“A home purchase is generally one of the most significant and memorable milestones in people’s lives and something they will remember for a long time. I put my heart, soul, and tireless hours into what I do to make sure my clients always look back fondly on their experience. Meeting new people from all walks of life, learning their life stories, and turning our professional relationships into friendships is my favorite part of the job.”
Irina Babb’s husband, Wayne, was a longtime real estate agent and top producer with RE/MAX. He often encouraged Irina to join him in the business and, in 2005, she did just that. Wayne mentored Irina and fostered her growth. He inspired her to get as many professional designations as possible, learn from the best, and keep growing. The couple worked side by side until Wayne passed away in 2012.
“I had to deal with the personal sorrow, but I’ve also had to figure out how to run all aspects of the business on the fly all by myself,” Irina reflects. “Taking over the entire business was very overwhelming. I am a perfectionist. I am very hands-on and want to do everything myself.”
Irina eventually learned to delegate, understanding that she couldn’t do it all herself. She refocused on working directly with clients and hiring a top-notch support team. “Luckily, I’ve got the best team in the business,” Irina smiles.
Reaping the Rewards
Irina has found being a real estate agent to be an enriching experience. She has watched her hard work produce happiness for her clients, gained innumerable friends along the way, and connected deeply with her community.
“I’ve been doing this for over sixteen years now. That’s almost six thousand days! I can tell you with a great degree of confidence, none of those days were the same. I never stop learning. There’s always something new to discover. I meet incredible people. Did I mention I get to see some incredible homes? What’s not to love about this career?”
Irina recognizes that success is a process driven by small wins every day. Seemingly trivial accomplishments have helped her build momentum and a solid foundation for her current success. “Success is being able to make a positive impact no matter where you are. I leave my desk feeling successful when I know I made someone’s life even a little bit easier. It’s the biggest reward of all.”
“To be honest, I’m living my dream. I am so fortunate and grateful, but I have worked hard to get here. I’m not just making money; I’m doing something useful, important, and meaningful. I have the freedom to spend time with my family. I am a part of a wonderful community in Alexandria, Virginia. What more could I ask for?”
Krissy Shellenberger, who runs Real Advantage Transaction Management, is Irina’s transaction manager. She started working with Irina in 2018 and they have closed over 200 transactions together. Prior to starting Real Advantage TM, Krissy sold real estate in both Virginia and Alaska, gaining essential first-hand experience with real estate transactions. Since its founding in 2015, Real Advantage TM has closed over 5,000 transactions.
Andrea Foushanji has been Irina’s listing manager since 2019. She designs all marketing materials and assists with the listing process, from the initial walk-through, managing the listing for market, brochure design, and social media posts. Andrea has been a graphic designer and marketer for 13 years. She and her husband, a custom home builder, moved from Michigan to Northern Virginia in 2016.
Jud Crowe has worked closely with Irina since 2014 as a buyer and tenant representation specialist, as well as contract support. Before becoming a real estate agent, Jud was a senior project engineer/program manager with Lockheed Martin for 13 years. You can frequently catch him around Cameron Station, helping with staging, buyers, and tenants.
Beatriz Correa and Israel Lopez have helped Irina keep her listings in tip-top shape for over 10 years. Irina believes that curb appeal is everything, so they assist her with sign installation and getting properties ready for sale.
“Last but not least, my heart and soul is my son, Mikhail (Misha) Kolyadov, who lives in Brooklyn, New York,” Irina smiles. Misha has been Irina’s copywriter and branding expert since she began her real estate career. Misha is a systems engineer by trade. He started a real estate company with a friend in his college town of Harrisonburg, Virginia, at the age of 21 and currently works for the New York City Transit Authority.