By Steve Harney on January 16, 2012

Steve Harney, founder of  Keeping Current Matters, occasionally asks to do a personal post on what he sees as important  to our industry. Today is one of those days. Enjoy! – The KCM Crew

My wife and I have vacationed on the beautiful island of Aruba for the last nine years. We are strongly considering buying a winter residence on the island so we can enjoy it more often as we get older. On a trip there last week, we decided to see what our options might be.

We asked a person at the Marriott (where we stay) to suggest a local real estate agent that could help us navigate the possibilities. Luckily, she recommended us to a sensational young woman named Milouska ‘Miko’ Briezen. What made Miko so special? She made me realize what true customer service is all about.

When we called her, she didn’t immediately talk about the ‘unbelievable home’ she was going to show us or the fabulous ‘steal’ that was available in one of the condo developments.

Instead, she asked to meet us over a cup of coffee so she could get to know us. I wasn’t necessarily into sitting down and trading pleasantries. I wanted to see what was available. My wife convinced me we should respect Miko’s request, so we did.

Almost immediately upon meeting us, Miko asked one of the most powerful questions a real estate person has ever asked me:

What makes you come back to Aruba year after year?

WOW! I had never thought about the actual reasons that I loved the island as much as I did. Why had we forgone other luxurious vacation destinations ever since first coming to Aruba? What made it so special? My wife and I went on for almost an hour recalling all the fantastic memories the island has given us. Miko quietly listened.

When Miko finally did talk, she again was brilliant! She alerted us to the fact that, though my wife and I both truly loved the island, we actually loved it for different reasons. For me it was the true vacation/resort experience: sun, water and great food. For my wife it was having a place that felt like a second ‘home’. She liked when family and friends came to join us. She loved meeting new people and planning to see them again next year. I wanted a waterfront condo and my wife wanted a quiet house she could call home.

Miko shifted from a real estate agent to a marriage counselor as she facilitated a great conversation between my wife and me. And it didn’t bother her one bit! She was dedicated to finding the perfect vacation residence for us. She was smart enough to realize that until we decided what it was we truly wanted, she couldn’t find it.

Miko did show us a sensational waterfront condo (I really wanted it!) and a beautiful development of single family homes (My wife fell in love). My wife and I still can’t agree on which type of home we will eventually buy. However, we have both agreed that we are going to buy it through Miko – the person who put our happiness ahead of her pocketbook.

— Reposted with permission of Keeping Current Matters

About The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)

The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest not-for-profit trade association in Staten Island, N.Y.

SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically; and to promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.

Comprised of over 1,800 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas. 

SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 3,000 real estate transactions every year.

All SIBOR members belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

SIBOR may be reached at 718-928-3220 and visited online at

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