With 18 years in the real-estate industry under her belt, Erica Collica has a deep understanding of Metro Detroit. She gives SEEN the lowdown on what buyers and sellers should look for in an agent, plus what sets her apart from other Realtors as well as her favorite spots around town
By Chelsie Dzbanski
Photos via @meeterica
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background. I’m an Associate Broker with Max Broock Realtors in Detroit. My husband, Kyle Swink, and I live in Brush Park with our Yorkie Malteese, Jagger. I’ve worked in real estate since I was a teenager.
2. How did you get started in the industry? Growing up, my best friend’s dad was a real estate developer. When I graduated high school in 2002, I started working with him as a way to earn extra money. I would sit in his model homes for a meager hourly wage, but I would get a “bonus” for every sale I made. As it turns out, I was pretty good at it! Once I got my first sale, I started spending more and more time there. I counted all the homes in the neighborhood and thought, ‘Wow, there is a lot of money on the table here.’ I literally drained my bank account on self-growth and real estate sales books from the bookstore and the rest is history.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job? I love that I get the opportunity to connect with new people every day! The process of buying and selling real estate is something people only usually do a few times in their lifetime — it’s a big deal — and many times it’s attached to another big life change, like changing jobs or growing your family. It’s a special honor to help people through this time; to be able to give them confidence and peace of mind is priceless. I take the time to get to know my clients on a personal level to make sure I’m doing my job with their goals in mind and making the entire process as carefree for them as possible.
4. Can you share some of your career highlights or moments you are most proud of thus far? I’ve enjoyed steady growth throughout my career and 2019 was another record year for me: I personally closed nearly $14 million in sales! I’m really proud of taking the leap to be the first sales agent to join our new office in Detroit. It was a big deal to leave the well-established Birmingham office and join an office that was operating out of WeWork at the time. Fast forward nearly a year and a half later and we have over 20 agents in our office and [we] closed over $50 million in sales last year. Just this week we moved into our new office space at Mack and Woodward in Midtown and it really symbolizes for me that I have to keep trusting my gut and taking risks! I’m also hoping to land my first development project in the city where I would be the head of sales, a goal of mine since I first started in real estate.
5. What does a typical day/week look like for you? I start my days super early, waking up around 5am. My phone doesn’t start going off until usually around 8am, so I use this time to prepare for my day and get a workout in. My days are full of client meetings, showings, listings appointments, and closings. I also spend time planning content out for my social media accounts, attending networking events, and previewing new listing inventory in my service areas, which is basically anywhere within an hour of Detroit. I also really believe in self care and get a facial and massage once a month, it helps me feel energized and confident to take on my sometimes-long days.
6. What was your biggest mistake or failure and what did you learn from it? I don’t see anything in my life as a failure or mistake. Inherently, I’m a calculated risk taker and the way I see it, almost anything can be undone or reworked. If you feel a desire in your gut to move ahead on something, DO IT and if it doesn’t work out you can always pivot into the next step. As long as you keep moving forward, you’ll never lose. That philosophy has really helped me to propel ahead in my career.
7. How do you set yourself apart from other realtors in the industry? In addition to being highly empathetic, I’m extremely savvy when it comes to all things marketing, media, and social media. I have an astute eye for doing and creating things that grab people’s attention. I’ve grown my following to almost 10,000 followers on Instagram (@meeterica). This year, I’m placing a heavy focus on video and I’m very excited to see what opportunities might come from it and who it may connect me with. I’m also really ambitious and my clients benefit from that because I will do whatever it takes to get the deal done.
8. What is your number one piece of advice for those who are looking to buy a new home? And for those who are looking to sell their home? I have a saying: “Who you work with matters.” What many people don’t realize is that it’s very easy to get licensed to sell real estate in Michigan. There are tons of agents out there, but many have very little experience and lack professionalism. I always recommend taking the time to interview and vet the agents you’re considering working with. Are they professional? Experienced? Responsive? You definitely should ask them for references and recent sales.
9. If you weren’t a realtor, what would you be instead? I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else because I have so much passion for this industry. I’m so grateful I was exposed to real estate early in adulthood. It showed me where my talents lie and has allowed me to become a veteran in the industry at a young age!
Now onto some fun…
10. What was your first job growing up? I started babysitting at 13, but my first real job was at my cousin’s tuxedo rental shop. I would help with alterations, which I was horrible at. I also dabbled in waitressing, where I spilled an entire tray of drinks on a customer. Can you imagine? I went home, cried and vowed to never again work in the food service industry. Overall, it was more a lesson in what not to do for my career.
11. What’s currently on your playlist? Lately, I’ve been in a country mood. Country music always tells a story, which is pretty cool. But overall, I enjoy a wide range of music. I also love The Rolling Stones so much that we named our dog Jagger. Fun fact: I know all the words to every mainstream rap song from the 90s-2000s.
12. What was your favorite TV show as a kid? I used to watch a ton of talk shows, which is totally not normal for a child. I would get home from school and turn on Ricki Lake, Queen Latifah or Oprah. I was always really into pop culture and observing how different people interacted with each other.
13. Three Instagram accounts that you love to follow? Go give @shoe_doctorr a follow right now. He is a Detroit-based celebrity sneaker cleaner. I’ve been following his journey for awhile now and really love his work ethic and passion for what he does.
Also, my friend @joannerobertalucia, a self-described urban pioneer and high rise dweller. I want to be like her when I grow up! She has a love for the city and retired here from the suburbs. So for all of you guys over 55 who have dreams of a condo in the sky after retirement — this one’s for you! And don’t forget to call me when you’re ready!
I love keeping up with @unilandcorp to see what they have going on with real estate development in the city. Uniland is a fourth-generation builder and developer in Metro Detroit. I have a lot of respect for how hard-working and dedicated they are to their clients and projects.
14. Dream vacation destination? I’m really excited for our trip to London and then Portugal this summer (please send me your recommendations on where to go), but I’ve always wanted to visit the Maldives! Cliche, I know, but it just looks so damn dreamy!
Local Love Questions…
15. What are your current favorite local spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner? I love Be Well in Birmingham for a good smoothie. I seem to find myself at Leila at least once a week these days — the food is so fresh and tasty and it’s a great spot for a quick business lunch. For dinner, I’m loving Magnet right now. It’s located in Core City, just North-West of downtown (real estate insider tip: pay attention to this area).
16. What’s your favorite place to shop locally in Metro Detroit? I did the vast majority of my Christmas Shopping in Midtown this past year. At Cass and Canfield you’re a block away from a host of shops that have something to suit everyone on your list.
17. What’s your go-to for a good cup of coffee? Gosh, I’m going to be very basic and say Starbucks. No matter how many other coffee shops I try nothing beats my Starbucks latte: grande, single pump, extra hot, vanilla with soy milk.
18. Favorite things to do on a weekend in Detroit? My husband and I love walking to Eastern Market early in the morning to grab some fresh flowers and produce. In the real estate world, weekends are always full of open houses and showing tours for clients that work during the week.
19. What do you love about Detroit? Fun fact: I grew up in Detroit. So there is something about being in the city that feels like home to me [like] at local restaurants I visit over and over again where I know all the staff, and my community of friends here brings me a sense of comfort. There is also an energy that feels infectious. Detroiters are always so willing to connect and with that comes a sense of opportunity.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by? I’m constantly on a path of self improvement and am inspired by so many quotes, people and businesses on a daily basis. But one guiding idea that seems to keep recurring for me is really simply to trust my gut and believe in myself — it applies to everything!
To learn more about Erica visit, meeterica.com