If you are a real estate agent in the Washington D.C. area, you invariably become a history expert by default. From the historic farmhouses of Old Town Alexandria and Mt. Vernon in Virginia to Georgetown and the city itself with its endless parade of stately monuments and Federal style townhouses, selling luxury residences alongside cultural landmarks is second nature. Just ask Phyllis Patterson, a Coldwell Banker Previews International specialist based in Alexandria, Va., just 10 miles outside of D.C.
“My clients come to Alexandria for the privacy and slower pace, but I think they also want a sense of history too…a sense of pride that comes from having a connection to America’s past,” she says of the 263-year old town.
Of course, the South Carolina native is no stranger to politics either. Prior to earning her real estate license 27 years ago, she served as Deputy Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, perhaps unknowingly solidifying her place among the political heavyweights of D.C. With her trademark Southern drawl, straight talk and warm personality, Patterson has earned the respect of some of the most powerful men and women in our nation, helping them find private homes away from the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capitol. (Just don’t ask her whether she’s Democrat or Republican…she prefers “Realtor signs to election signs!”)
For election month, Previews Inside Out talks with Patterson about what it means to be a top Previews specialist in America’s richest and most powerful city.
If I wasn’t a real estate agent, I’d be: A journalist. I have always loved Katie Couric, who is also from D.C.
Historical figure I most identify with: No specific figure comes to mind, but since I live in Mt. Vernon, I can’t help but notice the daily reminder of George and Martha Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate. My personal residence is a Riverfront home on the property that was once one of George Washington’s five local farms—something most Alexandrians takes great pride in.
Most memorable client: Congressmen, Senators, lobbyists, professional athletes. You know I can’t say!
Greatest extravagance: Our house in Mt. Vernon. We have a beautiful home right along the Potomac River. It’s a special place to me because it’s where my four children have grown up enjoying boating, jet skiing, fishing and swimming.
Greatest necessity: Cell phone.
If I could buy any 3 Previews homes in the world, they would be in: Vail, New York City and somewhere in Italy…but I just don’t know where yet!
Most treasured possession: Old family photos.
Favorite style of architecture: Robert Stern. I love shingle-style architecture.
I can’t live without: My family. Or chocolate…it’s a toss up.
Luxury is: The simple pleasures…a view or a big stone fireplace. Luxury is the authentic experience you can only have in that house and in that neighborhood.
Most memorable D.C. moment: One day, I was waiting for my kids to get off a school bus when a town car stopped and asked for directions. It was a newly elected congressman and his wife riding through the neighborhood. I helped them look for a residence for months and they ended up renting. Good thing he was one term!
Currently Reading: Washington Post.
Last film watched: Argo, which I watched during Hurricane Sandy.
Wish you had met: Bill Clinton. Everyone always told me that he was so charismatic.
Preview the D.C. Lifestyle: Custom-built Boucher home with scenic Potomac River views from all three levels.Click Here To View.
Phyllis Patterson is a 27-year real estate veteran specializing in properties from historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and along the scenic George Washington Parkway to Mount Vernon. She is a lifetime top producer and a member of the $30 Million Plus Club. You can find more information on Phyllis Patterson here.