- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2008

Harlene Cohen Bernstein

Company: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Address: 7272 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814

Phone: 301/718-0010

Fax: 301/576-3976

E-mail address: [email protected]

Web site: www.teambernstein.com

Year started: 1976

How did you get started in real estate? I was working in the D.C. public school system in special education. During summer vacation, a friend asked if I would manage his new business, a Rolls-Royce limo service. The cars broke so often that the business did not make it. By then, I was intrigued by my friend’s real estate development business. I decided to work with his company rather than return to the school system. We were involved in creating and selling many of the condo projects in Dupont Circle. It was a very exciting time. Later, I went into general brokerage and had my own company until my twins were born.

How long have you been with the current company? Fifteen years ago, when my children were born, I joined Pardoe Real Estate, which was later purchased by NRT, and suddenly, I was working for Coldwell Banker.

Licenses and designations: I am licensed in the District and Maryland.

Associations: Greater Capital Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors

Awards: They are all in storage, and I don’t remember.

Greatest accomplishment in the past 12 months: Spending time with my parents during my father’s last illness and providing support and compassion. It means a lot to me that I walked with them through this time and was useful and a comfort.

What is your area of specialty: The District and Montgomery County

Highest-priced home sold: About $2,500,000

Describe the most memorable house you’ve been involved with: Not long after I went out on my own in real estate, we had a market almost as bad as the one we are now in. Interest rates were 17 percent, 18 percent and more, knocking a lot of people out of the market. I was fortunate as I met a group of people who worked at the World Bank. They saw this difficult market as an opportunity, and I sold them investment properties. I was awakened early one Saturday morning by the phone ringing. A man calling from Israel told me he was a cousin of one of my investors. He wanted to buy three town houses in a new development in Georgetown just off of M Street. He knew which houses he wanted and he was paying cash and wanted me to handle the transaction. It felt as if a pot of gold fell out of sky for me. This was by far the largest sale I had thus far in my career. And … the developer was offering trips to the Caribbean as an incentive for agents! I love the Caribbean.

Describe your worst experience buying or selling a house: I can’t say I’ve really had a “bad” experience selling homes. It is the challenge that I enjoy and often the “bad” experiences are the most rewarding because once we get everything worked out, I can truly see how much I helped the client and we often become friends.

Age: 60

Family: Divorced. Twin boys 15 years old, Marc and Alec - amazing young men

Pets: Paws, a beautiful white cat

Education: Undergraduate degree from Syracuse University, 1970; master’s degree in special education from George Washington University, 1972

Community affiliations and other interests: I work raising funds for the Perry School Community Services Center, a wonderful program for alleviating chronic poverty. Coldwell Banker generously provided a grant for the Perry Center this year. I paint. I am blessed with a talent to express and create art that gives me such a deep sense of fulfillment. My byline is “The Art of Real Estate.” My business card is one of my paintings - a tiger - and says, “In the real estate jungle, don’t you want a tiger on your side.” My art Web site is www.harleneart.com.

Last book read: “E=mc2: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation” by David Bodanis. I love physics, especially as it reaches to intersect with spirituality. Einstein said, “There are two ways you can live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Last movie seen: “Hellboy 2” (I have teenage boys.)

What kind of car do you drive?: Highlander Hybrid

Describe your dream house: My dream house is overlooking the ocean. It’s contemporary with many, many huge windows looking out on beautiful vistas. In the morning, I can watch the sunrise from my bed. There is a skylight in the master bath so I can hear the rain falling on it. The house is mostly on one level, high ceilings and not too large: maybe 2,500 square feet. I like the kitchen. It’s where I paint, so I want a large and comfortable kitchen where people can sit and talk. A deck off the kitchen so we can eat outside and watch the hummingbirds visit the feeder. Let’s throw in a saltwater swimming pool that someone else cares for.

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