Revered by all who know her as a true client advocate, Seattle native Suzanne Fortune provides both real estate buyers and sellers with professional representation, personal attention, and lightning-fast response times. Over the course of her 20-year career, she has remained dedicated to leading and empowering her clients during one of the most defining moments of their lives—buying or selling a home. A successful investor in her own right and former CEO of Verona Corporation, Suzanne joined Windemere Real Estate in 2015 as a broker in the firm’s Woodinville, Washington, office. For the woman-based team of Suzanne Fortune Realty, she built a brilliant team of passionate female experts known for delivering white-glove concierge service backed by an engine that drives excellence—all with the goal of a stress-free journey for their clients. Suzanne is much more than a skilled negotiator with market expertise. She is an energetic, empathetic partner with an unmatched work ethic who collaborates with her clients every step of the way. With this combination, she was named Woodinville Windemere’s Top Producer in 2020. Suzanne recently met with us to share more about her commitment to women in business, the clients she serves, and her unique focus on helping senior clients begin the next chapter in their lives.
What led you to a career in real estate, and how does your experience as an investor help your clients?
I began as a residential and commercial real estate investor, and I still invest in real estate, so I already had a wealth of experience before I got my license to sell real estate. I built a portfolio of rental houses, and renovated and flipped houses, and then I started a company that focused on land development and preconstruction services. When the downturn hit in 2008, I took my years of experience as an entrepreneur and put that into my real estate business as a broker. That experience as an investor allows me to look at both sides of a transaction—both the beauty and location of the home along with the return on investment at the time of listing and sale —and because I have experience in rehabbing, I’m very adept on advising essential home improvements to increase a home’s livability as well as its market value.
What are your primary areas of focus as a broker?
I’m a listing broker as well as a buyer’s broker. I love helping people navigate through the process, and many of my clients are personal representatives, attorneys, financial advisors, and estate advocates. The aging population holds a special place for me, and I delight in helping them, whether they’re looking to downsize their home or relocate closer to their families. I’m also an estate sales specialist, so I frequently assist vulnerable spouses and family members after they’ve lost a loved one. I also enjoy working with millennials, advising them about the areas that will gain the most appreciation the quickest. Since they’re making money where they live through real estate, where they decide to purchase will make a huge difference in how much money they make down the road. I enjoy being a trusted advisor.
How does being a Seattle native benefit your clients?
Since I grew up in the area, I know the communities intimately—both urban and rural—which helps me to perfectly match clients with homes at the right price and in the right location that best suits their lifestyle and needs, and I have a big footprint. I specialize in north King County, south Snohomish County, and the East Side—Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, and Woodinville.
How are you helping your aging clients to smart size their homes for the next chapter in their lives?
Many senior clients come to me because they’re ready to move someplace they’ve been dreaming of for years. I love seeing them get excited over picking out new furniture for their homes and starting new chapters in their lives. There are also emotional times when a client has lost his or her spouse. In these instances, I work to help them through the mourning process, listening to their stories and holding their hands. Nothing about real estate is transactional for me. It requires humanity and empathy to be genuine and present with these clients, and it’s my privilege to assist them in any way that I can. Every time I hear clients say how grateful they are for our help, that we worked so personally with them, and that we truly care, my heart just swells.
You are a staunch advocate for women in business, as is Windemere. Was this the driving force behind your building an all-female team?
Yes, I intentionally built my powerhouse team to give women the opportunity to build a career they love based on meaningful work they enjoy. I take a lot of pride in employing happy, well-paid women who have a purpose that inspires them, and I’ve made a concerted effort to hire women who are experts at what they do. They bring skill sets that pull the team together to support the business. In turn, I can focus on our clients and on keeping the home buying or selling process as simple, straightforward, and seamless as possible. For example, Kelly Smith, the brilliant and creative mind responsible for our marketing and digital sphere.
What inspired you to support other women in business?
When I was growing up, I was a natural-born leader, but leadership development wasn’t available to me. I kept trying, and it was a struggle, but I persevered and honed my leadership skills. Since I’m now in a position where I can help the next generation of women succeed and build a financial future for themselves, I want to give them a hand up. Collaborating with female business owners forms a place of abundance and creates success and financial wellbeing for everyone.
What services do you provide for tech industry clients?
We love the tech industry because our area is a hub for big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. We get a lot of clients who work in tech moving here from out of town, and commute times to work are a major point of consideration for them. As a native of the area, I understand the traffic patterns and can help them find the perfect home in a location that might allow them more time with their family and less time on the road.
Let’s end with a personal question. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m a member of Women Business Owners (WBO) and the Rotary Club of Seattle. I also raised three amazing boys as a single mother, and they all love soccer and skiing. My involvement in their sports led me to become CEO of Soccer2Unite, a 501(c)(3) with the purpose of empowering the disadvantaged youth of Uganda through the sport of soccer. Whether I’m at work or at home, I enjoy helping others and giving back to the community.
Windemere Real Estate
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