10 Questions with Linda Skolnick 

Ask a top agent what their most valuable skill is, and they might answer with one of the following: “communication, ability to problem-solve, or knowledge.” 

For Linda Skolnick, the No. 1 Coldwell Banker agent in both Westport and Connecticut and newly crowned Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Ambassador, her unique skill was showing up for her community. “I was at every sports game,” says the 30-year real estate veteran who moved to Westport in 1993 and raised two children, now aged 30 and 27, through the nationally acclaimed public school system. “Everyone wanted to talk to me about real estate, and that’s how I built up my client base – by making genuine connections with people through the things that were important to me. It wasn’t about trying to network. I feel like people can sense if you do something for a lead.” 

A former buyer for Bloomingdales in Manhattan, Linda is known for her polish, professionalism, and thorough attention to detail. The genuine investment she makes in her clients goes far beyond mere transactions. Among her many claims to fame are the decadent homemade brownies she hand-delivers to her clients each year. “Once you are on the list, you never fall off,” she says. “It has become a nice way for me to stay connected to my clients.”

To commemorate Linda’s induction into the Global Luxury Ambassador program, Vice President of Global Luxury Michael Altneu delves deeper into her remarkable journey as a luxury real estate professional and true expert in the field. 

Michael AltneuWhat are you most looking forward to as a Global Luxury Ambassador?

Linda SkolnickI love learning from my peers. I am also looking forward to sharing the tactics and techniques that I’ve used successfully after so many decades in the business. I have always tried to be a team player and cheerleader within any company I worked for. Most importantly, I appreciate greater access to the top of the top at Coldwell Banker!

Michael AltneuWhere do you see Westport fitting into the larger global luxury landscape? 

Linda SkolnickWestport is one of those suburbs that people just know about. Often the subject of television shows and movie productions, it is a sought-after community. With top schools, exciting restaurants and shops, and a beach to boot, it is a luxury destination as well. Being a metro NYC suburb, it’s known internationally as one of the best places to live.

Michael AltneuWhat’s your secret weapon when it comes to amassing the kind of success you’ve had in Westport over the last three decades?

Linda SkolnickI answer my phone! I am always reachable. I know when a client is going through the biggest purchase or sale of their life… they want to talk to me all the time. I get it and I am patient with them. 

I treat every agent in town with kindness. Treating people nicely makes them want to work with me continuously, and that is ultimately a benefit to my clients. 

Michael AltneuDo have any favorite secret weapons from the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury marketing arsenal? 

Linda SkolnickListing Concierge for Global Luxury! It envelopes all the advertising and content that a Global Luxury Property Specialist needs in one place. There are also PR and advertising opportunities if you really want to take your property marketing to the next level. 

I love the access to top agents in the Global Luxury network across the country and the world! The in-person Global luxury events, where I can network with other top Global Luxury Property Specailists, are so valuable to my business.

Michael Altneu Before real estate, you were a buyer at Bloomingdale's. How did your early experiences in the fashion and retail worlds shape your approach to customer service?

Linda SkolnickI went through Bloomingdale’s Executive Training Program. The program made me comfortable interacting with everyone from senior executives and union workers to demanding customers and pushy vendors. I learned how to feel comfortable and strong with all of these people.  When I started in real estate in the late 1980s, there were very few agents that had worked in a corporate environment. I recall my boss being impressed that I knew how to use a computer! Can you imagine? Working in the corporate world prepared me for it all, and forced me to stay professional at all times. Whether it’s real estate or retail, every interaction is an important component of getting the job done! When I was a buyer, I worked in contemporary home furnishings. It was a natural next step to work with the consumer on the other end of the transaction.

Michael AltneuIf you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self about real estate?

Linda SkolnickTo stick with it! The first year I always joked that my nanny made more than me, and so did the person scanning my groceries at the market. It was costing me money to work and leave my children. But I had to pay my dues. 

Michael AltneuWhat was a key business milestone for you and how did that change the course of your career?

Linda SkolnickAs a new agent, I did other agents’ open houses every weekend. I would plaster my open house signs with my name on it all over town. People started to know my name. It became normal that people would say, “Why do I know your name?” Of course, I knew it was because of the signs. I said,  “Oh it’s probably because of my article in The Westport News.” And people would say, “That’s right!” So I approached The Westport News to write an article and continued to write “On the Homefront” for 15 years until the paper stopped printing. After that, everyone in town really knew my name!

Michael AltneuWhat is your favorite part about selling luxury real estate in Westport?

Linda SkolnickBelieve it or not, selling luxury real estate is easier than other areas of the market. All clients are demanding at every price range, but luxury buyers are successful in many aspects of their lives. They appreciate a professional who is focused and knows their craft. Both buyers and sellers are accustomed to having the best of the best when it comes to service. They trust in the professionals they have chosen. I am typically given autonomy to get the job done without being micromanaged. When someone trusts you so much, you never want to let them down.

Michael AltneuWhat’s the most common question you get asked as a real estate agent?

Linda Skolnick“Am I being unrealistic?” This is true for buyers and sellers. Everyone has a wish list. It is my job to set expectations at the onset. It’s not fun being the voice of reason sometimes, but we are all happier if expectations are managed.

Michael AltneuWhat’s your advice for succeeding in luxury real estate?

Linda Skolnick

  • Be private - keep everyone’s secrets 
  • Never need a deal so badly that you do the wrong thing for your client
  • Be honest
  • Be consistent
  • Be reachable
  • Know the stats inside and out

And lastly, you must live in the world of luxury. You must present as luxurious. Dressing for success is literal when you show a Global Luxury property. Present yourself as professionally as the property you represent. If you are listing a $10 million home, you need to be relatable to the clients considering the property. 


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