Debby Benson-Miller: In Her Father’s Footsteps
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ROHNERT PARK — When asked how she ended up in real estate, Debby Benson-Miller credits the influence of her father. “My father used to buy and sell properties and was a big believer in real estate as an investment,” she remembers. “He tried to get me into it right out of high school, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to be an agent. Instead, I went to work as an administrator for the Humboldt Association of Realtors, where I gained experience running the multiple listing service and got to know a lot of Realtors. After 10 years, I decided I was ready to become an agent, so I got my license, moved to Sonoma County and have been serving this area ever since.”
As a Sonoma County real estate agent, Debby says her favorite part of her job is interacting with clients. “I’ve always been a people-person, so that part of the job came naturally to me. Plus, it’s very rewarding to help someone sell their home or hand the keys to a first-time buyer. Basically, I really like making people happy.”
A resident of Rohnert Park (where she lives with her husband and business partner, Tom), Debby expresses her appreciation for her North Bay locale. “Living in Sonoma County, we’re surrounded by natural beauty and fun activities. Whether you want to drive out to the coast or watch a Giants game in the city, there’s no shortage of things to do.”
Outside of work, Debby lives up to her reputation as a people-person by partaking in a variety of social activities. “I’m in a bunco group, a book club, and Tom and I are part of an RV group that goes on little excursions once a month,” she lists. “I’m also a member of the local Rotary chapter, the Junior League of Napa-Sonoma and Non Stop Connections, which is an offshoot of BNI.” When she’s not rubbing elbows with friends and colleagues, Debby likes spending time with her stepchildren, grandchildren and two orange cats.
In regard to a professional philosophy, Debby espouses the importance of communication. “People like to know what’s going on, especially when they’re in the middle of a major transaction, so communication is crucial,” she explains. “However, everybody is different, and I’ve learned that you need to communicate in different ways to different people. Some people want to be texted, some prefer email, and others want you to pick up the phone and call them. So, I make it a point to be flexible and adjust my communication style based on the client’s needs.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Debby says she’d live to the fullest. “I recently had a kidney transplant and I feel extremely fortunate to have my health back. It has really changed my outlook on life and made me realize the importance of enjoying every day. With that in mind, if I were to retire, I would do some traveling. I’ve always wanted to go to the East Coast and see Boston and Washington D.C., and I’ve also been thinking about going to Italy. But maybe I’d start with a good, old-fashioned cruise.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sweet T’s in Santa Rosa.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Put on some sweats, turn on the fire and read a book. Of course, it’s also a good time to go to a movie.
Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actress would you choose to play yourself?
A: Kate Hudson.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Key lime pie—Sweet T’s makes a great one.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
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A: I have a couple: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls and “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” by Lorna Landvik.