“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.”
― Simon Van Booy, Everything Beautiful Began After
Clare Fader is a local real estate and cultural heroine. She adopted Winston-Salem as her home 25 years ago and has remained steadfast in her love of this city. She has shown her allegiance to the city in countless ways as a musician, hospitality industry superstar and ultra-popular real estate agent.
Clare spoke to us about her journey here in our fair city and how she became the Founder of Fader Real Estate.
* What originally brought you to Winston Salem?
My parents who were physicians were recruited here to the city by Wake Forest Baptist from Canada. I was at university in Montreal at the time. I decided to join them here in 1998. I started a band, singing and traveling with them all along the east coast. Some people today still know me from my time as a musician.
* Were you always aspiring to be a realtor or was it something you backed into?
This was completely accidental. At the time I started in this business, I had a realtor I trusted who suggested I get my real estate license. He always said, “You obsess more about real estate than I do.” I have always had a passion for what I call “stray houses.” I love seeing the bones of a house and seeing its potential. Renovating a great house is an art form to me. And even my time in the hospitality industry as a server taught me how to “read” people and be of service. I was getting burned out on the musician life and decided in 2007 to go into real estate.
* What should people look for in a real estate agent?
People need somebody that they feel safe with. They need an agent who has their back. It is important that an agent not push people or rush people into the sale. This is not a game about sales and numbers, it is about how people are helped and guided and advised.
* What would you say are your company’s core objectives?
It’s critical to have work/life separation and we always strive to serve our community. I cannot run the business any other way. If I can somehow promote and make my city shine for others, it makes it so people yearn to move here. I love pushing our local industry and the complexity behind our innovation and creativity. Winston-Salem is an amazing place to live and work. People from all over the world are seeing that and I want us to be the introduction many have to our beautiful city.
* What really excites you about the industry you are in?
I just love it when I drop off clients who are new to our city and they walk to Mozelle’s for dinner, or they visit one of our galleries and they decide to move here – when I have proven my case that our city is so fantastic. I adore telling people origin stories about all the amazing things that have happened here over the course of history. I love selling the city. I love surprising even people who have lived here for several years about the many layers of my city. I love listening to people tell me about their lifestyles and envisioning exactly where they should live, what neighborhood would best suit them.
* Tell me about the current and future environment for Winston-Salem as you see it.
The pandemic was a tumultuous and uncertain time for so many reasons; however, one positive outcome was that people realized you could often live and work from anywhere. It opened up the idea that you could live in a city such as ours and still conduct work remotely for companies elsewhere. We weren’t just serving people as real estate agents who worked here locally. Growth is certainly unpredictable, but I do know that people can bring their high-paying jobs to our city and can feed into our economy with dollars as consumers. The world is taking notice of this city as a place where you won’t get lost in the shuffle as you would in a big metropolis.
* If someone wants to become a real estate agent, what advice would you offer to them?
I met a new agent recently who said they look forward to being able to make their own schedule in real estate. Uh, I would offer a word of caution to anyone who thought this was true. You need to be flexible and accessible. New agents need to know how to say “yes” to get the job done and be of service to your clients. You need to find ways to always add value for your clients. This is more of a service industry than a sales industry. And you must always be marketing your business. Let people know what you do and what you bring to the table for them. It is a wonderful way to be a service provider and promoter of where you live.
* Who would you nominate next for this People of Prominence series?
I nominate Shereen Gomaa, who created Delicious by Shereen. This is a catering company that empowers recently resettled refugees in our community to use their cooking skills to support their families. The business she’s created does so much more than simply prepare food. It acts as a bridge between communities, helping new residents to Winston-Salem feel valued. She is incredibly determined to make the business succeed. During the pandemic, when most events were canceled, she pivoted to making prepared meals that have become a favorite part of many local families’ weekly meal plans. I’m grateful for Shereen and the way her business makes our community a more inclusive and delicious place. Through food!
Clare Fader, Fader Real Estate faderre.com