Thursday, May 1, 2008

Saluting: Magellan's Leila Zammatta

Fourth in a series of profiles saluting Condo Superstars, agents who ranked in the Top 10 for selling the most Chicago condos in 2007.

Passion Propels Ex Flight Attendant To No. 2 Spot

Name: Leila Zammatta. Brokerage: Magellan Realty. Age: 42. Years as Agent: 9. Transaction Rank: 2 (490 units). Dollar Rank: 2 ($272 million). Resale Volume: $2.4 million. Condos (of total business): 100%. Source of Statistics: Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Chicago condos closed in 2007.

Ranking No. 2 on our Top 10 list of Condo Superstars is Leila Zammatta, senior vice president of sales for Magellan Development Group, one of Chicago's leading developers, and president and managing broker of its subsidiary brokerage, Magellan Realty, which handles all of Magellan's sales and many of its resales. She is one of two females on our list.

Leila (Lay-la) ranked second in both transactions, with 490, and transaction dollar volume, with $272 million. Of her transactions, 278 were as listing agent, 212 as sales (buyer's) agent. All but six units she sold were new construction.

She generated the vast majority of her sales at two Magellan projects: Chandler (left) at 450 E. Waterside (216, or 78%, of her 278 listings) and Regatta (right) at 400-427 E. Waterside, both in the Lakeshore East development.

Of the sales credited on the MLS to Leila, half were generated by her personally working with buyers; the other half, she was involved with in a managing position.

Unlike No. 1-ranked Mike Holtorf, her counterpart at Equity Marketing, Leila does, indeed, earn commissions on her sales, says Dave Carlins, 46, president of Magellan Development.

In a recent interview in her spacious office in Lakeshore East's new sales center, Leila openly shared the story behind her success:

Born in Chicago and raised in Niles, Ill., she never liked school and never knew what she wanted to be. After graduating from high school, Leila attended Western Illinois University for one year, then dropped out. For one year, she sold cars. For the next three years, she sold drinks at bars in Chicago.

In 1989, Leila began "selling" the friendly skies of United, as a flight attendant. A decade later, in 1998, at 33, she got her real-estate license for personal use. She was making $30,000 a year and thought she would be flying forever; the license, she says, was just for fun.

Once she got her license, she found out that, to use it, you have to work for a broker. So she hung her license with The Habitat Company. When the managing broker left to form her own company, Urban Properties of Chicago, Leila left with her.

In 1997, Leila bought her first Chicago condo, at Park Newberry, 55 W. Delaware. It happened to be Magellan's first condo development. Leila was so excited about how much value she got for her money there that she ran around the city telling everyone to buy at Park Newberry and many did.

When Magellan announced its second condo, at 21 W. Chestnut, history repeated itself. Leila bought there and became the sales cheerleader for that building. Working part-time for Urban Properties, she sold more Magellan-developed condos than any other non-Magellan agent.

In 1999, Dave Carlins, son of Magellan's founder, Joel Carlins, asked Leila to help start a brokerage. What did Dave see in Leila? "She had a passion for her work unlike anyone else I had ever met," he recalls. "When someone is that driven, it is easy to figure out that she will be a success."

Together, Dave and Leila created Magellan Realty, which Leila ran, while continuing to fly with United. It wasn't until 2001, when, in the wake of 9/11, she accepted the airline's offer to take a five-year leave, that Leila took up real estate full time. "United's offer was the best thing that ever happened to me," she says. "It allowed me to focus on selling," at which she excelled.

Today, in addition to her development role, Leila oversees a sales staff of 16 at Magellan Realty.

Since 1999, Leila has registered more than $600 million in residential sales. From the Chicago Association of Realtors, she has received Platinum and Gold Awards as a top producer in Gold Coast, River North and West Loop areas.

Currently, she is concentrating on the New East Side, the neighborhood that encompasses Lakeshore East, the 28-acre, $4-billion, mixed-use development that has become Chicago's model urban village.

One key to her success, Leila says, is that she has always specialized in areas small enough so that she can serve as an expert. Other keys: a love and passion for what she does. What motivates her? "I'm a sales junkie," she confesses. "Selling makes me feel good. I try to sell [close] at least one condo a day."

So far in 2008, Leila is a bit behind her goal. In the first 121 days, she closed 109 units, at Chandler and 340 on the Park (340 E. Randolph). The units had a combined value of $99 million.

Not included in those numbers are contracts for 256 of the 264 units at Aqua (at right), another Magellan property in Lakeshore East. Those units, which she personally sold in 2007 and 2008, will begin closing toward the end of 2009.

Watch for Leila Zammatta in future Top 10 lists!


ksutton3882 said...

Magellan is a great company and their staff are wonderful and helpful.

Eric said...

I had a really positive experience when i dealt with Magellan Development this past week. The sales staff was full of information and helpful insights.

I would recommend Magellan Development to anybody who seeks the truth and honesty while looking for condos

Jazspin said...

Leila is awesome! I've been looking for a condo in downtown Chicago, and her positive energy and enthusiasm are unmatched.

Not only will she help you find the perfect place, she will make you excited about the purchase. I highly recommend her and the Magellan Development team in general if you are looking to buy a condo in Chicago.

Marcello said...

Magellan Development got an A+ from me after I signed with them. I love my condo and i love the experience so far.

I highly recommend them to anybody wanting a truthful meeting while looking for a condo.

Anonymous said...

Leila's energy and enthusiasm make it hard for one to not be excited and enthusiastic about looking for a new condo.

I want to thank Leila and Magellan Development for making it a smooth sailing process!