Today, our agent spotlight focuses on Jillian Klaff, a dedicated Westport agent of 25 years with three sons and four grandchildren. Jillian emigrated with her husband from South Africa in 1978 and has been in the tri-state area ever since!
What drew you to the real estate industry?
My husband and I moved to Westport, CT from Westchester in August 1993 with our three sons ages 13, 9 and 9 months old. It had taken us over 2 years to sell our house and I felt I was very familiar with real estate and everything it entails. Little did I know it would turn into my career!
I was (and still am) a certified public accountant but no longer had any interest in pursuing this occupation so started looking around and thought I would slowly get my feet wet in the real estate industry. We knew close to nobody in town, plus my children were young and unsettled and I did not want to work full time. In 1994, I took the real estate course and started working for a real estate firm in town.
It took me five years to build up a name for myself and become busy. I soon realized that working part time as a realtor is not such a good idea. I partnered with a few agents and formed a “team” and we were pretty successful.
In 2006, I decided to move to William Raveis Real Estate because I was able to start a proper team there with a lot of support from the corporate office. I was very impressed with their approach to the business, their computer expertise and how they invested in their agents with great training, coaching and materials. I have been at the Westport office ever since and am very happy here. We have an amazing manager and administrative support staff and I have two wonderful team members, Megan Donofrio and Sally Bohling.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia which is now known as Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1973, I went to Cape Town, South Africa to attend the University of Cape Town. I met my husband, Anthony in Cape Town and after graduating and marrying we came to America with work visas in 1978, which in time became green cards. We became citizens in 1986.
I live in Westport with my husband and our Labradoodle, Rosie. We are empty nesters. We have three sons. Two are married and the youngest lives in Washington DC. We are blessed with four wonderful grandchildren from one month to nine years old.
Name one celebrity who you would like to sell a home?
I would like to sell a home to Michelle Obama.
Name 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
Most people don’t know: I am a CPA. I am tone deaf and cannot hold a tune. Make up silly songs to sing to my grandchildren. I am not a morning person. I do not eat red meat and absolutely love sushi.
You are stranded on a deserted island for one year, you get to bring 3 things…
I would bring a knife, the Bible and my pillow.
Most used feature on Raveis365? Most used app on your phone?
My most used feature on 365 is my Raveis email and zip forms. My most used app on my phone is Instagram with Facebook being a close second.
What is the best advice you received from your parents or loved ones?
The best advice I received was to live life to the fullest and don’t take my loved ones for granted.
If you weren’t in real estate, what would be your dream job?
I would love to be in a creative field and often say in my next life I will be a jewelry designer.
What are your favorite local activities that you participate in?
I belong to a local book club, play Mahjong (a new hobby) with great local friends. I love doing barre…..there are several places here in Westport. I love library events and attending plays at Staples High School, walking with my husband and dog, Rosie at the beach and Winslow Park. I am on the board of a couple of non- profit organizations, the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, The Westport Hadassah Chapter. I try to be involved with my Synagogue as much as possible and help deliver food to the Gillespi Center in town, give money to the library, am a member of Westport Art Center.
Your day cannot begin without _____?
My day cannot begin without me ordering a nonfat grande latte from the Starbucks app and driving over to the local Starbucks down town Westport to get it.