With its oceanfront estates and cliffside mansions, Los Angeles is home to some of the most desirable real estate in the world – and Cindee Hallinan gets to see (and sell) it all firsthand. As a successful Santa Monica real estate agent, Cindee understands California living inside out. And with her movie-star smile, ambitious spirit, and creative intuition, she is a shining light in the competitive real estate world.
Prior to becoming a licensed Realtor, Cindee dabbled in several other fields – including classical music, interior design, and teaching. She didn’t transition into real estate until her kids (she has a teenage daughter and son) were older, but it’s been a perfect fit and she hasn’t looked back since.
Let’s learn more about Cindee and what it takes to conquer the real estate world.
My initial interest in real estate was sparked by a conversation with a friend whose entire family is in real estate in the Bay Area. I was looking to focus my energy in a new direction, and he assured me that my personality and skill set were well-suited for the world of real estate. Additional friends in commercial real estate echoed this sentiment and encouraged me to get to work. So, while working on a small design project, I made a pact with myself to study and pass my real estate exam before the project was over. Deadlines really work for me!
I worked for many years as a music teacher, and then a full-time pre-school and elementary school teacher. As a teacher, you are entrusted with shepherding families through a sometimes trying and ever-evolving process where unforeseen issues can trigger larger issues. Emotions can run high and there is a lot of relationship building that happens along the way.
Working closely with individuals and families looking to buy or sell a home reminds me of working as a teacher. In both cases, a lot of care and attention is necessary in developing a relationship that is mutually respectful. Creating an environment that is based on trust is just as imperative in working as a real estate agent as it is in teaching.
I believe a person's home is extremely important and special regardless of its size, style or location. Making that place feel warm, comfortable, beautiful and inviting is what makes it a home. Guiding my clients through the stages involved in home design and making the space work for them completes the whole process of purchasing a home and making it one’s own.
A typical workday for me begins with reviewing my calendar and reading emails in bed. If I have time to take a 7:15 am yoga class, I will do that. Otherwise, I like to make some calls at home before getting to my office by 9:00 or 9:30 am. I love the energy at the Gibson Santa Monica office and it’s a really beautiful space with tons of natural light. Having such an inviting office where I can offer to meet my clients and being able to run across the street to meet up at the best coffee spot in town, Caffé Luxxe, makes the job all that much more enjoyable.
I try to block my time by keeping my out of office appointments to afternoons later in the week. My time blocking enables me to keep my mornings free – the time when I feel most productive - and allows time for me to plan for my other commitments with the community organizations I really care about and where I am involved (SM Chamber, OWL – Organization of Women Leaders, BH/GLAAR C.A.R.E. Project).
The most rewarding part of my job is helping families and individuals secure a place in the world that they love and are excited about. By helping them create a space that they look forward to returning to every night is helping them create the place that they can call home.
I think the southern California lifestyle is very personal because it can be so many different things to all the many different people that make up SoCal. My version of the Southern California lifestyle incorporates the beach, the mountains, California’s natural beauty and the simple things in life. Life is so complicated… I think a person’s home should be as uncomplicated and as beautiful as possible. Follow me on Instagram @homesbycindee for pictures!
If you are disciplined, motivated, organized and not afraid of competition, go for it! You will meet some wonderful people along the way, and learning new things is always a good thing. And as a bonus... working hard feels great!