For many, careers in law and technology would be enough for a lifetime. But a few years ago upon returning from a Montreal vacation, Sternberg's doctor visit morphed into a full-blown cancer diagnosis. Sternberg decided it was time to put relationships before sales quotas, and that led him to Austin's dynamic real estate market and the brokerage firm of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty.
"Every day is a new opportunity to help someone with a significant challenge in this market, and confronting challenges is just part of my DNA," Sternberg says.
After 25 years of living in Austin and a storied career selling enterprise technology to Fortune 500 companies, a health issue changed the course of his direction. Relying upon his resilience, business savvy, local roots, and passion for helping others, Sternberg quickly found success as a luxury agent with the local office of the world's premier brokerage, Kuper Sotheby's International Realty. He's already been named a Rising Star by Broker Agent Advisor and become a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.
A lifelong fitness enthusiast and an advocate for the Livestrong Foundation, Sternberg is committed to the cause of health and wellness. His love for his two dogs — Sascha, a Poo-Chon and Layla, a Schnauzer — also drives his support of Austin Pets Alive!, a local nonprofit animal shelter.
We chatted with Sternberg to find out more about his work and what drives him.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Edward Sternberg: For many years, I struggled reconciling my purpose with my job. Generating revenue is important in every business, but for me there's a lot of satisfaction to forging meaningful relationships and the strategy behind selling and buying real estate. Everything that goes into a real estate transaction comes very naturally for me, and that's what inspires me to do more. Maybe it was my true calling.
CM: What's one piece of advice you'd give to people looking for their dream home?
ES: That depends how they define their dream. For some, it's more about practicality and for others it's all about leisure and luxury. Their dream home may be available, or it may require a custom-build. Consider your priorities — family, job, recreation, and goals — and what you want life to be like for the next 10-plus years, because where you live will ultimately impact how you live.
CM: And advice to those who are selling?
ES: It's certainly more than a yard sign and some internet photographs. We're talking about a major transaction, so you really need a solid plan and a solid partner. Selling your home requires careful analysis of data about your home and the market. Then you need to prepare, which may involve some repairs or first-class staging. You also need to plan for contingencies because the Austin market is very fluid.
Of course, professionally marketing your home is critically important and no brokerage does it better than Sotheby's. Personally, I enjoy doing open houses for my clients because that's where I can do the best job of communicating the value of their property to buyers.
CM: Sum up Austin in three words.
ES: Evolving, eclectic, exciting.
CM: What makes your approach to real estate unique?
ES: Frankly, I care an awful lot about my clients and representing their best interest. Perhaps law school had something to do with my sense of responsibility that comes with being their agent. I also bring a lot of deep business experience to the table. When someone hires me, I take my role seriously, I communicate clearly, I'm always transparent, and I know how to advocate when negotiating the deal.
CM: What do you consider your "special skill"?
ES: Listening. I learned a long time ago that listening is an active exercise that requires your undivided attention. Lots of people like to hear themselves talk. I like to talk too, but I do it much better after I've listened!
CM: What's one thing people might not know about you?
ES: I'm an accomplished home chef. My dad taught me, "If you like to eat, you better like to cook." I ate in some of the best restaurants during my business travels, read a few cookbooks, and learned a lot through trial and error over the years. Cooking for friends and family is very rewarding.
CM: Finish the sentence: "It's a good day when..."
ES: I think every day we wake up should be a great day.