Jeff Phillips and Mark Madonna make up one of the most successful real estate teams in Litchfield County. They bring vastly different skill sets to the table, so there’s always spirited collaboration that results in something pleasantly unexpected. Phillips loves the discovery—searching out new houses and distilling buyer needs, playing matchmaker. Madonna loves the art of the deal, negotiating and all things selling. He drives the marketing strategy for the listings. Between the two of them, nothing slips through the cracks.
How did you get involved in real estate?
It wasn’t a decision as much as it was an opportunity that presented itself. In 2007, we were renting a house in Washington and began introducing our New York City friends and clients to the area. One-by-one, they each ended up buying a place up here, and we unintentionally became ambassadors for Litchfield County. It was then that we realized real estate was a perfect opportunity, and there was a lot we could offer the market.
Do you specialize in any way?
We specialize in evolving. Making new connections in new ways. Last year was all about promoting our listings through Instagram and video marketing. This year is all about augmented reality and live FaceTime property tours. Since the majority of our clients are weekenders with busy schedules, we embrace technology to create a better experience for everyone. Quite frankly, we can’t wait for what’s next.
What should we know about this market?
Above all, the best houses aren’t listed on Zillow. That’s why it’s critical for buyers to connect with an agent who’s intimately involved with their towns. These agents are the insiders who not only know the best deals on the market, but are also plugged in to what’s available privately or pre-market. We’re also seeing much higher demand and shrinking inventory than in previous years. In particular, there’s a deficit of “done” properties, so we have a backup of buyers waiting for their choice property to come available. This means more competition.
How do you account for your success?
Fear of failure. It sounds like a pitch, but we never take our success for granted, and so we never get complacent. That, and relationships are incredibly important to us. We started this business by matching friends to great properties, and we believe in still doing just that…while making new friends in the process.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
We’re constantly looking for ways to connect the dots. Digging deeper to determine each property’s standout feature in order to hook that perfect buyer. If we’re selling a house with large walls, we’re already thinking about our art collector friends. If a multi-car garage and car lift is a featured amenity, we’ll connect with Lime Rock and the Porsche club. That sort of thinking out-of-the-box exercise is what we think of as “fun.”
Does your business extend beyond the Litchfield hills?
On a daily basis we work between Salisbury and Bridgewater including Kent, Washington, and Roxbury, but we’ve also listed a historic mansion in West Hartford, and made deals in California and New York. While NYC is the hub for the majority of our clientele, they often have properties in other beautiful areas of the country as well, so it’s important to be able to speak to those markets.
Madonna & Phillips Group/William Pitt
Washington Depot, CT