Written by The Business Journal Staff
Paula Conner, Friend
What we do: Help our clients maximize their home equity.
Education: BYU – Idaho
Age: Old enough not to tell!!
Family: Dan, husband of 48 years, two great children, Danyelle and Patrick Conner, and six of the best grandchildren anywhere.
How did you come to be a real estate agent, Paula?
We moved to Fresno in late 1960 so Dan could attend law school. After both working for Armon and Joanne Boyajian at Herald Realty, in 1971 we decided to establish our own firm — London Properties. Initially I was not in the sales department. As the need to provide special services for our luxury homes became obvious, I became interested in providing that service.
Did you always intend to work in the luxury real estate market, Paula?
In the 1980s, I didn’t believe anyone in our industry saw luxury homes as a specialty. There simply was not a deep enough market. My clients are the ones who receive the credit for creating this specialty. Owners of fine homes told other owners about me and my business simply grew organically.
What are some of the most popular neighborhoods for luxury homes, Paula?
Of course, Lake Van Ness, Van Ness Extension, The Bluffs, and Old Fig Garden. Most recently, luxury homes have moved north into Copper River Country Club. Villa Alicante, Country Club at the Fort, Monte Verdi and a growing interest across the river in the beautiful foothill locations, such as O’Neals.
What are some of the most popular features buyers look for in a luxury home, Paula?
Privacy, security, uniqueness and quality construction are growing in demand. Having a lot of square footage, poorly built or common in design, is simply not enough. Quality no longer is associated with who can build the biggest footprint.
What is the most memorable feature you’ve encountered in a home, Paula?
A well thought-out floor plan that actually works by creating interesting and highly livable space. No wasted space and true quality materials like plaster and stone floors.
What’s the most challenging aspect about being a luxury-home real estate agent, Paula?
In recent years, perhaps it has been helping our clients understand that the profit one makes in real estate is made when we buy it, not when we sell it. That size, in and of itself, no longer defines luxury.
How have you seen the luxury market in Fresno change over the years, Paula?
The qualities of building materials and unique designs have grown, while the homes themselves have shrunk. A trend for floor plans and design to actually reflect the personality of the family. In other words, true custom design.
What are some of the directions you expect to see the Fresno market take in the next few years, Paula?
As our baby boomers age, the affluent market will continue its growth, but clients will develop more and more appreciation for true luxury. The interest in enjoying security, privacy and quality will replace the need to show off the biggest Hollywood store front. We will see less and less showy castles and more and more secluded foothill retreats out of the public eye.
What features would be included in your ideal luxury home, Paula?
Panoramic views. Nothing can be more luxurious than the beauty provided by a horizon 100 miles away or the lights of the city below at night. Guest homes facilities for live-in help. High-end electronics, plaster walls, stone flooring and most important of all is an intelligent, livable floor plan with private master living areas.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Paula?
At the age of 10 I started babysitting and at 16 I started in a high-end boutique clothing store. I worked every day after school. I developed a true interest in fashion, an appreciation for quality fabrics, and of course, a strong work ethic to provide personal service to special clients.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Paula?
For 25 years we have been growing our home on the Oregon coast. We now have 2 or 3 acres of flower gardens. My husband and I both love to play in the dirt and grow beautiful things.