Regina “Regi” van der Heyden has been selling real estate in the greater New Canaan area for almost 20 years. In that time, she has sold nearly $500 million worth of property through what she calls “her tireless work ethic and consistent professionalism.”
Van der Heyden was already an experienced marketing professional in the corporate world when she and her husband decided to have a child in 1996. She left her job and stayed home with her son when he was very young, but when he was old enough to go to preschool, she decided to start selling real estate. Her husband is a builder and she loved architecture, so it seemed like a good fit.
“I thought I could just work at it part-time,” she said, “but that never happened.”
Her business took off right away – and she said people used to tell her how lucky she was, but it takes a whole lot more than luck to sustain a successful business for 20 years.
“I’m a very agressive worker,” she said. “It’s being there for the opportunity. It’s hard work, preparedness and follow-through. There has to be a genuine spirit in this business and you have to genuinely care about your client’s needs. It’s being diligent, being out there and being innovative.”
Van der Heyden said technology was primitive by today’s standards when she got into the business, but she’s learned to incorporate it into her work. She blogs about real estate and is very active on social media, trying to stay in front of today’s homebuyers, most of whom begin their home search on the Internet.
“When I started, I had a telephone and an MLS book,” she said. “We thought it took a lot of effort when we had to change a listing. I’d love to go back to those simple days.”
When asked, van der Heyden has trouble coming up with any interests or pursuits outside of her family and selling people’s homes.
“Working is what I do,” she said. “A few months ago, I bought some tomato plants that were about six feet tall and I placed the container on top of a pot outside. I looked at them a few days ago and the roots had grown through the container and into the pot below. There were about 30 tomatoes on it, so maybe I’m also a gardener.”
Van der Heyden and her staff are also hard at work assembling a new division at William Raveis. She didn’t divulge many details, but she said the targeted launch date is mid-September.
“We are all working furiously to launch that in the middle of September. We aim to be a boutique, five-star-service real estate team,” she said. “We plan to take the area by storm as a team.”
Van der Heyden said she particulary loves the market she works in.
“I like the fact that it’s a sophisticated market, and fairly high-end,” she said. “These are intelligent, nuanced people who live here. They’re thinkers, and I like that.”
She advises young people who want to be successful in any field to take every opportunity, no matter how inconsequential it seems, because you never know where it will lead. She said while some opportunities lead nowhere, some opportunities lead to more opportunities.
“I honestly can’t picture myself ever not working,” she said. “I feel happiest when I’m working. My family comes first, but I really enjoy my work.”