Lori Leman is a premier Realtor for Saratoga Springs, NY. She is the "go-to" person for seasonal racing, horse show and ballet rentals. Ms. Leman speaks with Equine Info Exchange about her vast experience in the Saratoga market place, finding the perfect home for individuals, families or companies to achieve their housing needs.
EIE: How did you first get started in Saratoga Springs? Are you a native to this area or were you attracted to it like so many others, for its beauty and history...or for the horses?
LL: I was born and raised in Saratoga, and even graduated from Skidmore College. After spending 6 years in NYC getting my MBA at Columbia and starting my career in real estate, I moved back here in 1988 to open my own firm. 10 years ago, I started developing the rental portion of my business, and it now takes up about 60% of my time. Saratoga is also a great place to live and work year round.
EIE: What are your unique skills for finding the right home for your customers?
LL: My knowledge of the area and the homes available as well as asking the right questions are what sets me apart from others who do this. It comes down to personal service and being able to match the right renter with the right home and the right homeowner. The experience I’ve gained over the last 10 years completing a few thousand rentals has helped me to hone the skills needed throughout the rental process. Patience and persistence certainly help!
EIE: Are most of your customers referrals? Do many return year after year?
LL: Yes, at this point, about 80% of my renters are either returning renters or referrals from returning renters. I’ve had some people and companies that I’ve worked with since I started. Both homeowners and renters have changing needs over the years, and I do my best to find them the perfect place for their current needs.
EIE: What is your most gratifying experience as a Realtor?
LL: I list and sell homes as well as doing these short term rentals. I love building the relationships with my clients and customers over the years. I’ve had several times when renters have turned into buyers, which is always exciting. I have a passion for all aspects of this business, which is why I’ve spent over 30 years doing it. The price of the home, whether it’s a sale or a rental, makes no difference to me – I love helping people find the “right” place, for a weekend or a lifetime.
EIE: Just for fun, what is the craziest rental story you can share with us?
LL: I’ve had so few truly negative experiences over my career, but there have been a lot of times when I just wind up shaking my head in disbelief. Probably the craziest situation for me was many years ago when I was showing some rentals to someone well known in the racing industry. I had permission from the owners to go right into a large, lovely old home since they were away for the weekend and the house would be empty. Imagine my surprise when we opened the door to the master bedroom and there was a couple, (neither of whom were the owners), um, shall we say “finishing up”. The potential renter turned to me with a deadpan expression and said “I assume this will not be part of the rental?”. It turned out that the amorous couple were friends of the owners who knew they would be away, but did not know I would be showing it. Needless to say the fellow rented another home, and I am so happy that technology has eliminated all but a few actual showings.
EIE: If someone is a home owner and wants to rent their home, how do they get started with you?
LL: All they need to do is call me up and we’ll have a conversation about their home. As with all real estate, location is key. That’s never more true than for racing season rentals. Once I know there is a good chance I will be able to help them, I find out the details of their home and what they are looking for in terms of the length of time they are willing and able to rent. The vast majority of my listings are family homes, not true “vacation rentals” or investment properties, so they have different objectives. I set up an appointment with the homeowner, email them my “Frequently Asked Questions” so they understand what I do and how I do it. We meet so I can get a feel for the home and take loads of photos. I can have them on my website within a few hours.
EIE: For those seeking to rent a home, what is the best way to reach you?
LL: Feel free to call me at 518-583-4007 or send me an email at SRArentals@nycap.rr.com. I work evenings and weekends, so if I’m here and awake, I’m happy to discuss rentals. For those who want to explore some possibilities before a direct conversation, please feel free to browse my website www.saratogarealtyassociates.com.