Director of Preferred Client Services
Highly educated and goal-oriented, Shannon Criss was hand-picked by Bob Hurwitz to accommodate the exacting needs of the company’s most discerning clients. With her track record of successfully structuring off-market investments for top clientele, Shannon has proven to be a key piece of what we like to think of as the HJC Effect – meticulous professionalism married with the utmost discretion.
In addition to her remarkable achievements in real estate, she also brings a designer’s vision to the table, with her work in luxury homes featured in national media. Shannon works exclusively with select clients of the company, providing peerless real estate and investment opportunities not otherwise available to the public.
We sat down with Shannon recently to see what makes her such an invaluable – and unique — part of the HJC team.
“My career in real estate was started almost unintentionally – I had seen an opportunity to invest in properties that managed to generate handsome return rates, nearly double what would be expected of a “professional” investor. From that point on, I realized that I had a certain talent for business and real estate, particularly positioning and negotiations. But of course things are never that simple: If it weren’t for people mentoring me (knowingly or unknowingly), I would never have been able to do any of it — because I never would have known how full this world is of opportunity.
I am a Midwest girl at heart, whose natural habitat is luxury everything – but I also believe that character and a strong work ethic can take you anywhere in life. If you are not qualified, then you get qualified. I live every day as if it is my Hail Mary moment; and I’m pretty sure that is how I went from near-homeless college student to real estate investor to elite international real estate talent in just a few short years. Of course, all credit is due to Bob Hurwitz for drafting me into the major league!
I was only 23 years old when my home design work caught the attention of HGTV. One of the properties I worked on for them was the Merv Griffin estate in Palm Springs, which in turn led to boosting my real estate and investing credibility. I was able to leverage my “brand” to become an investor consultant and expert contract negotiator for off off-market property, quickly becoming attuned to setting up non-traditional (aka impossible) deals. I’ve been told that I gained the respect of the industry for seeming to accomplish things nobody else could, in record time.
That specific type of business was highly volatile — no matter how reliable I could be, investor behavior was not –and as a recently-divorced 25-year-old single mom, the challenges felt overwhelming at times.
So I kept pushing for better opportunities, and eventually I was asked to negotiate an “impossible” deal, which was also the first time I had handled a non-investment multi-million dollar home. I ended up trying to work the deal with Bob (having no idea who he really was), and fortunately for me, I had impressed him. He called me after negotiations concluded and said to me, “What are you doing for the rest of your life?” — and that was how Preferred Client Services had its beginnings.”
Today, Shannon Criss is a formidable presence on the luxury real estate scene, determined, discreet and impossible to miss.
“I wear sky-high heels religiously, because I like the benefit of looking like an elegant woman while simultaneously being able to look a man square in the eye. (I can do anything and everything in a six-inch heel and wouldn’t be caught without them – at least not professionally.)
But most importantly, I work harder than anyone else I know. And that’s because I am determined to fulfill my potential as a human being, which I know is very great. I can tell, because every day I am humbled by the many people believe in me!”