From the television industry to real estate, Director of Agent Development Hunter Andre’s unique experience gives his clients a distinct advantage.
An alumnus of Chicago’s prestigious DePaul University, Hunter received his degree in media and began his career as an assistant at the Food Network. After more than a decade as a producer, writer, and director with communication giants like Comcast, he wanted to pivot to something completely different.
It’s 2009, the very depths of the Great Recession. “I thought, this is the perfect time to get into real estate, at the bottom of the market,” Hunter remarks. His friends and associates told him he was “looney tunes.”
But diving in head-first during incredibly tough times proved to be a smart strategy, as it only enhanced the grit and skills he needed to succeed in any situation.
During the recession, agents left the real estate field in droves. The ones who remained were white-knuckling it and in no place to serve as Hunter’s mentor. He definitely made his share of mistakes in the beginning — which inspired him to develop a pay-it-forward attitude, and a desire to truly help other agents learn and grow.
Hunter spent several years as a top producer at Coldwell Banker before rising to Vice President in 2019. He led his team through the pandemic, remote work transitions, and the challenges of trying to sell property under Covid restrictions. Joining Baird & Warner’s Lincoln Park office in 2021, he now guides and inspires the company culture and provides expert analysis of Chicago’s ever-changing market.
As a career choice, he believes that there are a million reasons why someone should choose real estate. “If you’re looking for the ability to make as much money as you can possibly earn,” Hunter says, “then you’re in the right seat.” It’s also perfect for those who want to work in a diverse environment and anyone who’s tech-savvy and hungry for profit. The industry is also a crucial economic indicator, dealing with a commodity that everyone needs.
Specializing in distinguished properties across the most desirable neighborhoods, he gives his clientele a leg up with his deep knowledge of the process and details behind buying high-end residential or commercial properties in this one-of-a-kind metropolitan area.
His effervescent personality and impeccable timing led to the fastest contract of Hunter’s professional career. While touring a condominium building downtown with an energetic buyer, they happened to share an elevator with a woman who mentioned she had an off-market condo they might be interested in, and an agreement was struck shortly after they reached the lobby. “It was the quickest deal I ever put together in my life,” he laughs, “you just can’t explain the unexplainable.”
One wintery Thanksgiving Eve, Hunter was the only one in the office near closing time when the receptionist asked if she could send a floor call through. The nice woman on the phone stated that she was looking for a single-family home in Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast historic district — with a budget of up to five million dollars! He thought someone was trying to play a joke on him.
As it turned out, the customer was relocating from Texas and had booked a room at the illustrious Four Seasons. Hunter still didn’t believe it but spent two weeks touring homes with the couple from the Lone Star State, and they ended up purchasing a Lincoln Park home for almost three and a half million dollars. He learned a valuable lesson to take advantage of every opportunity as it presents itself.
Hunter tries to play golf with his father at least once a week when the weather is accommodating. He also adores riding along Chicago’s many urban trails with his two daughters and taking long walks in his Lincoln Square community. Hunter and his family also love attending summertime street festivals.
These activities recharge his batteries so he can focus on being one of the region’s top agents, as recognized by the Chicago Association of Realtors, each year since 2012.
What does Hunter consider the key to a successful real estate business? It’s vital to have an entrepreneurial spirit and the discipline to be a self-starter. “It’s very important for agents to understand that this is a relationship business,” as Hunter points out. You have to “make a concerted strategic effort to stay in front of your past clients on a consistent basis,” he advises. Former clients are to be treasured as they can provide you with something that’s almost invaluable: an excellent referral.
There are two types of agents, intentional and accidental, he states. The ones with a strategic business plan generally do better because they’re not constantly having to reinvent the wheel, year after year. When you have the proper systems in place, it’s much easier to scale.
He would recommend Baird & Warner Lincoln Park at the drop of a hat. Before joining the firm, Hunter says he heard nothing but the warmest unsolicited praise about the family-owned agency. Founded in 1855, it’s the largest independent real estate services company in the state of Illinois.
Chicago is a competitive city. Shoddily-run organizations don’t last long in this town. Baird & Warner is blessed with outstanding leadership that fosters a supportive environment. Hunter plays a huge role in building this culture.
What’s one piece of advice that Hunter needs to share?
Do your homework. Clients will frequently ask your advice on price or value, but it doesn’t pay to drop numbers without doing your research. People will grab onto a number and hang on for dear life, which can be a real challenge if you were wrong. “Tell them you do not like to throw darts at value,” he says, go check the facts, and come back with an informed statement.
He absolutely adores the cuisine at Sal’s Trattoria, a cozy corner restaurant in West Lakeview that features a decadent menu of traditional Italian delights. He also sings the praises of Butcher & The Burger, a no-frills diner with mouthwatering meats and bespoke spice mixes for sale.
Connect with this industry leading light on LinkedIn or Facebook, or you can follow his adventures on Instagram. If you’re looking for an exclusive Chicago property, Hunter’s rare blend of expertise and enthusiasm can match you with the perfect piece of real estate.