Born and raised in Queens, New York, Hanif Ratansi has always been a people person with a sense of humor and an appreciation for architecture and the human endeavor.
How did Hanif start selling homes? While working in IT at Microsoft, he attended a real estate interview with a friend on a whim. The conversation sparked his interest and the feeling was mutual. He took the Realtor exam in 2002 and went from tech to real estate overnight.
“From old Victorian homes to growing up in the shadow of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, I have always loved architecture and the feats humans go to in order to create amazing things,” says Hanif. “When I look at a home, I like to appreciate what’s been done and imagine what could be done too.”
The main focus of Hanif’s real estate career is relocation—for which he has personal experience. “When I moved to Seattle in 1992, it was hard to know what areas were good or bad. You actually had to live somewhere first to know,” he recalls. “As clients move here, I take it as my personal responsibility to make them feel at home like a local from day one.”
He knows that being in a brand new city, with a new job and a new house can be overwhelming because he’s been there.
“I’m an East Coast transplant and I understand what it’s like living there and here,” he explains. “When clients transition here, I have been in their shoes and make an honest effort to recommend neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, and experiences in and around the city that I know they’ll love.”
Hanif shares his passions for food, drink and the arts—the things that fuel his soul. And he genuinely shares his signature enthusiasm with each of his clients. They love how he gets as excited as they do when looking for the perfect place. But he also realizes a huge part of his job is simply to listen.
“You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason,” he smiles. “The more I listen, the more I learn. It’s important to ask a lot of questions and learn everything I can to better understand the human aspect of this process.”
Because really good realtors don’t just sell homes, they also play the role of financial adviser, psychologist and friend. Although he has plenty, accolades are not important to Hanif. What makes him different is how he sees the relationship as a team effort that he takes very personal.
“I won’t recommend anything to a client that I wouldn’t recommend to my mother or my sister,” he explains. “I consider clients asking me to find them a house a very significant thing, like asking me to take care of a child or a favorite pet. It’s that important.”