Annabel S. Kuppens Real Estate Broker, Coldwell Banker Bain, South Lake Union

What was your most interesting job before going into real estate?
I worked as a guest services manager on cruise ships, traveling the world and being responsible for ensuring that guests’ vacation needs were met onboard. Looking back, if my ship was in Europe, I [would] wake up literally in another country every morning. To be able to soak in and experience the culture was priceless. Through my shipboard life, I have circumnavigated the world twice as a crew member. I did two world cruises aboard Holland America Line’s vessel Amsterdam in 2001 and 2002.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the seventh largest island, Occidental Mindoro, in the island nation of the Philippines.

Growing up, what did you want to be?
I actually wanted to travel the world by being a journalist. I still ended up traveling the world aboard cruise ships. I left my country when I was 22 to venture on the big world.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
I love to cook and bake when I am stressed, or tend to my plants when the weather allows for it, say spring and summer.

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
Princess Diana, she champions the masses. She transcends the good and broke through societal classes despite her royal social status.

What is Seattle’s best-kept secret?
I truly think that Seattle’s best kept secret is Pike Place Market. It may be a market, but it means tenfold or more of importance to other people. It is a social, economic and cultural hub of the city. Just go walk around it to hear, feel and smell the beat of the city.

What do you love most about the industry?
It allows me to help out my clients in their very unique situation, which is my vehicle to keep making lifelong friends.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?
I am a transplant in the Seattle area. I can relate to many Seattle newcomers who have to find their way and settle their roots in this bustling city of Seattle. I have assisted countless clients of various nationalities and my way of interacting with them shows my adaptability. [Drawing on] our commonality makes [the process] very relatable for all parties. I carry with me the skill of great client relations from my past job in the hospitality industry, coupled with my patience and knowledge of the market. It’s truly a very useful mix.

I also speak a second language besides English. I am fluent on my mother tongue: Tagalog. I can also understand and speak elementary Spanish. My time in Italy has also made me familiar with the Italian language.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The most difficult aspect of my job is having to tell my clients that although they did their very best to put their highest price and best term, unfortunately, they did not get the house. To be a messenger of unhappy news is not easy.

What’s your best advice for generating new leads?
Always be ready to market yourself. Have an elevator pitch ready and meet people safely now we are in the pandemic. That person who got your card may not call now, but they could in the future. Also, market to your existing audience; past clients are great sources of new and repeat businesses.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
In this real estate business, I finally got selected to be an esteemed member of Coldwell Banker Bain’s International Sterling Society last year.

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately?
I have to admit I binge-watched “Outlander” and “Money Heist.” I also listen to a lot to Enrique Iglesias and Andrea Bocelli music.

What’s your favorite meal in Seattle?
I love my very own Filipino cuisine and Thai food.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Seattle?
The King Street Station. If you look closely, its clock tower has been modeled after the famous San Marco Square Tower in Venice. I always see a little Venice in that building. Its recent renovations made it pop even more.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
I fainted on the job! It happened really quickly. I was driving to the next house to show to my clients. I got really bad pain, unknowing that this would land me on a hospital bed straight to surgery.

I was still able to get my clients in the house, and then I rushed to the bathroom where all went dark. I was rushed to the hospital. Two days and a surgery later — I had an appendectomy — I was on the mend. A week after that, my clients advised me that they liked the house where I fainted and they ended up buying it.

What’s one thing people are surprised to learn about you?
People are surprised that I can still manage to do this work while I am a parent to an amazing special needs son, who also needs a lot of care and attention. In that sense, I can say I am truly blessed and grateful to be able to balance the demands of home life and work life. I am a strong supporter of our special needs community in Seattle.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
Venice, Italy. It is my adopted town. My husband proposed to me at the Rialto Bridge aboard a gondola, and our son was born in Venice. We lived there just like the locals just before we settle here in Seattle.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Start small but always be consistent with your methods.

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app?
I use Homespotter a lot, Realtor.com and Redfin. They are my top faves.

Who are your favorite people to follow on social media?
Warren Buffett, Than Merrill, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Manny Pacquiao.

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