For Victoria Kaplan, the real estate bug bit early; she was just 18 when she purchased her first property, a two-family home with one apartment for her to live in and one to rent out. Years later, she became the first female real estate broker – and one of the first female Realtors – in the state of Connecticut.
For the past 50 years, the real estate broker and owner of Enfield-based Brian Realty has inspired generations of female real estate agents and brokers in Connecticut.
When she entered the real estate market as a new mother, she worked for a male broker, and “she put [her son] Brian in the baby carriage and went from house to house looking at listings, and the broker there said, ‘You’ll never become a broker,’” said Kaplan’s friend of 13 years, Linda Baumgarten. “So she decided to become a broker herself and hire women.”
Kaplan founded Brian Realty in 1964 and runs it today, managing almost 500 properties with just the help of a personal assistant and a handyman. “There’s very few women who would do that, especially in a time when, 50 years ago, people weren’t doing that,” Baumgarten said of Kaplan’s decision to open her own firm.
Kaplan has also been active in the Connecticut Real Estate Investors Association, through which she has met and inspired many up-and-coming female Realtors and brokers. “She’s definitely an inspiration to everyone who meets her,” said Baumgarten, who is the director of the organization. “She always has a smile and she’s always giving me compliments and she always says, ‘You can do it.’”
Like the house she purchased when she was 18, it’s an investment that has paid off: Kaplan received four glowing nominations for the 2016 Women of FIRE awards from various friends and colleagues, all of whom praised her fighting spirit and generous heart.
“Victoria is a lifetime achiever and speaker to women across the state,” wrote Liping Wang, a Realtor with Property World USA to whom Kaplan has provided mentorship. “I have learned tremendously from her and [am] inspired from her bravery, persistence, enthusiasm for the real estate industry and her wisdom. She is my idol, my mentor, my teacher. I would strongly recommend Victoria to be the best broker in the industry.”
“Victoria Kaplan is an amazing businessperson and woman. She is very supportive of other women, taking the time to offer words of encouragement or advice. She is well respected and admired for her real estate acumen,” added Laura Abbott, the owner of Apple Pie Properties.
Now, though she’s been in business for over 52 years and has no doubt had enough real estate experience to last a lifetime, Kaplan continues to take a hands-on approach and set the standard for her peers. “She’s just a great example of how women can be successful in real estate and business,” Baumgarten said. “She’s an inspiration.”