation report are often forgotten or under-calculated which may skew the total closing costs. Others are miscellaneous charges at the attorney's end.


Realtors don't work a typical nine-to-five schedule. How do you ensure that you have quality family time?

Planning and scheduling is the order of each day. Be disciplined in keeping and updating a daily planner and make use of free time in between for family. I choose nights between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm during the week for my family knowing that weekends don't belong to me unless there is a special occasion booked. It works itself out most times.


What app can't you live without?

Definitely WhatsApp, the Realtors' Association Of Jamaica (RAJ) Pocket Interface and my Coldwell Tally Dashboard app.


Heels or flats?

It depends on the occasion, of course. Love my heels most times, but nothing like comfort with sexy “bling” sandals showing off well-manicured toes.


Jeans or LBD?

Love both, but give me that LBD any day!

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